Morning folks – we all good?
Now, I know we all got a little excited yesterday when Ornstein was quoted on TV yesterday evening telling us that Arsenal were interested in both Mudryk AND Joao Félix from Atletico Madrid on loan, but I’m going to just try to temper some of that excitement myself this morning.
That’s because I think Félix is a bit of a smokescreen.
I don’t have any intel, I’m not somebody who has any connections within the game, I’m just an Arsenal fan who obsesses about the club, reads as much as I can, watches the same videos and absorbs the same social media content that you do. So I could very easily be way off the mark here. But I am extremely doubtful we’ll get both Félix and Mudryk. My gut feel is the Ukrainian will be the one they push hard for.
I don’t even think it is the talk of the high loan fee, big wages, etc, that Ornstein talked about. I just have a feeling that Arsenal are using the back channels to say they like Félix and wouldn’t mind him at the club, because they want the world to know that if Shaktar decide to play silly buggers with what their asking for Mudryk, then Arsenal have an alternate option they could plump for. To me it is an eminently sensible strategy and I have a feeling they are using the very credible David Ornstein as one of their media amplifiers for this particular rumour.
Of course it could all flip very quickly if Shaktar do hold firm, but what I find interesting about this situation is that it all feels very familiar to what we have seen so far under Edu and Arteta. What I mean about that is that when we’ve signed players under their watch, they have tended to be guys where there doesn’t seem to be much competition for the signature. Ben White and Ramsdale were linked for ages but there was no real competitive other bidder. We got Ødegaard on loan, then as a permanent fee with the same approach. I don’t remember too much noise around Tomiyasu and when Gabriel Magalhaes signed it didn’t seem like we had to fight off teams for signatures.
Now, I know we lost out on Lisandro Martinez, whilst Gabby Jesus also had an offer from Chelsea. So I know that we have not always faced a free run at a player. But broadly speaking and more often than not, we have seemed to have a pretty free run at players that we’ve then gone on to sign. That’s why I think Mudryk is the man they really want first and foremost, with Félix as the back up, or smokescreen to make sure Shaktar don’t try to go for Pepe levels of cash. Providing they are reasonable in their demands, Arsenal won’t shift their attentions to Félix and the deal can be done.
The question that does pop in to my mind, however, is the same one I asked yesterday: do Arsenal have a deadline on Mudryk? If they’re going to have a ‘Plan B’ lined up in the shape of Félix, I think it lends more credence to the idea that Arsenal will not want to hang around and wait for Shaktar to come back to the table with more realistic demands. Much like how we quickly moved away from Martinez when it looked like he was preferring Man United, we pivoted and grabbed ourselves a Zinchenko instead. The Mudryk/Joao Félix situation doesn’t feel the same for the reasons mentioned above, but it does feel like we could quickly move to it in early January if needed.
And that’s what we all want to hear. I wrote a piece a few days ago which outline a bunch of our transfers in January in the last ten years or so and how we tend to always confirm those deals late in January. I still am not going to lead myself to fully believe that any deal we do will not be dragged out until the latter stages of the window, but the noises that are being made at the moment are at least all very positive in terms of showing how proactive the club are being, with KSE also being referenced by Ornstein as understanding that they need to back Arteta to capitalise now given the start to the season we have had.
Again, a bit like how in my mind I’m not counting any chickens on the transfer signings happening early in January, I am looking at KSE with suspicion. There has been money made available in recent windows, for that we need to recognise that it hasn’t wholly just appeared based on Arsenal’s own self-generated revenues (I think), so there is some semblance of apparent ambition being shown. But let’s not forget that KSE arrived on the scene just as our decline was starting to happen under Wenger and we have a head of the Kroenke family who has been well documented as saying he didn’t get in to sports team ownership to win things. I am willing to change my view on KSE, but it is going to take more than the good stuff that has happened in the last few years for me to truly do a full 180 on them. One swallow doth not a summer make as the saying goes (loosely).
Anyway, that’s probably enough of that for one day. Still nothing going on ahead of the Brighton game. I suspect there might be a press conference tomorrow so we won’t get much in terms of more noise today from the club or the manager ahead of the game. But hopefully by tomorrow there are some noises coming out about player availability from the club.
Right, I’m offski, so I’ll catch you all tomorrow. Have a good one!