Morning fellow Gooners, hope you’re all well on this Sunday morn.
It feels a little quiet waking up today in the Arsenal world, after the game on Friday and also the release of information about our £60million Caicedo bid. I am in Northumberland at the moment and I spent a lot of time yesterday with the in-laws whilst regularly checking my phone, but it doesn’t sound like there was a lot really happening. By the sounds of it Arsenal appear to be pondering their next move.
And I get that. It’s a tough situation to be in and in one of my football WhatsApp groups we had a little discussion about whether you just pay that little bit extra because we need a midfielder and we are gunning for a title. Can you put a price on a title? Isn’t it worth spending an extra £15million if it means it secures you that first domestic league trophy for 19 years?
I’m not sure you know. And that’s not because I don’t want the player, but £90 – £100million feels like a fee that is a bit silly to me. Arsenal bid £60million a few days ago, why on earth would they add 50% to the fee just like that in a matter of days? I just don’t see it happening. But as well as that, there are no guarantees that signing this guy gets us over the line. We have had an amazing first half of the season and that has been built on the existing team. But there are certain players being fit that we have had to rely on. Thomas Partey is one of them and if he breaks down for any extended period of time (which he has done every season he’s been with us), then I’m not sure whether any player can fill his boots adequately.
I think we can cope if it’s just a few games, depending on what those games are. Let’s not forget that he has already missed four matches for us at the start of the season because of a thigh injury. He missed the Fulham, Villa, United and Zurich game, before returning for the Brentford game, in which we only lost the United match. So that shows you that in certain games we can afford to miss him. But not many of the big ones. If Caicedo was to come in, could he really get close to having the same impact as Partey? I’m not so sure.
That’s why the second bit of news that came out yesterday, which felt a lot more comforting than Brighton wanting us to pay £90million for their midfielder, was that supposedly the scans on Partey are not as bad as had been feared and the player is expected to be ready for Everton next Saturday.
Phew. I mean really, phew, because yesterday I was putting two and two together and getting 798 with Partey. Yesterday morning I was Googling how long a broken rib took to recover from and seeing that it said between three to eight weeks, with us playing City in two-and-a-half weeks time. Yesterday I was a worried man. But this news – if it turns out as we are hoping and he’s fine – is a big bonus. Partey is an integral member of this team and all season I’ve listened to pods and watched videos, read blogs and heard journos and fans alike talk about which player we could not afford to lose the most from this team. Gabby Jesus was one name. Saka is another. Ramsdale has been thrown in to the mix and Gabriel at times. But honestly, having had this Partey scare this weekend, it has crystallised to me that he is the guy we cannot afford to lose. Maybe that’s because Elneny is out now and Sambi hasn’t quite managed to succeed as a six in that position, but Partey just feels too important to lose to me. Turner showed on Friday that he could be an able deputy. White can be replaced by Tomi, KT for Zinchenko. The arrival of Kiwior is cover at left centre half and White can also move to centre back if needed, before we look at Holding. In the number eight we have Sambi who I think would perform there, plus Fabio Vieira and ESR when he eventually becomes fit. Fabio Vieira can also do a job on right wing and Trossard can play across the front line too, with Nketiah already showing that he can do the business in Gabriel Jesus’ absence. You may be thinking “well yeah, that’s why we need a midfielder for Partey” but even if we get one before Tuesday, I still think we need to pray on both knees that the Ghanaian stays fit. Because it feels to me that the only way we win this league is if he does manage to get through this season without missing more than one or two more games.
That feels like a big ask.
I think I’m going to leave the Arsenal ponderings there for today. I guess I could talk about the Fresneda rumblings, but that feels like it might be a summer move that happens and in any event, it’ll likely not impact us this season anyway, as the lad would be loaned back to Valladolid anyway. And at 18 he’s probably not for the first team next season either, so I’ll park any major thoughts about that until/unless it lands on our desks and is announced on the official site.
So I’ll catch you wonderful people tomorrow. Have a good one and enjoy your Sunday.
Of course his importance is all too easy to understate. What you should have said is that it it is impossible to overstate.