Mercifully, instead of putting myself through the inevitable torture of expecting a depleted West Ham side to show anything like the level of fight back and drive they showed against us just a few short weeks ago, I didn’t watch anything of the City game last night and just saw that at the end they had won 3-0 against a West Ham side probably ‘on the beach’ other than for their European exploits.

Instead, James and I did a post game Chelsea podcast, in which we both talked about the game on Tuesday, how terrible Chelsea are, whether they might be a threat to us next season, as well as a look ahead to the Newcastle game on Sunday. I’ll not be in the country and will be out and about, so unable to watch the game – irritatingly enough, but the news – or lackthereof, in terms of Gabriel is what is keeping a number of us in a state of perpetual worry and concern. Indeed, such is the reliance we have become on him at the heart of our defence, that both James and I both agreed that if he is out on Sunday and we are looking at bringing in a back two of Kiwior and Holding, then I would have real concerns about our ability to keep Newcastle out.

Kiwior put on a fine display against Chelsea but he’s still young and that was his first Premier League appearance from the start. To quote the great man Arsene Wenger, I don’t think we want to ‘kill’ his Arsenal career (from a confidence perspective) before it has even had the chance to get going. St James’ Park is a rocking atmosphere these days and those home fans will be in fine voice. Kiwior needs more games alongside another established first choice centre half and if the options for Arteta are him and Holding as the only recognised centre halves left at the club, then I think he will have to think of something different. Something like KT in a back three, perhaps? All I know is that going back to Holding in a back two shouldn’t be in Arteta’s mind, regardless of who we are up against.

The other interesting battle on Sunday will be in our attack, because scoring goals during this dip in form hasn’t been a problem. Two away at Anfield, two away at West Ham, three at home to Southampton, one at City and then three at home to Chelsea this week. Goals have been easier to come by; it’s the defending and clean sheets that have seemed to be our Achilles Heel right now. And we’ll be up against a Newcastle side who have conceded just 11 goals at home this season, with three of those in one game against the Champions Elect Man City. So in 15 games they have conceded just eight goals. It’ll be interesting to see if we can keep up our scoring form against a very well-drilled defensive unit. More on that stuff in the coming days, however, methinks.

Instead, let’s look at some of the latest news, of which Pablo Mari’s move to AC Monza has been all but confirmed as they have secured their status as a Serie A team for next season. That means we’re in for a MASSIVE windfall of a whole £4.4million for the Spaniard and whilst it’s hardly going to smash our transfer plans wide open, it should be another bit on the pile with which Arteta can start to reshape his squad for next season.

I had this debate with a few of the gents pre game on Tuesday. By our reckoning, based on the number of players that have serious question marks over their long term Arsenal career (Balogun, Patino, Tierney), as well as those that are simply surplus to requirements (Pepe, Nuno Tavares, etc), we reckoned that conservatively if Arsenal were to move on those players and make a fair market price for them, they could be looking at circa £120 – £130million this summer in sales. If those jobs can get done – and it’s not a given with Arsenal, especially as it is something Edu still has to prove he can do – as well as adding to the transfer kitty via the Champions League qualification (Winning the Europa League nets you circa £20million. Just getting out of the group stages gives you a little over that) of around £13million (assuming group stage only revenue), gets us to a possible kitty of circa £140million. Just for finishing second compared to our last season finish of fifth gets us an extra £6million in Merit Share, with total revenues coming in for finishing second giving you £113million total payments compared to £107million if you finish fourth.

Quite a few numbers in there, so sorry about that, but if we are saying qwe can make a conservative £120million (and that really is quite conservative), plus the extra £13million in Champions League money (again, conservative based on not getting out of the group stages of the Champions League), plus even if we talk about the revenue from the Premier League as operating costs and just add the difference in Merit Share from finishing second instead of fifth last year, our total pot we could realistically be looking at for signing new players could sit at around £140million. And that’s BEFORE we even know what money Arsenal itself would have had on it’s transfer allocation this season.

So I’m looking at how we can improve our squad with another right centre half who can also play right back (because Tomiyasu is sadly injured too much to be relied on and we don’t want to have another end to the season in which we’re biting our nails over Holding for half-a-dozen games, do we?), a player to come in at number six like a Rice or Caicedo, then maybe even another number eight and a physical target man striker, it looks like we need four players to get in who are of first team quality, to start looking like we have a squad capable of maybe going even further. I know it won’t work out like this, but if you divide £140million in to four you’ve got yourself four £35million footballers you can bring in to improve the squad. For that sort of money you aren’t getting in punts, nor are you signing journeymen at the end of their careers. The money we are hopefully talking for the kitty made up of the additional revenues in this summer alone could fund a sizeable rebuild.

But Edu has to get the reddies for the surplus players. That’s job number one I suspect. Let’s hope he can do it.

Right, I’m offski. Catch you all tomorrow. Have a good one.