I didn’t get around to penning some thoughts yesterday because I was at the hospital for a check up on a dicky wrist, but in the evening last night the guys and I chewed the fat on the Same Old Arsenal pod in which we discussed the Nottingham Forest game, which I found really hard to get out of ‘apathy’ mode if I’m honest with you.

The confirmation of the inevitable that we all knew would happen on Sunday didn’t really make me feel like I wanted to go in to much depth about how the season had ended, which is kind of how I’m feeling right now, but at some stage Arteta and his team are going to need to take a look at the fact that for two seasons running we have fizzled out when it got to the business end of the season. With the fullness of time we’ve all been able to look at what happened last season and say “yeah, but look at how we kicked on this season, which suggests that we just had loads of injuries and a squad not good enough to challenge for a top four spot”. This season has had echoes of that, only the prize this time was greater, but I do wonder if we will see the same Arsenal that started this season from the off in 2023/24. You have to hope that we do. For three quarters of this season it was so much fun, but what this last quarter has done has sewed a lot of seeds of doubt amongst many Arsenal fans.

I am one of them and last night on the pod we were asked if this end to the season makes us worried for next season. I said it did and I still feel like that this morning having thought a little more about it. So much needed to go right for us to have the season that we have had this season; we needed a good pre season having brought in our main players early so the new teammates could bed in and our playing style and approach was in place for the first games of the season. Then the confidence needed to be built as a result of playing well in pre season. Then we needed to have a good start given our first five games were all seen as ‘winnable’. Winning those games meant that the confidence grew in the team and we carried that momentum through a vast chunk of the season. This Arsenal team thoroughly deserve to be in the position they are in right now having done so well for most of the season, but there were a lot of factors that we got just right at the beginning which gave us a platform to build on.

Now fast forward to the beginning of next season. What if we don’t get our deals over the line and can therefore bed in the new players in pre season? What if we pick up a couple of key injuries over the summer during pre season? What if the fixture list see’s us have a couple of tough trips to places like Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle or even the Scum (yes, I know they are a joke but it still represents a tough game early doors in the season)? Dropping points early means you are constantly playing catch up. By us getting a bunch of points on board early this season it massively set the tone and so when I think about all of these factors needing to align, I do wonder how easy it is going to be to get everything right.

I think if anything the transfer stuff won’t be as easy as it was last season. Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko both wanted out of City for regular football and we were able to do the deals pretty quickly in the summer because all parties were willing. If you take Declan Rice, for example, then I think there will be two of the three parties willing – Arsenal and the player. West Ham can trigger an additional year extension in his contract and that gives them a buffer. It gives them the opportunity to hold on to Rice for as long as possible and drag this out right across the summer if needs be, as they hope for a bidding war. The situation with that player is very different to the one we found with Man City, or even Porto when we signed Fabio Vieira. So I think we’re going to have a difficult time of it this summer compared to last summer and i really do feel like it is going to test Edu and Arteta’s nerve; particularly earlier in the window when there is more time and more inclination for the selling club to hold out for more cash.

Caicedo – if we’re after him – will be the same. Brighton will probably scoff at a £70million bid early in the window. There’s talk of an agreement to let him leave in place, but I’m not sure that agreement really means anything if Brighton don’t want to let him go and want to see if they can strong out silly money for his signature. So that one too feels like it will be more complex than any of last summers deals.

Which is why I think they’re also exploring the Gundogan deal, because that doesn’t need three parties, providing he leaves Man City. Personally I’m not a fan though. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a brilliant player, been top notch for them once again and a key cog in the current machine that should go on to win the treble. But at 32 he isn’t getting any younger or better and he’s not leaving Man City to sign a one year deal at The Arsenal. That’s probably what City could offer him so why go from that to us? He’ll be in a similar boat to Xhaka and he’ll be wanting three years minimum I reckon. And if that’s what it takes then I say we duck out of that type of deal. We’ve seen that already with Willian and we don’t need another guy lining his pockets for a final payday as he sees out his career.

There’s lots of work to be done and that work will / should have already have started. It’s probably why we are starting to hear the rumour mill hot up. I just hope we’re doing the right kind of deals and not falling back in to the Arsenal of three to four years ago.

Catch you lovely humans tomorrow. Have a good’un.