Morning peeps, we all good?
I don’t know about you, but it really does feel like we’re in the eye of the storm right now. I’m referring of course to the transfer hurricane that is about to envelope us all and smash all of those rational thoughts you might have had that are football-related. just before the season ended the talks about players started to build up, but only a little bit. Just like how before a big storm you get the rain and the wind picking up. But then, as with a hurricane, there’s a bit in the middle where it all falls eerily quiet, before BANG! you’ve lost the roof of your semi detached and you’re wondering what has happened to the cat.
I didn’t pen any thoughts about this yesterday, mainly because I stayed around the parents and the old man had TV problems first thing in the morning. So before I had to start the working day of course I had to fix it for him, which gave me no time to waffle on at you like I do. For that you are welcome. But I did have this same thought yesterday and, the one or two times I did have a little flick through my social media feeds, I did in fact start to see the signs of the storm beginning to gather force.
That’s because what I did see was people speculating about how the Rice deal would see Arsenal gazumped by some other club, that Caicedo would be snaffled up quicker than you could say “Todd Boehly is drunk uncling at a wedding again”, as well as Newcastle only offering us Paul Dummett in a straight swap deal for Kieran Tierney. And they’ve told us that we should be grateful that we’re even getting him.
So the transfer winds are beginning to blow and like all of those Hollywood movies you see about weather when the main character looks up apprehensively at a weather vein spinning around, then sees birds flying in the opposite direction, that’s where it feels like we all are right now.
So, what have we got today then? Well, I saw something about how the German press are reporting that no Xhaka deal is being snactioned until we get a replacement in. Surely that’s just common sense though, right? I mean, I’m in no doubt that a gentleman’s agreement remains in place, that Arsenal have told Xhaka they are happy to move him on to respect his wishes, but as much as we have in Premier League history been very nice to grant players their wishes (we gave Bellerin a free transfer whilst he was under contract, just so he could go back home, when I suspect we could have just sold him, for example), there also needs to be a caveat in place.
That caveat might be anyone to be fair; we could sign Gundogan, Tielemans, or another unknown player, which sanctions the Xhaka deal. But until somebody walks through the door you can’t be taking an experienced, well-liked, integral member of our team and replace him with a cardboard cut out of Wenger or Arteta. Besides, the shop (The Match Day) that has that stood outside their premises on match days would probably want a big chunk of cash to part with what has become a regular sightseeing stop off for visiting Arsenal fans to the Emirates these days.
So I’m not surprised about that story about the Xhaka deal being ‘on hold’, although I suspect we should be talking a week or two after he’s back from holidays / internationals, so I don’t think it will really make much difference. The hope may be that this shows that Arsenal are ready to go big for their main tyarget quite early, but as I’ve said already over the last few weeks, I doubt we’ll see any of our ‘big’ moves come off until later in the window. It wouldn’t even surprise me to see our ‘main’ priority not happen until August. In what interest is it for West Ham or Brighton to accept the first bid that comes in early? I get it – if an asking price is met then they’ll sell, but the asking price will always be inflated, which will mean more negotiation will need to take place. Arsenal aren’t simply going to walk to East London / East Sussex and slap down £100million, high five West Ham / Brighton representatives, then drop a text to Declan / Moises saying “see you in Germany for pre season m8”.
It. Ain’t happening.
So what does probably need to happen is that Arsenal get other ducks lined up and I think there might be a lower key one that happens that releases Xhaka to complete his move back to Germany. That’s just a hunch I have. It doesn’t sound like it is Gundogan (off to Barca) but maybe it’ll be somebody like a Tielemans. We could do worse. He had a poor season in a Leicester side that were shocking defensively, but there is a good player in there, he could be a decent rotation option and if – as I suspect – it will be Rice OR Caicedo, then having him as another option might be worth it.
Of course there is the other school of thought that we could be looking at somebody like ESR in that left eight position, but until we start to see signs and evidence of that then I suspect it might not be quite as cut and dry as that.
Anyway, I’ll leave it there for today, as it’s another busy working one and I’ve got a mountain of paper to push around a desk. You have a good one and I’ll catch you all tomorrow.
Be good people.
oooh, quick ‘p.s.’ for you – I’m going to be kicking off a summer podcast series with a bunch of Arsenal mates, starting this Wednesday at 7.30pm UK time, running throughout the summer. We’re doing ‘one player in’, ‘one player out’ then ‘one to ‘bang’ next season’ questions for guests. If you fancy joining us you can access here.