There are some very wishful thinkers in the Arsenal fanbase, that’s for sure, because if anybody thinks that we’re truly going even get a sniff – let alone drop a cursory star – at Kylian Mbappe this summer after the news emerged that he will not activate his additional year clause and that PSG are now looking to sell as soon as possible, well, they need to come down off of whatever they are smoking.

This kid is going to want all the cash, be THE star at the club, plus PSG are going to want hundreds of millions for him. It is the most un-Arsenal transfer ever. It just wouldn’t happen. But that hasn’t stopped a few cheeky Gooners making the suggestion; I admire the optimism, I really do. But this is both financially unviable, plus I do wonder if Arsenal are even looking for another player in that centre forward position. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes with some players you of course need to make room, but I think this is designed to spark to life the likes of Real Madrid to act this summer. That’s the only real destination I can see him going.

Whether or not Madrid can afford it, who knows, but I do know that this could also end up being a game of getting more cash for Mbappe from PSG. I seem to recall that last time he was linked with Madrid it ended up with him being given a bumper new deal with PSG to extend for a few more seasons and I suspect this is where that transfer is going. He is a mega money player and that kind of deal just isn’t an Arsenal kind of deal. We move on.

Except we don’t really, because the stories still rumbling around are all Declan Rice related. He’s with the England camp and quite deliberately the photographers have been taking pictures and showing him high-fiving Arsenal players Saka and Ramsdale as he arrives. It’s all part of the game people. That, and adding another ‘layer’ on to any particular info about the deal, with some of the journos saying things like “things progressing well with the first bid due this week”, etc, etc. Tuning it all out is quite tough I have to say. The same goes for weird West Ham fans making comments like “this is a sideways move” and other such silly nonsense. Or saying things like “they have only qualified for the Champions League once in the last seven years”. Indeed, that is true, but if you are going to be that myopic in your views to think that Arsenal doesn’t look like an attractive place to play your football right now, then you probably want to give your head a wobble. We showed some fantastic progress last season, the young players are hopefully only going to get better, then you’re adding a £90million talent to your midfield books? That doesn’t sound like a sideways move to me. But what do I know, eh?

There’s a few rumblings about how Chelsea are growing increasingly confident over Caicedo and believe they’ll pull another Mudryk over us, but given that they are desperate to make some sales just to comply with FFP by something like the end of June (or it might be July, I haven’t done much Googling about Chelsea, funnily enough), then I’d be surprised if they’re going to slap £70million down tomorrow for the players’ signature. Not unless they are offering him a 20 year deal and Brighton get 70 years of annual £1million payments.

Regardless of that anyway, if a player chooses that club over us right now, then he’s going there for cold hard cash and probably wouldn’t be the sort of player that Arteta wants in his squad anyway. Arteta has been quite picky in the character of his players and bringing in somebody who fancies being a mercenary doesn’t sound like the sort of thing he’d entertain.

There’s not really a lot else going on at the moment as you’d expect. It is interesting to see that we’ve confirmed our friendly in Los Angeles against Barca on 26th July. I’m not sure how I feel about these high profile games. On the one hand it is great, a good PR exercise, in KSE’s flagship stadium, for us to be pitting our wits against the Spanish Champions. However, o the other hand, I kind of hoped we’d get a few easier teams to build up some winning momentum. We play City in the Community Shield a week later and a couple of defeats in those friendlies hardly sets the tone for the beginning of the season. I get it, these friendlies shouldn’t – and often don’t – mean too much in the grand scheme of things. But our excellent start to the season just gone came with a series of impressive friendly results before continuing that with the win away at Palace. It set us up brilliantly for a great start to the season winning all of our first five games if I remember rightly. That was exactly what we needed and we were able to maintain that momentum until the latter parts of the season.

The way the season fell in terms of fixtures also helped our start, so I’ll be interested to see what our first run of games are when we get that announcement on Thursday this week (how is it they are ALREADY announcing the next set of fixtures, eh?).

That’s me done for today. You have yourselves a good one. Gonna be a scorcher in London today. Glad I kept the paddling pool out from the weekend.