I appreciate that this being a blog and therefore written thoughts from my head on to the page, but if you’re reading this now I’d love to have you next to me so I can ask in real time:

Have you ever seen this much noise around Arsenal’s summer dealings in recent memory?

I don’t think I have. I mean sure, we’ve had loads and loads of rumours over the years, that have been spread out over the summer and happened multiple times every day. But we haven’t really had credible sources dropping as much noise as they usually do. Rewind ten years and it was 2013 and we had Arsene Wenger telling us repeatedly that we’d only look to bring in a player if the opportunity arised. He loved a delayed transfer, did Arsene, and ten years ago we all knew what we needed but it wasn’t until right at the end of August that the deal for Ozil got done. And just before that we also signed Flamini up on a free transfer for his second spell at the club. Even that was a situation where he was out of contract at the end of the 2012/13 season, yet we still didn’t get him signed up as a squad player until 29th August!

So to have us making all of the noise that we’ve made – albeit admittedly without anything official yet – happening before the 1st July is refreshing to say the least!

It’s also how we should always operate. This faux idea that waiting until the end of the transfer window as we used to do, so we could pick up bargains, was fraught in danger and often meant we had no real time to pick up any bargains in the first place. Remember us trying to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco for €90million? Crazy.

But as it stands we’ve got the very reputable David Ornstein dropping a “second bid in to West Ham” yesterday morning, then the Timber noises, which appear to be gathering pace as more emerged after I was commenting on it yesterday morning, then yet more emerging around Thomas Partey yesterday evening as Ornstein confirmed that both the club and the players representatives are exploring the opportunity for a potential transfer. I said it a couple of days ago and I’ll repeat again now: I think that would be a mistake. Gutting our midfield by exiting both Partey and Xhaka would be crazy and a huge gamble for Arteta this summer. It would be a massive loss of experience and would mean a fair bit of pressure and risk placed on news players’ shoulders. With no Partey or Xhaka the essential nature of needing Rice plus others to come in and be excellent by hitting the ground running would be a huge burden that, frankly if I was in Arteta’s shoes, I wouldn’t be too keen to do.

Having said that, if this explosion of Saudi cash is part of the reason why Arsenal are suddenly interested, I can at least empathise and try to understand why they might want to sanction this. We aren’t a nation state-backed club who can just drop £100million without blinking an eye. We also aren’t a private equity-with-obvious-links-to-Saudi-Investment run football club, like some other team in London. If we were then it would be Pepe, Tavares and Cedric heading to the Middle East for a combined £100million to bankroll a Rice signing, for example.

So if the only real play Arsenal have to Saudi intrigue is Partey and if there is an expectation that we would get more than the £45million we paid for him, then perhaps you can at least understand why Arsenal would be looking at the exit as a possibility. But if I’m in Arteta’s shoes I’m thinking “there is no way you are going unless we get £50million and that £50million funds a replacement. And that replacement isn’t Declan Rice”. Because that’s how you get stronger and build more depth. By adding extra quality in numbers on what you’ve already got. It isn’t Rice for Partey, it is Partey for one other IF there is a stupid offer that comes in. And at 30 year’s old, with two year’s left on his deal and with some challenges over the year’s at Arsenal because of some of his injury problems, £50million becomes a pretty crazy fee that you can’t turn down.

So here we have it, having written about how crazy it would be to let Partey leave this summer in the last week, having started this blog off talking about how I don’t think it is a sensible move at all, here I am having talked us in to selling one of our best players!

(And yes, he IS one of our best players. Alright, he didn’t have the greatest finish to the season, but there is a few players who you could say that about, plus people are forgetting just how good he was for 75% of the season).

I think i’ll leave it at that for today. I’m jumping on a pod this evening with Paul and Mike from GunnersTown, as we do our latest episode of the ‘one in, one out, one bangs’ next season. If you want to have a listen we’re going live on Twitter and Facebook, as well as YouTube here.