Morning folks. We all good?
Mikel Arteta has been chatting to Marca and in the interview as you’d expect, he didn’t give too much away in terms of potential signings, but with the Havertz stuff he did give the clearest indication you’re going to get with a player as he admitted that ‘talent has a price’ and then goes on to say that he’s a talented player and versatile player. In that same quote he also says he doesn’t talk about players for other clubs but then specifically references Kai Havertz. That says to me that it’s basically done so I’m expecting there will be an announcement any day now. If I / we know Arsenal, and we do, then we all know that they prefer to get the pictures done, do a video, have it all set up and sorted before making the official announcement. So that’s my expectation now and it’s just a matter of time.
The next debate on the socials will be how we actually use him and I think most of us are coming to the conclusion that it’ll be as one of the number eights, although he can also play in other positions as we know. But this morning I’ve also been thinking about Emile Smith Rowe, after he bagged himself a goal in England’s win against Israel. The goal itself was a really well worked one (you can see it here) and the finish in to the bottom corner was impressive. It wasn’t that long ago that he was one of our top scorers and as he said when he was asked about England and Southgate being in the stands, he himself admitted that his focus is about finding a way to get back in to the Arsenal team. Could that be as one of the number eights though?
Maybe. He’s got the ability to be a late arriver to the box, he can score goals, he’s good with the ball at his feet. We have a space opening up for when Xhaka leaves and the assumption is, I think, that Havertz will slot in to that. But could Emile force his way in ahead of Havertz?
I think one of ESR’s big problems has been what sort of player is he and where should he be plying his trade in the side? We’ve seen him trade minutes with Martinelli before, but that position looks sewn up following Gabby’s fantastic season he’s just had. On the right Smith Rower could operate, but there’s no way anyone takes the jersey off of Saka. Arteta has talked him up as a false nine but we haven’t really seen it at all other than a failed Europa League semi final against Villareal and whilst here I am talking him up as a potential number eight, we’re just about to spend £50million on a guy so you’d expect him to get minutes there.
The Havertz signing will probably have ESR wondering what his future is more than anyone else because Havertz seems to operate in similar positions to Emile. That doesn’t mean he won’t play, but I think it might just have him questioning a little bit about where he fits in. That’s a conversation that has to happen with Arteta and in Emile himself he’ll have to work out what he wants to be and start to focus on that. Versatility when you are a young player gets you minutes you may not have otherwise got in a team like The Arsenal, but eventually you have to settle on a position.
In terms of physical minutes though, there should be enough out there next season for him. At a minimum we’ll have 46 matches if you factored in just one League Cup, one FA Cup and the six Champions League games we have. You’d hope we’d go deeper in a few games and therefore you’d hope we’ll get at least 50 matches this season so he will have opportunities to play. We can’t just play the same XI players like we were doing at times last season and Arteta will need to dip in to his squad, particularly when we are in the Champions League group stages in September, October and November. During that period you’d expect Arteta to want to make a few changes and maybe Smith rowe sees more minutes than he did last season because of it. But he has to show that Arteta trusts him and the fact that Reiss Nelson was getting more minutes towards the end of last season suggests that it isn’t fully 100% yet. I don’t know if that is based on fitness and therefore a proper pre season will have a big bearing on how used he is next season. He had a patchy summer last year and didn’t start the season like the rest of the team did because of a few bitty niggles. Then he picked up the knock against United and we basically didn’t see him until the beginning of this year. He needs minutes, he needs to come back fit and hopefully these England Under-21 games will have been just the tonic. He has another game against Germany on Wednesday and then there will be a game at the weekend as England are already qualified. If they win that next weekend then there will be another game under his belt if he plays and if he goes in to training with Arsenal having played three or four times for England you’d assume he’s in the best possible shape to stake a claim.
I hope he does. We all hope he does. He’s one of us, a Hale Ender and loves The Arsenal. He needs to show to Arteta that he can have a positive impact and hopefully the minutes he’s getting now put him closer towards doing that for Arsenal in a couple of months time when the season kicks off proper.
Have a good one folks. Catch you all tomorrow.