Well we finally have that closure on transfers that we wanted, with the confirmation yesterday of Jurrien Timber from Ajax announced by the club, then this morning as I have been sat at my desk typing away, West Ham have weirdly confirmed that Declan Rice is leaving West Ham – without actually mentioning Arsenal at all. It is a very weird and quite petty statement from a club who have been playing the media overtures on this deal for weeks, have been quite vocal in the back channels about Arsenal’s offers, then have been briefing in to journalists that they are shocked at how Arsenal have taken so long to sort all the paperwork out, whilst completely ignoring the fact that this is an absolutely huge transfer fee and no stone needs to be left unturned before all the paperwork has been signed off.
Arsenal are – at the time of me writing this – still yet to officially confirm his arrival, but I suspect that will happen at some stage today. Probably as soon as I hit ‘publish’ knowing my luck. But that’s ok, because I have tomorrow to spend some time with some thoughts on the signing and finally wrap up this saga.
On the West Ham statement, I can kind of understand that they and Rice want to carefully stage manage the exit, which is why I understand that they wanted to ‘go first’ on the announcement. They want to be able to get the nice messages out from the fans and Arsenal and the PR team probably agreed; they want to be able to probably get a little bit of time between this announcement and Arsenal doing all of the video stuff, the behind the scenes, etc.
So I think I will leave the Rice chatter now too, because yesterday the club confirmed Jurrien Timber and if you want to talk about how to properly manage an exit with a lot of class, look no further than what they did yesterday. It was well managed, it tugged on the heartstrings, there was a clear communication between Arsenal and Ajax and the way in which it was handled made me think that we’ve got a really great kid in Timber:
What a lovely video. Feels like we’re getting a really good kid here too. Love it. https://t.co/JSV6U3x9fR
— SuburbanGoonerChris (@SuburbanGooner) July 14, 2023
And that speaks a lot to the type of player that I think Arteta wants in his team. No mega superstar that is going to swan in with a solid gold Rolls Royce feeling like he’s made it; we want players who are going to work hard to prove themselves, who are going to drive the team forward and have the motivation and hunger to improve, as well as the technical ability.
The signing is a welcome one. It isn’t in a position of the pitch that I thought we’d needed it if I’m honest, but when you look at his versatility, coupled with the fact that last season we lost both Saliba and Tomiyasu at crucial stages, then Timber coming in gives us an uplift in quality and that depth that Arteta must have been craving since we lost out on the league last season. He’ll give a different dynamic, a progressive, ball carrying, good passing, defender and I suspect he can probably expect to get plenty of matches this season.
I also think that this is the kind of move that shows that Arteta is willing – and will – be rotating a little more. You don’t spend £34million on a player and then tell them to sit down until White or Saliba are injured. I think Timber will be getting weekend and midweek minutes and I think we will need to be prepared for that ourselves. Picking a team in the morning before a game is going to be a lot more difficult than last season and the season before that and I am absolutely here for it.
I watched just about as much Timber videos and stories as possible and although this transfer is flying under the radar a bit because of the Rice rumours, the more I read about this lad the more I think this could be a very astute move by Arsenal. When you’ve got players like Van Dijk saying that Timber is further ahead in his development than he was at that age, you know that potentially you’ve got an absolute star on your hands. It won’t be easy for Timber to break in though; this is a team that fought all the way to the end for the Premier League and has been very impressive defensively. I think it would probably be a stretch to expect him to walk in at right back or centre half, but certainly he’ll be earmarking some minutes when the Champions League kicks in in the latter parts of September. Until then it is obviously all about integrating him in to the team, getting him some pre season minutes, then getting him some minutes – maybe as a sub – in those opening weeks. But I think when he does get on, there will be plenty of us who will start to realise just how good he is.
The team travel to the States tomorrow I think, so I expect the squad to all be together and ready to fly off with two more newbies in the team. There will be plenty of press I suspect at some stage today because of Rice for that reason I suspect; it’d be a bit weird if they released images of Rice getting on the tour plane before the club have event announced it. So until we see some of those confirmations, I’ll leave it for today and catch you tomorrow.
Have a good one peeps.