Morning folks. Happy Friday n all that jazz. We may not have had any Euro’s football yesterday, but at least Arsenal kept us sated with #content, announcing the most obvious signing since Kylian Mbappe randomly rocked up at Real Madrid and everyone in the football world sarcastically went “Woah!! Didn’t see that one coming!”

We were always going to sign Raya after the Spaniard clearly became number one back in September last year, so the announcement – whilst good to be confirmed – I didn’t think took any Arsenal fan by surprise. He did a nice little video in his Spanglish Northernish accent confirming it and then of course there were the usual niceties on the official site. It’s a deal Arteta and Inaki Cana will be happy with but will probably almost certainly lead to Ramsdale looking for new employers when he’s back from the Euro’s. Personally I’m still not 100% convinced on Raya but I think most of that was down to a few of the mistakes he made towards the beginning of the season; he was certainly more improved and assured in the second half of the season and so perhaps with that under his belt we can start to see him step up a gear in terms of his consistency, knowing that he is the current number one.

We do have to note the ‘current’ though, because let’s face it, Mikel does like to go through goalies and in 12 months time who knows what he might be thinking when it comes to the next evolution of his team.

He too has been in the press having spoken to James Olley and was quoted as saying that they are looking to strengthen in all departments. So I guess that’s a note of caution for senor Raya; don’t rest on your laurels mate, because Tricky Micky will have somebody in before you know it.

Hopefully that’s not his area of priority though, because I think we’re fine there unless Ramsdale leaves and they need to find a proper number two, so the focus needs to be on those other areas. He did admit that the international tournaments are getting in the way at the moment but what I did like was his response to transfers, which was to say that the club has a very clear plan of what they want to do and they want to be aggressive in the market. I wonder if that is in part linked to his new contract? He seemed to suggest that he was happy, the deal will be done, that all was ok. But what we have seen from Arteta is that he is a ruthless man and steadfast in his determination to get to the top and if the Arsenal hierarchy don’t match his ambition, then I’ve got no doubt in my mind that he will look at other options. I know it sounds silly, but everyone is expecting Pep to walk at the end of his contract when next season finishes and if City know that, then I have no doubts in my mind that they will be coming to Arteta and asking him if he wants the top dog job and if they get away scott free of the charges that they have, then it might be tempting for him to get a blank check and join a team who he already has a bit of a connection with.

Our hope has to be that his connection with Arsenal is stronger, he’s given the resources he needs to go again next season and that we see signs that Arsenal are once again improving. It feels to me like we’re almost there; 89 points, a Champions League quarter final (that I still think we were shafted on with that Neuer foul on Saka in the box in the dying seconds at The Emirates), we were unlucky in the FA Cup and I think we might have gone far in that too. We do need to see Arsenal winning a big trophy soon but it doesn’t feel like we’re a miles off and Arteta has built that over a number of years. To jump ship at the end of this season feels like it would be odd, especially as all of his and Edu’s hard work hopefully comes to fruition.

But you just don’t know in football, do you? I mean, moves happen with players that feel like they come from left of field. For example I saw a rumour yesterday that Madrid are after William Saliba. He’s establishing himself as a big name in the global game with his Euro’s performances alongside his Arsenal displays and whilst he certainly seems very happy at the club, at the end of this coming season he’ll have just two year’s left on his deal and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to hear that Madrid are starting to court the young Frenchman. he’s young enough that they could have a two-year campaign starting now and then with a year left on his deal Arsenal are forced to accept some kind of fee for a player who – if he’s had his head turned – could very well say he isn’t signing a new deal. It’s not as if we haven’t seen this movie play out before as Arsenal fans, right?

Perhaps that’s why I naturally get a little pessimistic when it comes to long-term future of non-English players, because over the last couple of decades we’ve seen ourselves be pillaged by Real or Barca and it’s not fun. Especially when the money we get feels on the low side. Other clubs seem to offload their stars for mega bucks (think Coutinho to Barca) but we always seem to get lowballed. That’s got to stop and Arsenal need to work better at the outgoings for sure, although that could probably be a whole other blog to be fair.

And so I think I will leave that for another day. It’s the first batch of quarter finals tonight and my family interest starts at 5pm with a mouth-watering match between Spain and Germany. I am working from home today so I think I will absolutely be putting that on in the background in my office as I wrap up my working day; should be a good one. Then in the evening there’s Portugal versus France which I also think will be intriguing, before the calamity that is England take on the Swiss tomorrow. Can’t wait to see how Southgate is going to screw that one up.

Catch you all tomorrow.