I watched both the quarter finals yesterday and with my feet firmly planted in the “I have German family” camp, I decided to get behind Der Mannschaft and cheer them on against Spain.

My English blood has cursed my German family. They played decent enough, but as my cousin Dave said (he also taps in to that German heritage), our English side of the family cheering on the Germans can only be a hindrance. So it was. And so it is, that the Germans are out to a Spanish side who I think most people suspect are pretty nailed on to win it. They’ve played the best football, they’ve looked the most impressive, they’ve bagged goals and although the Germans had them on the back foot for parts of the game, ultimately their quality shone through with that chap Merino scoring right at the death of extra time, probably adding another five million to his price tag if Mikel really does want him at The Arsenal.

I’m not sure myself. 28 years old, market value of around £45million (if TransferMarkt is to be believed), is certainly at his peak, only missed a couple of games last season and by the sounds of it would enable us to move Rice further forward in to the left eight spot, as he operates in the six. I’ve seen a couple of articles saying he’s a guy who is ok doing ‘the dirty work’ and maybe that’s why we are linked; what was so impressive about last season was our strong and difficult to break down we were defensively, which I think was mainly in part to Saliba (immense again yesterday by the way), Gabriel and Rice in front of them. But when we really looked like the polished finished article was when we were able to have somebody sitting in there like Jorginho or in parts Partey (although I’ll admit he looked shaky at times, but that’s because I think he was rusty and starting back up in a team that had found it’s rhythm and ‘automatisms’), with Rice operating further forward in this pitch in that box-to-box role. It meant he could be a guy further up the pitch, because because of the sort of player Rice is, it also meant that he would be back for his defensive duties too, effectively giving us another player to break up opposition attacks. So here I am already talking up a possible Merino move, although I think probably because of his age and potential price is why I’m a little reticent.

That’s because Fabrizio Romano has said we’re on the verge of agreeing the Califiore deal for €50million, plus the fact we’ve just forked out £27million on confirming the Raya deal, makes me wonder how much we’ll have in the coffers for additional options in the attacking positions. But if we’re talk about circa £21million, which I’ve just read about from a couple of media websites, maybe it’s a deal that makes sense. It would enable us to then see if we could shift the oft-injured Partey on somewhere, as well as retaining Jorginho as that rotational option in the six.

Look at me, I’ve flip-flopped and am already starting to change my mind on the deal within the space of writing this blog. LOLZ.

The Califiore deal is interesting though. At £45million+ he’s not coming in as a rotational option, he’s coming in to start and I suspect that spells the end for somebody at the back, most likely Zinchenko. It’ll be a shame because he’s a really likeable guy, he was integral to us two seasons ago and he started last season well enough – when he was fit. But therein lies the problem and as much as Arteta loved Tierney when he first arrived (I remember him talking so glowingly about the player), what we’ve seen is a ruthlessness about the manager and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Zinny moved on after just two season’s at the club. KT was injury prone and Arteta moved on from him, Zinchenko is injury prone and so <<complete the end of the sentence here – feels kinda obvious, right?>>…

The other game last night was France against Portugal and to say it was uninspiring was an understatement. The French are now in a semi final having been bang average in basically all of their games. They’ve scored three goals in the entire competition. One was a penalty, two were own goals and now they take on the Spanish, who you’d think would batter them given how they’re playing. I wouldn’t have a problem with it normally, but having seen the Spaniards dive and sh*thouse their way through yesterday’s game, it’s left a bitter taste in the mouth about them. The falling over from Nacho towards the end of yesterday’s game was embarrassing, but also Cucurella who is an ‘orrible little scroat and who also dives and roles around all over the place, means that I’m having trouble justifying any meaningful support for them. They’ve also got that absolute scumbag in the middle of the pitch Rodri, who I don’t believe should ever be allowed to be happy and coupled with the fact they don’t even play Raya in goal, makes me kind of hope the French can 0-0 bore draw them out of the competition next midweek.

It’s probably unlikely though.

What is probably likely, is that we’ll get another disaster-class from England and their tin-pot manager Gareth Southgate. I’ll watch it, of course I will, but even the thought of having to endure Southgate’s incompetence makes me wince a bit. If England go out I’ll probably be a bit sad, but I’ll be able to take solace in the fact that Granit Xhaka will be leading the Swiss to a semi final. Which will be nice.

Right, that’ll do me for today I think, I’m off for a run in the rain – bloody English weather.

Have yourselves a good one, kids.