Hello and welcome to Monday – I feel like a hot bag of shit this morning, so I trust this finds you in somewhat finer fettle. Due to this, a lack of news and me having to actually do some work, this is a short one today.
So, a new week is upon us, which can only mean another week of banal transfer guff, pictures of players puking their guts up at pre-season and Alexis doing terrible things to his dogs after the excitement of the Copa America victory. On that point, I spent a significant portion of Saturday evening watching vines of his delicious panenka in the shootout (amongst other things).
Remarkable nerve and bottle to pull that off in such a significant moment, with the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders. I suppose, whilst it is risky and you look a prized tit if you miss; most goalkeepers wouldn’t expect the audacity at such a critical moment. Well done to him – it’ll be interesting to see when he returns to the Arsenal-fold – hopefully Arsene puts his foot down and mitigates Alexis’ enduring thirst for exercise. Strap him to his bed and stick him on a drip of saline solution for a week and he’ll be good as new.
I do have a rather shocking confession to make – I find Alexis’ chiselled abs and body as whole to be rather grotesque. It’s just too ripped and sinewy. Gain a bit of gut, let the love handles lose. I’m sure there are plenty of ladies (and men) who’d disagree with me, but he’s just not my type. Need something to hold on to….ahem.
Onto transfers, there have been rumours circulating that Benzema could be deemed surplus to requirements by Benitez at Real. If there is any truth in this, we should be on it like a fly on a freshly laid cow pat. In my previous post I commented on the lack of quality centre forwards in the market, as evidenced by Liverpool’s ongoing pursuit of Benteke, but Benzema is top drawer. He’s been at Madrid for nigh on 6 years, with the majority of those as their first choice number nine. At a club as ruthless and downright mental as Real, you don’t last that long if you’re not of the requisite quality – he’s a truly top-level performer and would certainly take us to another level. Whether it’s plausible is another matter completely – I do wonder if we’d stump up the kind of money they’ll be demanding for a player about to turn 28 and with zero resale value. That being said, our acquisition of Cech is hopefully evidence of Wenger ‘buying for now’, with the realisation setting in that ready-made solutions are the answer to making a genuine fight for the title.
I’m intrigued to see what further activity there’ll be at Arsenal this summer – save for Cech, there’s been minimal links to incoming players, certainly in comparison to previous seasons. It’s actually been a fairly quiet summer across England’s top clubs. Chelsea and City are yet to make their move, United have signed Depay; whilst Liverpool have been the most active of our rivals, although their business won’t have too many looking over their shoulder. United and City seem to be the clubs that are likely to do the most significant business, with the noise around Ramos ramping up, along with the likely acquisition of Morgan Schneiderlin.
City are likely to refresh their midfield and attacking options, with Sterling being the forerunner to arrive, but their interest in Wilshere (which I hear is very genuine) suggests they are looking to upgrade on Fernandinho and Fernando, whilst also mitigating the gradual slump from Yaya Toure. It will be interesting to see how Sterling does there, assuming it goes through. Whilst he was indifferent at best last season, I think he can be excused due to playing in a makeshift front-line and spending a significant portion as the lone striker/ false-nine. In 2013/14 however, he was electric alongside Suarez and was a critical factor in Liverpool’s surge for the title (and delicious demise, of course). I sense that playing alongside a similarly world class operator in Aguero may bring out the best in him again – time will tell.
Assuming our rivals do the serious business I expect them to, it highlights our requirement to continue upgrading and adding depth to our squad, whilst retaining our top talent. Clearly this is not a squad in need of major surgery – quite the opposite – but stasis would be a massive disappointment for a squad with so much quality and we need to complement what we have accordingly.
I’d also like to briefly touch on the ongoing rumours about Santi possibly trotting back to Spain. This is a non-starter for me and I can’t fathom why anyone thinks this is a good idea. When you’re trying to build a squad to challenge for the title, selling one of your most experienced – and talented – players really isn’t prudent. Not only can he cover pretty much all of the midfield and attacking midfield positions, but he is the only player in our squad who can provide genuine cover for Ozil should he have a prolonged absence. Losing him makes no sense to me at all and given he’s such a unique player, I would be highly sceptical about us replacing him with someone of commensurate quality.
Right, that’s your lot for today – Alex will be taking the reins tomorrow and I’ll be back later in the week.
Until next time.
You can follow me on Twitter @James_Willson2, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.