What’s that you can hear? It’s the last gasps of a banter era, tears rolling down its eyes as it withers on its deathbed. The Arsene Wenger circus is well and truly over, well, at least when it comes to transfers.
Ivan Gazidis, wounded this summer when Stan K awarded Wenger a deal over his head recuperated and metaphorically koshed Wenger’s knees in while he waited in line at the Colney canteen.
News spread like wildfire last night when the Kicker print edition revealed Ivan G and Michael Z had come to an agreement of €63m, shattering Arsenal’s fairly fresh transfer record set last summer of Alexandre Lacazette.
A sticking point appears to be whether Dortmund can bring in a replacement. Olivier Giroud is still on the table, though it’s believed his wife doesn’t quite fancy the move (agree with here, Dortmund is no London). He’s apparently angling for a move in London, with Chelsea desperately hoping for the deal.
For me, that’s an absolute fucking no no. Remember Chelsea walking us down the garden path with Demba Ba and even more embarrassingly, Loic Remy? I hope Raul Sanllehi shows a bit of Giroud skirt to Abramovich then tells them where to go. The only way I could even slightly stomach that sort of a move is if there was a big chunk of cash on offer. We simply can’t be strengthening our rivals in a very tight top 4 race, you know, more than we already have done with Sanchez going to United.
Anyway, this is super exciting. Big questions around why we didn’t do this deal in the summer when we were all questioning the talents of Lacazette. Now we have £100m worth of striking talent, with Mikki, Jack and Ozil feeding it. I’ve no idea how we’ll work all these players together. Lacazette is either sitting on the bench, or he’s going to find himself in some 2002 rehash of Sylvain Wiltord out wide. Even Wenger wouldn’t be mad enough to put a 6 ft 1 striker on the wing in place of a slow, weak guy who has struggled with the physicality of the league? I’m also not quite sure we have the players to play 2 up front? Or will we roll with 4-3-1-2?
Whatever, it’s an exciting problem to have. Aubameyang banged in 31 goals in 32 games for Dortmund last season in the league. He scored 7 goals in 9 in the Champions League, only a terrorist attack stopping a very exciting Thomas Tuchel Dortmund side. He’s also managed 21 goals in 24 games this season, 4 in 6 in the Champions League, at a club that’s on it’s 3rd manager inside a year.
There’s also still time for us to bring in Jonny Evans and cap off what I’d confidently call our most successful transfer window in well over 15 years, and without a doubt our greatest ever January.
Can this team challenge for the title? Absolutely not. But that’s not what these signings are about. This window was about pulling together a band of players who could make a go for 4th place (think Arshavin way back when). I think that’s well within our remit now. Liverpool are wobbling, Spurs haven’t been great, and all the teams above us are in Champions League contention.
Whatever you think about the players we’re signing, one thing can’t be denied, we’re going to be a lot of fun to watch for the rest of the season.
Mikki and Auba are top-talent. They could be immense. Ozil feeding Lacazette never felt like a dream to me, but watching him tee up one of the best finishers in Europe (and fastest) is going to be a joy to watch. I can’t tell you how excited about Arsenal I am right now.
Not just that, we’ve bombed off a sulky brat, we’ve moved on Coquelin, Theo, probably Giroud and Debuchy. Which is an incredible achievement!
My one concern?
That we seem to be the only club in the league that plays by the rules of wage inflation. You’re only allowed to increase your wage bill by £7m a season, unless you can show you’re increasing commercial revenue or match day revenue.
- Theo: £140k
- Sanchez: £140k
- Giroud: £110k
- Coquelin: £80k
- Mikki: £200k
- Auba: £200k
- Jonny Evans: £100k
Net Spend: £30k (£1.5m)
Doesn’t seem like much, but if you consider Ozil is going to want a £7.8m increase, it puts us in a spot of bother if we’re looking to drop a rebuild this summer.
However, then I looked at squad dross we’ll likely shift on.
- Petr Cech: £100k
- Debuchy: £90k
- Santi: £90k
- Ramsey: £100k
- Mertesacker: £100k
- Ospina: £65k
- Welbeck: £70k
Total £625k (£32.5m)
That’s actually not a bad sum to be playing with. I reckon Sven M and Raul S could do some damage on the wheeler-dealer front with those sorts of numbers. Also, the squad clear out we’re always promised but never get might actually happen this time. If there’s a war chest, we might actually use it for once! Get me some of that Leon Bailey magic please!
— VOOsport (@VOOsport) January 28, 2018
So literally, we are all good in the hood.
Remember what I said would happen when Wenger was taken out of the equation?
The catalyst for change is here, and the path forward finally feels exciting!
See you in the comments.