Ok, so lesson learned from yesterday is that no one wanted to shoot the shit with me about famous warlords.
So, today, let’s talk about PLAYER SIGNINGS!
That handsome chap at the top of the screen is our new reserve right back. He’s dropped 250 appearances in Serie A, the most since 2008. He’s the fourth most capped player in the entire history of football played in Switzerland, and he’s one a bucket load of trophies.
Unai Emery had this to say on his first acquisition.
“Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”
Get in son!
I’m excited about his signing. This isn’t some tin pot player like Silvestre, this is a smart defender who has played at the highest level in Europe. He’s played in super complex systems for Conte and Allegri. He’s a winner.
We don’t need him to play more than 25 games next season and that’ll be more than enough. He’s here to help change the culture of the dressing room. He’s here to hold players accountable. He’s here to bring a bit of winning dust to the Arsenal.
The next player rumoured to be joining is Sokratis. The big Greek is coming in from Dortmund after turning down United.
“There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them,”
“United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.
Clearly he’s had a word with Mikki about Jose and chosen to be reunited with Dortmund 2.0. Again, the signing isn’t Unmtiti, but it’s a solid one regardless. Forgetting last season, if you read the read ups, people and online magz were talking him up as a hardcore competitor and a good passer of the ball. He’s played under Klopp so he understands the gegenpress. He’s also experienced the madness of Thomas Tuchel and he was the favoured centre back during his first year in charge. Key with this guy is his leadership, he was the AEK Athens captain at 19. He’s known for unshakeable self-belief. That’ll be much needed at AFC this season.
As Matt and I opined on the podcast last night. Both are super pragmatic signings, but if you look at our business over January to now, it’s not terrible. I’ve read people say we’re doing West Ham like deals… well, I’m not so sure about that. I’m willing to give Diamond Eyes a chance, and as many people that work in and around the club will tell you, Arsenal aren’t that far away from being a very good side.
We have a lot of stars or stars in the making. We have 50 goals in two players in our frontline. We have 20 assists in Ozil if he turns up. We have 15 goals and 10 assists in Ramsey if he can stay fit. Arsenal are trying to do work on the back 5 at the moment. I think Sokratis could prove to be a very solid signing who could help shepherd in Mavrapanos. I think the Swiss is going transmit knowledge into the other players. We’re building in solidity into a starting 11 that didn’t have any balls. I still can’t quite believe we won’t sign a ball playing keeper, that feels imperative for a team that’ll need to play out of the back, but it’s early doors.
I’m also not quite sure about the Fellaini deal. He’s been playing clogger football under Mourinho. I think there are probably additional levels to his game. But you can’t help but look at him coming to Arsenal as anything outside hiring in a professional piece of shit-housery. Still, worth noting that he’s 29 years old, he’d be free, he’d do a very specific job for us and United and Juve are both interested. He’d be great off the bench, he’d be great away in tough games and he’s given our midfield something it doesn’t have in terms of size and strength.
It’s also notable that we’re hiring in players like Yacine Adli. If we start to build out the youth team with players who can push within a season or two, we have our succession plan for the old players that’ll be retiring in 3 years. Key here is the players have people they can learn from. Our young players have been left to rot in a zero coaching setup. Now they’ll be learning from the staff and players. They will be held accountable and pushed like never before. That’s a smart strategy.
It’s clear the club is trying to change the dynamic of the dressing room, and their clear goal for next season is to make top 4 so they can invest proper money in elevating positions.
I can get behind that plan. We need incremental wins. We’re not going to be able to challenge from the league in the first year. We have to be real about where we are as a club, and how much work needs to be done.
This is pure play pragmatism. We are in a three-year plan. This isn’t going to be tika-taka football all the way. The club are addressing spirit, culture and the glaring lack of know-how left by Arsene Wenger.
Basically, shut up and support the new post-Wenger infrastructure.
Right, listen to our return podcast because it is SO GOOD and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.