The HEAT is finally here, and football is over… so a straight swap out. Football for summer. I’ll take it. But only if the Champions League final goes the way of Liverpool… otherwise, I’m bringing the white walkers back and we’re going to destroy the world and plunge it into darkness.
Transfer rumours are hotting up, most of the rumours around the centre backs are kind of bland. We seem to be chasing down a lot of short folk. We had many back in the day when we struggled from set-pieces because we loved to hire Tommy V like players, who had a tremendous leap… or a Willy G, who loved to sit on the halfway line and tell everyone he was good at saving money. Wenger really only addressed height when he landed Per Mertesacker.
Umtiti is the really worrying link. He’s a fabulous player, a sublime talent on his day, but we are really playing with the red flames of Abou Diaby’s memory here. There is a reason that Barca is shifting an £80m player for £40m. He has a massive DON’T GO HERE sign attached to his knee. He’s missed 31 league games in the last 12 months.
‘But the medical team would call the shots’, very doubtful. Firstly, we signed Kimmy K with a broken back (spotted > overruled). Secondly, we’d sign him in the knowledge that he’s a massive risk. For me, it’d be like taking a punt on Ledley King back in the day (United thought about it). When fit, he’s going to win you the league, but you’d be cursing his issues every year with ‘what ifs.’
Fitness has to be a priority for Arsenal. We need strong hamstrings, a record of sustained on pitch play and nothing chronic in the closet. We do not have the money to be taking Kanu like risks of yesteryear.
… and be real, we already gave Barca free money for a player everyone knew would tank. Going back to make another very weird deal would offer incredibly poor optics for Raul. I don’t want our football guy keeping Barca sweet because of his DNA. You get me?
I’m hoping that Arsenal seek value in players that have buyout clauses or a couple of years to go on their deals. Julian Brandt is rumoured to be going for as little as £25m. Ziyeck is going to leave with a release clause of £25m, a fabulous player with outrageous pace and work ethic.
Players that have deals expiring next year:
- Ryan Sessegnon
- Thomas Meunier
- Eric Bailly (steer clear, like Umtiti)
- Dries Mertens
- El Shaarway
- Allain Sain-Maximin
- Raph Guerreiro
- Ryan Fraser
- EVER BANEGA GOD NO PLEASE
- Mario Gotze
- Moise Keane
- Keylor Navas (#2 anyone?)
- Adam Johnson
Just kidding on the last one. DIRTY NONCE. You just KNOW some Premier League chairman that is a nonce sympathiser is going to pull the ‘society must forgive’ card and roll with him. North of Manchester, no doubt.
The two-year deal players are also interesting, mainly because they’ll all be negotiating new contracts. Good clubs will be exiting them if it looks like they won’t sign. There’s some tasty names in this category.
- Lio Messi (get on it Raul, we’ll let this one go)
- Mauro Icardi
- Florian Thauvin
- Memphis Depay
- Seb Haller
- Carlos Soler
- Alex Telles
- Julien Weigl
As you can see, lots of options if we want to play this summer. I don’t even have the list of players with buyout clauses.
Point being, we don’t have to take massive risks on mates rates names that come with health concerns. This league will not absorb any weakness. It’s faster, more competitive and more relentless than any other. The only way you compete is having more of your first team players fit than others.
It looked to me like Emery tanked his fitness plan this season, blowing up the front end of the season with OTT training regimes that hit him hard during the mid part of the season. December 2018 was a flashback to the dark days of Wenger, who famously bemoaned the science of fatigue a few weeks ago. If you don’t remember, we had an annual injury pileup because Wenger trained his players too intensely and didn’t rotate. He blamed luck, hair pills, witches, the vision of a Trump presidency… until we hired Shad, who took care of the nonsense.
Someone accused me of being hipster in the way I think about the game, for me, that’s a bit like telling a doctor he’s a hipster for reading medical journals. If you believe thinking about the future to gain an advantage is hipster, you really should keep those thoughts to yourself. The future is here, you can’t unfuture what has already arrived. Calling it hipster just makes you look dim.
Anyway, Ralph Rangnick spoke to Coaches Voice (great site), casually sipping on a cream atomised, fluggenhoffled, Germacano coffee that I believe was brewed from a rare strain of Russian coffee bean that garners its taste from the musical notes of Mikhail Glinka…. and gave his thoughts on respecting the ‘athletics’ guys (Shad and Burgess).
Five years ago, I would have thought it impossible that an athletics coach would tell me how many metres my team should run today, and how fast, in training. But that’s what’s happening. In the past, you’d have to trust your eyes and gut feeling as a manager to find the right dosage in training. Now, it’s a bit like picking up a rental car: they will tell you how much is in the tank and what your mileage is.
The athletics coaches are in charge of planning the whole week of training in terms of the intensity on any given day. We take our cues from them.
“Musical tastes aside, I have a strong connection with my players”
If you want to increase the speed of your game, though, you have to develop quicker minds rather than quicker feet.
Improvement translates as taking things in more quickly, analysing them more quickly, deciding more quickly, acting more quickly. At RB, we work on increasing the memory space and the processing pace. We put players into the Soccerbot, for example – a machine that simulates previous games and allows players to relive key moments of matches.
It’s PlayStation football, but with your feet. The players enjoy it so much we have a hard time getting some of them to stop.
YES RALPH. Love it. Again, the above shows you how the powershift is happening in elite football. The days of an assistant putting out cones are long gone. Each role is essential to building an elite sporting machine. Football follows the path of American sports, they lead the way on many things.
Anyway, my prediction is that clubs will start to move more towards specialist roles, versus the current broad strokes approach to coaching. We’ve already seen clubs take performance super seriously. I would imagine that more and more outfits are looking at people with more specialists offerings in defence, attack, and pressing. Ralph mentions in his piece that his team are trained to take risks in certain areas that present great counterpress opps, there must be a group of people working together to work out where the sweet spots are. Do we have that? RB is strategic about where they lose the ball. It’s a different level of thinking and it’s working for them.
Pep G just won the league with the least tackles of any team. Off the ball movement is now an absolute art in the Premier League. There is so much information that has to be absorbed by the modern player, that it’s no wonder major clubs are trying to pioneer ways of fast-tracking information into players brains so they can make better decisions.
Point being… when Barry down the Black Swan tells you football is about FIRST AND SECOND, tell him to fuck off, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Lyon didn’t sign Arteta, as I suspected, the Spaniard is being earmarked for City when Pep leaves. However, Aulas has infuriated some in the French press because he allowed Juninho to pick Sylvinho (left back for us that had to be booted for having a fake passport) as their new coach. His coaching experience extends to the Brazilian under 23s. It is a BOLD move, but again, it’s low risk for Aulas and the future of football clubs isn’t about that ONE GUY who will cost £15m a season and bring 50 of his mates, it’s going to have a more evenly spread system of responsibility and accountability. Football is basically replicating the organisational structures of corporate America.
GFFN bemoaned the hire because… JOSE AND WENGER WERE AVAILABLE. Rationalising that Aulas wanted to win the Champions League. I love that site, but whoever was manning the twitter lost their minds there. Jose just spent £360m at United and tanked them. He’s a nasty man with spiteful tendencies. He also doesn’t care about success anymore, he’s done. Then you have Arsene Wenger, who tried 20+ times to win the Champions League and failed… not to mention his HORRIBLE record with spending money, his grim Barry like views of the modern game and science combined with his terrible approach to tactics would chalk him off any right-thinking owner.
Wenger still not in a major job… shocker, right? Where is that PSG rumour when you need it?
Anyway, see you in the comments x