A mere 9 days to go until Arsenal touch down to strong stop and searches in Baku.
‘WHO HAS THE ARMENIAN, SPREAD YOUR LEGS AND COUGH THREE TIMES’
That’s a lot of time to kill with previews. I was going to do ratings, but what’s the point, might as well wait until after the season. A win moves it from bland to good. Emery basically has the opportunity to force the pessimists like me underground with a win against Chelsea. Lose, well, run for cover people… because I’ll be blasting out (LONG READS) left, right and centre.
One thing that’s kicked into gear is the transfer rumour mill. I love it, especially post Wenger, we actually get linked to names that are semi-exciting. The latest one to pique my interest is Alexis over at Lorient. The left-sided attacker looks like he fits the profile of what we’ve been missing… namely, a person who can score goals from a wide position.
After some extensive analysis, I would say that the Ligue 2 players looks quite the prospect. He’s a little in shape of Freddie Ljungberg. A lot of goals come from late surges into the box. Many of last season’s 14 goals came from outside 12 yards, quite a few of them with low drives (Overmars like). He can also sniff out moments inside the box like Auba.
He’s not much of a specimen, clocking in a 5ft7, but nor is Griezman. At 20 years old, he looks like a very smart gamble. He might not even need a loan move to land game time next season. Watching him play, he seems to have a lot of the ingredients Lacazette has, so a move more central if 2 strikers ever becomes a thing again could very well be on the cards.
If we do sell one of our HERO strikers this summer, I really would like for us to hunt down a replacement that’s tall and powerful. Laca and Auba lack the useful physical presence Olivier Giroud, Adebayor and Robin Van Persie would offer us in tough games. It’d be great to have someone ready to bully defenders in big games.
I’m guessing that’s why we’re tracking Zaha, but at £70m, I find that story hard to stomach. We’re low-balling Palace because they’re mugging us off with their asking price (I actually don’t believe we’re dealing with them like the papers are suggesting).
For me, there’s more value to be had elsewhere… paying a British premium for 10 goals and 10 assists from a 26-year-old seems a little excessive. Ryan Fraser, though not as cool to look at, has a year left on his deal, he has 14 assists and 7 goals to his name. Also, climb down from those nonsense clouds… we’d be able to land Nicolas Pepe from Lille for the Zaha numbers be knocked around, the guy is 3 years younger, scored 22 goals and has 12 assists… and I’ve said it before, but Ismail Sarr had a good season and is only 21 years old.
I was asking around in the comments who the best young keeper was in France, seeing as we’ve finally moved David Ospina to Napoli. Mike Maignan was just named the best keeper in France by his peers. His deal runs out next summer with Lille, he’s a French under 21, he’s 6ft3, has a great build and his ability goes beyond shot stopping… he’s a good all-rounder, good with crosses and on the ground.
Might be a little out of our range and obvs, without Champions League, we don’t have much to offer him. I think we’re going to need a spare keeper, losing Cech with the likelihood of Emi Martinez not cutting the mustard. Young or old? That is the question.
The final player I’m going to talk about is French under 20, William Saliba. The kid was born in 2001 ffs… he’s 18 years old, rocking 16 starts for St. Etienne. He looks an outrageous prospect, 6ft4, built like a 24-year-old and a bit of a flat track bully. He looks very calm on the ball as well.
Those are the sort of signings Monaco and Dortmund make. I haven’t seen enough of him to be able to make any sort of real judgement, but generally, teenagers that make a big impact go on to have good careers. I think he might be too young to rock a Premier League defence, but for £25m, it looks like it’d be a smart investment… and the sort of player that’d not go to City, Chelsea or United because they wouldn’t be able to offer them pitch time. If we’re truly going Project Youth again, the prize is that the kids will be given a platform to shine, which would put us ahead of most of the other clubs in Europe that rock this sort of strategy… we’d be the best of the youth offerings, you get me?
I mean, I don’t know why I’m buying into this… #WelcomeBanega is weighing on my nightmares. Unai Emery is out there scouting players as we speak. He was at the Atleti game, the papers are speculating that he’s looking at Thomas Partey, who has a £43m release clause… but who knows. He might just be out there looking to get a bro date with Simeone.
So I leave you on a question.
Can a gilet be deemed saucy?
I’m caught in two minds. I used to hate them, but under the right circumstances, they can work (shooting pheasant that the weekend type gig).
What are we saying here? Unai looks like he’s taken a lighter approach to hair product, the shirt looks crisp and am I losing my mind here… but does it look like he’s taken a different approach to his skincare regime?
Let me know in the comments you beautiful fashion bitches. x