Arsenal kicked off preseason with an U23 draw against Boreham Wood. Top geezer, banter king and all round top boy John Jules saved the day with two goals. Lovely. Nice to see the kids can’t defend either.
Today we have to get into the bed with the cold hard reality that Lucas Vasquez might be a thing. Madrid want rid of a wide player who was a big part of the team in one of their worst years in the last decade.
His statistics look about as sexy as those of the pretty boy from Barcelona. Last season, the 28-year-old Spaniard dropped a whopping 5 goals and 4 assists in 47 appearances. His minutes clock up to 29.5 games. That’s a seriously pony return for someone playing for Madrid. The numbers are a little better if you go back a few seasons, he was making a contribution every 121 minutes the two season before, which is better than Iwobi, but still not exciting.
My concern with this rumour is two fold.
Firstly, it’s us giving up on Zaha. Which could be seen as a whatever moment. Zaha’s numbers aren’t that exciting, his average minutes per contribution are worse than that of Vasquez, sitting at 169 minutes per contribution over the past three years. Even his best year was 154 minutes. However, he’s playing for Crystal Palace, so that has to be considered. Anyway, Zaha is only one year younger, but he plays more minutes and knows the league.
Secondly, if we go down this route, it basically means we’ve given up on proper scouting and we’re well and truly burying our snouts in the bargain bins of Europe. The player picks up a fairly small wage for Madrid standards, but you’d imagine we’ll be giving him a massive bump, some places reporting £180k a week.
Still, if you’re Emery and you’re being allowed to sign these types of players, who would you blow your money on, £30m on Vasquez, who has 183 starts for Madrid… or a £80m Zaha?
It feels bland to me, but hey, anyone is better than the no one we have lined up at the moment.
If we’re looking to the more positive options we have on the table, you could think that Arsenal are going to invest in youth this season.
Reiss Nelson had a team contribution every 78 minutes. Sure, it’s in a weaker league, but that’s exciting to read. Worth noting he scored that off a very low amount of shots. He scored 5 from his first 6 shots during his loan, which means he’s either the most elite finisher to grace the game, or he found a lucky streak.
A player I think could be a big talent for us at some point is Bukayo Saka. He’s fast, has a fantastic left foot and looks like a very exciting prospect. Are we not due a breakout teenager at some point? Would Emery consider blooding either of the two above? It’d certainly be more popular than Iwobi clogging up the right week after week.
The we also have salt of the earth diamond gem, John Jules. 29 goals in 54 appearances last season, he’s very young, but hey, PSG and Juve are interested. At the very least he deserves to be on tour, at the very most, maybe he’s the greatest player to grace an Arsenal shirt since the MIGHTY Jack Jebb?
Whoever we sign wide right and left this summer, at least we know there are two kids coming through that could potentially impose themselves on the first team. I just hope they find the courage to make it happen, I love Eddie, he has it all, but he’s been desperately unlucky so far. We need him to find his feet next season for sure.
ESR is also back from a pretty bland loan move at Leipzig, I believe the German club wanted to sign him but we refused. Can he make an impact on Emery this year? His long rangy legs and bursting runs forward could be valuable, but there is so little time at the highest level to make an impact and stay there.
This is a big year for the kids. Emery is going to have to be more strategic with cups that don’t matter this season if we’re going to attempt to win the Europa league and qualify for the top 4 this year. The exec leadership talk a really big game when they big up the youth, so let’s see if they have the guts to follow it through. The league cup should be about youth, so should early stages FA Cup. If they aren’t good enough, let’s be faster about moving them out. If they make an impact, excellent, we have more depth than we did last season.
It appears Chelsea are trying to play the same game in bringing Frank Lampard back into the fold. They want to see more kids coming through and his close relationship with them looks very similar to the one Freddie has with the current batch.
… but we did hear this last season and the return wasn’t great with the homegrown crowd. AMN and Matteo landed lots of game time, but others weren’t so lucky. That has to change this season.
The biggest block is the anxiety Unai Emery will feel about his job. He has to succeed. That doesn’t bode well with giving kids a look in. So we’ll see.
Right, that’s me done, see you on the other side. x