Say it quietly, but I quite miss the Europa League. I was like, totally over her, she’s kind of frumpy, not exactly a head-turner, the funny accent doesn’t suit my Brexit sentiments, but now she’s gone… I’m a bit, you know, alone?
Still, you can’t deny that an early kick-off on Saturday isn’t great. When I lived in London, it controlled my Friday night, the danger with the 1230 kick-off is you start drinking at 10am, go to the game, win, then carry on the festivities ready for a brutal 8pm crash… you basically ruin your weekend. Still, at least you get the football out of the way early.
Not sure the players will be treating Saturday that way, the pussies. They have a tough game on paper game against Palace, though scratch beneath the surface and Palace are not having a good time at the moment. They had to field 5 academy players at the weekend in the cup and they lost to Rooney’s Derby. Big Roy Hodgson is not happy with the state of his squad and I’d imagine the Zaha to Spurs/Chelsea/anyone that will save him can’t be helping.
Rumours are that he’s landing Kyle Walker on a 6-month loan from City (honestly wouldn’t say no myself (but it’s obvs the Spurs guy, which I knew lololol)) and Cenk Tosun. Hopefully, they won’t be in place by Saturday.
Good news is this: At least they are weak.
Won’t change the ferocity of the game, but I’ll take it.
Arsenal are sniffing around players themselves, there’s a lot of talk AGAIN about Yan Couto. The Brazilian 17-year-old right-back is going to move to Europe and a fee of £4.2m is being mooted, which is very much within the reach of Arsenal.
As a right-back, what I have deduced from 6 minutes of scouting is he has beautiful tight control of the ball, Hleb liked. Stunning acceleration, so he can move like a modern full-back. Solid delivery and an absolutely ferocious strike. He’d not be a now signing because he’s not 18, but he’d hopefully be very much in the mold of Martinelli.
God bless Edu (or Cagigao)
Talking of kids. Rules are now in effect that you can’t traffic children anymore.
‘FIFA’s rules say players aged 18 or under can only be transferred abroad if one of three criteria are met: if their parents emigrated for non-footballing reasons, both clubs are in the EU or European Economic Area and the player is aged between 16 and 18 or the player lives within 100km of the new club’
When you think about what went on, it’s quite mad. Football’s #MeToo was literally hiding Fran Merida in the mountains of Spain until he came of age so they could traffic him to London. You’d be disgusted if a bank was doing that, wouldn’t you? Unless you work in the City or Wall Street, where you’d applaud, you disgusting capitalist FIENDS.
Arteta seems to be less confident about bringing players in than he was a week ago.
‘I’m not expecting big things. I’m expecting big things from the players I have now to get through the season in a more balanced way. We always have to be looking because of some injuries’
I suspect that comment is related to this economic reality.
‘We’re not thinking to sell. There’s nothing concrete at the moment on the table, as I said, I’m focusing on the players we have now and this transfer window is a little bit tricky and things might come at the end. But I don’t know which way.’
Though I’d love us to move on £100m worth of talent this window, I think we need to be honest about the situation. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of top talent available, and if we’re in financial trouble, I’d rather us spend what money we do have on the best possible talent in the summer, without the January premium. That Boateng is still being heavily linked at £200k a week tells you all you need to know about the state of the window.
I also have mild ‘don’t say it out loud’ concerns with a massive ramp-up in talent. We’ll raise expectations, probably still not have enough to make top 4, then finish right back in the Europa League places again. It’s not a surprise that Leicester are doing far better this year without Europe to bother them. They have a full 7 days to train with Rodgers and it’s paying dividends. Older players look fresher, younger players are getting better. They won the league like that, exited the cups early, and kept everyone fit.
If we’re not making the Champions League next season, I’d rather a run at the league next year with no Europe. I think it’d be a strategic advantage.
With lower expectations this next 5 months, the manager can experiment more heavily with young players, can put more focus on winning one of the cups, and be free of pressure to chase a goal that looks very much like a stretch from where we are now. He can also spend more time with Edu, Per, and Cagigao planning the summer.
Again, I was totally wrong with how Arteta would approach the cups, so could end up with egg on my face here as well when we unveil Mbappe.
There’s some interesting news that Timo Werner has a €48m release clause in the summer (The Athletic). I’m not trying to tell the club what to do… but my word, wouldn’t he be a great signing if we moved on one of our two contract rebel strikers? He’s young, fast, can play in an aggressive press, and he scores LOTS of goals. Even better news for Arsenal, he turned down Liverpool because he wants to play (so he lacks ambition) and the same is thought to be true of his concerns about joining PSG, where Tuchel is a fan. Chelsea are interested, but again, why would you stifle Tammy Abrahams? According to reports, the English sharpshooter is waiting to see who Frank brings in before signing a new deal.
I think we should move on Werner (just typed Wenger by accident), makes total sense. Certainly a sexier name than Kevin Volland.
On exits, the club is unsure whether to let Eddie go out on loan, but it looks certain they’ll move ESR and John-Jules out. Great news, no point in keeping them if you’re going to bench them. I am very excited by ESR, I think he has immense potential… I also think it should be noted that PSG and Juve were sniffing around John-Jules. The future is bright if they can make that potential a reality.
Right, that’s all I have. See you in the comments.