Well, well, well… I didn’t see it coming, but it is the German’s that have plunged themselves back into football first. Angela Merkel has pushed her footballing will onto clubs and ensured that we’ll be seeing some games this month. This, despite Macron poking his nose in and lobbying for them to cancel like Ligue 1 did (shame bells).
This is very exciting. It’ll put pressure on English, Spanish and Italian clubs to follow suit. Is it the correct decision? Only time will tell, but at least the Premier League has an excuse now.
‘The German’s made us do it’
Rapha H’s piece in The Athletic focused on how they’re dividing up the fixtures. There are a number of proposals under consideration, but one of the more radical ideas is the rework the fixtures based on geography, playing the local games first, then as the impact is played out, the distance can widen.
I like that approach, mainly because if we did it in England, we’d avoid facing Pep G on our return game. It wouldn’t be easy, our first batch of games would be Watford, Spurs, and Brighton… but it’d be better than a fresh Manchester City.
Mikel Arteta and Ian Wright had a fun chat for Adidas.
— Le Grove (@LeGrove) May 5, 2020
Key takeaways. Ian Wright loves Arteta.
Additionally, it would appear that Arteta loves Kieran Tierney. There was quite the section dedicated to how impressed he was with the wee Scottish lads’ attitude and application. I think a lot of Arsenal fans are wondering what the future of the left looks like. We have so many sexy options. Martinelli, Tierney and Saka is a problem that any manager would like to have. That piece about Saka being a top 30 winger, versus a top 3 left back weighs heavy… the left side equivalent of Lampard/Gerrard. It’ll be very interesting to see how that’s solved.
It was also interesting to hear Arteta talk about being ready to get the season underway for the country. That sort of tone indicates to me that he’s keen to get the season underway and I would assume that the players are feeling the same way as well. Not all of them. Getting Ozil up for an away game is tough in the best of circumstances, can’t imagine he’ll be putting his hand up anytime soon for a corona derby.
There are some loose rumours about us trying to sign up Angelo Stiller. If you remember him, you are a better man than I… but here he is forcing Mesut into a tackle.
The Bundesliga website reckons he plays a little like peak Nuri Sahin.
A deep-lying play-maker just as willing to create as convert chances with a wand of a left foot? Stiller has more than a little in common with Nuri Sahin, the Borussia Dortmund legend who remains the Bundesliga’s youngest ever debutant aged 16 years, 11 months and one day and now struts his stuff for Werder Bremen.
If there is one difference, it’s that Stiller is just as able to burst forward and attack as he is to sit deep and dictate play. Sahin spent two seasons away from Dortmund at Real Madrid and Liverpool between 2011 and 2013. Injuries aside, he was also used in more advanced positions than he was comfortable with. Stiller gives his side options, being equally happy playing as a No.6 or No.8.
I like that we’re looking to bring in midfield talent and this sort of move reeks of Project Youth, Reboot Edition. I really hope that as we shift out expensive deadwood, the transfer strategy refocuses on elite kids that we can grow. The situation we’re in at the moment demands it.
On the coaching front, Santi Cazorla opened the door to a return to the backroom team.
“I don’t know what my legacy is. You have to ask the fans, but I want to thank everyone. I don’t know what I will do next, maybe a coach, maybe a sports director, but I would like to come back”
Makes sense from a feelings perspective, but I don’t know much about him as a potential coach. One to watch. Interesting to note that Pep is leaning into Alonso as a candidate to be his number two.
Cesc Fabregas also has it all to be a coach. Ruthless, intelligent and product of La Masia. It’ll be very interesting to see how many players from that elite batch of Spanish players take up the management tools. Or maybe he’ll move into biology if his latest book choice is anything to go by. He’s reading Robert Sapolsky, Behave. If you like that sort of read, can I highly recommend Some Assembly Required, Neil Shubin. It’s a certified mindblower that fills in some of the gaps Darwin missed out in his classic tome (it’s not a creationist book).
Back to the football.
Mikhi and Roma might be a permanent deal. The clubs have agreed that a 10m euro fee feels right. The Premier League has not been good to the Armenian. I’m shocked we’ve managed to land anything for him. That’s a chunk of change off the wage bill we could do with. Put the spare cash into Saka. Plenty more work to be done this summer, but at least some of the pieces are moving.
I was going to touch on the Premier League doctors asking 600 questions of the league, but it feels kind of pointless now. If Germany cracks football, the Premier League will have to. Watch this space.
Right, see you in the comments. x