Matteo G has been training on his own. Sad to see so much talent, with so little control. There are folk painting this as ‘caring too much’, but it’s nonsense. He’s badly behaved, he’s unpleasant to the staff, and he refuses to get on board the new direction the club is heading.
He had issues with Freddie before him, so it’s not just a Mikel thing.
So what do you do? Do you truly believe that elite players behave like this? They don’t. If he won’t play by the rules, he has to go. We’re not far enough along in the process to absorb a player like that. This is not Nik Anelka here. The delivery on the pitch doesn’t merit the problems off it.
Barca had something similar when Pep landed. He booted out problematic players way more accomplished than Guen, all in the name of making sure Messi and the kids coming behind him could thrive. Arsene Wenger did it when he landed, moving on senior players he thought were a bad influence.
We’re not quite Barca, or the squad Arsene inherited, but we have a lot of youngsters giving more than Matteo, and preferential treatment would not be helpful. That is Emery-style thinking.
The only shame of the blow-up is it might reduce interest in him, or lower the asking price.
I think it might work out well for us though. He’s a pretty sexy make-weight. Might be perfect for Simeone. He’d look like a smart move and allow them to save face on the Partey deal. Let’s see where it goes, but don’t cry over someone that thinks they make the rules at 20.
In news that I didn’t speak on, Tim Lewis joined the Arsenal board. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that sort of hire from the Kroenke’s makes for ominous reading if you are Raul.
A few things stuck out for me:
- The KSE group don’t exactly have a lot of trusted confidantes in London. I’m pretty sure this guy worked with them on the stadium or takeover move. He’s trusted.
- Tim is a lawyer. They ask questions, they probe, they get to the bottom of things. What Arsenal need right now is someone assessing how we landed on deals and why we did them. Having someone with laser focus and the time to assess is going to be very valuable to the family. We don’t have a counter to Raul, a Clifford Chance partner; if activated with a mandate, is a force for good.
- He’s a ‘lifelong Arsenal fan.’ I don’t know the guy. I’ve never had a beer with him to assess how much a fan he is (‘DO YOU GO TO AWAY GAMES MATE’). But if he is like you or I and spends over 16 hours of screentime on Newsnow, reads all the blogs, pays for The Athletic, mainlines AFTV, and has a google alert set up to catch transfer stories from Eastern Europe and beyond, my hope is he gives a fuck about Arsenal and wants the club to do right by the fans.
- This move has happened as leading bloggers and journos write about the wacky goings-on at Arsenal… combined with very senior people at the club clearly leaking hard. I just do not believe that billionaires don’t pay attention to their most valuable assets. For me, being a total amateur, this looks like a statement addition to the hierachy.
My hope, at the absolute minimum, is this means Raul and Edu have a very long think about how they want to conduct this summer. Do they want to bring in players that have been recommended by Arsenal people? Or do they want to continue suckling the contacts teet of Kia and Canales?
We shall see. We’re rooting for you, Tim.
Arsenal has a huge game later today. Spurs beat Everton in a horrendous game. We need to make some space before Sunday. If we go to 52 points, and beat Spurs, we’ll be 4 points clear of them with 3 games to go. Lose tomorrow, and lose Sunday, we are in biiiiiig trouble.
Let’s see what we’ve got.
I’ll leave you with a solo podcast. It’s a good one. So listen. x