Arsenal announced that they’ve gone into consultation with staff over 55 redundancies at the club due to the covid nightmare that’s gripping businesses around the world. I can’t imagine the decision was easy and I feel dreadful for the people going through the process. This moment in time has been awful for many reasons, but the damage it has done to the jobs market is especially difficult to deal with because the people it affects haven’t done anything wrong. Covid induced redundancies, particularly in entertainment, seem unavoidable. Remember, this is a club that was fretting over electric bills last year.
Without meaning to tack this onto an agenda – this is why the club needs to be responsible with how they dish out the ‘it’s just the way it is’ fees to the hangers-on around player entourages. A successful football team is obviously essential to a successful business, which is why I hope the club is taking the same cost-cutting eye to agents as it is to the loyal servants that are having their lives rocked at the moment.
Speaking of deals, Willian looks close.
I have accepted the reality here and I won’t argue this all summer, but before I depart on the subject, I want to clarify two things.
- I like the player, he would add something to the squad.
- I do not like the concept of a Shadow Technical Director/Directors
I will move on from that because I don’t want to put a grey cloud on the window, it’ll be what it’ll be, and we’ll just have to hope the powers that be are working their magic behind the scenes to ensure the club is being run professionally.
Mark Irwin reckons the deal is going to be worth £130k a week. If that is all in, I can deal with that sort of number. We’re not paying him a premium, though we are giving him what in all likelihood will be a dead year for choosing us over a more lucrative deal in Miami or Barcelona. The player is top quality, fit, and a professional. We have done worse over the last few years.
Part two of our ‘hold your nose’ window could very well be Coutinho, as reported post-cup final. The club clearly sees this as their marquee opportunity, the new, errr, Ozil. Barcelona is desperate to clear the wage bill and save some face. Arsenal is in need of creative players that can move the ball at speed. I have no idea what sort of plan Mikel would have for the Brazilian, but I’d imagine he’d try and reshape his game to maximise his explosive power and unlock the maximum creativity of our forwards.
I don’t know what the deal would look like here. Some are talking of a loan, some are saying it’ll be a swap with Matteo, some are saying we’ll pay a fractional fee much in the way Inter are for Alexis.
We’re in a ‘the jury is out’ moment here. On the one hand, it is impossible to deny that he’s not far better than anything we have in our starting 11. He’s moving into the peak of his powers, having just turned 28 years old. He’s played in the Premier League, under Jurgen Klopp. He had 91 goal contributions in 200 appearances. In his final full season there, he racked up 25 goal contributions in 36 appearances. Things haven’t been great at Barcelona, but let’s be honest, not many of their transfers have worked out as planned. Along with Griezmann and Dembele, it’s been a rough run for the Catalans.
Would I prefer us to be looking at players like Dejan Kulusevski and Saïd Benrahma? Sure. Do I understand why Arteta wants to bring in players with more experience? Yes. Should I be grateful that a player of his quality wants to come to a team that is in its 3rd year of Europa League football? Probably.
I think I’ve been hoisted by my own hype-train a little a bit on the player thing. I’ve spent 3 years saying that Arteta is a world-class coach that can extract more from players, now he’s picking up players like Coutinho and Willian, I can’t really moan, I have to trust the process. If the coach is in, it’d be rude of me not to go along with it… UNLESS IT FAILS THEN I WILL DOUBLE DOWN.
Business-wise, going for older players on big money with no longterm value doesn’t make sense. Especially if you’ve tried it for 3 years and consistently regressed. Dortmund invest in young players, they make the Champions League every year, and by the end of this summer they’ll have received £600m in transfer fees over 5 years (Arsenal, £200m). They’ll start next season with Haaland and Jude Bellingham, two of the most exciting young players in the world. We are told that Arsenal can’t afford to invest in top young talent, yet we’re out here finding £22m for Willian who is 32 in a few weeks. Sorry, I said I wouldn’t do that. But I find it frightening that we might be moving on Cagigao and handing over the scouting reigns to someone that gets his info from his mates.
Question, do you still think the Raul power grab is an agenda thing from me? Doesn’t look good if there aren’t replacements.
Again, this summer could shift up a gear, there are still young players we could be sniping in the background. I like the sound of Gabriel Magalhães from Lille, the right age profile we should be looking at as we look to move on from Luiz and Mustafi this season. I’m hoping that some of the swap deals we’re looking at involved players of a younger profile. I’d also like to think our youth scouts, if there are any left, are working hard to bring in top talent.
So let’s see where we go. I’ll judge the body of work when it’s finished and hope that maybe this summer is one that Raul and Edu feel under pressure to deliver on. Josh and Stan can’t continue to watch the club leak money if progress isn’t being made at every level, Edu’s job is squad shaping, he has to come with the goods this summer, so let’s see if he can be a little more creative than working with his own agent.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.