Well good morning my DARLINGS.
Nothing nicer than starting a Monday with a nice coffee as you sit down to read the shrieks of misery from Manchester United fans on the internet. It’s pure joy, I am not going to lie.
I sat down yesterday to watch OGS, the guy that the press have been desperately trying to paint as ‘getting things right’ tank to Sevilla FC in the semi-final of The Europa League. It was a great watch, I have to say. OGS just doesn’t cut it for me. He’s bought the most expensive defender in the world, the most expensive fullback, and he landed Bruno in January. He’s also been gifted 22 penalties this season, the most in Europe… and he still couldn’t take out a Spanish club living off peanuts.
What makes it better is the press around OGS love him. The deepest the criticism goes is ‘GIVE HIM MORE MONEY.’ That suits me. The danger at United is if they put that cash in the hands of an elite coach and a proper Sporting Director. I am more than happy to see OGS at the wheel for another couple of years. If their level is celebrating the lowest ever points total to make the automatic places in the Champions League, then long may his tenure continue.
The Athletic gave some more colour to the Raul exit over the weekend. There’s a lot of ‘streamlining but look here, here, and here…’ and some of it is really not great reading. Particularly paying over the odds on asking prices for Torreira (who had a buyout clause), Leno, and Nicolas Pepe. You have to read the room when you take a job… I’m not sure the Kroenke’s were built for that sort of money management.
God bless Tim Lewis, the unsung hero that got to grips with the nonsense.
One of the more salacious pieces was the unveiling of Willian at Kia’s house. There are a thousand ways you could paint this as innocuous, but for me, what it tells you is Raul just didn’t understand the magnitude of the role he had at Arsenal.
Reasons that would have made any normal exec think twice about the unveiling location:
- There was a lot of bad press around Arsenal’s close relationship with certain agents
- We had done some very weird deals with Kia. The David Luiz fee was reported at an astronomical level a month ago and we also added Cedric Soares who looked good for glue before we weighed in. You can say that the fee in The Athletic was misrepresented, but I have not seen a retraction from the publication. I would always err on the side of believing Amy Lawrence sourcing on subjects as big as this.
- The agent himself had horrified people at Arsenal when he went on Talksport to discuss David Luiz. Not just that, he also alluded to the structural changes that were coming to Arsenal (55 redundancies). A deep breach of trust that an outsider was privy to such information, even worse that he shared it on national radio. Cannot have been good for people at the club fearing for their jobs.
- Last week, Kia went on blast again, this time to say he doesn’t influence Arsenal, whilst slating Sven Mislintat and his record
- Edu then rolls out his first signing of the summer, it’s Willian, a Kia player, and the unveiling is at Kia’s home.
For the agent, that’s a power move. For the exec team, it’s incredibly bad optics. Top leaders are always considering how things will look to the wider world. Doing an official signing at a super-agents house under massive scrutiny really is beyond the pale. It was also a really unnecessary decision. Do it at Colney. Do it at Raul’s pad. Or Edu’s. Or at The Emirates. Not like they don’t all have massive houses, right? For me, things like that look like a middle finger to the fans, it’s an ‘I’m in charge, fuck you’ message.
Well, a few days later and here we are. No Raul. So no real need to keep going over this subject. He can go and work for Lille in France and Arsenal can crack on with a brighter future.
Talking of Lille. Their CEO, Geraldo Lopez, reckons Gabriel is interested in joining Arsenal. That’d be a great way to start the week. We are in desperate need of a shape up in central defence. I’d be pretty happy going into the new season with Luiz, Mustafi, Cal Chambers, Saliba, and Gabriel. There’d be a changing of the guard at some point, but it’d be good to have two centre backs at the latter stage of their careers, supporting the development of two extremely talented young players we hope could be an elite partnership.
There’s HUGE rumblings that the main man, AUBA, is about to sign a new deal. What I love about this noise is the player and his family both seem equally excited about signing on. There is so much buzz around Arsenal at the moment and I’m thrilled we could land the best sharpshooter on the planet for his best years. There’s a little bit of noise that Raul led the negotiations on his own, which would be odd because I thought Huss did that, but I’m sure it’s not a problem. Getting him tied down to the club would be a MASSIVE shift in the news cycle as well.
Another subplot of this transfer window that I’m following with interest is the Arteta/Edu blend. Both absolutely need to have a gold standard window. Arteta needs to move the football on next season, Edu needs to show people that he’s more than a pretty face. I’d imagine it’s also big for Mikel, not many managers are given power over transfers. I’m not sure it’s the best way moving forward, I’m a big believer in brain trust like structures, not sure going back to the old way is great longterm, but it’ll be fascinating to see if he has the Midas touch like Wenger did when it comes to player appraisal.
I have to be honest, the jury really is out for me there. So far, we’ve seen him fawn over Luiz, Mari, Soares, and suggest he’d have taken Xhaka to City. Maybe we can write those off as teething/political comments… because those names are not exactly moistening loins of any sort.
… but we’ll see. This is a clean slate for everyone. I love starting from an unknown position. The world truly is our lobster.
Right, see you in the comments you feral internet beasts.
Update: We signed Huddersfield Tim Akinola. The tenacious midfielder was so impressive, we brought him in without a trial. This is a low risk / high reward type of deal that I’m more than happy to see happen. Good luck, Tim!