Wooooaaaahhhh… did I wake up FRESH from the news. I could run a marathon. I could climb a mountain. My head is so clear now Mustafi is gone I think I’m going to apply for a job at SpaceX on the rocket science team.
The German World Cup winner held us back in life, now he’s gone. Good riddance. No sentimentality here. He was a terrible, terrible signing and I am here, with you, thanking the footballing gods for lifting him from the club.
I always thought he was just a nightmare center-back, but when the rumblings came my way that he was difficult behind the scenes, it was time to exit.
Thoughts and prayers for Schalke… Christian Gross as their new manager, Kolasinac as their captain, Mustafi as their defensive rock… could you imagine a worse film poster?
So, how did we finish the window? About £600k a week better off. That’s how you do ruthless business in a pandemic.
The absolute key is to NOT put that money into a bunch of bums Kia knows this summer.
This is a semi-fresh start, obviously slightly tainted by the fact we forked out a lot of money on certain players this summer that will not provide long-term value. Those decisions were made, we now have to lie with them on a bed of nails.
We’ve cleared out underperformers on the pitch, we rid the dressing room of players that were less than helpful, and we’ve freed up cash flow so we can move for the players we want this summer.
We also did a pretty decent job of looking after the future.
Joe Willock has gone to Newcastle to help Steve Bruce out with his team’s appalling final ball. I think he’s had a bit of an identity crisis, everyone knows there’s a player there, no one knows what that player is. He couldn’t be going to a club more desperate for a spark, so let’s see what he has.
AMN, as I suspected, took a loan move to West Brom. He had 5 offers apparently. What is pointed is the fact he binned off bigger clubs. His loan move isn’t about his lack of talent, it’s about scratching a very specific itch… he wants to show Edu and Arteta he can be a midfielder at the highest level. The player is coming back to us next season, if he wasn’t, I suspect he might have tried to impress at Southampton or Leicester. What better way to show you are top tier than keeping West Brom in the Premier League? Last player to go to West Brom from Arsenal was Serge G… let’s feed AMN the same water and keep em’ crossed.
We’ve gone over the William Saliba stuff. He’s in the right place. @GrimandiTweetss, a guy who actually watches him, had this to say on where he’s at development wise (referencing his error this weekend that cost Nice the game).
As I’ve been watching him at Nice, it’s apparent his one glaring deficiency is his lack of ability to defend the high cross
His shape is often wrong, that’s why it skimmed off his head and they score
It’s not just a matter of getting games, it’s a matter of releasing the skill of defending crosses. For such a big chap, he doesn’t impose himself defending crosses in open play or at set-pieces
Half a season in France isn’t as ideal as half a season in Championship would have been, but you know what, it’s a helluva lot better than sitting on the bench.
There were some other moves. Matt Smith moved to Charlton for the remainder of the season, Swindon fans were absolutely feeeewming over this, which is great news.
I was a bit disappointed that Reiss Nelson managed to avoid a loan move again, a move to Valencia collapsed. It kind of looks like he’s blown a year on his own terms. He should have taken a loan in the Premier League. Now he’s cratered his value and no one really knows what he’s capable of. Not the sharpest advice he’s taking.
This summer is going to very interesting. Arsenal are going to be making big plans again. They’ll likely be looking to add another creative player, but the most important position they’ll address is central midfield. I think everyone is very aware of the limitations we have in midfield right now and they’ll be looking at top class options to play next to Thomas Partey. It’ll all depend on what we can do in terms of sales. Lucas Torreira and Matteo G will be high on the exit list. I suspect we’ll also be looking to whip up interest in players coming to the end of their deals, or, players that just need to find new clubs because they aren’t quite right for the future.
If we can bring in £80m, expect us to drop another Thomas Partey like move on the market and plug some gaps that are clear. Could be interesting. I just hope Edu isn’t ready with his mega contracts for older players… he needs to move on names that aren’t part of the 5-year plan and continue to trim that wage bill.
The Swiss Ramble ran the numbers that basically showed we’ve dropped £236m of wastage on talent over the last 10 years.
Arsenal have finally moved on Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi via free transfers, which raises the question of how good the club’s recruitment has been. Looking at this over a longer period, we can see that since 2010 they have lost (in cash terms) a cool £236m #AFC pic.twitter.com/17augNMb2W
— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) February 2, 2021
Our new strategy needs to start refocusing on how we have a consistent flow of transfer cash coming through the door. 26 should be the max-out age of players we sign. Really, 22-23 is the sweet spot. You can mold the players in your vision, you know they’ll only be thinking about football, and they’ll be at wage pricepoint that means you can easily sell them.
The hope is Edu and Arteta have learned the harshest of lessons this season. This window indicates that maybe that’s the truth. Youth is the way forward, there are no shortcuts to the top, if we start acknowledging that now, we’ll move forward as a club… if we don’t, we’re just burning more cash on an idea that has failed for 5 years.
Edu has done a very good job this window, but we do need to be careful that we don’t celebrate table stakes like we’re rocking the world of football innovation. De-bloating the squad, signing young talent on loan, and moving out young players to gain more experience is sharp… but we can’t forget what went before. The truth will arrive in the summer. Contracts, new signings, how we sell… BUT… this is a great start to the first non-Raul window. So praise and credit are due.
Right, Wolves tonight. We need 3 points. Auba, Saka, Mari, and Ceballos are all in contention. We might see Odegaard as well. It’s a huge game, Nuno really hasn’t managed to get his side into gear this season, but… we are always a gift to struggling managers, so who knows what will happen.
Play like we did against United and we’ll be in with a good chance of coming away with the points.