The Arsenal transfer news machine is cranking into action and it’s polarising as usual.
The name people are struggling with is Ryan Bertrand, a 31-year-old left-back, heralded as cover for Kieran Tierney.
It’s not a future-facing signing, it feels a little like Cedric and Willian, and it’s not exciting.
I can see the argument, but I can also see the logic with this one.
He’s being signed as a proper back-up. Here for 20 odd starts next season. A truly viable option to slip in to cover for a nearly world-class left-back we have in Tierney.
There are three ways into this role.
- Cheap experience
- Buy an up and coming talent
- Bring in from the youth team
We don’t have a kid that’s ready, hence the mess we’ve been through at the backend of this season.
We don’t have the money to buy-in what would be a luxury sub. I’m also not sure there’s a need to bring in a 21-year-old. Kieran Tierney is the left-back, will be for years, he doesn’t need competition to be motivated, so asking a young player to come in and stunt their own growth might be wasteful.
Kieran Tierney dropped 2700 minutes this season, he would have done more if we’d been able to effectively rotate him. I’d love it if we could give this role to a kid, there was talk it might be Cottrell, but if he’s never played a Premier League game, you are risking that Tierney gets injured and you sink a kid. Maybe the hope of Bertrand is that we can loan the younger kids, then when the more senior player leaves, we have someone with 40 games under their belt at 20 years old. Similar process I’m sure to what we’re going to see with Flo Balogun.
Additionally, I think it’s worth noting this.
Arsenal has the joint 3rd best defence in the league with likely the most unforced errors.
We have the 10th best attack in the league.
The job this summer is fairly straightforward, we need to find a way to lower the amount of mistakes in the system, find midfielders that can transition to attack, and find a couple of players that can add ‘now’ efficiency in the final 3rd. Basically, if we get Auba scoring 30 next season, we’ll qualify for the top 4.
A backup left-back isn’t moving us forward on any of those objectives.
We need to rebuild the right side of our defence totally. We probably need to find a centre back that can replace the positives of David Luiz, whilst eradicating his painful errors. We don’t have ball-playing centre backs (consistent at least) and that needs to be addressed if we’re going to move our game forward.
Those two signings alone are going to be very expensive… and even with a cash injection, we’re not rich, so every penny counts. In your fantasy league team, sometimes you have to take a hit in a low-risk area, I think Bertrand is that hit for the greater good which will see money spent elsewhere.
The second player that is moistening loins is Camavinga of Rennes. The 18-year-old centre midfielder is quite obviously going to be a generational talent, that’s no exaggeration. To hold your own and thrive in that position against PSG means you are a different gravy. If there was a statement signing that spoke to the future Arsenal are building, it’d be someone like him. He has it all, great passing, supreme acceleration, verticality in his passing, press resistance, he looks like he’ll have goals to his game at some point.
He’s very, very young… and not many teenagers make it in that position in the Premier League, but he’s absolutely the type of player Madrid or Bayern snap up and build into a force that stays there for 10 years.
Could just be agent hype, of course, but one can dream that Arsenal are looking into France, hoping to take advantage of French clubs desperation to get cash into their ailing businesses. If we’ve learnt anything over the last decade, it’s that France fosters the best kids that bring the most value to clubs long-term. It’ll be a real miss if we’re spending all our pennies on the expensive leagues this summer.
If Arsenal were to operate like a ruthless business this summer, they’d be hoovering up players from distressed clubs.
There are some other transfer stories doing the rounds. It seems like we’re quite into Sander Berge of Sheffield United. He’s 23 years old, absolutely towering, and 20m Euros is good money and a distress price.
Then there are the exit stories.
WILLIAN MIGHT WANT OUT
Can you imagine? Inter Miami. I think he’d bang there. Ok food, big Brazilian culture, nice weather every day. Fabrizio Romano is getting that story from somewhere and I couldn’t be happier. One would assume Willian landed his green card or whatever if he’s now pushing to exit the club. Whatever the reason, it’d be absolutely amazing if he just wanted to go and play football somewhere that wasn’t Arsenal next season.
We’ll see though. Moving on average senior players hasn’t been an attribute of the Arsenal hierarchy, but let’s see what they have this summer.
Right, on that note, I am bouncing. See you tomorrow!