I heard a great bit of advice once.
‘Treat each transfer window like it was your last’
Ok, I never heard that, but it feels that’s the mindset Mikel and Edu are taking to this window.
Arsenal coaching staff LOVED David Luiz, so to see him go was shocking to me.
Today, we’re hearing rumours on three players.
Fabrizio Romano, transfer god to millions, was absolutely emphatic that Willian is going to exit the club this summer. I do NOT know how this is going to happen. He’s on a mega-deal, his powers have declined, and he has 2 years left on his deal. But maybe we’re just so used to players like Ozil not giving a shit about being disliked? Willian might want to put use to his final years. He might want to actually play. This might also be some dark arts from Edu and Kia. Edu knows he’s under massive pressure, the Brazilian posse gotta look out for their own, Willian taking a free transfer elsewhere protects the system.
Whatever it is, it has a big fat approval from Le Grove.
There are also stories linking Xhaka with a move out of Arsenal. Roma, under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, are apparently looking at him. The player has been excellent this season, he’s limited, no doubt, but behind the scenes he’s been a leader, and on the pitch his output has been to the level where you could honestly say you were regretful if he wasn’t in the lineup. A move away from Arsenal at 28 is smart. He’ll go to a league where he’ll thrive and he’ll live in a City that is simply one of the best. £30m for him would be excellent business and his exit would give us a chance to move on a player with a better athletic profile.
The last exit is Hector Bellerin. He’s apparently attracting interest from Real Betis. The right-back fell massively out of favour this season. He lost his pace post-injury, he’s not moved his delivery forward, and he’s just fallen right into the middle of the road. I still love him though, what a guy, what an example, what a fashion inspiration.
These are the moves that shift a club forward. We’ve been nibbling around the edges shifting on periphery players, when the hard facts dictate you have to address the fatal flaws in some of the first-teamers. Xhaka, Willian, Luiz, and Hector are all starting 11 players… but their ceiling is low and stinks of average.
Changing culture properly often needs big shocks. When you start in a new business, there’s often a section of people that are incapable of changing because they’re so wounded by the ways of the past. To truly move on, you need to scrub the decks. When the biggest leaders behind the scenes are average performers, you can’t claim to have a high-performance culture. That’s where we are. The leaders aren’t good enough on the pitch, so though the professionalism might be to a level behind the scenes, you’re never going to hit the elite letting average performers carry the message.
You thought I was going to ignore it, didn’t you?
UNAI EMERY WHAT A GUY.
Honestly, has there been a better final this year?
Don Unai put on a defensive masterclass. He leant into the complacency of United. He took the pace out of the game, he riled his players up to believe they were underdog heroes, he took the game to penalties and made those Villareal superstars feel the winds of winnertivity were with them.
Spectacular. The penalties were so unbelievable. United, a side that wins more penalties than anyone in the Premier League, lost when David De Gea fucked his kick. Stunning.
That’s Unai Emery in his element. Playing with an underdog side, instructing in his native tongue, terrorising the visuals with brutal spoiling tactics.
It’s amusing to see his fan club back in business. Someone said ‘he’d never play a midfielder as a false #9’ negating the Torreira as #10 experiment. People were celebrating his cup final win as a black mark on Arteta, forgetting we won the FA Cup beating better teams. People were celebrating the humiliation of Arteta, missing that Emery took down OGS in his third season at United after spending £290m on players. Losing to the winner has a lesser sting.
The gutting thing is that we’d have beaten United in the final as well. The most sackable offence of the season was the galaxy braining of the semi-final. We should have gone with Saka at leftback, we should have played a balanced midfield. We should have taken a simpler approach. We didn’t, Arteta will learn, we move on with life and hope next season is sharper.
Talking of managers. Galtier, Zizou and Conte all exited their jobs. Spurs are trying to bring Poch back. Allegri is rejoining Juve. We’re about to see quite the shake-up in management. Very interesting.
Ok, shorter one today. See you in the comments.