It’s 745 in New York, I’m at the airport thinking about my UK brethren that woke up at 730am this morning and immediately started sinking pints. What a beautiful mess my home country is going to be today, I am gutted I won’t be there for the shame. I’ve never seen England in a final of a competition and I’m nearly 30. Quite wild.
The mural image in the picture was sent to me by Paul (check out his awesome Instagram), what a moment it’s going to be for a player that has truly blown-up onto the world stage in this tournament. He’s one of ours, there’s a small chance he starts tonight, what an unbelievable experience for him. He has everything, he’s a straight-A student, god-fearing, extremely humble, and everyone who works with him seems to love him. It is such a treat that Arsenal has a player with his technical gifts. Someone is going to need to give Jack Grealish break-up counselling when this is all over… the bromance is strong.
The game tonight is the one everyone wanted to see. The Italian’s have been sensational for the most part of it. Direct, fast, aggressive and spectacular at times. Roberto Mancini has put himself back on the map, he’s reinvented Italian football, but this is where the journey has to end.
Gareth Southgate has been on a similar journey. No one believed in him, but he reinvented the way English people look at football. He didn’t answer the question: How can I put all the shiny pieces in the same side. He built a team that could do the job. We control games, we’re patient, we knock the ball around like Spain when we want to, and we have the class to finish games at any point. We’ve conceded one goal all tournament with Jordan Pickford in goal. That is so impressive.
I really hope we can win it at Wembley. My first big football memory was that Germany semi-final way back when. My first non-Arsenal game was Turkey vs Wembley with my uncle in the early 90s. To go back to there with the man that missed the important spot-kick and win would really be a story for the ages.
It’ll be a tough game though, Italy are deadly all over the pitch. This game though is the one we all wanted. I have no idea what is going to happen, let’s just hope it’s a cracker and we’re lifting the trophy come the end of the game.
Also… those people that put on Twitter, ‘I’m English, but I really struggle to support our country’ need to get in the bin. I don’t mean to be childish, but you don’t have friends if you are writing things like that on the internet.
Onto a bit of Arsenal.
The James Maddison rumours are revving up to white-hot. The ITK rumour mill has Arsenal offering him a shit ton of money. The whispers I’m hearing are that the player wants the move, Leicester absolutely do not want to sell, and the fee will have to hit £70m.
Will this be like buying property in London? Extremely hard to swallow, but long-term, the right move. Or will it be like buying a timeshare to Monte Carlo from Gary down the Masons? Painful and more painful.
It’s an interesting move. Leicester were a top 4 side pushing for the title until Maddison picked up an injury. He’s created the 2nd most chances in the league behind KDB since he made his debut in 2018. He immediately addresses our creativity problem. There’s a lot of chat that his open play creativity doesn’t really match up to the big dogs, which is a fair call… but one of our biggest challenges last season was creating from setpieces. If you have someone that can provide like Beckham, you are in a great place. I don’t think there’s any way around it, he’s a very good player we lack, he’s in the top percentile categories you want him to be in, and he’s been very specifically working on the goals side of his game.
£70m is well expensive though.
Still, you have to thumb through what Arsenal are trying to do here… they’re trying to shortcut top 4 again, but this time with a younger profile of player. Maddison is 24-years-old, he’s on the verge of elite, and he’ll 100% hit the ground running. If you are calling Arteta a bum, that means you have no time for him to blood players, this is what you should be smiling about.
There’s the other side of the coin if you want to take more of a risk. Houssem Auouar for £25m seems like an absolute steal. He’s bossed Champions League knockout stages at 20 years old, he is technically outrageous, and he could be world class within a couple of seasons. But… there’s no guarantee he hits the ground running, there are worries about his attitude, and he wasn’t great last season. He feels very Samir Nasri to me, gifted, but a little unpredictable knowing what you’re going to get.
Again, who knows where this is going, but if we’re tapping up Maddison, I refuse to believe someone hasn’t said, ‘Arsenal, he’s going to be fucking expensive.’
I salute the ambition.
Arsenal are going big with the spine, padding out the squad with well-scouted youngsters, with the hope that these additions make the rest of our players infinitely better.
Imagine an attacking line-up with Maddison, ESR, Saka, and Auba. I mean, that is very, very sexy.
Next up should be Lokonga if the media is to be believed. He’s out of isolation and the paperwork is done. Another sharp siging if it works out. I like that Arteta has been getting intel from Vincent Kompany on the player. You know that not only will he get a talent read, he’ll be getting the character download, which I think is just as important based on some of our recent experiences.
Right, enjoy the game, stay safe, don’t put anything on the internet you’ll regret. Do NOT be that meme of the naked guy crowd surfing.
See you in the comments. x