So here we are people. Sambi Lokonga lands at Arsenal as our second signing of the summer. The Belgian midfielder has already joined up with training and he looks VERY happy to be here. Just look at that finger point… so assertive.
Obviously, there aren’t many of us who know what he’s all about. This player has come straight from the transfer school of Wenger when he was at his absolute peak. Sambi has the right athletic profile compared to someone like Ceballos, he’s adept at interceptions because of his sharp mind, and he looks to have the full range of passing skills Thomas Partey boasts.
This sort of signing might not bang in year one, but for me, this is exactly where a club like Arsenal should be putting their money. Clearly, he’s been picked up by the analysts for his unique talents. The club has no doubt picked up secondary information from Vincent Kompany and maybe even Thierry, which means his character has been assessed. Then we’ve moved fairly rapidly to pull the deal over the line.
Arsenal has spent the last 5 years trying to shortcut success with older players that might have one last push in them. This summer, it looks like we’re getting back to basics of sorts by signing young players, with high ceilings, that can grow with a young coach famed for his developmental skills.
The idea here, I would imagine, is if this squad of young players gets us into the Champions League at some point, they’ll be ready to compete for the trophy right away… versus the shortcut method of fumbling into the competition, then having to drop a massive reboot to sustain ourselves.
I’m thrilled at the prospect of having athletes back in midfield, I truly am. This is a great signing and it speaks to lessons learned.
That said, I still think there’s going to be a sneak attack from transfer windows of the past at some point. James Maddison might be the dream, but it’ll be very tough to find the funds needed to move on him. It’d be sheer madness… and I think there are rumblings that Coutinho might be on the radar. He’ll be available for a pittance because Barca is broke, he’d solve an experience gap with have with our creative talents, the kids would probably love him there, and he’s Premier League proven.
On the flip-side, his injury record is absolutely woeful, this also makes him a peak-Wenger signing. Remember when he got lucky with Overmars knee, then developed a broken player saviour complex? I do. Edu is probably gambling on last season being the freak and looking to his fairly robust past before then. It’s risky business, but if you can get Coutinho firing, you really do have a player that can do it all creatively. Nooooot quite sure he’s going ramp up the intensity for you though.
Arteta is also seeking out leadership.
‘We need some senior players, players with different types of leadership in the team, with different qualities, people that complement each other.’
I’m not sure if Ben White is a leader or has the level of experience we are looking for, so who knows what we’re looking for here, or in what position. One would expect that it’ll likely come from whoever replaced Granit Xhaka, but I’m not sure that’s Neves?
We’ll see, it’s all rumours at the moment, but I tell you what, we’d be rude not to knock on the door at Barca and see if they have any jewels that we could bring to the carpet. Sergiño Dest anyone? 19 years old, a right-back, played 41 times for them last season? I mean… come on, let’s ask and see what they think.
In absolutely awful news, exArsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis has been diagnosed with throat cancer. Everyone here wishes him the best and prays for a speedy recovery. Judging by his quotes, that got it early, and clearly, he’s going land elite levels of medical support. Cancer, what a fucking awful, awful thing.
Right, I’ll be on the Twitch Stream chatting all things Arsenal at 6pm GMT. Tune in or… don’t, but maybe do?