So with Ainsley off to Roma, we could have a bit of a nightmare shortage in midfield should something happen to one of our two available midfielders. Granit and Lokonga are keeping the club going with Mo and Partey out at AFCON. Odegaard and ESR might be able to drop a bit deeper if necessary, but let’s be real, it only takes an errant sneeze to ruin everything… and something like that could badly derail our season. Always remember, before clubs could just make a call to postpone a game… there was Arsenal vs Brentford, COVID ripping through the dressing room, and no option but to play on. Losing our opener then hit us hard for the next two games.
So what options do we have?
I think we’re about to see a number of clubs drop expensive goods from their contracts.
Coutinho will likely be given an exit ramp either on loan or on a free so he can pick up a fee.
Juventus are reportedly saying goodbye to Aaron Ramsey.
There will be others as clubs weigh up the reality: no one is buying ageing stars in 2022.
Could Arsenal bring Ramsey back to the carpet? I have my doubts. It’s a sexy thought, but the truth is he was a risk when we last had the chance to sign him, and let’s be honest… he was a massive waste of money for Juventus. He made 25 games worth of Serie A minutes for £300k a week. Colin Lewin said on our podcast a great indication of future fitness is the past… his past is quite a sad story.
BUT… don’t put it past Arsenal to move on a short term deal for betting advert sensation, Jack Wilshere. He has stature, he gets on with Arteta, everyone is very impressed with how he’s playing and behaving behind the scenes. Even if it’s only a few games, you can’t deny the technical levels he has in his locker. He’s baked in Artetaball, so he’ll hit the ground running. He’s basically had a 2 month medical/trial.
It’s the easiest option for Arsenal that doesn’t break the bank. He can do a Xhaka job, he can do a Partey job, he can do most jobs in midfield.
There’s obviously a big difference between training and match day… but he’s 29, not 38, I’d say it’s a gamble worth taking. There could still be a signing or a loan to buy move. Mattias Svanberg is interesting because all the big Italian clubs are looking at him, the idea there would be to nip in before he turns into a £50m player in 2 seasons time (check out this scouting report).
I have no idea what we’re doing on the transfer front when it comes to strikers, but the more I hear Vlahovic talk in the media, the more I wonder if we’re looking at a big mouth over a big name this summer. There’s not much to suggest Arsenal go for the obvious player these days, if his agents are telling the world they won’t pick up the phone to them, that might be because we’ve refused to pick up the phone to them. What is incredible is how hard the Italian transfer rumour circuit is working to pump him. I wonder if they are paid to do that? Media noise impacts decisions. If fan perception is that a player is right, don’t imagine that doesn’t affect some of the amateur hour minds that are in charge of purse strings in football.
Whatever happens there, don’t expect Arsenal to be making big money moves this January. The value is in the summer or in a try before you buy like Jovic.
I’m no financial expert, but I also wonder if the big rich men of world football are going to wait and see if there’s a mega-market crash brewing. Markets have been very volatile and there are a lot of warning signs that this year might be rough.
The Liverpool game was postponed yesterday. Apparently, their caseload is pretty wild. Klopp has been calling for transparency, but it doesn’t seem like he’s been too willing to share what a mess he’s dealing with or where the mess is.
The disappointing thing is that once again, a big club cries, and they get what they want. Leyton Orient get binned, Liverpool get the full primo service… and they will play the FA Cup on Sunday. Hard not to see that as a dirty darkarts move because Arsenal are in good form and Liverpool is not.
Still, for Arsenal, we have to take it as an advantage. More time on the training ground is a good thing. More rest in the legs is a good thing. Playing the first leg at Anfield is also a good thing. Liverpool clearly not wanting to be part of this thing is a good, good thing. So let’s see what happens there.
It was also nice watching Chelsea easily beat a very strong Spurs side. Not a spanking, but a paddled arse to drive home who the daddy is. 2-0 means Unai Conte has to go with a full team for the second leg. Did you see his body language after the game? Did you hear what he said?
‘Chelsea spent a lot of money’
Arsenal will go with a skinny line-up against Nottingham Forest, they’ll probably go pretty meaty for Liverpool on a Thursday, then we roll the dice against Spurs on Sunday. If they get rattled by Chelsea at home again, it might impact how they play against us, especially if Conte plays the victim again.
Back to Spurs. They are really bad. 5 attempts at Chelsea’s goal, 2 on target… when Chelsea had Kepa in goal? It’s very drab. Antonio Conte is here to play on the break, you know what he’s going to do every game, and it is painful to watch. I really hope Arteta takes the same energy he took into last seasons win or bust game.
Here’s the big truth that you can’t escape: Top 4 is still a stretch goal.
‘You are making excuses’
No, I’ve been preaching the same reality all season.
This is the youngest team in the league.
We had the biggest reconstruction of any big team this summer.
This group has to suffer before it can truly be deemed top 4 quality.
That doesn’t mean I’m not hoping we can nick it, we have a lot of things going for us this season. Momentum is one of them. Hungry young players is another. The speed in which they’ve all bonded around the Artetaball idea. They’re all massive, but things can come unstuck very fast, as we saw against Everton.
I don’t want to pick on fan archetypes, but generally, I would say the fans that said the new signings didn’t move the needle / Arteta would be sacked by November, are the people now saying we should make top 4.
Don’t raise the highs too high and don’t take the lows to extremes.
Whatever happens this season, we are on a sharper track than most teams in the league at the moment.
You know where the Spurs story is heading, a massive arson attack that Daniel Levy will have to pay a premium to solve.
You know where United is heading under Rangnick… right into a painful transition. His success has been built around nobody young men from around Europe that agree to work themselves to the bone in a selfless system that requires every single player to do their job. He can’t work with Ronaldo, his system won’t allow it, and he just made him captain. Older players do not want to learn new tricks. Rangnickball is very bad unless everyone buys in.
This season is an opportunity to catch a leap on the competition, no doubt, just tether your expectations to reality. One day, we will drop a performance against Everton so bad, you actually want to cry. Two weeks later, we’ll put on the best show against City of any team in Europe and totally control them by making them look ordinary.
The rocket ship is heading to the moon, but buckle up, because we’ll get nicked by space debris, and occasionally, we’ll be pushed off orbit by a big fuck off rock you weren’t expecting to see.
Have fun in the comments. x