Well, it would appear that the Raphinha story might not smell of Vlahovic, it looks increasingly like Arsenal are going to go all out this window and bring in all the technical wide players.
Did anyone see Arsenal investing £60m on a player to replace Nicolas Pepe?
I did not.
But do I welcome it?
You are damn right I do.
Ornstein says this chatter is the real deal.
“Interest in him (Raphinha) is clear and firm. Mikel Arteta and a number of others at Arsenal really like him. Admiration not fresh, goes back a little way. I think that is the player they would like to bring in.”
Raphinha would be a monster show of ambition. He can play on the left, he can play on the right, I suspect he has the frame and profile to play as a false #9 if we needed him to do that job.
What do I like about him? He has power, speed, and brilliant control. There is a lot of end product and directness in his game… and we know he has the right character because he survived Bielsa.
FABIO VIEIRA IS IN THE DOOR. Mikel and Edu had this to say.
EDU: “We’re so pleased to have completed the signing of Fabio from FC Porto. Fabio is a player with special qualities who is comfortable with the ball in the final third of the pitch. We are all looking forward to working with him and enjoying his future contribution to Arsenal. We will now continue to work hard and are looking forward to finishing this transfer window as strongly possible.”
MIKEL: ”I am very excited that we have identified and signed such a special talent. Fabio is a very creative player that will bring high quality and versatility to our attacking play. We welcome Fabio and his family to our club and are looking forward to starting work with him ahead of the new season.”
This is a banger of a signing, we’re trying to get a Bernado or KDB before they are a thing. The club moved in silence on this one, they did the deal with Jorge Mendes. They jumped the queue ahead of other top clubs. I am thrilled. Who knows how we’ll use him, but he has so many characteristics I like… tight control, deadly accuracy with his passes, bravery, elite creativity, and the character to force his way into a good Porto side. He’s also the U21 Champion and a league winner. This is a baller move from the club and I AM EXCITED.
The player had this to say:
I’m an attacking player who looks to find space between the lines to be able to finish off moves either with assists or by scoring goals. I think those are the main attributes that Arsenal fans can expect from me. I’ll always give my all for the team.
… and as I’ve been saying, young players see us the hot club to ply their trade, this is who he’s looking forward to playing with.
I’m a fan of Bukayo Saka and Smith Rowe, too. I really like the way they play. Odegaard is quite similar to me.
Zach Lowy for the win on the Odegaard piece. Check out that video here.
The delicious story doing the rounds on United Twitter is that Ten Hag is a big fan of Nicolas Pepe. Now there’s a move I didn’t see coming, but really, we all know there’s a player in Nico, it’s just not going to be unearthed in this Mikel Arteta system. You have guaranteed goals with Nico, but there’s no consistency, and I don’t think he has the control in his game to really bang at Arsenal.
We haven’t spoken about it, but someone is going to have to tell Edu that yes, the rumours are true, you can sell players.
Here is the list of potential names that could go and some speculative fees:
- Nico: £20m (if it’s United, why not?)
- Bernd Leno: £15m
- Bob Holding: £10m
- Granit Xhaka: £15m
- Ainsley: £5m
- Hector: £5m
- Torreira £15m
- Ballard £5m
That’s £90m in there plus the £15m we’ve already received from Guendouzi and Mavropanos.
Now, we know the chances of getting near that numbers are very low, but there’s no reason to believe we can’t make a dent.
- Marquinhos £3m
- Tielemans £25m
- Raphinha £50m
- Jesus £45m
- Fabio £30m
- Martinez £35m
If all the names drop that are on the list quite firmly, we’re looking at a £188m.
My guess is that Arsenal are probably looking to get to a similar net spend as last season, which was around £130m.
Again, I go back to the January transfer window and the potency of not doing anything fucking mad because Twitter said so.
We reduced the wage bill, we’ve gone from £190m when Arteta took over, to about £85m 2.5 years later. That’s a monster reduction by any standards. These players we’re bringing in aren’t coming in on huge cash, I saw that Vieira would be earning about £46k a week to start with, I suspect Raphinha, Tielemans and Jesus will come on more cash, but we’re not looking at the dark days of £350k a week.
Part of our problem with the selling story has always been the salary. The increasingly muted misery crowd loves to throw around the story about Mustafi being offered a new deal at Arsenal, which wasn’t true, and here’s how you know why… He was on £90k a week under Arsene Wenger, no one was going to pick him up on that deal, the players knew that, but he left, was booted from Schalke, and even on a free transfer, he couldn’t get more than £38k a week. Yep, Arsenal paid Mustafi over double his market rate, that’s why we couldn’t get rid of him, and that’s why he was absolutely not offered a new deal by Arsenal.
The difficulty of rebuilding any organization is that pain is part of the process. In football though, you have 10 million critics demanding the change come with no bumps in the road. Out the backend of this rebuild, we have an average squad age of 23.5, loads of Hale-End products, a better culture, a clear idea of how to play, a recruitment team that aren’t banter, and a manager that has enough sway to drive change through every aspect of the club.
It’s dream stuff. We are moving like a proper club again. The whiners are being put in their place, this club is moving away from the negative voices. The fans in the stadium are falling in love with their team again. All the doubters that said we’d move nowhere under this regime are starting to double-take because Arsenal are powering at the dream of being major trophy winners in a really smart way.
Right, before I exit the building, it’s my birthday today, so sign up for my Patreon OR watch the latest podcast we put out.
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