Let’s crack into a delicious portion of hot off the press Gooner news.
Bernd Leno: What does it mean?
Arsenal were rumoured to have a £50m budget this summer. We just dropped £25m on a keeper. Petr Cech might take the #1 jersey, but it’s hard to see past Leno starting. Cech’s form has been shoddy, he can’t play with the ball at his feet and at 36, it’s clear his reactions aren’t what they used to be.
Listen, you don’t need to feel bad about it. We all did it yesterday. Yep, we all cheered a Spurs player because he took MIGHTY England to the land of 3-Glorious-Points. What an adventure. Say it quietly, but I quite like Gareth Southgate. He’s level-headed, he talks intelligently about the game and he’s managed to make the World Cup far less of a spectacle than it usually is.
Sooooo… VAR. Let’s talk about that. Looking kind of good, no? I’m watching Sweden vs Korea at the moment. There was a massive penalty shout, the ref missed it, he realised it might have been an error, he runs over to the giant screen and calls it within 30 seconds. Minimally invasive, accurate, and it might have given Sweden a vital 2 points they may not have picked up.
After a pretty drab start to the World Cup, things warmed up nicely yesterday when we witnessed Ronaldo take his game to laser sharp levels of precision, carrying his Portugal team to a 3-3 draw. I have to say, who knows what the f*ck De Gea was up to yesterday, letting a fairly standard shot slip past him, then presenting one of the greatest with all the space he needed for that freekick was careless. I wish he’d play like that Against Arsenal.
Get in people. Beers in the sun. Hype for the lads. All day sessions. Chanting in the streets. Tears. Disappointment. Maybe a 22 man brawl in an All Bar One. Penalties. Germans. Ronaldo tears for sure.
Good things come to those who wait, and f*ck me Arsenal fans, we’ve waited a long time for a good summer.
It hasn’t landed yet, but it feels like we’re making progress early in the window and it’s looking very exciting.
David Ornstein can usually afford to go on holiday for most oftransfer window when it comes to Arsenal, but he’s already out there tweeting that we’re in for Lucas Torreira and a goalkeeper. The good money is going on Bernd Leno to fill that position. That’ll mean we’ll have taken two targets from under the nose of Napoli.
The keeper is a very important signing. 2013-14, Leno saved 5 of 8 penalties, so that’s good news. He has sharp reactions, he makes some pretty spectacular saves, and through some extensive research I’ve been doing this week, he looks like he has a good range of passing. I’ve watched him take the ball around strikers, I’ve seen him dink chips over the press and he’s super fast at making decisions.
Petr Cech has been a great servant to the club, but we picked him up after his peak. The goalkeeping game has moved on and successful clubs need to have a keeper who is good with the ball at their feet. We don’t have to play sweeper keeper, but the advantage of having another outlet at the back is immense. How many times have we watched Arsenal concede possession because the only option for Cech is a monster hoof up the pitch?
There’s some scepticism around Leno, Bundesliga pundit Fjortoft had this to say.
“Bernd Leno to Arsenal seems to be just around the corner.
“Was a great talented keeper. It’s fair to say he hasn’t “taken the next step”.
“But a move to England can be good for him.”
I’m not sure we’re in the money leagues to compete for the best in the game. I’d love us to bring in Atleti’s Jan Oblak or Allison from Roma. Reality is, those names demand Champions League money, and sadly, we don’t have that this season. If we do sign Leno, we’re taking a punt on potential that sounds a little like it’s stalled.
On the midfielder role,Torreira is EXACTLY the sort of player Wenger used to pick up back in the day. On the way to being elite… a touch like the time we signed Freddie Ljungberg before he blew up. We’re signing the future of defensive midfield. Remember the days when Arsenal fans were telling everyone that the defensive midfield role didn’t really exist? Muppets. I’m glad we’re solving a problem we’ve had for years, with the right tool. We’ve been so bad at defensive midfielders. Denilson, Flamini, Alex Song to name a few. We signed Xhaka thinking he was box to box, then when Wenger realised he had the pace of a mobility scooter, he jammed him in the deep-lying role despite him having no defensive attributes.
I mean, there really are questions over what the club do with Xhaka. I’m not sure there’s much hope for him. In an Arsenal team that’ll be all about pressing and tactical discipline, I’m unsure how he’ll feet, especially if we sign Torreira. Hopefully, he’ll have a good World Cup, maybe there’s a path back to Germany for him. This is another great thing about the new regime, if something isn’t working on the pitch, we’ll just move the player on. One of the worst parts of the backend of Wenger’s tenure was his inability to own up to a mistake and make a tough decision.
Xhaka has been one of the worst signings of the last 10 years. He’s offered up almost nothing in midfield, and I’ve never seen a player make so many mistakes, so consistently. Give me Torreira, with cover from AMN and I’d be more than happy with that moving forward. Our midfield needs to be based on high energy, fast, powerful player. They obviously need to be technical, but one of the key things our starting 11 has lacked is power. That looks like it’s about to change.
Arsenal are doing a lot of work to bring players in, I’m very interested to see who leaves to balance the books? Ospina? Cech? What happens to Welbeck if he won’t sign? Do we keep Lacazette? Are the club keen on the bloated squad? This is going to be a very disruptive summer. Plenty more to come, and maybe even a shock to the fans at some point.
Some additional backroom news, Freddie Ljungberg is BACK at the club, managing the under 23 team. If you remember correctly, he took an ill-fated job with Joncker at Wolfsburg. He’s now back where he belongs. Good luck to him, it’s truly special to have so many explayers making their way back to Arsenal!
Finally, jump on our podcast. A few people have told me the volume is too low. That’s a power play. To make you concentrate super hard. I have rectified the issue though. So feel free to have another go. Next time, we’ll record it louder.