Lionel Messi available

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… but who needs him when you have Mo Elneny back in the side banging in goals from 30 yards?

Two BIG pieces of news in football yesterday were:

Harry Maguire found guilty of assault and BRIBERY. I absolutely love all the ‘he’s a good honest boy’ pieces doing the rounds. I don’t even need to have been there to know how that scene played out.

‘Oi, speaken sie English mate? Look, let’s do a deal. Do you know who I am?’

You can imagine it… it was me when I was 19 years old, waving around 30 Euros because I’d heard the foreign police were open to it.

Shocking form from a man who really should have taken his mates to a private island. He earns £190k a week and he’s taking holidays like he’s earning £9 an hour in First Sport in Lakeside.

The second major piece of news is 33-year-old Lio Messi has told Ronald Koeman he wants out of Barca. I liked one of the Spanish papers takes on it.

‘The meeting wasn’t friendly and Koeman insisted he’d be inflexible

Can’t knock that sort of attitude.

I think it’s a great thing for Barca. Sell Messi for £150m to one of the petro-dollar clubs, get 60m off your wage bill, the rebuild with Matteo Guendouzi and Lacazette as your centrepieces.

Joking aside, who the fuck is going to pay a massive transfer fee and £70m a year? It feels like a weird threat to make of Barcelona, unless he can argue his contract is null and void because of covid… but even then, who is ponying up £70m a year? Crazy money. Let’s see if he’s truly going to stay, or he’s just kicking up a stink to show who is boss.

The third BIG piece of news is that THE Arsenal went all hype culture on us and dropped a fresh friendly with the MK DONS.

I was half in the game half out, but it was a fairly pre-seasonish performance. A lot of our big names were missing and we threw a lot of kids at the game. Odd that AMN started, not sure what that was all about. No Hector. We saw Willy Saliba in an Arsenal shirt and he looked comfortable on the ball and more than capable of dealing with the physical side of England. I think he’ll be a class act for us and suspect he’ll have a big role, though maybe not immediately.

Two early goals from Mo Elneney and Saka set nerves at ease. MK pulled one back from a stunning Rob Holding own goal. The second half saw some new faces and one of them scored. McGuiness with a bullet header into the top corner. Then Reiss finished the game off with a penalty at the end.

My guess is that Arteta is going to give the Community Shield secondary attention. The players just had an exhausting season and I would imagine Arteta understands that the most important thing he can deliver in September is a fast start. This team switches off if there’s nothing to play for, so keeping them in the mix is what he has to deliver.

Still, it must be hard. Players aren’t settled yet and there could be a lot of coming and going over the next few weeks. Far from ideal, I just hope the comings arrive earlier in the month. It’d be ideal to have our major problems solved for day one of the season… namely, a functioning midfield.

Short one today, have a good one!

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Price profile for defensive midfielder shifts

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Well, Arsenal fans, things do appear to be moving at a rapid pace this window. Still not a lot of movement on midfield targets, but we’re starting to see some shapes appear when it comes to the squad.

AMN has edged closer to a 4 year deal with Wolves. He put Traore in his pocket when we played there away from home, now he’s earned a move to Molineux. I suspect this exit is more to do with his desire to play in a fixed position regularly than Arteta’s desire to oust him. A lot of Arsenal fans are angry he’s moved for £20m, roughly a Dom Solanke of a fee. I’d not be so sure that’s a bad number. I think that’s literally what a deflated market looks like in 2020.

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Maitland-Niles looks set to join Wolves + Gabriel stalked on motorway by rabid Arsenal fans

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Arsenal has continued to rework their backroom team at a rapid-fire pace. Wherever we’re heading, Edu and Arteta are moving there FAST.

The club moved on Freddie Ljungberg and there are rumours that they might be back-filling his role with Dennis Bergkamp (Mark Irwin). I am an absolute sucker for the Dutchman. I penned a 2000 word essay on him (and Thierry) for Mundial once, what a total dream of a player/human. I have no idea what he’s like as a coach, but he’s certainly done some of it at Ajax. I also don’t know what he’d be coming in as. Still, what we do know is the man is trained in Total Football, he boasted some of the best technique the Premier League has ever witnessed, and he’s an absolute winner that can speak many languages.

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What Gabriel addresses in our defence + Arsenal look to America for coaching ideas

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Feels like we’re a little bit in stasis on the Gabriel signing, but some of the big transfer hitters have come out and stated that yes, he is our man, and he’ll be joining the Edu and Arteta project for FIVE years. Love it.

This really is a statement signing. The player has all the attributes we’re looking for in a defender. According to FreshArsenal, Gabriel isn’t really a ball-playing defender like you’d expect from a Brazilian, but he is an absolute machine when it comes to aerial duels. In France this season, he’s averaged a whopping 5.1 a game, which compares nicely to VVD on 4.9. I also didn’t realise he’s 6ft3. Next to Saliba at 6ft4, that’s quite an intimidating pairing.

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Will Arsenal and the Premier League go for the RUNDLE model?

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There’s been a bit of panic in the Arsenal Twittersphere that Gabriel was slipping through our fingers after worrying rumours emerged that United and City were in to ‘compete’ with us. Those worries seem to have been misguided, most newspapers are now reporting that Brazilian has chosen Arsenal. Sport Witness has done a nice job covering off what’s been going down. I was getting info last night from some ITK fans about which hotel he was in. I also dreamt about Cessna planes last night, no doubt our obsessives are studying private-jet manifestos as we speak.

I think we just have to accept that this is what the summer will look like for most players we go in for. We’re not the richest club in the room by a margin and every player is going to make sure they’re making the most out of pandemic offers, which I’d imagine are less rich than they were in January.

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Arsenal Women Gun For Glory

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One of the pleasures that comes with creating content about Arsenal is meeting people that are crazy talented and all they want to talk about is The Arsenal. Guest blogger Demian and I have been meeting for a few years, last time we hung out I watched him play percussion for the Jonas Brothers in Brooklyn. He warned me to bring earplugs, I was like, errr, been to Wembley mate, reckon I can handle this… oh my, was I wrong. I’ve never heard shrieks like it. He wears elite jackets and one of his major loves is the women’s game. He asked if I’d write about the game this weekend, instead, I threw it over to him. Enjoy the piece and give him a follow on @DemianArriaga.

Just like you, I LOVE ARSENAL.

But sometimes, I need a little reminder here and there.

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