Apologies for the delay with the blog. The plague had struck me down henceforth leading to the delay.
It’s been a fairly quiet week on the Arsenal front but we did see our hero of a player score the winning penalty of the Copa America final which was a ballsy one as well; dinking its way into the back of the net. Apparently the guy has played 72 games over the last 12 months and doesn’t seem to ever want a rest. Reading Arseblog’s musings yesterday were hilarious but seemed accurate. You can just imagine him turning up today for pre season as if it were completely normal. He’ll need a rest and then some training to get back into the swing of things so I don’t think we’ll see him until mid to late August, and we’ll need to manage our games accordingly. I think that we’ll need to have a little injection of new blood to compensate for his early absence. Talk of Benzema, Aubameyang & Lacazette is encouraging, but someone of that ilk will need to be brought in to keep the X factor within the team and keep the opposition guessing. With Alexis we have that, without him teams feel they have a chance. Like early on last season, we know that new signings take time to bed in but really good players find a way to make an impact. Alexis did that. Now I know that players like him don’t come along so often but Wenger knows what’s required in that respect so I really do hope he acts on it like he did last summer. I do feel a little sorry for Leo Messi over the last 2 international tournaments he’s played in. He is in my mind, without doubt, the greatest player to have ever graced the game. Granted I wanted both Germany and Chile to win the respective finals due to the Gooners involved but I can’t help but fee sorry for the man who deserves to be a part of a World Cup winning team but may never get to do it. He has one more chance left but he will be 31 at that time, will he still have the legs to go and do it? Part of me thinks that Pep Guardiola should take the Argentina job and build the team around Messi the way it should be to allow them the chance to go and win big. I read somewhere that Messi refused the trophy of best player at the tournament to avoid the ridicule aimed his way at the World Cup final so you can see he’s really hurting and wants that big international tournament to his name.
Other than that, the talk of Schneiderlin has come to surface once more. United made a £20m bid by the sounds of it which Southampton aren’t considering as serious. They want £27m and while that seems steep, I’m not so sure why us as fans care so much. We’re obviously keen on the guy but want to pay around he £20m mark as well. I’m not so sure where this one will go but if we have to pay a little more, I for one don’t mind. We pay enough to go and watch the Arsenal so what’s a few million here or there on a player? No smoke without fire they say, and the smoke indicates we have around £70m to spend. £11m on Cech and £27m on Schneiderlin would leave us £32m for whatever else we need. That should be enough to bring in the likes of Benzema and the like mentioned above so I don’t think it’s a question of the price tag with Schneiderlin. I think it’s a question of keeping the cards as close to the chest as possible to avoid being fleeced by selling clubs. The later you buy the better value you get and we all know that will be Wenger’s prerogative as it always has been. Although interestingly Arteta has now signed a new 1 year deal which will see him remain at the club as cover for the Coq, which does put slight doubt into signing a DM. The argument a lot of people have is that had we paid £20m for the Coq in January would we require the cover but my answer to this is two fold.
Firstly he’s been found a little wanting in some games where patience was required (Monaco, Swansea at home, Sunderland at home & Chelsea at home). It’s in those games that we could have had 9 points instead of 2 which could make all the difference in the league next season. So while he was excellent there is still room for improvement, and considering we didn’t pay anything for him it’s ok to add in that area. Secondly if we had paid £20m for him we would be more compelled to stick with him game in game out as the investment was made but the difference here is that we haven’t made that £20m investment so by doing so now we would further reinforce our depth in one of the two positions where we need it. I feel as though that is the most important thing to achieve in this window. Bring in the 2 signings that would create a ‘B’ team good enough to beat most teams in the league. Squad depth is what keeps you going in multiple competitions throughout the season.
The final piece of transfer stuff is that Flamini is in talks of a move to Bastia. The fact that this rumour exists could well mean that we do have an eye on an additional DM. The small flicker of hope is there so I will cling to it! Nothing against Flamini, but he doesn’t actually provide a benefit to the team anymore. His only use seems to be that he’s best friends with Ozil. If it keeps Ozil happy let’s keep him. I jest, I jest. The summer seems to be ticking along nicely but this week seems to have been a bit more chug, chug, chug rather than a smooth purr so far as car analogies go. Though Arteta has now signed a 1 year extension and with Wenger saying his experience around the dressing room being a factor it seems that he will be peripheral rather than at the forefront of the team. It just feels like a signing in that area is imminent.
A final LOL moment was the news that Robin Van Persie seems to be off to Fenerbahce. He could have been a club great, however he’ll now be forgotten by both Arsenal and Man United. A truly brilliant way for the ‘ambitious’ lad to finish his career. He had all the talent in the world but definitely didn’t make the most of it trophy wise. The cash he’s made will make it easier but I still can’t help but laugh at the little boy in his head. LOL indeed.
The tour squad is on its way to Singapore. Pre season has officially begun. Someone needs to be sure Alexis is locked out in the nicest way possible. Either that or by tranquillising him.
Have a great week people.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.