It’s the game that has been driving the millennial generation crazy over the last few weeks. We’ve all been talking about it. We’ve been driven to shouting at our phones for it. We’ve even seen people fall over in disbelief over what they’ve managed to catch through the waves of our constant digital connection. No it’s not Pokemon. It’s Le Boss’ summer long version of Casino Royale. We all lay waiting to see whether Wenger is going to go all in or fold.
The summer has been so flip flop in terms of links and stories. It’s been littered with purposeful leaks and falsely laid information. It’s even been through the Groundhog Day phase that we all get to, normally at the end of the window, but we’re still here. It’s a strange one. Still plenty of time to get business done. However the panic has fully set in on social media. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it all but I have a funny feeling that something big is going on behind the scenes because the information coming in looks to be so incoherent. When Tony Cascarino is the ‘source’ for a transfer you really have to question EVERYTHING. I’m fully in the camp that believes false links are being spread from within the club to mask the real activity. The below belt bids for Lacazette followed by the adamant “he is not for sale” statements seemed legitimate until literally a day after the aforementioned statement we hear this message from Lyon: “there are some offers you can’t refuse”. Considering a deal is not yet done it’s a strange thing to say about one of your players. Now I can only assume that he may have been saying that because he has assurances from Wenger that we will not plump for Lacazette. Conspiracy theory at full tilt I know but I just can’t understand why a message from a club would change so dramatically within 24 hours and this after a deal has in no way been agreed no less. We’ve seen players and their agents use our club for better contracts so why couldn’t a manager play the same game? This time with a promise to a club to leave their player alone as something else was being worked on? That we only needed a little helping hand in the media in return. Lyon and Lacazette would be the used parties but it’s happened so many times to us as well as many other clubs that it’s just the way business is done in this day and age. Not something I’m a fan off but what can you do? I just wonder if Wenger has an ace up his sleeve. Who knows who it might be, let’s hope it’s one of the people he had a lengthy conversation with after the Euro 2016 final.
In other transfer related rumour the Mahrez links have intensified since Wenger went to go and watch Leicester get demolished by PSG. Added to this Mahrez was pictured alongside some of the Arsenal contingent in LA, however coincidental that may be. I just wonder whether even just a friendly like the one against PSG could bring Mahrez to the realisation that last season really was a one off and that if he is to continue to win things a move to The Arsenal might just be the way to do so.
We’re in LA, Leicester are in LA, why not make it happen there? The opportunity could well present itself and not only that but it could have multiple benefits. The figure mooted for him is around the £40m mark, however if we brought him in someone like Walcott would have to be sold. He would bring in at least £20m in this crazy time and in doing so would half the cost of Mahrez. There’s definitely something rumbling on this front with Le Boss getting his famous ‘smile’ out post the Leicester v PSG game when quizzed on Mahrez. In fairness he’s had this before when Draxler and Benzema were mentioned but you have to remember that we’ve been close on those two, which means that there’s at least something happening on Mahrez. I really hope we can convince him to come, because at 25 we can expect his best years to be given to our cause.
Defensively we will also need to find some cover now that we know Per Mertesacker will be out for at least half the season. It’s a place where if we had brought a signing in, it would have been nice, but what would have been nice has now become a necessity. It looks as though Wenger has all but confirmed that we have someone coming in on the defensive front before a ball is kicked in our season, however the one hope I hold is that it doesn’t hamper our spend on a striker. The worst case maths in my head runs like this:
Defender (Mustafi?) -£30m
This leaves us with around £50m for that elusive front man. If we get our way with the transfers we may even get a centre back for £25m and sell Theo for £25m leaving us with £60m to spend on a forward. The budget is certainly there to go big but it’s whom we go big on that’s the mystery. I for one like the mystery. It’s keeping me from checking social media too often anyway. My transfer sanity is just about with me, still.
In terms of football we’ve had a couple of friendlies in the US. A 2-1 win vs the MLS Allstars, in which of course Drogba scored against us followed by a 3-1 win vs Chivas. Minutes under the belt and no injuries in the main but also some sparkling performances from The Ox, Chuba Akpom & our new man Rob Holding. Internal solutions I hear you cry in angst! Promising for sure but I hope to God that they don’t quite convince Wenger not to buy a central defender, a wide man and a striker, all areas in which we need to invest if we are to win trophies this coming season.
In other news I can happily announce that I will now be a regular columnist on @afcstuff’s new website, which is launching soon. You’ll soon be able to not only find my weekly blog posts there but also a fair few match reports alongside them. I’m really looking forward to writing for them and hopefully generating some healthy conversation and debate for the great club that we all love; The Arsenal.
Have a great week folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.