The transfer window has barely opened on an official basis but the deals have been flowing throughout the world of football. For ourselves the talk has intensified over both ins and outs over the last few days especially. I’m now in the cross between nervous and excited. It’s almost like a semi-final of a cup competition. The chance for glory beckons, yet is still quite a way away but the possibility of failure is still clouding the path forward.
The ins are looking fairly good at the moment. We’ve already snaffled the best LB from the Bundesliga from last season (he made the team of the season, Alaba did not, so there) and a club record deal for Alexandre Lacazette looks like it may well occur over the next couple of days. We have been here before with the likes of Higuain and Benzema, but when the bipolar tendencies of Aulas the Lyon president are even resigned to losing their main front man you know that it has to be close. Reports have stated that it could be done in the next 2 days or so, which would be an incredibly positive start to the summer. The opinion on Lacazette seems to be divided amongst the Arsenal Twitterati, where the stats comparison between himself and Giroud have been banded about. The argument seems to be whether he has any more to offer numbers wise than what we have, but that misses the point completely. He may or may not improve the numbers (I’m banking on the fact that he actually will) but what he does provide is a more intelligent form of movement in comparison to our current set of forwards. Welbeck is most effective when he plays as a wide forward for both Arsenal and England with his finishing being not quite good enough to lead the line. Walcott is a pace merchant whose goals arrive from movement in behind in the main, but we all know that his movement is on the rigid side and it has to be kept simple in order for him to be successful. We all know what Giroud can do, and while Ozil has had relative success at supplying the front man, he would benefit greatly from more than just Alexis Sanchez running onto his quite outrageous passing ability. Alexis was the only one who I thought lead the line with consistency and success but hated it as he was starved of the ball. What Lacazette would give us is a quick and more mobile striker, whose runs alone would create space. The space is where we have an issue right now, will it be Alexis who’s running in tandem with Lacazette? A question for further down this piece. Another thing that we are gaining with Lacazette is his ability to finish. He is more fleet a foot, more prolific and quicker than our current strike force, albeit only by a small margin. However if we can improve what we have then why wouldn’t we do it? The arguments that are flying around include why we aren’t going for a more potent striker such as Cavani, Aubameyang or even Mbappe? The fact is we are in the Europa League next season along with the fact that money being a big factor these days, hampering us on the weekly wage basis. Rumours of a £500k a week offer from China for Aubameyang along with a monstrous fee for Mbappe with Champions League football for Cavani are the reasons why we are looking toward the second tier in terms of quality. That is in no way a slight to Lacazette, it’s just a reflection of the situation of both the market as well as our club being in the second tier of European competition. It quite clearly makes a difference. In any case, it looks to be 2 players in with still 2 weeks before we go away on our pre season tour. This is so un Arsenal. Enjoy it folks.
The rumour mill has also linked us with the likes of Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez saying that both deals are ‘done’, but these ones don’t seem to have the same seal of approval as the Lacazette move does, so they are more wait and see. A rather more interesting turning point has been that Mbappe, after his Twitter account had tweeted out a picture of both himself and Lemar included in the launch picture of their new kit seemed to quash any move that might have been in the offing. Since that point he’s now removed any affiliation to Monaco from his Twitter bio a la Jack Wilshere. A twist in his saga possibly? This was swiftly followed by news reports stating that Arsenal were ready to make an offer of £125m to bring him to the Emirates. On top of that all, Marca the Real Madrid mouthpiece, tweeted that they had a massive announcement to be made on Monday the 3rd of July, the very same day you may be reading this content. Who knows what is going to happen with that one but I’m intrigued to say the least.
The main topic this week, post the Confederations cup, is going to be whether we can keep a hold of our best player in Alexis Sanchez. The comments before the final very much looked as though he seemed like a player with his mind focussing on things away from Arsenal, on the club football side of things. Articles soon came out stating that he would not be sold to Man City under any circumstances. All paper talk thus far but we will find out this week I would imagine as that going one way or the other will dictate whether we are in fact in a position to pull off the £125m signing of Kylian Mbappe. On the other side of things us keeping a hold of The Ox has also become a topic of discussion. Reports of him rejecting a new deal are worrying to me as I believe he has what it takes and really did begin to show it towards the end of last season. A watershed moment in his career has arrived as both for Arsenal and The Ox a big decision awaits. Move and fail at a big club and he will forever be consigned to not being ‘at the top level’, or stay and play under the tutelage of a manager that actually believes in every part of your game. Keeping the likes of Giroud have also been topics of discussion, however I maintain that we will need a plan B if a title tilt is something we are serious about.
Lots to happen over the next few weeks but our initial approach to the market has been positive, so let’s focus on that.
Have a good week folks and pray that Alexis stays.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.