Our pre season tour began with a trip down under and a couple of warm up games against Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers. A 2-0 win vs Sydney FC followed by a 3-1 win against the Wanderers. The fan following out there and globally really did show itself, with both games being sold out at over an 80,000 capacity. The club continues to grow slowly but surely and build towards the likes of Man Utd, Madrid, Barca & Bayern. They are the clubs who have a larger global following and therefore have the funds and the stature to attract the top talent the world over. There aren’t many clubs able to grow organically to compete with the aforementioned array, however we are one of them. Commercially the only other club who are making strides in a similar vein are maybe Chelsea, through their bought success. I don’t mean that as a slant in anyway, even though I do detest the club, I mean it in accordance with the trophies that they have won with the millions that they have invested. We now move onto China to further grow those commercials with two more big money friendlies vs Chelsea and Bayern. We had the kit launches continue with the tour as well with a quite beautiful 3rd kit followed by a fairly hideous looking away kit. That won’t help the commercials now will it!? Keep it simple. Keep it yellow.
There have been a couple of interesting outtakes from the two games, in that we continued with our 3 centre back approach and even more interestingly we played with Elneny filling one of those positions. Odd it seems, however Wenger looks to be trying to find the best way that he can utilise certain squad members in the best way possible that he is thinking of keeping. Either that or he’s put Elneny in the shop window by saying “look at what he can do!!”. Though I do believe it is the former. What was encouraging to see was Lacazette getting on the scoresheet with some good movement alongside Aaron Ramsey’s marauding runs enabling him to really look the part as a box-to-box man. Pre season, for me, is purely about the minutes and fitness with the avoidance of injury. So far so good.
The shape of continuing with three centre backs seems intriguing to me, purely because of the type of player that we are chasing in the transfer market; Lemar. He very much looks as though he fits into a 4-2-3-1 formation more than the current set up, unless of course he is displacing Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil. The noises that social media provide suggest that it is Alexis who is more likely to leave of the two and considering the man is giving radio interviews whilst on holiday with non committal statements without saying he’s staying or leaving means the writing may well be on the wall. The scenario that seems the most likely to me is that he stays this year and leaves for a free to City next season. The only situation in which I can see him leaving this season is if PSG come in with a big money offer. Now this is something I could see happening if we were close to getting the likes of Mbappe this season. I know that we have seen this before with Giroud and Podolski coming in to replace RVP, however that was one of the final sales to help pay off the stadium debt. We are not in the same position at all anymore and I do wonder if Wenger is thinking of the economics of it in that a 29 year old Alexis Sanchez is one that may have 1-2 years left at the top of the game considering his playing style and letting him go on a free next season wouldn’t be all bad. I wonder if his thoughts are let’s try our utmost to win the league with what we have this season (with one or two more additions) and at the end of the season let Alexis be the one who has to make the tough call. It’s a big if but if we do happen to win the league this coming season we will be both in a strong position to retain our top talent as well as attract the best from around the world. The saga of the summer has well and truly begun and as I’ve said previously both Ozil and Alexis will be waiting to see the result of who is going to sign at what price before making their decision on things and it will be something that we will have to wait for the team to be back in London before any definitive progress is made.
The outgoings are where we really will gain an indication on what is really happening on the incoming front. As well as this, the shape of the team will display both sides of the coin here. A lot of the Twitter ‘ITK’ community seem to consider that Lemar is now an Arsenal player, but I can see why both Arsenal and Monaco wouldn’t want this announced for a couple of reasons. Monaco, because they won’t want any potential clubs who they are looking at for replacements to know that A) they have considerable disposable income and B) are desperate for a replacement. Arsenal may want to delay any announcement or ‘agreement’ because they wouldn’t want any potential suitors for the likes of Walcott, for example, to know that we need to offload to free up wage space. Everyone in the game will know our wage total and with the new regulations coming in it won’t take club accountants long to find out how they can hold our club to ransom with negotiations. Therefore I think there will be a lot of agreements carried out behind closed doors for everyones benefit and whilst it may seem like a quiet period, it might not be quite all as it seems. Alexis however will be our saga for the summer, of that there is no doubt, however I truly hope we act in the way Liverpool did with Suarez and utilise our best player to try and propel us towards the league title.
On a non football related note, I was really pleased to see that Roger Federer was crowned Wimbledon Champion for an eighth time. Whilst it wasn’t a classic final by any means it truly reflects my opinion that Federer is quite simply the best and most technically proficient player we have ever seen. What a wonderful player and I really do hope we see him return to the grass courts of SW19 one more time at least. #GOAT as they say.
Have a wonderful week folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.