No wonder Theresa May couldn’t find the ‘Magic Money Tree’ during the election campaign; it was being nurtured in Arsène’s garden. Now he’s reaping all the benefits.
I totted up all the offers which the papers, home and abroad, claim we’ve made. It comes to a staggering £383m, give or take a few pennies. I’ll freely admit to being impressed by the size of that money tree. No wonder Alexis is on his way. By my admittedly dodgy sums, we’re still looking for around £200m; not so much a money tree as an orchard.
Alexandre Lacazette is in London apparently, last seen in the company of Lord Lucan disappearing off into the Soho night. His is the next medical, after Yann M’Vila and Sebastien Frey.
With the fee agreed, it’s a case of waiting for things to happen ahead of a formal announcement. And let’s face it, football supporters are not patient at the best of times.
Our American chums celebrate 4th of July, with all the beer, barbeques and sun they can handle. Or Saturdays, as we call them. There will be stars and stripes everywhere. And stars is what the goalkeepers will be seeing when Jens Lehmann arrives at London Colney.
Any move by the club to improve the coaching staff is welcomed. However, a cautionary note is struck when we recall a similar hope for Steve Bould when he assumed Pat Rice’s duties.
Arsène, it seems, is going against the grain in that he doesn’t like contrary opinions being aired, publicly at least. Lehmann – again a public persona – is mad, bad and dangerous. Or just a winner. If he can reignite that in the dressing room, it’s no bad thing.
But this has the makings of a tale which ends in tears.
“Do you sense, as I do, that this conversation is an exercise in futility?”
Except Lehmann holds Wenger in the highest regard and has been supportive of the Frenchman in the media. Previously at the club to complete his badges, this time as a coach, it’s different. It’s the players who may take badly to the German’s forthright personality.
I do wonder if that’s part of the reason he’s been hired; to shake the complacency out of the dressing room but, as I say, Bould was viewed in that light as well. Is this part of the shake-up, the compromise for Peyton being allowed to stay? It certainly seems that way.
Wenger has his goalkeeping situation to resolve. Wojciech Szczesny bade farewell to Roma yesterday on social media with a heartfelt message. Did he do that when he went on loan from Arsenal? I can’t remember and frankly, I’m not bothered either.
Whether he stays is debatable. The early promise is gone but he must have done something right in Rome to be there for two years, making 81 first team appearances. There’s talk of Juventus bids but whether that’s true or just them looking to land a ‘keeper on the cheap isn’t wholly clear.
The question is why he isn’t better thought of at Arsenal, or at least in the stands? If Roma thought him good enough to be first choice and Juve supposedly want him, he must have something about him. What is it that makes the top two in Italy interested but his stock hasn’t risen at his parent club?
I understand the smoking in the showers bit and the attitude. And at 24/25 years old, you expect a bit more maturity. However, at 24/25, we were still making cock-ups and misjudgments in life, lacking in a bit of maturity as well. Pot, kettle, black.
Double-Barrels and Both Barrels
There’s not a great deal else going on at present. Some of the squad are back in training. Very helpfully, the Mirror told us who was absent and I confess I’d quite forgotten Jack Wilshere had a double-barrelled surname: Jack Wilshere-Injured.
He and Szczesny are alike in many respects. Similar personality, similar regard at Arsenal, although by all accounts, Wenger is fond of the midfielder. It’s been alluded to by Martin Keown that the manager feels some guilt for contributing to Jack’s injury problems by playing him when the stats said not to.
Whether that’s enough to keep – or warrant keeping – Jack at Arsenal is another matter. I suspect that he is one, who if not sold this summer, walks next. And that will be a great shame.