Being a blogger about Arsenal, I ponder the great questions in life. Sometimes events of such magnitude occur during the course of a day that I ruminate for hours on end on about possible outcomes. Sometimes, barely seconds.
However, I still can’t come up with an answer to why Danny Welbeck brings a packed lunch to work? Not only that, is he really such a nice bloke that he made a special meal for Alexandre Lacazette?
The summer window is always a bit ‘Oliver’; Please, sir, can we have some more? There are many factors, not least of which is Alexis. To be honest, there is so much crap flying around that believing any of it is daft.
Take Thomas Lemar. And Arsenal want to, it seems. The English press claim that it will cost £80m while L’Equipe, who you’d think are a little closer to the action, claim we’ve just had a bid of €45m rejected. There’s a disparity of values which is too much for a simply typo, which leads to a certain cynicism about whether anything is going on in this instance.
Riyad Mahrez is about to tell Arsenal that if they don’t bid for him soon, he’s staying put. And at £50m, Leicester are quite welcome to him.
Perspective was in short supply on valuations. The talk of Mbappe for €120m distorted the market and there is some context appearing now. Lukaku to United for £75m represents, to my mind at least, a better yardstick to measure Lacazette’s fee and the valuations of Alexis, by. And for United, it’s a good buy, I think. If it gets rid of Rooney for a free, it’s got to be seen as excellent.
The Inescapable Logic
While there are incomings, the outgoings need to happen as well. Headlines scream that we’ve got to sell some of the overseas squad players because we’ve reached the 17 non-native player limit. So we’re complying with regulations but we have to sell? The logic escapes me. It doesn’t; I know the press want us to sign others – as we do.
And to be honest, I’m not sure that we have the ‘overseas’ players who can afford to hang around. Lucas Perez – reportedly of interest to former club, Deportivo La Coruna – and Mathieu Debuchy are both of the age where they will be easily forgotten about if they languish in the training ground, out of the matchday squad. The only people who remember them, it seems, are payroll.
Joel Campbell and one of, if not both, Szczesny or Ospina; that’s four or five going. None of them, Debuchy aside, is close to retirement, so there is plenty of football left in them. Is the wealth they accumulate staying at Arsenal really worth that much, to the detriment of their career? It’s not just overseas players; Jenkinson, Gibbs and Wilshere are in the same boat. How important is first team football?
There are plenty of changes to come, you feel, with pride having to be swallowed. Off the pitch, is there room for more change without some leaving? As well as Jens, Sal Bibbo joined as goalkeeping coach. Me neither but anything which injects fresh thinking into the training sessions has to be welcomed.
Which is more than can be said for the news that the opening game of the season against Leicester City has been moved to a Friday night. Gee, Sky, thanks. A dozen matches were shifted for the broadcasters without the north London derby or Manchester United, so there’s another two. Everton must move while there are kick-off times to be confirmed for the trips to City and Burnley
Europa League football is a bind but television is becoming more of an obstacle for travelling fans; home ones as well. I know some who are already scouting hotels for the opening game now it is Friday night. The rail network isn’t fit for purpose with the kind of flexibility needed. I’d hate for English football to lose the extra edge visiting supporters give to the atmosphere but nobody in football is concerned enough to put some geographical limits on these changed kick-offs.
Is it beyond the wit of the Premier League to say Friday night matches and Sunday noon kick-offs can only take place between clubs within 50 miles of the home side’s ground? Apparently so. I know this is ‘old fart’ territory but life was simpler in the times of ‘3pm Saturday’ kick-offs.
Enough of this wistful thinking. The sun is trying to shine so I’m going to give it some encouragement.