“I have never been to Paris; I should like to go there before we return to London with the dogs.”
“Yes, the summer there is beautiful. I will book us a hotel room.”
“Oh, Alexis, it will be wunnerful. What could possibly go wrong?”
“I wuv you, snookums.”
A coquettish giggle finished the conversation. And that my friends, courtesy of the KGB, is the text of the conversation which led to the Chilean being in Paris right now. That the PSG offices are being redecorated and they have temporarily moved into a floor of the same hotel is entirely coincidental. As is the annual Arsenal Transfer Window Action Team departmental review weekend taking place at the same time in the same hotel.
It’s not hard to see why that confluence of events led to premature speculation in this morning’s papers about a £70m bid being prepared by PSG for the Chilean striker. Hiding behind their “senior sources in Paris” routine, claims that he can only be in Paris to meet the club are ludicrous. I bet he’s glad he changed his mind about a late Club 18 – 30 break in Ayia Napa. Broken-hearted Athlitikos Omilos fans may beg to differ on that one.
Noticeably, as the resolve in Arsène’s voice when he claims that the striker will see out his contract deepens, the price in the back pages increases. Sanchez started the summer as a £40m steal; now the club’s negotiating stance has surfaced, his value rose to £50m, skipping £60m before heading into a market-driven price of £70m. If Barcelona put the €80m bid together for Coutinho, Alexis’ price will rise to £80m because he’s a striker and all that.
It must be galling for Arsène. PSG are his mates; surely they wouldn’t disrespect him by tapping up an Arsenal player…
These boots are made for walking and this story has legs
“Alexis is off to PSG. £70m.”
“Really? Who said that?”
“Must be true. Crossy wouldn’t allow crap about Arsenal to be printed. He’s one of us.”
Let’s assume for one minute that there is substance to this story and PSG offer Arsenal £70m for the player. We’re into the realms of supporters telling Arsène to accept the bid and take the cash. I don’t think at that level and given the club involved isn’t a Premier League rival, Wenger or the board can say “No”.
Doing so doesn’t mean his view that the player was seeing out his contract was wrong. Situations change and frankly, telling the world we were selling meant the fee would end up at £2.50 and a half-eaten packet of Pickled Onion flavour Monster Munch. Yes, it’s “flavour”, you irritating bloody spell checking software.
Who would have thought that Neymar was Alexis’ stalking horse? Neymar and Alexis in the same team; which one plays out of position…
And therein is why the story has Machiavellian hands at play. Team Alexis want out of Arsenal; I’ve no doubt PSG want him in, particularly since Real agreeing a €120m fee for Mbappe. However, PSG want anyone in at present; they need to show they are serious about winning the Champions League.
They also need, as was suggested on social media, a face for the 2022 World Cup. Neymar is the future, Alexis the now. One’s an Olympic gold medalist, the other twice Copa America winner. All they need is World Cup winner and double European champion playing football in Qatar. Someone like Xavi; maybe they can entice him to Doha…
Meanwhile, back in reality…
We’ll walk right over you
Chelsea this afternoon in another of those friendlies which are just like a cup final. I wonder if Petr Cech will be so reluctant to celebrate today if Arsenal win? Probably…not.
The match will no doubt continue the mass change on the hour mark so that the result is rendered utterly meaningless ahead of the meaningful Community Shield clash in a fortnight’s time. Now, about that not celebrating thing, Petr…
Only a thrashing would dampen the view that the tour hasn’t been a success. While some will read too much into the results, the suits will look only at brand awareness, new partners, etc., and judge the tour by that. Everything PR-wise appears to be positive, with Arsenal now the benchmark for Australian visits. Not for the matches, just because they took notice of the fans; Liverpool didn’t. They just noticed the hubcaps were too big for British cars.
I’m sure match reports and headlines will talk of cup final revenge, etc., but the only output Arsène is interested in is the fitness of the squad. Once they get back to England, the serious work begins. Less than three weeks until Leicester City pitch up at the Emirates on the opening night of the season. Three weeks to get us ready and prepared; there’s no reason for Arsenal not to be so. The first priority of this season is to avoid a humiliating home defeat, which recent years have shown is by no means certain. Get that right and we can ‘relax’ to some extent. As if.
Finally, a new playlist will appear on Dad’s Jukebox today. You can still catch A Taste Of Summer here.