This morning’s headlines are all taken by Neymar’s move to PSG. Laurent Koscielny’s availablity for the Community Shield on Sunday almost flew under the radar. It’s not good news in my view. While it’s always nice to win at Wembley, the match is no indicator of success in the coming season.
I’d rather Koscielny didn’t play on Sunday and was available for Stoke City away which is a far more important match than facing Chelsea. While we need to take points off them to win the league next season – don’t laugh, it’s still a mathematical possibility – you get nothing but a nice drinks tray for winning the Community Shield.
There is a saving grace from the situation though. Kosicelny’s availability means Mustafi doesn’t have to be rushed back. Photos of him beating Alexis in a race yesterday underline how ill the little Chilean really has been…
On the transfer front, Emi Martinez has joined Getafe on a season-long loan so good luck to him in his development. The move happened with David Ospina’s decision to stay at the club this summer and fight for the Number One jersey. Or 33. Anyway, it’s all football-speak for the offer he wanted not materialising. Martinez has made a good choice to move and take a loan spell at club in a top flight. Getafe aren’t going to give him the European experience which might have been more preferable if he wants to genuinely be Arsenal’s main goalkeeper in the future but beggars can’t be choosers.
Ceching Out At The Top?
As for Ospina’s decision to stay, I can’t say I’m surprised. Cech is 35 and while goalkeepers play on for longer, they too suffer the burdens of time. Gianluigi Buffon may have rolled back the years but he played for a team which was as close to impregnable as they come. Juve faced probably four or five genuinely competitive matches during the course of a season; Arsenal’s is significantly higher.
We’ve seen goalkeepers decline before at the club. David Seaman’s vulnerability to long-range shots is painful to remember for club and country. Can Cech avoid a similar fate? The ‘romantic’ version of the future marks out that he sees the writing on the wall before anyone else; I’m not sure that’s always the case in reality.
Would I prefer to see us sign a younger goalkeeper such as Butland? Yes; from what I’ve seen, I prefer him to Ospina. Would a player like that put their career on hold for twelve months or more? No chance. Why would they? It doesn’t raise their profile at all and better to take over when Cech retires I would have thought.
Another man staying is Jack Wilshere. He’s apparently decided to stay and fight for his place at the club. Fair play to him but I’m not sure where he fits in with the 3-4-3. Unless Barcelona decide to flex their muscles and take Mesut Özil when they find they can’t afford Philippe Coutinho. Which is a bizarre claim to make since they are insisting PSG pay them £196m up front.
Wilshere may be taking the view that he can’t find another club having returned from Bournemouth injured so a year at Arsenal might do him good. A Premier League substitute but regular in the domestic and European league cups.
Neymar Joking About FFP
PSG have an FFP issue; don’t let anyone tell you they don’t. Solving it is simple; selling a couple of players. Neymar adds £100m per year to their cost base. Their current wages / revenue ratio is hovering around 56%; it’s now 70% with the Brazilian and that’s before the £40m in amortisation.
One thing is for certain; PSG believe they can overcome the problem. They don’t see an issue with fines or squad reductions in the Champions League and expect a bounce from commercial contracts into which I’m sure they are hastily negotiating ‘Neymar Clauses’.
Is this a watershed moment for the football transfer market? Many, Arsène among them, would happily see it end and that point isn’t too far off, you sense. While this is unique since PSG are beyond wealthy, the release clause is almost certainly going to morph into something else. These were habitually sent at obscene levels to frigthen off buyers; it doesn’t work so will they become more realistic in value or explode? Messi’s, I seem to recall, is set at around £500m; how does that sit in the post-Neymar world?
The knock-on effects will be interesting. I don’t think it will affect what we buy and sell at; Mbappe had more impact and he hasn’t even left Monaco. Neymar is simply the financial muscle of a club being flexed. It’s shaken Barcelona but the ripples will be felt in Madrid as well. Anyone the Catalans try to sign now will include a ‘Neymar tax’ in their valuation. Next summer is when you find out if there is any lingering effect on the levels of fees paid.