Arsenal’s new regime has taken the old footballing adage that all good teams are built on a strong defence to heart. And old habits die hard as well. Signing a 15-year-old from Barcelona isn’t anything new and certainly not worth getting excited about; it’s not an immediate solution to our problems and carries no guarantee of being a long-term one either.
Caglar Soyuncu’s agent confirmed he talked with Arsenal but, shock, horror, no fee is agreed with Freiburg. His Mr3% also let slip that Sven is a big admirer of the player and scouted him when he was at Dortmund. If anyone wants to know what BVB might have looked like had Sven got his way, watch Arsenal this season.
At some point, we need to say that’s it with the defence; job done. We have two specialist right-backs, two specialist left-backs, and half-a-dozen central defenders if this signing goes through. I’d prefer us to replace Mustafi with a better centre-back but that’s personal opinion. That he wasn’t anywhere near the final 23 to go to Russia for Germany says it all. Given his form since moving to Arsenal, is his international career over?
However, with a new coach and defensive training, maybe he will surprise us all. Certainly, he’s among those who need to improve or be sold. Somehow, I think we’d struggle to recoup the £30m+ we paid for him. However, any contribution to transfer funds is welcome.
The question of who we’ll buy further up the pitch gets answered once negotiations with Aaron Ramsey get going. They aren’t going to be quick but the English transfer window hamstrings us to a point. I guess we’ll judge how they are panning out and act accordingly. The incoming player will be comfortable in the same XI or replacing him.
Walk in Silence
It’s an expensive punt. With Juventus reportedly willing to offer Jack a deal if he doesn’t stay, we’re seeing the folly of previous contract mismanagement. Last summer was his ‘sign or sell’ moment; we did neither, bumbling along as we always did.
With few saleable assets, we can’t afford the same mistakes with Ramsey. That’s one of the aspects the new dynamic at the top is in place to stop recurring. While football is a sport demanding instant results, this is a long-term project. There can be immediate results but changing the culture of a club takes time.
It’s not quite the same balancing act as last season’s Ozil and Sanchez fiasco but not far off. If we’re honest, we won’t lose as much money if Jack walks away as would had the German told us he was going to do one. Nonetheless, it’s money down the pan.
After missing out on the World Cup, he needs to get his career back on track. Apparently, he’s seeking assurances from Unai Emery which surely can’t be given? Everyone is starting from scratch – although some are further along the road than others – with a new coach and with Aubameyang and Lacazette to fit into the line-up, there’s more competition for the midfield roles.
Looking at PSG, I’d guess Aubameyang will notionally fill a wider role given Lacazette’s more ‘static’ style. With Mkhitaryan on the other wing, we’re down to a central trio. One’s Ozil, one’s Xhaka; two into one won’t go in this instance. Bar a dramatic loss of form or injuries, it’s difficult to see Jack playing that often.
At the top clubs that will be his situation wherever he goes. If Wilshere is looking for a guaranteed starting place, the likes of Palace or West Ham are his solution.
Don’t Walk Away. In Silence.
They aren’t the only two with plenty of thinking over the summer. Decisions must be made on whether the likes of Maitland-Niles and Willock would benefit more from a loan spell than spending a year on the bench, with occasional cup appearances.
Loans can often be the death-knell for a career but both players showed enough in the Europa League to suggest they will make a good fist of a career at Arsenal. However, we need to get them ready for first-team action on a regular basis if that is to be the case. That may come quicker with a loan.
Elsewhere, the lad Aldi is hedging his bets it seems. He’s “considering a dramatic change of heart” and may stay in Paris. Don’t think, just do; one way or the other.