Well, this is pleasant. Sunshine begats sunshine as the bible says. Who needs a summer holiday when you’ve got sunshine at home, eh? And whodda thunk of travelling on a ‘World Cup free day’?
The tournament returns to the forefront of our minds today with the first two quarter-finals and another chance to scout Lucas Torreira. He turned down the chance to undergo his medical in Russia, but fear ye not for Papa Torreira says his son just wants to focus on winning the World Cup.
Is it a sign of ‘new Arsenal’ that we even suggested the medical during the middle of a tournament? It’s a step further than when we signed ‘Rock on’ Tommy in 2006 immediately before the World Cup began.
Everything is ‘new Arsenal’ these days and I don’t doubt that there are changes behind the scenes. What’s more ‘new Arsenal’ is the collective enthusiasm for the club once again. Pre-season training videos are devoured and body language experts are telling us who is happy, sad, or otherwise. Who knew the Arsenal fanbase contained so many psychologists? I thought everyone was an accountant.
Mesut Özil is ’10’ which someone somewhere will be making a ‘1Ö’. If Arsenal have done it, they missed a trick and given the care players give to their ‘brand’, that seems unlikely.
The ‘reset’ button is pressed and that’s the most important aspect of this summer. We’ve seen the recruitment work already completed this summer and it’s hard to find a negative comment, beyond those who expect us to bid for ‘world class’ players for every position.
Which misses the point really. The biggest problem is that we’re not at that level right now; reaching/returning to that is the biggest aspect of Unai Emery’s rebuilding job this summer.
There is plenty of work to do in terms of rebuilding, not least of which is the selling part. On dot com, the squad is split between the main group and an ‘on loan’ section. It sends a strong message that those seven loanees aren’t coming back.
You can’t help but look at the rest and think there is work to be done on the midfield. Torreira is one addition, but not Ever Banega – or ‘Forever BangAverage’ as he is now known. No bitterness in any player turning down the ‘new Arsenal’, that’s for sure. No siree, Bob. Or Frank…
Also not flying ‘Air Diego’ to London is Cristian Pavon. We haven’t lodged a bid according to his agent, but he wants to stay with Boca Juniors anyway. That’s until someone like Real or Barcelona comes calling.
Interesting stuff surrounding Yerry Mina, who is the hipsters’ centre-back of choice. Barcelona are listening to offers with Fenerbahce and Everton bidding €24m for the Colombia international. Three goals at a World Cup and an orderly queue is forming.
If we had a buyer for Mustafi, the football hipster in me argues Arsenal should look at him. The realist thinks it might be wise to let Everton play a part in developing him. There’s a good reason why Barcelona are selling him six months after buying him and it may be sensible to let someone else find out the hard way what it is.
Equally, €24m can be better spent on the midfield. We’ve got four central midfielders who are very similar types of player and Torreira strikes me that it now becomes five. Is that signing because one of the quartet has itchy feet? I wonder who that might be?
Curse this talent for body language.
The Short Hop to the End
Steven N’Zonzi handed in a transfer request but at 29, he’s not considered good value for money. Ivan, all sunglasses and Novichok jabs on the shoulder at Colney yesterday, doesn’t hide the fact that resale value is a key marker in recruitment and nobody particularly disagrees with that.
Occasionally, expediency means it gets ignored but where we finished last season highlights we’re in a short-term phase with a long-term outlook. We need to get back into the top four to attract the ‘better’ players, but when we’re there, not slip backwards due to a lack of quality supporting the ‘stars’. Age catches up with us all; expediency can only take you so far.
Look at that; the season hasn’t started – we haven’t even had a pre-season friendly – yet there’s a new optimism abounding.