It’s a quiet time of year for Arsenal. The transfer window occupies a lot of column inches in the lead up to a whole lotta nothing; capturing the mood perfectly are reports that Arsenal are now talking to Lyon about Alexandre Lacazette, even though we aren’t prepared to anywhere near their €50m valuation. Now that’s disclosed does it mean the fee will no longer be undisclosed?
I’ll pause for a moment and consider that. We’re talking to a club who we know probably won’t shift much over the price of a striker who they don’t have to sell. Sounds like a waste of everyone’s time or an extraordinarily short conversation:
“Can we reach a deal?”
“Of course. €50m.”
“We were thinking more of €35m.”
“Let me think about that. Erm. No. €50m.”
“€35.5m? Hello? Hello? Hello?”
It fits the narrative of generating interest in the club and in all honesty, the transfer window would be as dull as dishwater without it. A genuine return to the 1970s when the back pages were covered in cricket and tennis stories, with all but the major football stories afforded anything more than a box in the bottom of the page. Usually beside the Australian football results. That’s the proper football not Aussie Rules.
Anyway, there’s a whole lot of nothin’ going on as far as the genuine news is concerned. Petr Cech announced his retirement from international football. At 34, he wants to extend his club career and genuinely is of an age where it makes sense, as opposed to someone like Paul Scholes and Jamie Carragher who both retired at ridiculously early ages.
Mind you, it was England so you could quite rightly argue that they never played football at international level anyway. Turned up on the pitch, yes, but never played. That’s harsh on Scholes, of course.
Anyway, Cech didn’t so much blow his own trumpet as play the whole brass section:
When I was a kid, my ultimate dream was to play for the national team at least once. Having done it so many times makes me really proud.
You look back at the Czech and Czechoslovakian history and you see so many great names and players. I managed to play more games than them, which shows the consistency and quality of my game.
When you’ve won the trophies he has, why not? A quick glance shows he’s won all the English game has to offer and the European Super Cup would complete the club set. Sorry, Petr, it’s not going to happen unless Arsenal drop into the Europa League.
Cech underlined that it was a football decision:
I’ve had so many club games to play year-by-year too, and I think I’ve reached the point where I believe that if I want to continue doing things to 100 per cent every day, like I’ve always done, then I will probably need more time to rest and recover.
This is a purely football-based decision. If I want to prolong my career and play at the highest level for as long as I can, then I will probably need to find the balance so that I can continue to do so.
Anything which benefits Arsenal is fine by me.
With Christophe Lollichon set to leave Chelsea, there’s speculation that he might move to Arsenal. Gerry Peyton has long faced criticism as the Polish goalkeeping pair of Szczesny and Fabianski displayed the same frailties in their handling. It begged questions about what was happening behind the scenes.
Whether Cech has enough influence to make the change is another matter. Arsène’s loyalty to his staff is beyond question; whether it’s right or a weakness in some circumstances is another matter. It might be facilitated by a switch in duties to accommodate an extra coach but if Cech believes in the guy, there must be something there.
Anyway, that’s chatter for another day.