A quick start before I sit down with the Press Conference Bingo sheet. Danny Welbeck is ‘Like A New Signing’ but for this to work, Arsène needs to get off to a quick start with a few cliches in nice and early.
It’s that time of the year when the silly season is upon for a brief intrusion into the proper business of football. Speculation is rife and there’s a Cold War between rivals. Speculate to accumulate and the BBC gave you a nice little guide to which media outlet is reporting the transfer window(s) accurately. A scatter gun approach is not always the best approach, it seems, but while the Arsenal reportage is largely inaccurate, it’s good for manufacturers of blood pressure pills.
For Arsenal, it’s looking more like departures and for the umpteenth transfer window running, Mathieu Debuchy is trying to put himself to the front of the queue to get the hell out of dodge. Or the Emirates to you and I. “I want to leave or I shall scweam and scweam and scweam”, the Frenchman declared as a convoy of Arsenal supporters arrived at Colney to give him a lift to the airport. It’s a great shame how his career worked out; terribly sad in fact since I thought he was a decent replacement when Sagna left for Oil City. Injuries put paid to that and through no fault of his own, his confidence is shattered, creating a dishevelled shadow of the player that he once was.
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore
Mathieu is upset that his relationship with Arsène has degenerated: “We greet each other, we say hello – nothing more.”
Arsenal rejected a move to “Manchester” and having given his all in pre-season, received “a slap in the face” by not even being in the matchday squad. All very Three Musketeers and King Louie,. Therein is the crux of the problem with the 25-man system and a lack of competitive reserve football. Arsène’s recent observation about the loan system being replaced by a ‘nursery club’ is nothing new – it happened in the 1930s with Margate – but is likely to be as well-received as a chocolate teapot in a heatwave.
Debuchy must cut a forlorn figure on the training pitch when he’s not in the treatment room. That’s half the problem, you have to wonder if Arsène thinks of him as a perma-crock but I doubt that many of the regulars give it a second thought. Perhaps I’m being harsh and they do. Debuchy’s ‘problem’ at Arsenal is not being a versatile centre back, capable of covering at full back. The other way round lends itself to a narrative of ‘square pegs and round holes’ and doesn’t suit Arsène. And to think a few years back, that’s what we had all the time.
He’s not the only right back or even defender reportedly on the way out. Jenkinson is heavily linked with a move to Villa Park on loan, determined to restore his confidence and move on. Arsène is, it seems, determined to use Gabriel or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as cover for Hector Bellerin. Risky in the long-term but a calculated gamble.
Like A New Signing
Oh, come on, you knew that was coming. Danny’s back in training and apparently in contention for the Palace game. So is Shkodran Mustafi and I know which one I’d prefer back in the starting line-up. Soz and all that Welbz. Gently does it with both though; there’s a trip to Bournemouth to manage so squad rotation will be the order of the day.
Welbz is set to be cast as ‘super sub’ for a while or at least I hope he is. After two lengthy injuries, a dose of caution in his return wouldn’t go amiss. Not quite wrapping him in cotton wool but not far short in all honesty. His return in fairness does create an intriguing triumvirate in support of Alexis. Walcott on the right, Özil in the middle and Welbeck on the left. Barcelona has their ‘MSN’, Real Madrid ‘BBC’ so we’ll have the ‘WÖW’ factor.
Dear god, I’m leaving it there today.