So football – of sorts – returns today with the first pre-season friendly. Alexandre Lacazette’s cameo will be of most interest to everyone watching. Someone, somewhere has jinxed his first appearance in the world-famous
red and white black, grey and pink shirt by wondering how long it will be before his hamstring is banjaxed.
Arsène’s would rain hellfire and brimstone down on everyone for pushing him into doing his transfer business early during his post-match presser, that’s for sure. On his return to London, all deals would be put on ice, ready to be reignited at 10.55pm on 31st August. Or whenever the window shuts; there’s such flexibility as far as Arsenal are concerned that no-one’s really worried by the deadline. It’s a loose concept.
And yes, spell check, it’s grey not gray although international spellings are amusing as one Aussie hack found yesterday when he wrote about about Monaco’s Thomas Lamar. You just know he spelt that phonetically after asking one of his British counterparts about possible transfer business so that he could appear knowledgeable to his readers.
Anyway, no expectations of today’s game beyond coming through unscathed. The result doesn’t matter (particularly) as pre-season is no indicator of the real thing which is less than a month away. Speaking to the press, Arsène outlined that we will begin the season with a back three but that he reserved the right to change to a four if or when circumstances dictated.
It’s a question he will need to answer quicker than he made the change last season. Part of the reason for the fifth-placed finish was the delay in finding the cure to our ills. Just because you lose doesn’t mean a philosophical change is required but three months is too slow to adapt.
Lamar, Boss, Not Lemur
This time of year, the back pages are still full of transfer talk. Apparently, we’re “confident” of landing Lamar but nothing’s agreed yet. His ‘people’ are talking to Monaco and hoping to be persuade the French club that destroying a successful team is a great footballing philosophy. However, don’t be surprised if those talks end with a thumping new contract.
For a club which rarely leaked transfer information, we’ve become quite chatty recently. Wenger’s comments used to wait until the window was over but these days he talks about players willy-nilly. Especially those he might have signed. We have, I’m sure you’ll agree, the best ‘Nearly Signed XI’ of any club in the world.
Mesut Özil has nearly signed a new deal as well. He’s waiting until everyone’s back in London and then he’s going to talk to the club. The lack of interest in the back pages is probably driving that. At the money being bandied around, it’s not a surprise no-one is in for him and while my mood changes on Alexis on an almost daily basis, I do wonder if City have said to him, “not this summer but next”.
Özil said he hasn’t spoken to the Chilean but he doesn’t want Alexis to leave. The usual blathering about what a great player he is, a great guy, etc., came forth. In reality, Mesut is thinking, “You can’t leave me here on my own with this lot”. We shall see; Alexis is wrapped up in lurve with his new squeeze. Whether she’ll prefer London or Manchester may influence his decision. Has anyone told her it’s grim up north? Show her a picture of a bleak 1970s industrial landscape to prove it.
All’s Welbz That Ends Welbz?
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud admitted that leaving Arsenal is a possibility. AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund joined the list of usual suspects who might be interested in signing him. Speaking to the press, Giroud said he asked to tour which serves two purposes.
Firstly, he can remind Arsène that he is our genuine ‘Plan B’ to Alexandre Lacazette and equally, he continues his pre-season regime. Being match sharp ensures that a switch to a new club is relatively clean; he’s fit and raring to go.
Giroud is, I think, still our second choice striker. It’s an easier case to make than for Danny Welbeck. Lacazette and the England international bring similar qualities to the side – pace, mainly, as Danny’s finishing is nowhere near as good – while Ollie offers something completely different.
While Welbz will feel aggrieved at losing his place in the side, not being the first off the bench may be more crushing. However, as he well knows, injuries and loss of form mean he is still in line to make 25+ appearances a season. Whether he’s happy with that is another matter.
Which brings today’s shenanigans to a close. Just in time for kick-off as it happens.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.