So, welcome Stephan Lichtsteiner, quite possibly the only time he won’t be referred to as Stephan of Liechtenstein on these pages.
And my goodness, haven’t some people lost all sense of perspective. Arsenal are failing in the transfer market once again, so their spurious logic goes because the right-back is 34 and cost nothing. Announcing his signing on the day Manchester United confirmed Fred in a £53m deal offered a stark contrast of the realities of the two clubs. That’s all some need to be consumed by insanity.
Arsenal need a 34-year-old experienced right-back to add depth and a defensive mindset. Arsène’s philosophy, based on unfettered attack, is reined in and experience brought to bear. Organisation and knowledge passed on, between generations by word of mouth.
As it was throughout human history, even with the onset of written communication. And as it will be again in the dystopian future told by the documentary series Mad Max.
Before then, we have two specialist right-backs in the squad. No more square pegs forced into round holes to give Hector Bellerin a breather. Players will develop in their true positions and realise their potential. Or be sold, one of the two. Which is a massive responsibility to place on the shoulders of one free transfer signing, even if he is from Juventus.
This is a player who has seven Serie A titles; he was in at the beginning of Juventus’ success and remained there, playing 200+ Serie A games and winning 99 caps.
Welcome to Arsenal. I don’t expect you to play 60 games per season, but I’m guessing that if required you would do so. The only thing I hope is that your arrival improves Hector Bellerin. That, along with coaching, that young man reaches his potential.
Or reach his maximum sale value, if needed.
One In, All In
The accent on leadership from both himself and Unai Emery underlines the expectations the club has. “Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad,” according to the coach; ” I hope I can bring a lot of experience, a lot of mentality,” according to the player.
Mentality in the experience sense, not in the Jack Grealish lying in a drunken stupor on a Shagaluf street.
The signings are moving along, with Sokratis arrival all but confirmed by his father on a Greek radio station. He rejected Manchester United because they told him to wait until July; he didn’t want to and I suspect, Sven’s chat-up lines proved persuasive.
Both signings are important for the club. Our priorities are different to those of United and Liverpool. I’m not saying we wouldn’t be improved by Keita or Fekir, of course we would. However, we need strengthening at the back more than an attacking midfielder. Keita is slightly different but with what we need this summer, out of our price range.
You can amortise all you want, but the reality is that our budget is whatever it is. The aspect which is pleasing for want of a better word, in that there is a ‘seriousness’ about the transfer business. Fantasy tattle is few and far between; it’s out there but it’s almost as if someone is leaking stories to the press so they don’t need to make things up. Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin…
The ‘big’ signing of the summer may be Steven N’Zonzi. To do so, the club must trigger his £35m release clause said Sevilla’s sporting director Joaquin Caparros as he opened negotiations through the back pages. So, we know what the total bill might be, but Raul can strut his funky stuff and talk it down.
Predicting the Future
The sense of purpose about the business fuels optimism that we mean business off the pitch; can we do the same on it. Too many pundits before the season starts will look at the squad and remember last season, underestimating the impact a change in coaching staff and philosophy can have.
Those who don’t adapt won’t survive in the squad. January, I think, will be busy with the first of the ‘surplus stock’, those who failed to impress Emery in the first half of the season, passing through the exit door.
A long way off and at the moment, those decisions aren’t fully made. I’m sure he has an idea of the who’s but not yet fully decided.
Finally, to those who’ve ‘signed up’ to the World Cup predictions competition, I’ll send out the info in the next 24 hours. To anyone else who would like to take part, send your details to competitions [at] aclfarsenal [dot] co [dot] uk.