A busy day on the Arsenal front with the arrival of Bernd Leno announced moments after yesterday’s post went live. Did I amend the post? Did I…!
It keeps the momentum of Unai Emery’s appointment going, the sense that the club is revitalised, re-energised and re-invigorated. Some think it’s lost a sense of identity, which is a ludicrous claim. That went when we moved from Highbury. The Emirates is the admission that we’re a big business and that our place as the hub of the community has long passed. That’s not (necessarily or entirely) Arsenal’s fault; that’s the nature of modern football.
And it’s also a discussion for another day. Today’s all about comings and goings.
The usual showreels emerged of Leno doing the business. Even saving a penalty, which is a novelty. Naysayers pointed out his weaknesses, as if we expected perfection from the signing. Leno isn’t a Buffon, de Gea or Oblak but right now, we’re not the sort of club they want to sign for. We’ve got to get back to the Champions League on a regular basis before we can sashay into the transfer market and nab a star or two.
We’ve got a good squad and Aubameyang is a great signing. We’ll see how good he and Mesut Özil – whose unimpressive performance for Germany brought on plenty of footballing obituaries – can be under the new coach. It’s a new phase of everyone’s Arsenal career and while reputations count, the reset button is hit. It’s a chance for all to restate their claims and to shake off the cobwebs which grew over their footballing minds last season.
Do I have high hopes for the coming season? I genuinely don’t know, but I like the energy the new coach’s appointment brings to the club.
Hit the Road, Jack
Which is where the goings began. Jack Wilshere’s statement on his departure makes clear why he is leaving:
“My intention throughout these discussions has always been to remain and Arsenal player. I have been on the books at Arsenal for 17 years and have always felt part of the fabric of the club. Such was my desire to stay that I had in fact recently agreed to sign a financially reduced contract in order to commit my future to the club.
“However following my meeting with the new manager I was made aware that although the reduced contract offer remaining, it was made clear to me that my playing time would be significantly reduced should I decide to stay.
“I am sure everyone can understand that at this point in my life and career I need to be playing regular first team football and following my meeting with Unai Emery I came away feeling that it would be very difficult to do so at Arsenal.”
It’s fair enough; he wants to play and Unai couldn’t guarantee it. From his point of view, being a big fish in a small pond is better than being a sprat at Arsenal. No-one can argue with that; the manager has been honest with him and vice versa. Best of luck to him in the future and hopefully, he can have the career his talent deserves.
Jens Lehmann copped the arse at being released – or not being the coaching role he wanted – and sniffed that apparently, the club no longer wants the spirit of 2004 or something equally waffly and bitter. Far be it for me to point this out, but having the spirit of 2004 at the club did us absolutely no good whatsoever.
According to Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero, “Torreira has left for €30million. I bought him from Pescara when no one believed. We bet and we won, paying just €3million. The money that comes in is used to keep the club going.”
Another deal done, with reports of the club ready to talk to Ever Banega as well. Not sure there are many legs on this one without a departure or two along the way.
At the World Cup, Mo Elneny found himself looking at a mid-July return to pre-season training when Egypt were given a lesson by Russia and Dave Ospina is staring a similar fate squarely in the eyes after Japan took full advantage of the early sending off of Colombia’s Sanchez.
Senegal gave an initial boost to my prediction they would be the best performing African nation this summer and Poland were just awful. Imagine Robert Lewandowski’s thoughts: his first World Cup game and the best he manages is a backpass from a free-kick. It all went horribly wrong for them. It wasn’t a good day to have the surname Lewandowski.
Got to love the Poles though. Moaning that the goal should be disallowed because a Senegalese player returned to the field and no-one told them; it’s a novel rule interpretation.
Nearly as novel as the notion that one player must stay on the pitch while others celebrate. When did that become a ‘thing’? I have never seen a referee allow another team to restart a game when the other team is celebrating; they are usually dishing out yellow cards. Usually, defending teams aren’t alert enough to restart quickly. There are too many recriminations being bandied around.