Unai Emery’s assessment of the current defence begins with Calum Chambers, whom he has declared a ‘keeper’. Not a ‘keeper, but a ‘keeper’. Until 2022, that is, which is one more year than he’s already signed on for so presumably the rationale is to give the lad a pay-rise.
Having struggled to find a centre-back at the club last season, we’ll be swimming in them soon. Sokratis arrives next week with talks supposed ongoing for Caglar Soyuncu. If both those deals happened, it would, by my reckoning, leave us with seven central defenders.
Mustafi is the obvious candidate to leave, but I wonder if Holding is in the same boat? Maybe the latter will go on loan but with Mavropanos and Soyuncu, there’s a lot of young defenders at the club; too many, if you ask me which, of course, nobody did.
Koscielny won’t return until the end of the year, by which time he will be 33. The 32-year-old, for he is that age until his next birthday, may find his pace slowed by this latest injury as others have done in the past. Is he the experienced head in the squad being kept on just to smooth the transition from the Wenger era to the Emery times? The players ‘Bouldie’, if you like?
The younger players are set to benefit most from Emery’s tutelage. Defensive training was at a premium by all accounts under the last regime which we saw the consequence of. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, and co., develop. That the significant defensive additions are 30+ is telling; Emery’s analysis of the defence must, on the whole, be positive otherwise it’s fairly certain we’d have seen more investment in key positions for the coming campaign.
Run, Danny, Run
The World Cup returns today with Uruguay facing Portugal and France playing Lionel Messi. A Portugal win would be handy from the Arsenal transfer business point of view but that’s about it.
What to make of the first pair? Uruguay didn’t concede and Portugal always looked like conceding. Everyone will scout Lucas Torreira so we’ll be fully up-to-speed on him before he signs. I’m sure there will be a slew of stats to prove Mesut Özil is a better player than Torreira.
France, apparently, are a bit rubbish when it comes to Argentina so expect them to win. Messi looked ‘sharp’ in training yesterday, which was helpful as he took the session. Jorge Sampaoli’s reputation as a ‘water boy’ grows on a daily basis.
Danny Welbeck meanwhile did a runner from a Russian rollercoaster where the seatbelts appeared to be broken. Back in the old days, pros would have ridden the peaks and troughs without any hesitation. Mainly because of the six heavily armed KGB agents waiting to shoot them if they dared to shift their imperialist backsides off the seats.
That’s it for today. A beautiful sunny one here so take it easy people. Enjoy the beer and footie!