The new regime continues its’ work unabated with the signing of Lucas Torreira, and later in the day, the longer-term project of Matteo Guendouzi.
No surprise either’s arrived; the electronic world trailed both deals heavily, as well as Russian flights. Sad buggers. Torreira is the mythical midfield beast if he plays his club football anything like the manner of his international career. Albeit he is about a foot shorter and five stone lighter than the player of lore. Or at least the version of it we were always told we needed.
No, I don’t know anything of the player’s club days with Sampdoria nor can I be bothered to trawl through hours of YouTube reels showing him ripping possession from opponents or ripping their ankles from the bottom of their legs.
That I know nothing of the player bar four World Cup games where he did just that, bothers me not one jot. Social media tells me he is world-class which I’m just going to leave there; my cynicism could spoil a beautiful moment.
Compared to the midfield of last season, he seems to be the missing link. A defensive shield, with good distribution and not afraid to take set-pieces which he delivered consistently well in Russia, which is a novelty. Who makes way for him? I’m guessing that Mesut Özil is pretty safe in the line-up so it’s Xhaka or Ramsey who drops out.
Personally, I’d leave out the Swiss of the two but that how I’d line the side up. Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, and Aubameyang are nailed on for their spots in the team in my view; three players remain with only two places available. Injury and suspension interfere with the best laid plans though and how we’ll line-up will become clearer in the coming weeks.
Shape, Style and Tactics
This summer is different from those we’re used to. A change in coach, contributing new ideas to the shape, tactics, and type of players we need, coupled with the relatively new management structure and an early close to the transfer window contributed to varying degrees. It made up a brand new ‘whole’, one which had to react more professionally and rapidly than we have previously.
To some, this is a jolt to their system. Gone is the comfort of trust in the manager; it’s a brave new world where the future is unknown as is the style, tactics, and just about everything else. Trepidation isn’t leading to excitement and embracing the new age; fear of change surfaces with the previously unquestionable squad questioned.
But this is the new age and we’ll get some idea of how it shapes at Borehamwood. An inkling, nothing more, of how the players are reacting to the new methods and how quickly they are assimilating Emery’s methods, ideas and philosophies.
No Torreira though; he’s not due back until early August although it won’t be any surprise if he pitches up on the opening day of the new season, raring to go. And then finds he’s 24 hours early and needs to return to the Emirates on Sunday.
The squad is top-heavy and sales are imminent.
David Ospina’s agent turned things on their head a little when he observed that the Colombian had two years remaining on his contract. Most assumed it ended next summer but his words suggest the option of an extra year exists.
Boca Juniors remain the only viable option, although that is influenced by the media he was speaking to at the time.
The situation isn’t easy to unravel. Cech and Ospina have flaws in their game, gnawingly in different areas. Deciding which one leaves is far from straightforward although I suspect Ospina being the only one to command a fee makes him the obvious departee.
I’m assuming Leno is the first-choice now. Spending £20m+ on a reserve goalkeeper seems unlikely in these times of limited funds. His distribution is rated more highly by more seasoned observers of Bundesliga football than I. All I’ve taken note of are the butterfingers he unveiled at pre-season training. Loris Leno, you say…
The question of goalkeepers further down the ladder is where I’d expect to see more movement. Macey and Martinez are the obvious candidates, with one at least on the road out of the Emirates permanently.
Elsewhere, Juventus are reportedly looking at signing Shkodran Mustafi if they don’t land Diego Godin. I like the way Allegri is thinking. They just won the 2018-19 Serie A with Ronaldo’s signing but Allegri doesn’t want to destroy everyone’s hope. Signing the German is sliver of light to the opposition that there is a chink in their defensive armoury…
Finally, the small matter of whether England face Belgium or France will be decided tonight. Three Lions or Three Kittens? May the best England win.