The focus switches to pre-season and the tour of the Far East. Hopefully, the club is more diligent in its’ travel arrangements than the commercial department allegedly were when it came to sponsorships…
Mesut Özil’s participation is confirmed and he will join the squad before they leave at the weekend ahead of next week’s match against Atletico Madrid. The pre-season tours used to see Arsenal face local clubs, give them a good battering in thanks for their hospitality and then play a tournament.
Money dictates we now face teams who we play regularly at home or in European competition. Football, far from spreading its’ wings far and wide, is becoming more of a closed shop at the peak of the club game. ICC hosted the infamous ‘Dorchester talks’ where Arsenal brought up the subject of a European Super League.
Pre-season used to be about getting ready for the league campaign and having a bit of fun. Not anymore; it’s big business.
At least Arsenal are involved. We’re not the snotty-nosed kid with his face pressed against the shop window, awestruck by the wonders inside. We’re in the warm, enjoying the riches on offer. It’s not the way I’d like football to operate, but this is the modern game.
It’s interesting to see the photos of the club’s training sessions. The emphasis is on fitness; action photos including one which must be giving palpitations as Aaron Ramsey flew into a tackle. Red card offence, too; both feet off the ground and a ‘welcome to the first team squad’ reducer. Steve Bould was nodding in the background, sepia tones flooding his mind with all his ‘victims’.
Except for Limpar; he never tagged Limpar as Mickey Thomas took delight in recalling on an end-of-season video at the time.
The Exit Door is Thataway…
Among those squad members not travelling are David Ospina and Danny Welbeck. This morning saw an awful lot of speculation about their futures, emanating it seems from the Telegraph, with both earmarked as departees. Which is the media catching up with most people’s thinking, it seems.
We have a top-heavy squad and it wouldn’t come as any surprise to learn Unai Emery knows whom he does not want to keep. Lichtsteiner’s arrival signalled the end of Carl Jenkinson’s time at the club, although whether they can sell him is another matter. I wonder if he regrets not moving to Crystal Palace when he had the chance? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Only Joel Campbell seems to be attracting any attention and Lazio seem to have lost interest pretty quickly in him. His is a signing which haunts the club, a spectacular waste of effort and money in landing him at a time when we had to be clever how we spent. When we got it wrong, it went horribly wrong in the transfer market post-2011; Park, Campbell and Lucas Perez is in the same boat.
That’s in the past and we’ll make mistakes in the future. That’s the nature of football transfers: risk. However, you hope the new structure and personnel will mitigate the risks moving forward.
Aaron Ramsey’s contract came briefly into the spotlight with his agents shooting down claims on social media. He hasn’t agreed a new five-year, £140k per week deal. I’d guess they are aiming a lot higher than that wage; I don’t know but given the way Mesut Özil landed his contract, you’d think the same tactics are being employed.
The question is will he sign before August 9th? I don’t think so; my guess between now and Christmas. Inside track, huh…