So, did I miss much whilst I was away? A ‘leaked’ video for the new home kit proved the perfect antidote to transfer action or rather, the absence of it. A ‘leaked’ story about bidding for Wilf Zaha fuelled imaginations. Similarly, ‘talk’ of a bid for Harry Maguire built hopes in a similar vein. Another Brazilian christened Gabriel signed to universal indifference; good wishes, but indifference nonetheless.
It’s business as usual, I see.
Inevitably, the lull between the old and new seasons brings out the worst in football fans. Transfer gossip fills column inches with silence, far from being golden, treated as a sign of inactivity. Sloth, even. Our record in this department is strong with gallows humour barely masking the frustration.
Tierney from Celtic? He must be walking from their central European training camp for things to be taking this long. No doubt he’ll sign on Deadline Day when our offer will finally match the Scots having risen in £1 increments.
Raul has his work cut out to live down his parsimonious predecessors. Not that Ivan’s reputation is worth anything after the savaging handed out by Swiss Ramble’s analysis of our revenues recently. Keith Edelman oversaw the move to the Emirates. Gazidis managed to drive revenues down during football’s richest era. Which is some feat when you think about it. Or some feta as spellcheck insisted. Ivan really is the big cheese.
But that is the past and we must look forward, especially with pre-season training not all that far away. The supporters’ utopia of all signings made by then isn’t going to happen. Not even the sales and rarely for Arsenal, most of us agree who is surplus to requirements.
Net Spend Boys
Talking about Manchester United recently, Jacob Steinberg opined in one of the broadsheets that managers of Klopp and Guardiola’s quality are not swayed by just any job. “Managers of [their] calibre want a club with a plan,” he observed. Arsenal, in the manner of Unai Emery’s appointment and our off-the-pitch behaviour since, is a club with a vague idea of what to do but no clue on how to do it.
As the Premier League continues to pillage the fertile broadcast markets, clubs are getting richer. At Arsenal, it’s hard to see that with investment in the squad at a seemingly low level. That’s not necessarily true; our net spend apparently averages £30m over the past decade so the £45m available this summer is a step in the right direction.
The problem is that we’re neither keeping pace with rivals or the general trend of the transfer market. Player cost inflation is rising faster than a net £15m per year. More fundamentally, we don’t have the scouting infrastructure to support a dynamic approach to squad strengthening. Or we didn’t previously; times have changed, maybe our scouting capability has as well. That was one of Sven’s core tasks before Raul handed him his arse and a P45.
One of Raul’s jobs is negotiations and reports this morning claim our transfer warchest is now £75m which by curious coincidence, is a figure very close to the valuation placed on Wilf Zaha. Are the two by any chance related? Or can we just put some more ‘derisory’ offers in on other players? That’s what the Heil mafia think we’re doing although they have yet to accuse Juventus of the same crime following their lowball offer of £49.3m for Johnny Matthis.
I Think We’re A Loan Now…
Arsenal still like to shop though and are hoping to persuade Real Madrid to let us have Dani Ceballos on loan for next season. The abject failure of Denis Suarez last season failed to act as a deterrent to looking at Spain’s big two and bringing their reserves to North London.
I have no issue with these deals so long as we’re not boxed in and forced to take players on a permanent contract at the end of them. By all means set a price at which we can buy but leave that as an option. When we’re the ‘selling’ club, however, only deals which force sales at the end of the loan should be acceptable. I can’t see us getting shot of Mustafi any other way…
Next summer could be momentous for the defence. Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny are in the final year of their contracts, destined to leave the Emirates next year while Mustafi’s contract must be ending at some point, surely? A monument to transfer panic. With Tierney coming in, Kolasinac is likely to leave this summer. He’s one of the few who will raise a half-decent fee rather than us throwing a ‘BOGOF’ sign around his next or something which claims “Will listen to offers”.
The major work required on the squad isn’t just limited to the back four but that’s that most urgent. Can the Transfer Window Action Team Staff do their stuff?