Pepe Signs!! Upamecano or Rugani To Follow??

So, finally, after many, many, many, many, many moons, Arsenal confirmed the signing of Nicholas Pepe. Even the catholic church – confirmations experts by any standards – questioned how long it took to do so. “Will you announce it, for Jesus’ sake,” a spokesman said. “You’re testing the patience of our saints!”

It’s surprising the 24-year-old can stand upright, such is the weight of supporter expectations on his shoulders. Pepe is new hope, a new Arsenal, a return to the Champions League; he’s Chapter IV rather than I or II.

Because football support developed into a black and white world, you can’t think remodelling the defence early in the transfer window might be a better use of €80m. No, that means you’re moaning about the club buying Pepe, that you don’t rate him as a player. I know this because I got the emails telling me exactly this.

Here’s a newsflash: I haven’t seen Pepe beyond three ACN matches this summer. His price tag demands he be a good player but most people are claiming he’s a good player on the back of his YouTube reel. Ligue Un doesn’t get the viewing figures to substantiate the number of experts on him.

As with Arsene, everything about Arsenal is for or against. The grey world we occupied with Arsene – admiring his achievements but wanting him replaced – morphed into something more polarised, more my way or the highway.

Which is wrong. Pepe is a good signing but doesn’t solve a fundamental problem with our defence. That needs more than one player, it needs two or three. Kieran Tierney will be one but you know that his is a deal which will go down to the wire. Centre-backs is the game in town and we need to work fast.

Get Smart

Raul’s mantra, reiterated by Vinai, is to outsmart the market. I’m not sure we’ve done that this summer but he’s outsmarted the media. Few are comprehending that this is a seismic shift in the way football must be reported. If a £45m summer budget can potentially bring in £150m-worth of player, the transfer war chest is dead and buried; ‘X’ marks the spot but no-one is looking to dig it up.

Pepe serves a better purpose than that. Teams used to sneering at us now find their only solace comes in former players who weren’t good enough to make the grade doing the sneering on their behalf. That’s generally a sign that a player is good, that it hurts to miss out on him. That’s also a sign that someone believed the media too much.

Pepe isn’t proven as a Premier League player, they argue. One of the most vacuous footballing cliches ever, it deliberately demeans a player’s ability only because he didn’t sign for your morally bankrupt club. I know all clubs are morally bankrupt, some are just more so than others.

What can we expect from Pepe? Who knows. Football supporters expectations grow disproportionately before a season starts. Before the realisation that the manager’s tactics don’t get the best out of a player. Before he’s kicked from pillar to post. No, wait, the Nevilles retired years ago.

This is a time of pure, unadulterated joy. Where dreams of what might be are all that we have. Reality will butt in soon enough. Sit back and enjoy the mellow Hamlet moment.

There’s a Central Defensive Theme To This…

The media twigged quickly that £45m means nothing. Vinai’s calculated dismissal of the figure was disingenuous but at the moment, who cares. We’re linked with Daniele Rugani of Juventus and this morning, Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano.

He is essentially a more defensively disciplined Calum Chambers and if we’re genuinely interested in him, it begs questions about the Englishman’s future. His saving grace may just be that; being English and thus trained here is key for us in this rebuilding phase. The Premier League labyrinthine rules on squad composition mean that unless we sell, we’re quickly running out of space for overseas players.

Unless, of course, we sell Koscielny, Mustafi and Elneny – or any combination of the three. If we sell Mustafi for the €30m being touted, that really is outsmarting the market so Raul is due a doff of the cap.

It puts pressure on bringing someone in. In an ideal world, one loan, one permanent signing is what we should be chasing. One to tide us over until Saliba returns from France next summer, a year in which Sokratis celebrates his 32nd birthday. Pace will become an issue, more so than it is now.

However, our defenders are too nice and the Greek international is a Grand Master in the Dark Arts. Passing on that experience is something we need to ensure happens. Who knows, it might mean we do some defensive training…

Nonetheless, young players such as Upamecano and Rugani are the types where we can outsmart the market. It’s a dreadful phrase and one only with any substance if you buy cheap, sell high. €30m for Mustafi defines selling high, surely?

And Finally…

Which leaves us with a snippet from last night’s Europa League second qualifying round. It must be delivered in the manner which made Sir Trevor McDoughnut a household name. So…

And finally. Arsenal’s hopes of facing Arsenal in the Europa League this season were delivered a fatal blow tonight. Ukranian side FC Arsenal Tula lost their tie 3 – 0 on the night and 4 – 0 on aggregate to FC Neftchi.

It was the ultimate p*sstake by the footballing gods. FC Neftchi are an Azerbijian club, based in the city of Baku, proving that it isn’t just The Arsenal who hate the damn place.

23 thoughts on “Pepe Signs!! Upamecano or Rugani To Follow??

  1. Pepe is a brilliant signing, there is no denying that full stop. Will he hit the ground running, who knows but most will expect him to given the price tag. He will produce, as he has the talent, physical traits and mentality to flourish in the PL especially with other proven attackers around him.

    CB, well Rugani has been developing under Chellini and Bonucci for years so I’m sure he has learned quite a bit at that time. Would be really good business on a 2 year loan and what happens. Never got a fair shake at Juve because that pair have been nothing short of world class. I would HAPPILY take either of the CB’s from RB Leizpig.

    Bielik has been sold for £10m to Derby.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Fair money that C

    C:
    Pepe is a brilliant signing, there is no denying that full stop. Will he hit the ground running, who knows but most will expect him to given the price tag. He will produce, as he has the talent, physical traits and mentality to flourish in the PL especially with other proven attackers around him.

    CB, well Rugani has been developing under Chellini and Bonucci for years so I’m sure he has learned quite a bit at that time.Would be really good business on a 2 year loan and what happens.Never got a fair shake at Juve because that pair have been nothing short of world class. I would HAPPILY take either of the CB’s from RB Leizpig.

    Bielik has been sold for £10m to Derby.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Someone please take a fistful of that Bielik cash– wad it up size of a grapefruit, stick it in Neil Lennon’s piehole– shake his hand, and put Tierney on a train, plane, or Limo to London– stat!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. Somebody, fucking anybody tell me in what world Harry Maguire is an 80m CB? I mean he isn’t even top 5 CB’s in the PL let alone top 10 in the world!!

    I take my hat off to Raul, I would rather we spend 80m on Pepe than 80m on Maguire!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. C,

    My exact sentiment……….now i could understand spending that lush some on a cb thats gonna fix all your defensive frailty a la’ Dijik.
    So lets wrap up lb with tierney and a loan at cb (Rugani),methinks we will surprise many not the least ourselves.yes we may have an
    average defense,but our PAL or OPAL(if thunder strikes and ozil decides to wake up from his self-inflicted slumber) gunner punch cannon-sized holes in defenses this season…….so you could say am the cup is half-full kinda guy,yeah,hope sure springs eternal.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. are juventus going to pay us khediras wages if hes part of the rungani deal?

    were trying to get rid of the dead wood on 150k + a week not add to it – which makes me think we best off leaving the italian where he is and pulling a rabbit out of the hat from the german or dutch league.

    80mil for maguire? thats madness – hes good but hes not great..not 80mil great.

    manu might have just fucked the market up for everyone else wanting a quality cb this summer but then again – domino effects are wierd and wonderful things in football transfers.

    beilik leaving just gave us our tierney money so lets crack on.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. C,

    On balance you’re probably right C but if either purchase helps their respective sides make top 4 them it’ll be money well spent. With Spurs still looking they’ll add to their squad it’s going to be a tight battle for the CL spaces. Improve the defence and I think we’ll make it, if we don’t then I think we might still struggle.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. Pepe is a good signing anyway you look at it.

    Pace, dribbling, finishing, and a young age to improve. It’s now the manager’s job to get the best out of him within the team as a whole.

    We said the same about Lacazette, he scored too many penalties, he’s not a world class, he doesn’t play for the French National team, but he has done well for us.

    We signed a player with great potential, let’s hope we can bring it out and he delivers, that’s all you can do.

    ** Having said that, of course the defense is the obvious problem that needed handling before the attack. We can only hope they’re working on it.

    What we needed in this team – more than any position to fill – is players who are willing to run themselves to the ground on the field, ones who are the opposite of Ozil. I think we are getting some now.

    *** English Players: Wenger never really thought highly of English players and the ones we bought in his Era were Lemons that we couldn’t make Lemonade with. They were cheap, they were defects, they were for the books and the show.

    The only ones with a chance of coming good, is Holding and maybe in the future Willock.

    I don’t know if it’s the culture of Wenger that made us pick the wrong English players, or we just have bad luck with English players? Beside the fact they’re highly priced for no reason whatsoever.

    Fix the defense with a couple of players and I’m almost back to fully excited. Not overly excited because I know this is just the beginning, we may still struggle to finish in the top 4, we may need that 3rd transfer window to fill all the gaps.

    Overall, better than a few months ago.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. Excellent article and thought-provoking. Especially about the expectations being heaped on Pepe’s young shoulders. Some can carry it but many can’t and the question is which of these is Pepe.
    Fortunately, he isn’t going to be required to carry the offence alone.
    Selling Bielik for 10M seems an indication of the way Arsenal will now handle contracts. And I like the way Emery is reported to have told the player that he simply wouldn’t get the necessary playing time at Arsenal.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  10. andy1886,

    True, but lets also see how we do in year 2. I do think the fight for 3rd and 4th will be quite a thing until the last. Spurs, United and Chelsea all have their own situations similiar to our defense that could easily cost them top 4. The money paid for Maguire is ridiculous, just beyond mind blowing to be honest.

    Get in a CB and I think our midfield and attackers are good enough to get us 3rd; no additional CB or next steps taken by our current then we are in a battle for 4th.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. So, finally, after many, many, many, many, many moons, Arsenal confirmed the signing of Nicholas Pepe. Even the catholic church – confirmations experts by any standards – questioned how long it took to do so. “Will you announce it, for Jesus’ sake,” a spokesman said. “You’re testing the patience of our saints!”

    Football is, after all a religion, requiring faithful observance.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  12. The other thing that is worth noting with Pepe now though is that we have 3 front players who will not only work their socks off pressing but will also work tracking back.

    If defending starts from the front, we definitely have that quality now.

    It also puts immense pressure on Iwobi to prove himself while also looking over his should ler at the likes of Nelson coming through the ranks.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  13. Here’s a trivia question for those of you who really know your English football: has there ever been a PL team with an attacking threesome who speak the same language that isn’t English? I’m curious to know.

    I reckon there’s a good chance the three of them might form a very special partnership – the friendship on and off the pitch between the two already installed bodes well, surely.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  14. I do find it a bit interesting when you think that United have spent £130m on Maguire and Wan-Bissaka. Thats mental even by United’s standards for 2 players who are nowhere near the money spent on them but are inflated because they are English I suppose.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.