Laurent Koscielny got his wish. Or part of it, as Bordeaux must pay a fee of around €5m for his signature. That’s if he passes the medical which given his injury record is by no means certain.
The former captain declared he wanted a free transfer and he wasn’t touring the USA!USA!USA! unless he got it. He didn’t get it and pretty soon will slink off into the wilderness, or Ligue Un as the French call it.
Koscielny believed nine years service warranted him leaving on the cheap. Not for the hard yards he put in but so he could grab one last payday. A bigger one than the contract he willingly signed a couple of years ago.
The door is open; don’t let it hit you on the arsenal on the way out.
Joining him on the way out is Carl Jenkinson. He’s done the ‘decent’ thing and not agitated for a move, publicly at least. Nottingham Forest are keen on him and I’m sure Arsenal will subsidise his wages to smooth the passage.
It’s good that we’re starting to streamline the squad and that process can continue until the end of the month. Unless the buying club is English, in which case we need to get our arses in gear.
This is, I think, the last season in which the English game is out of sync with European football. Talk a few years back of alignment to a pre-season deadline came to nought but the FA and the clubs decided to plough ahead on their own. To their own detriment; of course it is, this is England and when it comes to major decisions, we love shooting ourselves in the foot.
It’s nearly over though; Thursday, in some respects, can come soon enough.
It’s Nearly Here
Mainly because that means the football season proper is closer. Sunday is a pain in the Arsenal to begin with but English football is determined to bow to the money gods. Spanish football by contrast, is fighting itself with the RFEF and La Liga are in court soon after the former banned Monday night football. The latter wants it because TV wants it. And they can’t sell their TV rights in the UK, among others, so Monday nights are a key selling point.
A shame the Premier League already beat them to the punch and has a full schedule of Monday night wrecking the season.
That’s a story for another day.
With two defenders leaving, you’d expect one to arrive. The tales of Kieran Tierney have quietened down, Dayot Upamecano will cost €70m and Daniele Rugani? Who knows, he’ll probably end up sleeping with the fishes for wanting to leave Juventus.
€70m you say? Bournemouth quoted Leicester £75m for Nathan Ake; it’s the market rate now. I wonder what is was in June…
There’s something very odd going on with Arsenal supporters at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s at the moment or has always been there; I just never noticed. I’m sure other clubs suffer from this as well.
Apparently, none of this trio is good enough. Tierney is injury-prone while Upamecano is rash, dives into tackles; a €70m Mustafi. Rugani is Italian and their defenders don’t travel well; think a reverse Ian Rush.
Or look at it another way. Tierney was injured, underwent hernia surgery and his osteitis pubis is being nursed back to fitness. A good medical team will stop him being injury-prone. Upamecano is a young defender. Kolo Toure sent everyone flying in his trial but he learned. Maybe Upamecano will as well.
On a Roll
Finally, Rugani. Let’s look at this another way. How many good wingers or wide attackers have we bought from Lille so far. Prior to Pepe, we’d bought one and he was hopeless. Or how many Ivory Coast international strikers have we bought in the past. Prior to Pepe, we’d bought one and he was hopeless.
So, according to the logic which says we’re wasting money on Italian defenders, we’ve just p*ssed €80m on an Ivory Coast international winger because Gervinho was one of the worse players to pull on an Arsenal shirt. Get over yourselves on the nationality front; you’re straying into dangerous territory.
Another departure on the cards is Eddie Nketiah. A loan spell was mooted yesterday with Bristol City in the frame but now Leeds are joining the chase. It’s mixed emotions. We don’t have much depth up front; if we’re loaning Nketiah, we might as well re-sign Danny Welbeck for a season, just in case injuries strike.
I understand Nketiah needs to learn his trade and playing regularly is a big part of that. However, our record of bringing players back from loan spells and them making the grade is patchy at best. Maybe this current crop of youngsters is different.
Leeds and Bristol City both have differing virtues. Bielsa is tactically astute but will Nketiah get enough game time. The pressure of promotion being expected is a good thing for him; playing at Arsenal brings a pressure all of its own and he must be able to deal with that.
City, on the other hand, developed Tammy Abraham during a loan spell. They want promotion but don’t expect it so that pressure is off Nketiah somewhat.
Whatever the answer, can we put a recall clause in; just in case and all that…