Good morning, have any good stories to tell?
I don’t. I spent the last 10 days sick with the flu. Not an ordinary “cough cough sniffle sniffle” cold. Not the brown bottle flu. But an actual “soaking through the sheets every night with sweats, body wracked with aches, headaches, and fever” flu. Fortunately I have health care and I did myself a massive favor last year and quit smoking and drinking, and so far I haven’t had any opportunistic infections come along. I probably could have written sooner but I left my computer at work when I had to leave work with a fever.
What happened while I was gone? Not much. As I got better my daughter and I did get to sit on the couch for two afternoons and read to each other from the book The Wonderling. It’s a beautifully written book about a magical land and each of us reading to the other while doing the voices of the main characters was a little slice of heaven in what was otherwise a dark week.
As for the Arsenal, when last we spoke Arsenal swapped Alexis for Mkhitaryan and people were arguing over that. But since then, things have changed and also not changed. Just yesterday the Guardian reported that Arsenal and Dortmund had agreed a fee (£56m), that Aubameyang agreed a contract (a measly £180k), but that there was no deal unless Dortmund could get a striker in return.
You know what that means? Dortmund are doing to us what we just did to City and Man U over Alexis! HA!
Dortmund originally wanted Giroud but he didn’t want to go, so then Arsenal started shopping Giroud around and Chelsea got interested because (DUH) they had just been rummaging around in bins of Carrolls and Crouches for a striker. Chelsea said that they would sell Batshuayi to Dortmund, he agreed to go, but – like some old Western poker game – called Arsenal’s hand and low-balled us for Giroud. (Again… where have I heard of such tactics being applied.. oh wait! Arsenal!) Arsenal rejected the Giroud bid and for a day things seemed at a stalemate.
Then this morning Aubameyang flew to Luton and is apparently at London Colney getting a physical. So, deal to be announced soon?
Everyone will now fill their void with the hot take of how they think Auba, Ozil, Laca, and Mkhi will all play together. I’ve not changed from my previous position. I still think the biggest problem isn’t the front 3 or 4 but the midfield.
The other big problem here is that this isn’t a team constructed to break down opponents who don’t want the ball – the strength of Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, and (most people don’t know this) Ozil is actually in their transition play. That said, Wenger did try to sign both Mahrez and Vardy a few years back – which I suggested at the time was clearly part of a plan to overhaul Arsenal’s attack. So, maybe Wenger – or whoever is running the tactics and transfers now – finally got their dream?
That last bit raises a number of questions. This deal for Aubameyang has Sven Mislintat’s fingers all over it. It’s even been slipped conspicuously into reports that he’s “championed” the transfer and noted that Mislintat was the one who was “instrumental” in bringing Aubameyang to Dortmund in the first place.
Arsenal have also sold Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin and whatever you thought of them as players I can tell you for certain that Arsene Wenger loved them. He spoke glowingly about their work rate in training and there’s little doubt in my mind that, especially Walcott, they were given so much time because Wenger liked working with them as people. He only took the decision to drop both of them after it became painfully clear that they were never going to fulfil the potential he saw in them.
The normal course of action after being dropped at Arsenal is for a player to bump around for a few years still on the books. They go on loan here and there but literally can’t or won’t be sold. Szczesny was still on the books until he was sold to Juventus this summer, Joel Campbell is still an Arsenal player (since 2011), and Lucas Perez is on loan. There have been a number of high-profile transfers recently which is a good sign that the club is maturing or that the salaries Arsenal pay players are falling back in line with reality.
The questions that all this raises is “who is building this team”? Maybe I’m reading too much into this but it looks like Mislintat is putting his name out there as the responsible party for all of these changes.
Anyway, that’s the news for today. Arsenal will probably “announce Aubameyang” soon – maybe even before we play Swansea.
Oh yeah, Arsenal play Swansea. It’s a “winnable game” and Arsenal “should take all three points”. Moreover “it’s a chance to put pressure on Liverpoor and Hotspoors”. So we got this, right?