Torreira and Guendouzi sign for Arsenal and the World Cup draws to a close

Well, finally!

The least well-kept secret has finally been published: Arsenal have signed Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.

Reported in the Guardian and on the BBC, Torreira was always already signed for Arsenal. I had zero doubts because as Ivan Gazidis stated: those who know don’t speak and those who speak don’t know. And since he (or Sven) told Guardian reporters that Torreira was already a done deal a few weeks ago that was all the proof I needed.

Does that sound contradictory? It is. Because the line “those who know don’t speak and those who speak don’t know” is a bunch of bull puckey. The club speaks when it wants to. It leaks information to the press. And when that press is the Guardian and the BBC, you can be assured that the information was fact checked and verified. That doesn’t mean that everything they publish is 100% Truth but it does mean that it is fact checked and verified, unlike anything publish in a tabloid.

Anyway, enough of my ranting about the media. Arsenal have signed Torreira and Guendouzi!

These are great signings and show that the club aren’t just interested in one or two old men to fill in as stopgaps. They are looking at building for the future. Players like Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira may or may not work out but it’s at least exciting to see the club buying young talent.

These acquisitions take the club’s total spending to £70m (according to Transfermarkt) and means that Arsenal have 32 players. It seems highly likely that Arsenal are going to sell some or all of Elneny, Ospina, Campbell, Perez, Akpom, Jenkinson, Bielik, and maybe even a big name player like Mustafi.

Selling Mustai is fanciful. I don’t know any club that would take him after the seasons he’s had with Arsenal. But Arsenal do have to get the total spend on transfers down. So, maybe?

Despite buying two top strikers last season, Arsenal were actually break even on the year in terms of transfers. And despite the club planting stories about having a “warchest” to spend this summer I think the club hierarchy don’t want to extend themselves on transfers until they get the money from the Champions League back. I expect some sales, soon.

Which brings me to another quick note: I’ve started a page called “predictions”. There you will be able to see all of my dumb predictions and whether I get things right or wrong. I think it’s ok to be wrong, as long as you learn from it. I also think too many Journalists, bloggers and podcasters out there get away with making “bold” predictions that turn out to be wrong and the public quickly forgets about them and I think we should be held accountable when we are wrong as much as we are praised when we are right.

I predict that I’m just as dumb as everyone else and that I’ll be about 50-50 on getting things right/wrong. So, basically, a coin toss. But I think it will be fun along the way.

Anyway, I have an article on Matteo Guendouzi up on The Arsenal Review. You should go check it out.

(Obviously, I think England are going to win today)



  1. “It seems highly likely that Arsenal are going to sell some or all of Elneny, Ospina, Campbell, Perez, Akpom, Jenkinson, Bielik, and maybe even a big name player like Mustafi.”

    Yes to Ospina, Campbell, Akpom, Jenkinson, and possibly Bielik, but it would be weird for the Brain Trust to countenance the sale of Elneny just a few months after signing him onto a long-term deal. I also have a feeling they’ll hold on to Mustafi, who is the only experienced defender at the club with PL game time. I kind of sort of maybe perhaps think our starting CBs will be Chambers and Sokratis, with Mustafi as back-up and playing in the Europa League + domestic cup games. We’ll see, but if Chambers has a good season, and Holding looks promising in his cameos, I can see the club selling Mustafi next summer.

    1. i don’t see arsenal selling elneny, mustafi or perez. those are experienced pros. elneny’s likely to start as he’s the best cdm at the club, although it’s not his best position. perez is far better than what he’s given credit for being. unai, being a spaniard, will know of perez’ quality. arsenal can’t lose mustafi. besides, who’d be willing to pay his wages?

      signing lichtsteiner signalled the end for jenkinson. chuba’s not good enough. ospina’s too good. i’d like to see campbell get another look but that kid has got to be frustrated. i don’t know anything about bielik.

      1. I agree with you about Perez. If we have to sell an attacker this summer I imagine it’ll be Welbeck, not Perez, who goes.

        1. Agree. Don’t know how Welbeck didn’t make that list. I can’t see the club offering him a new contract, so they’re going to let him walk on a free? Another player? No way.

          1. I think the club have to keep Welback for his homegrown status. Arseblog has mentioned a few times now that the club are skirting close to the edge of it so i thought i’d take a count.
            Remember under 21 players don’t have to named to the 25 man PL squad. Need at least 8 HG players who are 21 or older on January 1 of the year in which that season begins which unfortunately excludes AMN (21 in Aug) & The Jeff ( 21 in Jan/19).
            GK: Martinez & Macey
            Defenders: Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Jenkinson
            Midfielders: Ramsey
            Forwards: Iwobi, Welback, Akpom
            I count 10. The club can sell Jenkinson & Akpom which takes us down to 8 since we currently name 4 senior goalkeepers (Macey can replace Ospina’s slot). Correct me if i’m wrong but this seems wasteful to me as we wouldn’t be maximizing our 17 non-HG slots with 4 gk.
            So to sum it up there’s no selling Welback.
            The Club is down 6 senior HG players in the last year: Szczesny, Gibbs, Jack, Theo, Coquelin, The Ox. Another reason why i think letting Jack go on a free was short sighted. Should of told him whatever assurances he needed to hear re game time to re-sign.

          2. Non HG members of our first team: 19 players
            GK: Cech, Leno, Ospina
            Defenders: Old Greek, Young Greek, Old Swiss, Nacho, Mustafi, Koasinac, Kos
            Midfield: Elneny, Mkhi, Ozil, Lucas, Xhaka
            Forwards: Laca, Auba, Perez, Campbell
            Selling Ospina & Joel takes us to the limit of 17. Tho does Kos have to be named since he’s not due back till in Dec? Or do we have to name a squad for the entire season?

          3. Thanks for the summary Simon Says. Love the way you can spell Sczcesny’s name correctly but not Welbeck’s lol

            If we have an issue with the number of HG players preventing us from selling someone so we can upgrade in his position, that’s a problem Sven Mislintat should be working overtime to solve before the window shuts.

          4. The club can count players under 21, but it uses up part of our quota of 25 player squads. Normally players who are 21 and under don’t count towards the 25 man squad maximum. By counting AMN +/- Jeff, it just reduces the maximum number of international players we can have.

            I completely agree though that Welbeck is a more handy backup striker than Perez for this reason.

    2. Elneny will do very well with Emery – he has the engine to press and is tidy in possession. These are the two foundations of Emery’s system. No way the club sells Elneny.

  2. “Mustafi is so assured in possession and rarely makes the wrong decision when challenging for the ball. He really is a calming presence in the center of Arsenal’s defense”

    – Words that will never be spoken.

  3. We have to drop 7 players from the senior squad? Do the U21’s still count like Willock, Reiss-Nelson, AMN, the Jeff?

    Ospina – 3m
    Martinez – 2m
    Welbeck – 10m
    Campbell – 3m
    Jenkinson – 4m (British, homegrown)
    Bielek – loan again. Was reportedly doing very well until injury.
    Akpom – 2m

    I think we re-sign Reiss-Nelson.

    Not sure what happens with Willock.

    I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a surprise loan, like Mustafi to Inter or a Spanish or German club.

    We have so many CB’s right now; Kos (December), Sokratis, Mustafi, Chambers, Holding, Mavrapanos. And I don’t think we’re going to play a 3 back system under Emery so someone has to go at the back.

    1. Reports are saying that the 2nd League 19y old Kenny Guendouzi was bought for around 7-8 mil.
      By that logic, Ospina, an international solid goalkeeper must be worth at least 10m, and I wouldn’t sell Welbeck for less than 20 as well. If you add Campbell at another 10m, Martinez 7 and Jenko for 3, that to me looks like a hefty 50 mil sum.
      If we counter these hypothetical sales against the purchases which come to 70, than we would have spent only around 20, leaving some additional funds to go big for one more player, say Malcom.

      1. Kenny Guendouzi… that is absolutely brilliant.

        Agree that we should be able to recoup at least 30m. Nacho Monreal could be also be a factor as he has an offer Real Sociedad.

      2. There’s a difference between what you (or the club) would/wouldn’t sell a player for, and what a buying club would be willing to buy them for.

        No way you’re getting 10m pounds for Ospina, very unlikely for Campbell as well, as is 7m for Martinez. You *might* get 20m for Welbeck but I think that’s probably an optimistic max, even factoring in the British premium.

  4. That Argentina game masked the unfortunate reality that Croatia are pretty toothless up front. Lots of midfield passing, but not much quality up front. England have got this.

  5. Croatia look a few horses short for this derby. England’s athleticism and quickness so far putting them in control and they look the better side on both sides of the ball, even without the goal (which was magnificent).

    1. Doesn’t help that Rakitic has been shocking in possession. I count at least 3 errant passes so far. Croatia needs him to be immaculate to recover this from here.

  6. Croatian forwards pressuring the GK on every back pass because they know there’s no point holding back for a GK short pass or throw. England’s plan is to hoof the ball over the midfield every single time. No chance they’ll be developing it from the back.

    1. Problem is Sterling is about twice as fast as any Croatian defender… good thing he has the composure of a hooked trout.

      1. For Croatia, they have to push Modric into the box. The first touch he had in there, they almost scored.

        1. Also they need to replace Mandzukic at halftime. He is giving them nothing on the ball and cannot make himself available off it. Maguire can eat him alive in the duels, and after that he is quite a limited player.

  7. Very good 1st half from England.
    Great Trippier free kick.
    Kane was not offsides.
    lovren should be on yellow.
    Sterling giving them fits up front.
    Could easily be 2 or 3 nil.

    1. Those are seriously English-tinted glasses.
      So Kane wasn’t offside. So what? He missed the chance. England would have had a corner they didn’t get to take. But Croatia weren’t given a corner early on as well when a shot flicked off an English defender’s foot.

      “Easily 2 or 3 nil”? Please. England didn’t have a shot on target all game except for the free kick goal (ok, according to whoscored they had one, but the commentators said they hadn’t had one and that was late in extra time, so maybe they got one near the end?).

      They were poor in quality and short on ideas creatively and offensively, and they deservedly lost. Their midfield was made to look like the non-entity it is. Their most effective tactic by far all tournament was going down at the slightest touch anywhere in their opponent’s half so that they could knock it into the box. Thank heavens Pulis-ball is not going to win the World Cup. That would have been a travesty.

      PS I’ll grant you Sterling looked good.

    2. Kane didn’t get flagged for offside. The flag went up because the ball went out of play. Kane fluffed his lines, and was poor throughout.

  8. Kyle Walker’s lack of CB instincts were the difference there, that and the fact that he took a piledriver in the nuts 5 minutes before. I really thought Croatia would fade as this game progresses but it’s been the opposite. England have not responded well to going behind.

    1. Kyle Walker is getting utterly dominated by Perisic. Southgate should consider subbing KW before this gets worse.

      1. Croatia just going more direct and exploiting England’s trouble defending wide areas on Trippier’s flank, but that little change has flipped this game on its head. #Tactics

  9. I think despite his dodgy season Mustafi would be much more valuable on the market than we assume. His numbers for last season are impressive in many ways – he was our highest tackler in per90 stats, and whoscored (whose rating system is quirky but weirdly reliable) even has him in the PL team of the season list according to average match ratings.

    Still think there’ll be at least one surprise big name departure this summer even if it’s not Mustafi. Ideally there should be two so the club sends a message to the players about the level of competition we’re in. With our rivals getting stronger and bloody Chelsea about to drop a Sarri/Jorginho double whammy, we need to be ruthless about going into the season with the best possible squad our finances can buy.

  10. If this goes to penalties, it’s gotta be England going through. Croatian keeper is weak, in my opinion.

    1. That must have been an ironic comment! Subasic’s performance in the penalty shootout vs. Denmark was not a fluke (he saved 3 penalties). Subasic has weaknesses but he is outstanding at saving penalties. Even the British press realized that ( Saving 17 penalties out of 50 is a mad ratio (basically 1 out of 3). Even the best goalkeepers can’t match Subasic: De Gea saved 11 of 44 penalties in his career, Courtois saved 5 of 31. Only Neuer has a similar ratio with 18 of 52 penalties.

  11. England had one shot on goal the entire match (Trippier’s goal). Kane completely shackled.

    1. Oh, it looks like I’m wrong about that. Guardian report saying 12-5 shots on target in favor of Croatia.

      1. That’s some serious cooking of the books by the (ever-unbiased) Guardian! Whoscored has the count at 7 to 2, and like you I heard the US commentator say late in the match that their only one was the goal. In any event, no way you get up to 5…

        1. Yeah, I just went over to the BBC, and they have 7-2 as well. And the Portuguese media I was watching had England with 1 shot (the goal), not 2. Must be that English tax?

  12. Has there ever been a side that’s played more minutes of football in a WC than Croatia will have done by the end of the final game? Has to be a record.

  13. I know I’m playing amateur psychologist here but one thing that I was surprised by was the demeanor of the English players at the end.

    Considering how close they got to the final, I expected more tears (I know I’m a terrible person) but most of the English players at the end looked more resigned and subdued than upset.

    I don’t mean this as an cheap dig, but it seemed like there wasn’t much of the usual passion and verve you expect from an English team.

    1. Really? I thought they looked pretty distraught. Rashford in particular appeared inconsolable. He wasn’t crying (I don’t think) be he looked completely shell-shocked. Most of them did.

      I have to admit, I didn’t mind seeing Spurs’ players heartbroken. Oh well, maybe they can salvage some pride by beating City on Saturday. I doubt it, though!

  14. Memo to the England NT: A midfield attack matters in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, etc. An unwanted Jack Wilshere on his worst day would have offered more creativity, attacking thrust than Jordan Henderson or Dele Alli on their best days.

    Viva La France.

    1. This.

      Jack had his ups and downs last season (more ups than some people seem willing to recall), but, assuming he was fit enough to play (and he was by the end of the season), not taking him when you consider the dearth of ball-playing midfield talent in that squad–with Lallana and Ox also missing out due to lack of fitness–was a seriously dumb mistake. Or maybe we should say this semifinal run vindicates Southgate. One thing’s for sure: not taking Lallana and Jack, and instead being satisfied with that small, virtually talentless group of central midfielders, while he bizarrely went crazy stockpiling wing backs (Rose, Young, Trippier, Walker TAA, and Delph as auxiliary!), was a pretty clear sign of how Southgate was going to play this. He had no intention of passing the ball in the middle of the park, ever, and you have to admit his Stoke-esque approach got them pretty far.

      Then again, the draw was ridiculously kind to them. Up against a quality midfield for the first time, their limitations were exposed. After the game, Chris Waddle and a few others on the BBC lamented the fact that England still lack a Modric type creative CM to drive the team on, and (while I’m not suggesting Jack’s on the same level as Modric) the obvious retort is THAT’S WHY YOU BRING JACK WILSHERE ON THE PLANE!

      1. And if you’re going to leave Jack behind, why not give Loftus-Cheek more game time, rather than rely entirely on the good-but-limited Alli and Lingard?

  15. Read a great quote today:

    England in the semifinals is like an elephant on top of a tree. You don’t know how it got there, but you know it will fall.

  16. The missus chose a bad day for a spa retreat in the bush, without access to Tv or wifi.

    That said, Doc (yank Mandzukic) and Bun (England got this) restored some of my good humour.* That and the pedicure.

    Going to watch the extended highlights. But it’s worth pointing out that England last to both the two decent teams that they played.

    And it would take a heart of stone to NOT want Croatia to lift the world cup on Sunday.

    *(dont worry guys, I have form too)

    1. Ha! Yeah, that’s the risk of posting thoughts while a match is still on. Based on the first half, I think it was justifiable to say England had it. Croatia woke up in the second half.

      I do want Croatia to win it, but I can’t see anything other than a comfortable France win.

      The nice thing is that everything went according to my plan this World Cup: City’s, Spurs’, and, to some extent, United’s and Chelsea’s players have had a nice, long, exhausting (and in some cases soul-destroying) tournament. Let’s hope it impacts our first two fixtures!

      1. That was my best counter-jinx and it worked a treat like it did for DiMaria!!

        BTW I regret nothing, Mandzukic was a spare part until that goal and they would’ve probably scored whether or not he is on the pitch. I love his passion and his work ethic but he looks like he is there by default.

        1. Not sure he’s quite as bad as you suggest, but he is most definitely there by default.

        2. I don’t really like him. Mandzukic is useless and yet he repeatedly comes up with something like that… Like he did today, and he did in the CL game vs Real Madrid. The guy’s non-stop in his effort and has just enough quality to produce such moments. He’s a big game player.

    2. I hate to break it you but, that cup belongs to France now.. the Croats will understand the true meaning of firepower😂😂!! I think mbappe deserves the trophy!

  17. As good a signing as we think Sokratis is, it’d be surprising if Arsenal sold Mustafi … considering the fact that his senior partner regular starter last season is out with a long term injury, Sokratis is new to the prem and probably won’t get up to speed right way, and the CBs will likely be playing behind a new keeper.

    Musatfi, a Germany international until recently, is one of those players I’d like to see under the new coach. That said, we lack height in central defence, and that worries me. Spurs, for example have got 3 brutes competing for 2 places — 3 really good internationals who are first choice for Belgium and Colombia. City have got Stones, one of the world cup’s breakout players (whatever may have happened today). We’re talking here of Chambers (who’s nowhere near England level) partnering a short, error-prone Mustafi, or a brand new Sokratis.

    As for who to sell, Ospina, Jenks, Akpom, Campbell. Can’t make up my mind about Welbeck, but he IS 3rd or 4th choice striker, so why sell him if he”s willing to play a squad role? CB is personnel heavy, and someone’s got to go. My money’s on Holding on loan.

    Elneny is also a squad player who seems to accept his squad role without complaint, but (while I admit that most gooners don’t give a hoot about shirt numbers) Im puzzled about why he was given the shirt number of Vieira and Fabregas. He’s not First XI material. And as for our best CDM, Josh? That’d be Torreira. Lucas Torreira. Elneny is a bits and bobs player. Much improved in the second half of the season, albeit more on the offensive side.

    The other Lucas (Perez) is a goalscoring option from wide, and works hard off the ball.. Keep him, Unai.

  18. Perisic was by far the best player on the pitch but I think he twanged a hammy right at the end there. Would be such a shame if he missed the final.

      1. Modric has been their best player and one of the players of the tournament but this game belonged to Perisic. Croatia’s comeback was founded on his intensity and outfoxing of non-CB Kyle Walker who looked uncomfortable every time he had to act like a CB

  19. Yeah Croatia has shown us a lot of heart so far. I would normally support France in a final vs most teams but I’ll be rooting for Croatia.

  20. The best part about England’s loss is that they still have to play in the losers final. Along with Belgium. Delaying the Spurs and City players’ returns. Good. Good.

  21. I think we can draw a conclusion by simply looking at the recent re-signing activity. Holding and Chambers got recently new deals, Sokratis came in. No new deal for Mustafi. So in my opinion the secure position in the starting XI has been taken away from him. Would he be satisfied to play as back up or in squad rotation system? Would his abilities be deemed incomparable with his wages and be sold? This I don’t know, but fo rme looks certain that Mustafi won’t be Arsenal’s flagship CB this season.

  22. Well I did say England should just decline to participate any further, congratulate the eventual winner and go home.

    It was obvious that such a limited side would struggle to make things happen against a proper team. Croatia aren’t world-beaters but the talent and experience of Modric, Perisic, Radikic and Mandzukic was good enough to overwhelm the yoof and pashun of the English. Credit to the Croats, they didn’t panic, plugged away, eventually just outskilled and outplayed England in the midfield, and marshalled England well on the set-pieces.

    We were crying out for someone like Wilshere against both Sweden and Colombia and again last night, and we were quite fortunate to get as far as we did. We even lapsed into the old bad habits of weak and negative football to the extent that I just don’t understand why people are lauding Southgate so heavily. He is being proclaimed a genius despite straitjacketing the team, keeping it 1-dimensional and making poor in-game decisions.

    I sound angrier than I am, I just think that England were very rarely fun or decent to watch and were lucky to get to the Semis. We would have been embarrassed in a final v France.

    1. I actually thought the strength of this England team was that they embraced their identity as a team that does not attempt to build attacks trough possession. Crosses and physicality has always been the English way and at least they went down true to who they are. Previous managers tried to shoehorn mediocre playmakers into the team and it just made them looks flat and predictable. It may not have been pretty but I promise you Croatia would’ve preferred facing a team with Wilshere trying to play creator versus the dynamic directness that took them to the semifinal. As I said in the buildup, Croatia had the bodies to deal with their set pieces and to nullify the wingbacks, and England had no plan B. But the plan A was effective. I think they will go badkwards if they scale it back in favor of a possession style. Having said that, I agree with whoever said that they missed Ox, who would’ve brought a missing dimension of a competent ball carrier in midfield. Wilshere was that player when he first broke through but nowadays I don’t think he has the same burst and Croatia would’ve handled him easily.

      1. Also I don’t think people are giving Croatia proper credit here. They were comfortably the best side England had faced and the only side with an accomplished game in possession. They also had underrated athletes, particulalry Rebic, Perisic and Brozovic who were outstanding. Modric meanwhile a arguably the best central midfielder in the world and for my money the best one for a team that tries to possess the ball. Strinic and Vrjasalko have proved their mettle while Lovren and Vida have not given up an open play goal in who knows how long. I am not a fan of Mandzukic but they also have Kramaric who can score and assist. Most importantly, they play together, they play tough, and they are good on the ball 1-11. They may have gotten lucky on the penalties but they blitzed through their group. This team is GOOD.

  23. Sorry, but as much as I like Jack and did not want him to leave, it’s hard to make a case for him given his late season form, and the fact that he was injured for the two friendlies for which Southgate selected him just before naming his squad. It was Jack’s narrow window to impress, and (through no fault of his own) he missed it. Taking him would have been an act of faith, not football. Welbeck was lucky to be there too, but he had a good recent record for England, and he did not miss his narrow window.

    Good luck to Jack at West Ham. I think he’d have got plenty of games in a squad role at Arsenal.

    1. True enough. I wonder if England would have played this way if they had Lallana and Ox available. My guess is they would. Zero midfield control, or even attempt at it is not just down to the absence of Wilshere. I think it was a deliberate tactic and the team selection was made accordingly.

    2. Also, I think bringing on Vardy instead of Welbeck was understandable, but a mistake. Vardy is an excellent goal poacher, but will not create anything. Welbeck for all his faults, and maybe because of them, could cause some chaos.

      1. Agree on Welbeck over Vardy – this is an example of the poor decision-making I was talking about.

      2. Disagree. He needed goals. And someone who’d take one chance is three, rather than one in 6. Causing chaos (to the extent that you are able to define it — all strikers do) is not a tactic.

        1. Yes, he needed someone to take a chance and Vardy is clearly better at putting them away. Which is why I said it’s understandable. But he needed someone to create chances before that. With Welbeck, you can still punt it into the box and he’s better at scoring from those than Vardy is. Plus he can run with the ball better than Vardy, whose one major threat is running onto a ball played into space.

          If England were creating chances Vardy would be the clear choice. They were doing nothing.

          Still, Danny should get his chance against Belgium.

          1. Im sure that the fringe players will all get a chance on Saturday. They’ll probably be up for up it more than the others.

    3. I did say “someone like” Wilshere, although in the current climate that’s basically Wislhere.

      Maybe form had something to do with it, mostly though it looks like Southgate went for pragmatism, decided not to have a midfield at all and in the end, I think this limitation is what did for England.

      Maybe I’m being too grumpy – I like Southgate and mostly I’m very happy that the team’s extended run did in fact “unite the country” to some extent.

      I just get annoyed by the outcome bias – getting to the semis in that draw was the least we could do and even then we managed almost not to do it. There was no magic, no miracle, just a predictably ordinary England side that (IMO) could and should have been better.

      1. Point well made and taken, Greg. Person I thought was desperately unlucky was Ox. He’s a proper England-type player, and his pace, power, penetration and crossing from the right flank would have been an excellent combo with Trippier.

        And no, whatever his preferences, he wan’t going to get games in the middle of the park. England need:

        1. A better orchestrator than Henderson
        2. A no. 10 lock-picker (he’s a chance for jack to force his way back in for the next Euros, and maybe Qatar)
        3. A goalscoring midfielder like Ramsey

        Unlike club football, you cant buy those

  24. We do have a number of CBs but no obvious pairing, the issue being we only have Holding and Mavropanos who seem happy as LCB, sokratis, mustafi and chambers are all right sided of the pair. That’s a bit of an imbalance on the face of it unless the plan is to punt on youth for one spot or move monreal?

      1. I would appreciate if you can tweet about or share every article you right for Arsenal Review. I mostly visit that place for your articles. No offense to Arsenal Review but their headlines are a bit misleading and have to check for your name in author’s place before I read.

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