Ok, so for once, Arsenal were actually “gazumped”. Congratulations to Chelsea: they paid 100m plus 88m in salary and signed a guy to a 7.5-8.5 year contract in order to amortize the payments and thus avoid FFP scrutiny. That’s a lot of money for a player who has just 77 appearances and just 12 goals and 19 assists in his career.
I don’t blame the player for going to Chelsea over Arsenal. If I was 22 years old and someone came along and offered me 88m, I’d be dead within a year. Not sure what that has to do with anything but I thought I’d put it out there. Anyway, the point here is that I’m not mad at him or Waxtap. They did a great deal and soaked Chelsea for every single penny.
Looking around at the stories today I see that Arsenal are linked to another player, Moussa Diaby. Leverkuzen were approached in the summer and rebuffed everyone then. They really don’t want to sell now and are putting his price at 100m. Moussa Diaby and Christopher Nkunku (another player who has signed for Chelsea, they paid OVER his release clause because they wanted to structure the payments in order to avoid FFP) are expected to lead the French line for the next decade. Moussa Diaby has 213 career appearances and 108 combined goals and assists. For my money, he’s less of a gamble than Mud Rick.
I follow the Guardian’s “Next Generation” column. I’m going to waste a few words here and say “this is an amazing column”. Every year since 2014 the Guardian’s reporters compile a list of the most notable footballers in the world and the Premier League. They then follow up on those players, year after year. This is the kind of actual reporting that no other paper does and it’s a big reason why I’m a paid subscriber at the Guardian. You can see every single article since 2014, and in 2018 they did a recap of their first three years, which is also delightful.
In 2015 they picked Ødegård but they also pick some real duds. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that players just don’t pan out. And they are pretty limited in terms of numbers of players they pick from each country so, for example, the season that Moussa Diaby would have made the cut they have a keeper and Malang Sarr. That is to say that a lot of players slip through. I don’t see Mudryk in any of the columns either (would have been in the 2018 group with Kvaradona who they did identify) and I suspect that’s because he didn’t really play much.
The point I’m making here is that there are a TON of talented players in the world right now and we don’t have to pay 100m to get one. I know we are looking for ready made solutions rather than bedpanning for gold but I think we should do a bit of both. Some prospecting and also a solid backup in the wide areas and in the midfield. And for 100m I would like to think that we can do all of that rather than just one player because we need three players if we want to win the League.
It was odd watching Arteta put Tierney on as a LW player on Sunday. It feels like he did that to send a message that we need a wide player. And I have to admit it worked with me! We also need a press-resistant DM and a backup CF (in case Eddie gets hurt).
Mikel Arteta was on the 2015/16 Arsenal team that should have won the League. He was there when Wenger bought only Cech in that summer and then didn’t buy a backup for Cazorla (who went down with one of the most gruesome injuries ever) and didn’t reinforce the front line. Personally, I think it was refusing to replace Cazorla that was the problem. I know that Giroud didn’t score in the League for a few months but Wenger dropped him and brought in Welbeck who did score and we won those matches that Giroud was dropped for. The bigger problem was that the midfield was weak. Ramsey and Ozil was a bad pairing and Coquelin only worked when he had the ultimate ball carrier in Cazorla next to him. I wonder how much Arteta thinks back on that season, sees the opportunity ahead of us now, and absolutely wants to go for it? I would. I’d be chomping* at the bit.
So, to recap: there’s talent, everyone knows that there’s talent, we need talent, we have money, we are in the title race, if we don’t reinforce this squad right now we risk losing this title race and I’ll be livid if Man U win the League this season, which they very well could do, so go out there and get that talent.
*HAHAHAHA, this is another phrase that Brits hate the American version. I know that they prefer champing at the bit.