Well, this has been peaceful. I cannot remember a summer after 2004-05 when there has been so little coverage of Arsenal’s goings-on. There has been the usual stuff, indeed, and that is hard to stop in this age of constant coverage – The Truman Show coming true, if you will, but nothing over the top. This is good, as we can finally understand the stability that getting a 9 year old monkey off your back brings. This is the peace that has been so subtly capture in the picture above.
I cannot state this point enough. One only needs to look across at the situation United are in. One more summer of upheaval, one more dosage of uncertainty, yet more high-profile players being targeted, more of them seemingly rejecting the chance of joining United, if they have been approached at all.
It hardly makes for peaceful reading for a United fan. Take it from us, formerly beleaguered Arsenal fans, a veritable stampede of world class players “rejecting” the chance to join a club comes with a heavy dose of disappointment and pessimism. We, for once, can read this with amusement, with a vague feeling of having been there and done that, feeling slightly complacent in our period of relative success.
Well, there is still a lot of work to be done from the point of view of transfers, and I am sure the club are putting in the ground work. As far as positions are concerned, I think we are all in agreement here. A back-up keeper, a right back, a central defensive midfield (long-term replacement for Arteta), a true winger and a striker (back-up or first-choice) seem like what we need. Will all these positions be filled? I seriously doubt it. I cannot remember the last time we signed a bunch of players who would go straight into the first team, improving us at once. The trolley-dash in the year Nasri and Fabregas left is not a case in point. We were trying to form a core then. A core is already in place now. We need embellishments to bridge the 7 point gap between us and the champions.
With all these requirements, we are linked heavily by the tabloids to Fabregas. About that, it does not seem true enough to me. I would not think a player who spent so much time “longing” for a return home would suddenly do a U-turn after two season and return to the club he left. I do not think any club would let a player of Fabregas’ caliber go, especially when he is supposed to be a long –term replacement for ageing veteran, Xavi. Angel di Maria is another case for this point. Why would Madrid let him go after such stunning performances, and why would a player of his level decide to leave a Champions League winner and join a club still on the up? In the near past, the only scenario where this has happened is when the destination club has offered the player a truck-load of money and then some, for each match. Arsenal, for all our optimism, is not that club.
It is impossible to separate the truth from the chaff amongst the utter rubbish that the tabloids peddle these days. The news about Ramsey needing a surgery in the summer was such a blatant lie that the player had to go on Twitter to debunk this, which resulted in the said newspaper removing the original story altogether.
To separate the truth from the chaff, we need to keep in mind a few things.
One, the possible expectations that the club could set for itself for next season should serve as good lead. Are we a club that are going to dramatically challenge for the title next season? Maybe – but would a single high-profile player of di Maria’s ilk be enough for that? Hardly – we need defensive re-inforcement. Are we a club that are going to improve on our fourth place finish and see encouraging runs in the Champions League and the British cups, with one trophy out of these? Most definitely – we need to have a few quality, solid, Lauren, Gilberto-type additions for these ambitions, a set of players who could strengthen without being called a marquee signing. A set of players who are a little bit rough right now, but would turn out to be world class in the season after next, rather than this one.
Two, the longevity of the story is an indication. If there are multiple sources quoting the same story with minor differences in opinion as to the valuation of the player, preferably with quotes from reliable and public sources, there is a sense that the story is true. By this assumption, I feel the stories about Aurier, Vela, Griezmann and Benzema have a bit of truth to them, although the Benzema story might just be a rehash of every transfer season.
Between these two indications, I think we can safely reject linkages such as di Maria, Fabregas, Javi Martinez and Cavani, among others. I doubt we are going to stuff 40 million quid down the throats of some club and take their best player away from them. I do not think a signing of Ozil’s kind will be repeated. I do think news about exciting players in the 15-20 million range will carry an element of truth in them, and these are the pieces I will be scouting for. But I will not be breaking out in sweat about non-signings just yet. We are still just a few days into the break, and we still have much to navigate.
For now, I am still basking in the afterglow of the FA Cup victory, which is taking ages to die down, fortunately. Not a day passes when I do not spend an hour or two trawling through older victories, which have not dimmed in their magnificence as time has passed. I suggest you do the same. We have much to look forward to.
Onwards and upwards..
P.S How the hell did Mourinho manage to sell a player who is as ill-disciplined as Luiz for 50 million? FFP? Hah! Take that, bitch.
P.P.S Spuds. Haha-bloody-ha. Yet another manager who will last just enough time to use the 5-year year contract he signed as toilet paper, and then be fired for not being able to fully utilize, or even understand, the rocking-boat of mercenaries that currently populate the club.
P.P.P.S. I hope I am wrong. I hope we have another marquee signing, and then some. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate the arrival of another Ozil-type player.