Refreshed and tanned it is apt for me to recap on a week away, Arsenal style. I had hoped that things would have picked up on the week preceding it when precious little happened. Welcome to yet another Gunners close season.
After a quiet weekend we launched a shiny new kit on Monday. I have to say I have been swept along with the tide of joy about the return to Adidas. Quite apart from the great new strip I hope we are all to put the doubled sponsorship package to good use this summer. Yeah, I know…
I’m not sure I understand the furore that surrounded our £40 million bid for Wilf Zaha, in instalments dammit! Who would offer a transfer fee in instalments, for goodness sake, apart from every club and every deal known to man. Apart from when we signed Sol Campbell of course, when we offered the entire zero pounds and zero pence, up front in order to seal the deal.
We did, however, announce a shiny new signing. Gabriel (yes, another Gabriel) Martinelli joined us from Ituano in Brazil. Will the eighteen year old slot straight into the first team set-up, or get a grounding in U-23 football first? At this point we know not, other than the fact that given our reported financial situation we should see some young talent given the opportunity in the senior side in the coming months. The young Brazilian not surprisingly enthused about the move. Good luck lad.
“It is a dream since I was a child and also my family’s dream for me to be playing in Europe and playing for a big team like Arsenal. I am going to take this opportunity.”
Another young player was taking his development to the next stage by agreeing a season-long loan deal just down the road from me at Swindon Town. Daniel Ballard skippered the Gunners in Premier League 2 last season and earned a call-up to the Northern Ireland senior international squad. Hopefully I will get to see him at close quarters in the season to come before he returns to oust Sokratis Papastathopoulos from the first team.
Celtic’s signing of a left-back prompted the inevitable speculation about our reported bid for Kieran Tierney. Allegedly our initial £25 million offer isn’t acceptable to the Glasgow club. It’s far from certain that the young man is worth even that given his experience to date.
It wasn’t all about arrivals, potential or otherwise. David Ospina completed his move to Napoli so we have added a few pennies to the available funds. Whilst he never commanded the utmost confidence Ospina provided experienced cover for Petr Cech and lest we forget was in goal for our 2017 FA Cup Final win over Chelsea. Imagine beating them in a Final! Let’s hope David is able to nail down a regular starting berth at the Italian club. Good luck to the Columbian.
Back to incoming rumours, and the latest forward to be linked with us is Lucas Vasquez of Real Madrid. If this means we are considering releasing one of the current attacking pairing then someone, please reconsider that strategy. It’s almost as insane an idea as, say, buying William Saliba from St Etienne and loaning him back to the French club for next season. Really?
Finally the pre-season fixtures kicked off with the U23s match against their host club, Boreham Wood, in the Saturday sunshine. Two down in fifteen minutes, it’s fair to say we did not start on the front foot against the National League club. Close to half-time Matt Smith reduced the arrears, but the gap was back to two goals before the whistle blew thanks to a fine strike by Adam McDonnell.
It’s perhaps over-egging the pudding to say we needed a second-half response in the first friendly of the summer, but happily that is what we produced. Supersub Tyreece John-Jules levelled things with a low drive and a smart penalty kick after seeing his first attempt of the half cleared off the line.
Coming up, another week of intense speculation, and hopefully a shiny new signing, or heaven forbid, two. Might we also see further migration from the club, perhaps in the direction of Selhurst Park? We shall see.
Have a great Sunday, ‘holics.