Good morning everyone. Briefly today because I’m on the road this morning.
NOTE: I wrote the following (in italics) last night and it turned out that the trip was canceled because some players and others in the tour group tested positive for Covid-19.
It is obviously painful for all the fans who bought tickets, flights, hotels, etc., as well as the most painful aspect: not seeing the team play live and in person. I know exactly how much it means to Arsenal fans around the world when we’re on tour and hopefully the world will soon return to the kind of normal that allows things like this to happen without that risk.
The team is flying to the US today ahead of the Florida Cup, which is taking place in Orlando (it’s also funny how the outline of Florida looks like a wig Stan Kroenke could wear). There have been some concerns that the “tournament” may be at risk due to the rising number of Covid-19 infections in the state, and there have been reports that Inter Milan – whom we will play against on Sunday – had asked to withdraw.
Either the report was false or it looks like their concerns have been addressed and they are traveling. Interestingly, the US CDC and State Department advise against traveling to the UK from there – again because of the rise in cases and the delta variant. How safe are the “bubbles” that football existed in now that restrictions have been lifted in the UK?
Of course there are financial incentives for clubs to travel to such events and I know firsthand how much it means for fans to see the team up close, but even with vaccinations etc it is more at risk than when it is Don’t do things like international travel, airports, buses, etc. Arsenal aren’t the only team to be on the road this preseason, but fingers crossed the “bubble” (which must rule out any kind of fan event with players?) Before the start of the new campaign.
But how can football be immune to reality? I’m almost sure there will be Covid disruptions this season or scenarios where teams are weakened, maybe forced to play without key players or even many players, due to isolation / quarantine etc. That raises questions of fairness / athletic integrity etc. and I wonder if the Premier League is prepared for it.
Yesterday Mikel Arteta spoke about further newcomers and whether we would see more players from the profiles of Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga. As mentioned yesterday, these profiles are a source of encouragement for those we’d like to see the club learn from past mistakes, but the manager made it clear that some signings would require a bit more experience, saying:
“We need some older players. Players with different leadership styles in the team, with different qualities, people who complement each other.
“Ultimately, it’s about team cohesion, so we need a squad that sticks together, that can evolve and adapt, that has different qualities to change games, protect games when we need it, and that’s it, what we’re trying to build. “
The two most obvious positions for this are the central midfielder, who will replace the Roma-linked Granit Xhaka, and the attacking midfield position, which is associated with Martin Odegaard, James Maddison and Houssem Aouar. Sambi appears to be a de facto Ceballos replacement, likely the third or fourth option depending on what also happens to Mohamed Elneny, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
So that means someone has more experience as a Partney partner, and while we have 20 year old Emile Smith Rowe as one of the ‘CAM’ options, that means you probably want someone with a few more seasons more. I think Smith Rowe gives us a chance to get that can on the street a little bit. That makes it far less urgent and urgent than the central midfielder, who, overall, should really be ready to start the season – especially when you take into account some of the opponents we’ll face early on.
That means you have to get something done pretty quickly, deal with the paperwork so the player can potentially go through a period of isolation, etc. and still have time to settle in, meet his teammates, get training and be fit to to start on August 13th against Brentford. It doesn’t seem like anything is particularly cramped here, and given the way transfers are happening these days, this could be viewed as a little worrying. It’s not an impossible one out of the blue / we didn’t see it coming / it happened very quickly Style transfer can go down, but mostly deals are signposted for some time. It’s just like that, there are so many ways that information can leak that it is almost inevitable that at least something will happen, which means surprises are extremely rare.
Anyway, I’m sure Mikel Arteta is aware of the need for that central midfield and is keen to get sorted. So let’s see what happens in the next week or so.
For today, you might have seen an announcement later this week about Arsenal’s “partnership” with a thing called Socios, a “fan engagement” experience based on a cryptocurrency. Aside from the already inherent uncertainty of cryptocurrencies, the idea of fans having to pay to vote on things related to the club seems just a bit cheesy. It’s obviously another source of income for the club during a difficult financial time and no one has to part with money if they don’t want to, but it still doesn’t feel right. If you really want to involve fans, do it right away, not based on your ability / willingness to throw away good money for something with no real value.
If you’re looking to find more, there’s a good long read of here @ ugly game this is worth your time:
If you’ve seen Arsenal sign up with Socios and want to know more, here are three things that might come in handy:
1. What Socios is in brief (in the appendix)
2. A long read about Socios from some time ago
3. How cryptocurrency speculators use socios to scalp football fans
– Martin Calladine (@uglygame) July 19, 2021
For additional reading, below is an interesting thread from the co-creator of Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency made as a hoax but which has a current market cap of $ 44 billion! Click through to read it in full.
I am often asked whether I am “going back to cryptocurrency” or regularly sharing my thoughts on the subject again. My answer is a resounding “no”, but in order not to repeat myself, I think it might be worthwhile to briefly explain here why …
– Jackson Palmer (@ummjackson) July 14, 2021
Well, let’s leave it there for this morning. News all day on Arseblog News, tomorrow more from me here.