Step on a plug. The sound of someone eating too loudly. Blowflies buzzing around a window without ever going out. Man, blowflies are such idiots.
In any case, these are little things that make people very angry.
Arsenal football club. A big thing that makes people very angry. Especially in connection with transfers that don’t make a lot of sense (at least not in the current scenario we’re in).
On paper, it makes sense to hire a local goalkeeper to support Bernd Leno and compete. It’s one of the things we’re trying to do this summer. It’s just that nobody is particularly interested in the man we seem to be targeting: Aaron Ramsdale, whose name almost stumbles on the tongue, and the price tag on him.
Yesterday’s reports suggested Sheffield United was looking for around £ 32m for the 23-year-old, and frankly, that’s insane money. I think we should stop and make it clear that this is what the selling club wants, not necessarily what we are willing to pay. Still, people will be wondering whether the effort we could make makes sense, especially since we are still looking for players for the first team.
If we were to spend, say, £ 20m on Ramsdale, that would be roughly £ 45m on a left full-back, a midfielder (for now) and a substitute goalkeeper this summer. But I don’t think a club like Arsenal would spend that much money on a goalkeeper without seeing a way in which to make them their first choice. Leno has two years left on his contract, it doesn’t look like we have any plans to renew it so we need to think about what to do next. How quickly the “next” happens remains to be seen, of course. I suspect Leno will stay one more season and then leave next summer.
Now, for the sake of discussion, leave aside the rather important question of whether you think Ramsdale is the best goalkeeper we can get right now and for the money it would cost I think an element of timing is one How this is perceived plays a role. If we had already brought in the central midfielder, who we urgently need, and the attacking midfielder, who is also clearly on the shopping list, the fear could be a little less. Understandably, however, people are concerned about the significant amount of effort going into increasing the roster (not a bad thing in itself, let’s face it) without paying enough attention to the first team (the most important one).
That also plays a role that connects us with Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham. My first reaction to hearing this was, “I wish we would stop signing players that Chelsea don’t want anymore” and to be honest, that’s still the crux of the matter. When you think of the players who have come from there to this point, it is almost masochistic that we should continue like this. Still, it makes sense if you look at our list of strikers.
Aubameyang is now 32 years old and may be slowing down; Lacazette still has one year of contract and should really be sold this summer; Nketiah will surely go; Balogun is a fantastic candidate but has no total Premier League minutes under his belt; and Martinelli could be seen more as a broad player at this point. There’s a void for a player, especially if we manage to sell Lacazette – although there haven’t been any rumors affecting him that window which makes me think he’ll stay and close his deal. Abraham has many top scorer pedigrees at Chelsea and his various loan periods, and that’s where the logic of the game could be seen.
But can you spend £ 20m on a substitute goalkeeper and £ 40m on a striker without those midfield positions sorted? I mean you could, but it wouldn’t be smart, and at some point we have to figure out how big the roster would be. We still urgently need to sell some players, not only to make room, but also to bring in some of the money we seem like we’d like to spend.
There are reports that Leicester, Southampton and Burnley are interested in Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and while each deal is different, I really think the sale of Chelsea’s Marc Guehi to Crystal Palace needs to be some kind of benchmark for us – especially when there are potential graduates. He had loaned two seasons at Swansea and only two games for Chelsea but was demanding a £ 18m fee.
Between Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, we have hundreds of top games, goals, FA Cup wins, European experience, one or two international matches for England, the all-time England U21 goal record and above all home made status. If we sell these players, they have to make good income. Ultimately this is Edu and Richard Garlick who will be negotiating deals and I don’t want to see shoddy loan agreements with an obligation to buy for £ 3.50 a week for the next trillion weeks while we give the player a golden handshake and some bookmarks, that are worth more than the transfer fee itself.
This is in contrast to reports about another player that we might like to continue: Willian. It’s a pinch of salt from the Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb, but we are struggling to find a destination for him because … well, nobody wants a stranded almost 33-year-old with massive wages for the next two years. What an exceptionally generous deal that was. Out of the ordinary. And all those little cameos that come with an entrance fee too. We are so, so nice. So nice guys. Willian was described as a “prisoner” in the report, but you don’t often see prisoners rocking back and forth in their luxurious hammocks and being served piña coladas at 11 am while a suckling pig roasts gently over a wood fire for lunch. This is a hell of a prison to find yourself again.
Anyway, to conclude today, Arsenal seems to be wavering between deals that make a lot of sense and look promising as part of a long-term strategy and rumors that annoy us because they suggest that the meaningful part of our business may be less is encouraging than we hope. I suppose it’s also worth noting that the nature of the transfer window is that we all tend to give great credibility to the stories we don’t like, while disbelief is the main ingredient in the stories we like. Something to consider.
Keep it up, back tomorrow with more and a brand new Arsecast. See you.