A very good morning to you on a humdinger of an English summer’s day. 30c+ days are like Chamakh goals in this country – we get a few in late summer then nothing at all for the rest of the year. The new season is upon us too, which means we have one of those glorious crossovers of high summer and football. I like those a lot.
Feeding time at the transfer zoo
Quick word on those who’ve left or might: We start the new campaign without van Persie, of course, which is no real surprise. In many ways it’s better it happened before the season started and didn’t Nasri on until the end of the month. I wish he hadn’t gone where he went but as Wenger said, “We had to act, and that is what we did”.* So he has gone. Life’s too short to tie yourself up in knots about these things. He was a terrific player for us, a goalscorer par excellence, and having given eight years of service you cannot say he flitted in and flitted out like a will’o-the-wisp. The end was messy, but last season was serene. £24m represents good business.
*Note to Arsenal: Worth fixing the reasons why this keeps happening, if you can. Thanks.
You could of course apply the same ‘having to act’ financial logic to Walcott’s situation too – I can’t see us letting him run his contract down either so something will have to give there in the next two weeks. Nobody seems quite so worried about this – should we be?
Then there’s Song – that’s an interesting one. For me this came right out of the blue. We don’t need to sell him, but Wenger hardly seems to be standing in his way. If it’s an attitude thing then I’m all for this new-found Wenger ruthlessness – Song is replaceable. And despite a midfield that is in numbers well-stocked, I think Wenger would try to replace him like-for-like as we are short of fit and experienced specialist defensive midfielders.
That’s for the next week or so though – it’s going to be a hectic month. Now though, it’s all about the season’s opener and I’m genuinely excited by what promises to be a forward line with plenty of options. We have an attacking midfield and strikeforce that has the potential to be very flexible, at least in principle – players like Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Cazorla, even Diaby can go wide or central. Arshavin (if he stays), Walcott (in his mind anyway) are to a lesser degree not rooted to one sole role either. In Giroud we have height in the forward line – hopefully a more reliable kind of height than that offered in recent seasons by Bendtner and Chamakh.
Combine those options with a more rigorous attitude to defending and there’s plenty to be excited about. Losing van Persie is a blow to our goalscoring potential and no doubt to our esteem too, but despite the same high-profile departures that we see pretty much every year, this summer’s proactive purchasing has, for me at least, meant there are far more positives than there are negatives.
I won’t even begin to try to predict a starting eleven. That we are not able to is a promising thing, no? We have options.
Here’s to three points and the dawn of a new era.
I can’t wait.