So our less-than-scintillating but far-from-disastrous start to the season gets puts to one side for the last straight of the madness that is the transfer window. This morning, belatedly if you ask me, itâ€™s all about Theo Walcott whoâ€™s apparently turned down an offer of Â£75k a week.
Now, I havenâ€™t blogged much this summer, partly because I needed a break and partly because the incessant rumour gets my giddy goat, but I did write about Walcott back in July and it pretty much all still stands. Â£75k a week sounds about right to me for an improving player with lots still to learn but he could get more elsewhere â€“ without a doubt – if it was all about money. Donâ€™t forget also that if he does sign a new deal, and he has a good season, he would in all likelihood be able to renegotiate again in a year (oh to be a footballer, heh).
More worrying would be if it was not all about noses in troughs â€“ and the same goes for the other two high-profile departures â€“ because if itâ€™s because of the direction of the club that they are leaving or dithering then itâ€™s a worry (for what itâ€™s worth I think itâ€™s probably a combination of lots of factors â€“ money is probably the principle one, though).
I rate him a lot despite all his foibles and I want him to stay â€“ a feeling that is strengthened given that Song and van Persie have already set sail. Suggesting we have enough cover there already (as is suggested in this BBC article) doesnâ€™t quite wash for me. Arshavin is peripheral and probably off, Podolski is not a winger as such, Gervinhoâ€™s end-product is iffy, Oxlade-Chamberlain is still young and as for Serge Gnabry â€“ I would say he is gnot gnearly ready. If Walcott is and has been happy to stay then why are we flapping around dealing with this now?
The positive me maintains that this side Wenger is putting together has the capacity to be better than the last one that he is clearly dismantling (number of trophies won: zero) and that we should not judge its competitiveness until the morning of the 1st September. We are miles away from the side that got its sandcastle kicked over by toughs at Old Trafford a year ago.
But what seems increasingly possible is that what I thought might be a period of evolution feels more and more like a time of revolution. Our midfield and strikeforce are changing before our eyes. Seven of the starting eleven at Stoke have been at the club a year or less. Wenger is wielding or threatening to wield the axe, even with one arm tied behind his back by the reality of what he is confronted with.
Whether we arrive at the other end weaker or stronger, richer or poorer, well time will tell.
Hold onto your chapeaus.