With less than two weeks until the start of the new premier league campaign and the senior squad now back in full training at London Colney, things are starting to heat up as the pre-season moves towards its final run outs.
The touring party are now back on the lush greenery that is London Colney after a lively jaunt across Australia and China. (We will speak more with a special guest this weekend to relive some of the moments from the tour in Sydney, so keep your eyes and ears out for that one!) In Shanghai we faced up to Bayern Munich and Chelsea amidst horrible atmospheric and pitch conditions. Coming off the back of a lovely trip and run out in front of the packed ANZ stadium crowds, it must have been a real shock to the system to go from a dry 15 degrees to a dense, smoggy 36 degrees in Shanghai. Add to this the conditions on field and a bout of the shits cleaning out a number of players and you’d be forgiven for a poor showing on either night. As we are all well aware, pre-season is no longer only about getting your players in order for the upcoming trials of a new league campaign, no my friends these days we must engage the world-wide fan base and increase our profile in markets where the brand can fulfil its destiny as another channel to feed the coffers. And, look I totally get it and as an Aussie fan who just had the team come to town for the first time in 40 years I am not complaining, but the work the players are putting in these days when as few as 10 years ago they’d be running up a slope in some hidden Austrian training camp, deserves some reflection.
Anyway we got the choccies against Bayern, putting to rest any bad taste we had in our mouths after that little hiccup we had earlier in the year…. Following that Antonio Conte went basically full strength for our little match up and, once his players stopped racially abusing the locals, came away with a straightforward “victory”.
After that it was back home and on to matters more focusses on the new campaign. News this week is that Alexis and Mustafi will rejoin the main group as they kick off their regimes back to match readiness after their extended campaigns at the Confed Cup. Of course, while all this has been going on, the has been no end to the speculation surrounding our little Chilean and things are at a bit of an impasse at the time of writing.
Several reports and articles popped up during the week that announced PSG were back in the chase with claims that 2 separate bids for the front man had been turned down by Arsenal on the back of Wengers refusal to sell the key player this summer. PSG are also hotly linked to Barcas’ Neymar and with a release clause of €220m it might just be a case of them not quite having the cabbage left over to bring Alexis on board.
What is pretty obvious though, is the media’s push towards a deal being sought to reunite Pep Guardiola with his former Barcelona winger at Man City. There’s even the notion that Alexis would be willing to accept less from City than what Arsenal have put on the table to further highlight his desire to leave the Emirates for Etihad. Compound with this the reports of Arsenal being close to striking a deal with Monaco for Thomas Lemar and things seem close to breaking point.
If Arsene and the board have set their minds on keeping Alexis for the last 12 months of his contract before most likely losing him for nothing to the same destination, then we might as well sign Lemar now anyway. It’s not like we need to keep that cash warm in hand while he runs around in Ligue 1 for another season, racking up his value and interest from other parties.
If the resolve of the club is wilted by a fair offer, say in the region of £50+m then we’d be silly not to really. If Alexis isn’t signing our best offer now, he’s hardly going to sign it when he gets 12 other offers placed in front of him this time next year, is he? So why the charade? It will only be a matter of time before this starts to impact preparations of other squad members as well as transfer business and tactical musings as the season draws near. Yes, it will be painful to see another key man move on, but that’s the game nowadays. No point getting your knickers in a twist over something none of us can influence in any way. Let’s just hope that the club do right by everyone and get things cleared up before it all turns to shit.
Speaking of shit, I enjoyed Conte’s comments regarding the ambitions of our Spursy London neighbours – if you haven’t seen the article it’s a good non-arsenal related laugh. Questioning Spurs title ambitions is like asking a vegan why he doesn’t wanna come to your BBQ. Fuck I hate spurs. Good luck staying in the top 4 throughout your stadium rebuild, cunts.
In other news, Lucas Perez has had enough of being given the burnt sausage from Arsene Wenger and has told Spanish outlets that the decision to play new boy Alexandre Lacazette in his number 9 shirt was the final straw. Some might say that his treatment has been unfair given his numbers when he was afforded the opportunity to play, but I say he would have been told the door was open for him to leave well prior to the trip to Sydney (should an offer come in that meets our valuation of the man) and so would be well aware that his short time at the club was over before this tirade. These comments just come off as sour grapes to me and I’d be happy to see us take £10m for him and move on. Get over yourself, mate.
Hey, Santi Cazorla says he’s going to be back as good as new sometime this season as he continues his long-term rehab from an ongoing Achilles issue that derailed his 16/17 campaign. Fitting the category of “Like a New Signing” to a tee, the little Spanish maestro felt confident his best days were not behind him, saying;
“I do not know how far I am [off returning] but I am convinced that I am going to play football again and at my best level.”
To be fair, this is a return that we would all gladly welcome. His quality on the ball is something that we sorely missed in the heart of midfield last season as we patched up as best we could in his absence.
If you’ve forgotten what he’s all about, check out this Match of the Day Analysis from a while back, it’s pure fucking gold.
- Jacky Wilshere is back training with the squad as he steps up his recovery from that season ending leg fracture.
- The annual pre-season Emirates Cup is on this weekend, as we welcome RB Leipzig, Sevilla and Chris Willocks Benfica. There’s limited coverage so best bet is check out Arsenal.com for live streaming.
- The away kit was launched by Puma – check it out here
- We are close to a €55m deal for the aforementioned Thomas Lemar
Catch yas on the flip side!