14 August 2013

Gustavo could be a Gunner by Friday; Suarez? See ya...

First the good news: the stories about Luis Suarez staying at or leaving Liverpool are flying back and forth faster than I can track them. Honestly. I had started writing about his comment that he would apparently be staying at Liverpool "owing to the affection of the people" (I can only assume he means "the money", but I digress). However, before I could
track down that quote, I stumbled across another one that has him denying the first quote, claiming that, in Suarez's words, "I didn’t say that, maybe someone else did". At first, of course, I was outraged. How dare he go back on what he'd previously said! I thought. Then, I realized that I live on Earth and calmed down a bit. This won't be the first time a human has misled another human or simply changed his mind. If this particular, miserable excuse for a human being stays at Liverpool, that's fine with me. Liverpool think they can overtake us, Spurs, and Everton to climb into the Champions League, and I'm willing to let them think that. They've completed a few transfers, but none that have me shaking in my boots. I see them struggling to keep up with us or Spurs, who have made a couple of nice pick-ups (but could still lose Bale).

Of course, we're all up in arms about our own lack of activity (sorry, Sanogo, but it's true). I worry then that missing out on Higuain, Jovetic, and a few others is pushing some among us to have stopped thinking things through and are at risk of acting rashly. It's as if we're looking around and thinking, "we can't risk losing out on another transfer-target. We've been after Suarez for weeks now, so it would be too embarrassing if we lose out on him as well." It's akin to being out at the pub and striking out with a few, um, romantic interests and panicking when last-call is announced, and so you find the drunkest, most-attractive target left and throw everything you have at him/her so you can at least prove to your mates that you still got some. Suarez is now that drunken floozy. Thankfully, his posse are trying to usher him away from our lascivious eyes. That's fine with me. At the risk of straining the metaphor, I'd rather go home alone than contract whatever diseases he's carrying. Thankfully, the odds-makers still peg Suarez to stay at Liverpool (1/4 at bwin, 2/7 at bet365). The news at transfermarkt is similarly promising, with the site rating the likelihood of him joining Arsenal at 46% and falling fast.

On to the better news: there are reports that suggest that Luiz Gustavo could join Arsenal before our match against Aston Villa. That, of course, is some headline-generating rumor-mongering, but it doesn't stand alone. There are no sites taking bets on Gustavo going anywhere, and transfermarkt suggests that there is a 54% (and rising) chance of him joining Arsenal. Their estimate of him going anywhere else—Napoli, Man U, AC Milan—are in the low teens, and their estimate of him going to Wolfsburg, the other club as closely linked as we've been, come in at 38% and falling. He's set for a press-conference on Thursday, and it's anyone's guess as to what he'll say, but the tea leaves are encouraging. I've been excited for this signing, certainly more so than I've been for signing Suarez; I believe he could solidify our squad by ensuring greater stability from defense to offense, and this could go a long way towards helping us climb the table. With our early-season fixtures among the softest in the Prem, it would be ideal to have him (or others) available to provide time to get acclimated without unduly affecting chemistry (something that Gustavo seems likely to enhance; something that Suarez seems likely to disrupt).  We'll be eager to see what Gustavo has to say after the Brazil-Switzerland friendly, that's for sure.

In other news, it looks Jenkinson might go out on a season-long loan to Sunderland. At first blush, this looks ludicrous as it would leave us with only one first-team right-back in Bacary Sagna, even if Sagna has shone brightly during the preseason. However, there must be method to the madness; I'm more certain than this than I am of Gustavo signing: it must mean that we are about to sign someone. It's well-worth remembering what Arsène loves to conduct his business in as secretive a manner as possible, and I wouldn't put it past him to surprise with a high-quality signing at right-back. Schalke's Atsuto Uchida has been mentioned, as has Málaga's Jésus Gámez. I'd certainly be open to one of these, if not ecstatic.

Right. That's about all the transfer-business I can manage. I'm proud of two accomplishments as I arrive at the end of this: one, I didn't attempt any bad plays on the Luis/Luiz spellings; two, I didn't even try to use the word "defenestrate", despite the temptation to do so. Enjoy the friendlies if you dare; you can click here to see the official listing of who's where. 'Til tomorrow, then...