Ugh. What a lost weekend. Not only did everyone I know fail to buy me a plane-ticket to New York City and match-day ticket to watch Henry's assist to Wrighty's son, no one else I don't know also failed to buy me the same. Worse, or better, depending on how you slice things, the match itself was a bit tepid, ending in a 1-0 win for the hosts. If there's a silver lining, it's in the fact that Henry showed us all that he still has something to offer, and no Gunners got injured. Whether that counts as two silver linings is too much for me to contemplate, as I'm still recovering from the Tottenham invasion of my hometown, an invasion that culminated in Spurs actually defeating a team in red for once. To top things off, we still don't quite know what if anything is going on with Chambers, Ospina, or anyone else we're apparently pursuing. What a life.
26 July 2014
I don't know what to think at this point. I take the wife out to celebrate her birthday and set aside Arsenal (my, er, second love) and come back to find out that, not only have we not yet signed Ospina or Khedira, but that we're apparently all-in for Calum Chambers, a 19-year old right-back from Southampton. We just signed Debuchy, did we not? Are we not therefore set at the position, what with a 28-year old, established international player, supported by a competent if not compelling 22-year old Gunner and Gooner? What's more, we have other, more-pressing priorities, such as the already-alluded-to keeper and defensive-midfield positions. What, then, are we to make of this apparent raid of the Saints?
23 July 2014
Okay, so "Thursday Transfer Talk" doesn't quite roll off the tongue as smoothly as it should, lacking the actual alliteration all of us aspire to, but there's something in it nonetheless. The signings of Alexis Sánchez and Mathieu Debuchy were announced at the club website on Thursdays (17 July and 10 July, for those counting). Heck, Mathieu Flamini's signing was also announced on a Thursday (29 August 2013, for those curious and lazy enough to enquire). There are a few outliers, to be sure—Sanogo was announced on a Monday, as was Özil, but they are shall serve for now as the exceptions that prove the rule. I'll be going to bed shortly, but, given the six-hour time-difference between here and London, anything could happen, ranging from the announced signings of Khedira, Ospina, and Balotelli, to the signing of no one at all.
With a midfield about as crowded as a sardine-tin, Thomas Eisfeld has seen that his chances of breaking into the first team are slimmer than a—well, slimmer than a sardine, come to think of it. He's signed a contract with Fulham, where he'll have a greater chance at regular football. Fair play to him, too. I respect a man who wants to play and compete, and he's not getting that at Arsenal. I might have preferred a loan-deal for him, preserving the right to recall him should the need arise, but so be it. He only made two appearances, both of them in the League Cup, although he did score an important goal against West Brom to help us advance. His departure may not make any ripples, but it does raise the question of how to handle another German midfielder: Serge Gnabry. He's sparkled here and there in his appearances, enough that I hope we hold onto him. However, a loan might be in order for him...
22 July 2014
I thought it would be worth taking a break around transfer-speculation to assess something that offers a little more substance, at least at a level that allows us to examine what we currently have and what it's good for. Already, we've done a nice bit of business in the transfer-window, with Alexis and Debuchy in the squad and with Ospina apparently close to confirmed. By Arsenal standards, that's an orgy of spending, even if the total amount comes to something less under £50m—even if that's less than what Chelsea or Real Madrid or the other remorseless, soulless spenders might splurge on one player. With Man City apparently satiated by Sagna and Liverpool repeating Spurs' saga from a season ago, we and Chelsea look to be the most-ambitious thus far. However, it's in how our current squad coalesces than I'm currently most intrigued by, rather than how future additions might contribute.
Labels: Olivier Giroud
21 July 2014
As Arsenal's trip to New York City draws nearer, your correspondent has to suffer the indignity of seeing none other than Tottenham come to Chicago to play the Fire. I may have to show up just to tweak noses. We'll see. In the meantime, we at least have the return of Arsenal football to enjoy and to distract us from the silly season—which will persist for more than another month (closing 31 August). Having already done a nice bit of business with Debuchy and Alexis, we seem to have turned to the defensive midfield with interest in Khedira seeming to cool. In his place comes William Carvalho, he of Sporting Lisbon, for whom we've made a £24m bid, far short of his £35m release clause but perhaps enough to open negotiations.
20 July 2014
Apologies, first of all, for going silent for the last few days. My sister got married this weekend, which afforded too many distractions and imbibements for me to get to the blog. She's off to Costa Rica, where I'm sure she'll see how Joel Campbell is doing and report back post-haste. Closer to reality, if only marginally, we seem to be edging closer and closer to signing keeper David Ospina, who sparkled at the World Cup for Colombia and did the same for Nice in Ligue 1. There are the infamous suggestions about "personal terms" with the keeper, with further details that we could bring him on for as little as £3m, which would be a fantastic bit of business. At the other end of things, financially if not feasibly, the Khedira saga drags on with no indication that his camp have budged from demands for a weekly wage of something close to £190m. Just what the hell's a club supposed to do?