According to Forza, we've made an aggressive bid for Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani only to have it rejected. The 20-year old spent the season on-loan to Empoli, playing all 3,420 minutes of the season without getting booked once. Rumours that Rugani might be brought in to mentor Flamini have been scuppered...for now. At first blush, it might seem odd that we'd pursue yet another centre-back when we have Koscielny, Mertesacker, and Gabriel, plus Debuchy and Chambers as makeshifts. Then again, Kos, Per, and Debuchy are getting long in the tooth, and at least a few of our signings have to be made with an eye to the longer term—that is, beyond the upcoming season.
15 July 2015
An Arsenal side that featured a handful of youth (Akpom, Iwobi, Martinez to start, and Zelalem, Toral, Willock, and Crowley subbing on) manhandled the Singapore XI in a 4-0 win, advancing to the final on Saturday against Everton. Akpom claimed a hat-trick and Wilshere chipped in, each man scoring once from the spot. It might be a bit early to anoint Akpom as the saviour. For now, rather than trying to draw any meaningful insights, sit back, relax, and enjoy the highlights...
While it's been a bit alarming to see Man U aggressively signing players, even more so one or two whom we've pursued, a bit of perspective is perhaps helpful. Morgan Schneiderlin, for all of his virtues, is not the defensive midfielder we're looking for—not as competition, support, or upgrade on Coquelin, anyway. He might have made for a nice addition to the squad, but he's more of a traditional CM than DM. As such, he'd find himself fighting against Ramsey and Wilshere for time on the pitch at a position at which we're already ridiculously deep. Throw in Cazorla, Rosický and the Ox, and is it any wonder Schneiderlin figured that his best chance at playing lay with Man U, whose midfield was held together by duck tape and baling wire for most of the past season?
14 July 2015
Feh. So it seems that those filthy Mancs have signed not only Schweinsteiger but Schneiderlin as well, leaving us to wonder and worry whether they'll go the route already trod by Tottenham and Liverpool before them, that is, signing a raft of players only to struggle to find any chemistry. Then again, they did that a season ago, signing Shaw, Herrera, Rojo, Blind, and di María while "loaning" Falcao. The additions of Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin may save your correspondent some keystrokes in the long run but they'll add to the heartburn as well. The squad is off to Singapore, and the news that Arteta has signed a new contract inspires concern rather than confidence that we will go into the season with him as the only backup to Coquelin? Flamini begs to differ, but that hardly offers much in the way of reassurances...
12 July 2015
He's French. He's (potentially) undervalued. Plenty of face, solid finishing, room to grow. Hell, he's the next Henry. The only asterisk to append to that claim, apparently, is that he's already delivered one massive season, scoring 27 goals in 31 Ligue 1 appearances, offering a strong comparison to Henry's delivery at the same age when he scored 17 goals in 31 (or 35) Prem appearances. Let's set aside the nonsense, though, shall we? He's not the next Henry, and it's time to stop billing him as such. As it currently stands, he seems to be a very good striker. Last I checked, we could use one of those.