Hi there all. I trust you are all well and are looking forward to the weekend…as a lecturer who has just had the last month off, this week has been a crash back down to the reality of work, preparation, induction and work. Oh, and work.
But please don’t shed a tear for me, not at all. I wasn’t for all you non-educators when I had my feet up for almost 40 straight days.
To start the week with a somewhat frantic transfer window erupting in all spheres of the media was most distracting. Other internet-based events also proved somewhat distracting too…
When the dust settled, Arsenal had added that international striker that almost every Gooner had be shouting for since Robin van Persie departed in 2012. It wasn’t Radamel Falcao, nor Edinson Cavani. It was a player who drove in the exact opposite direction to our long-gone Dutch ex-captain; Danny Welbeck.
On the surface, Welbeck is a somewhat underwhelming purchase. On the surface. Dig a little deeper and you will find a promising 23-year-old striker, who is English, who has scored against Real Madrid, who has a fine repertoire of finishes in his locker, who turned down the advances of Tottenham Hotspur, and you could argue that he was also Manchester United’s Jack Wilshere equivalent – insofar that he came up through the levels and became a home-grown England international (seemingly adored by their fans too) – as well.
With Olivier Giroud out until the New Year, whilst this was a late piece of business, and he may have been a second or third choice, this purchase may prove a canny move. A hungry player keen to do well is a nice option to call upon. Whilst Yaya Sanogo is also a keen and hungry player, he isn’t yet at the level of Welbeck, and certainly lacks his composure and finesse. Indeed, Welbeck looked like an excited schoolboy during his England cameo against Norway and showed promising flashes of his talent, speed and power.
The shadow of a missed opportunity does, however, still cloak Arsenal’s 2014 summer transfer window endeavours. Many will argue that Thomas Vermaelen hasn’t been replaced – regardless of Calum Chambers’ promising start – and no further competition for Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini has been signed either – regardless of Calum Chamber’s potential to play there – so one wonders if the likes of Isaac Hayden and Francis Coquelin will have more first team playing time; at least until January.
This may be no bad thing. Hayden looked like a talent when he played in the Capital One Cup last season, and Coquelin has no doubt improved his game after a series of loan spells abroad. Perhaps these two players had shown enough in training in late August for Arsene Wenger to keep his cheque booked closed until January..?
How apt that the sight of a purple dildo being slapped into the face of a roving Sky Sports reporter as the window came to a close, oh so neatly encapsulated (for me) 21st century football coverage as it now is…although in this sublime instance, the shoe was on the other foot. No doubt ITV will strongly pursue the errant dildo and attempt to sign it up: as an upgrade to their current daytime TV presenters…
Interestingly, 27-year-old Kenyan international McDonald Mariga – once of Internazionale and Parma – who is a defensive midfielder and the elder brother of Southampton’s Victor Wanyama, is available on a free transfer. Surely he’d be worth a one to two year deal as midfield cover?!
Marco Reus’ siren continues to woo gossip columns, and this week, Arsenal have been tipped to sign him in January; I assume so Borussia Dortmund can sell him abroad, rather than see yet another young star of theirs stroll south to Munchen and don the red and blue of Bayern. With Dortmund once again dropped into Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League group, there will be at least two opportunities for meetings between the boards.
What impact would this have on the current playing staff? Well, if rumours are to be believed, Joel Campbell was offered around Portugal like a bag of toffee crumble at a bus stop before school. I suspect that he has until January to make his mark or he’ll be sold off for a healthy profit. Likewise Lukas Podolski, who must now (sadly?) realise that his London tenure – with Arsenal at least – is also coming to a close.
I’ll not get my hopes up…but the idea of Reus being added to this side, as well as hopefully some defensive reinforcements in January, is going to sustain me for a few months. I just hope Arsenal aren’t too far off of the pace after Christmas. An unbeaten start, albeit with some unconvincing displays involved, is still an unbeaten start.
With Manchester City awaiting after this tediously boring international break, we shall witness whether Arsenal’s – and by that I of course mean Arsene’s – transfer window shenanigans were well thought out or sheer folly.
I’m going to plump for a tight 2-1 home victory. Manchester City haven’t quite clicked yet and whilst Sergio Aguero is returning to ominous form, Vincent Kompany may well be absent, and Joe Hart appears to have a glaring mistake-a-game-quota to fulfil these days. I live in hope. What odds Mancunian hitman Welbeck providing the bullets to shoot down his old noisy neighbours, eh?
Take care, thanks for reading.