Good morning, welcome to Friday and what in Ireland, at least, is a bank holiday weekend.
A splendid amount of stuff going this morning. Some morning there’s lots of stuff but it’s not at all splendid. It can be turgid. Or just plain old middle of the road but this morning there’s no doubt there’s a splendifferousness about it. Mostly because it involves us spending some money.
All kinds of papers and websites of repute from fair to ill, are reporting bids, proper full-on enough to actually buy a player bids, for both Juan Mata and Phil Jagielka. With regard to Mata pretty much all of them are saying we’ve agreed a fee with Valencia for the player and his arrival is imminent. The Express gives it the old ‘he’s told his friends’ shuffle too, for good measure.
He would be a quality addition to the squad, especially when taking into account possible departures (more on that anon), and would certainly make our attacking line-up next season all the stronger. I suspect he’s earmarked for a more central role than the one he plays at Valencia but time will tell on that one. And we’d smash our club record transfer fee too.
Then there’s Phil Jagielka. We’ve gone back to Everton with another bid and by all accounts the two clubs are in negotiations. If the fee ends up at around £15m that’d probably be about right. There’s certainly an ‘English Premium’ on this fee but that is the reality of the transfer market. If you want an experienced, established England international you’ll have to pay top dollar. Let’s face it, even if you want an inexperienced, non-international you have to pay top dollar – a la Jordan Henderson.
And in a market where Stewart Downing costs £20m I don’t really have any complaints about Jagielka’s fee. We need a centre-half badly. We need one that is experienced, that doesn’t need a period of adaptation to Premier League football, we need one that can come in and start doing the job straight away, and Jagielka ticks all those boxes. He might not have the physical presence of a Samba or a Cahill, both of whom could advertise corn with their tallness, but I think he’s a good player and I’d be happy with this signing.
So, things are looking up but as this is Arsenal and these are transfers I would urge caution until things are fully wrapped up. If you’ve cracked open the Babycham already then let’s hope it’s not a case of premature fizzjaculation. We know from bitter experience how things can go wrong at any stage of the transfer process and we do have a reputation – whether it’s founded or unfounded I’ll leave you to decide – for making life as difficult as possible for ourselves when making deals.
There’ll be talk of other clubs hijacking Mata and Everton wanting a bazillion-magillion for Jagielka and how Eboue was all set to join somebody for £3.50 until we slapped a £21m price tag on him at the last minute, so while I’m encouraged I remain calm and somewhat aloof. If and when the deals are done I shall become frenzied and convivial and I think that’s probably the best way to go.
Meanwhile P-Diddy to the HW has damn near regulated Barcelona when it comes to the Cesc situation. Speaking to the Daily Star, as is his wont, he said:
They have been messing about for a year and a half now and they have got to make up their minds. The ball is in their court. They have made one bid of around £26m and another rather tentative one.
If they want to buy the player they are going to have to pay the right price – and when you look at what is being paid elsewhere I don’t think what we are asking is at all unreasonable.
And when asked if reports that Arsenal are slapping a deadline on things and are ready to call the whole thing off, like tomaytos v tomatoes, he said:
We are getting close to that.
Boom! That’s what I like. He’s told them to CUoCO. Which is only right and proper at this stage. There are further reports this morning that Arsene has emailed Sandro Rosell and told him we won’t let this drag on much longer. I can’t be the only one who hopes he stuck a link in at the bottom to Rick Roll him, can I? Or used all caps JUST TO BE REALLY ANNOYING.
While I still wouldn’t be overly optimistic that Cesc will stay I think it’s fairly obvious we want this to come to a head one way or the other now. Personally, I think this is something we should have done from the start and not let it drag on as long as it has. The situation has barely changed all summer, from our point of view, Cesc’s point of view and, least importantly of all, Barcelona’s point of view. I think we should have sent them some kind of missive saying ‘If you want him, you pay what we want by the 7th of July otherwise, due the fact he has a contract until 2015, we’re going to keep him’.
Maybe we did, maybe Barcelona are just unspeakably rude and ill-mannered and refuse to adhere to our negotiating methods, but either way it’s gone on way too long now and I suspect a resolution is not too far away.
Other players on the way out could include Nicklas Bendtner who, it was reported, would be unveiled as a Sporting Lisbon player on Saturday. There’s some suggestion since then that the whole thing is nonsense and Sporting can’t afford his wages, so we’ll have to wait and see. Still, lots of clubs want him so if this deal falls through he’ll have plenty to choose from.
And with the Emirates Cup taking place this weekend there’ll be plenty of news and gossip flying around, I reckon, so let’s see what the weekend brings. Aside from beer and rum.
Right, have at it.