I think I’ve got post-traumatic stress disorder. I keep getting these weird flashbacks. Like, I’m going along normally, minding my own business and then it’s:
MUST BUY LEFT BACK!
Not so good when you’re in the supermarket, frantically searching the vegetable section for a suitable candidate. “This butternet squash looks like he could put in a good cross”.
Or if you’re down in Eggy Joe’s, you look a little more closely at the tray of eggs you’ve just bought and you’re overcome with this sense we still need a centre-half and each egg is a perfectly shaped head of Cygan. Argh! That’s why I think this Interlull has come at just the right time for everyone. We are, quite literally, spent, needing a little bit of time just to settle down from the frenzied mayhem super-carnage that was the last few days of the transfer window.
I know it’d be nice to see our super shiny new players in action straight away but we’ve got plenty of games to come. And I don’t think it’d do anyone any harm to just chill out, take stock of where we are, and plan accordingly. Least of all Arsene Wenger whose reluctance to add new players to squad in recent seasons must make this all a bit weird and scary for him. Five new players in one go?! I bet Arsene is like many of us, believing change is scary and awful. Like if you’re planning to leave the house at 6pm but for some reason you have to go 15 minutes earlier. How is one supposed to prepare for that kind of tidal shift without feeling overcome?
The shirt numbers are all decided. The new boys, in ascending order, will wear, 4 – Mertesacker, 8 – Arteta, 9 – Ju, 11 – Santos, 30 – Benayoun. All fine numbers and while a left back with 11 seems odd to those of us who grew up in the one to eleven days, I guess it was the lowest available number that was a decent fit.
Mikel Arteta says the lure of Champions League football was too much to turn down at this stage of his career. He says:
It has been crazy. I can’t believe what happened, and the way it happened, but that is part of football. It is a big opportunity for me and my family and I think it is the right time for me to take it. It is a big challenge, a different challenge, fresh for me and I want to see myself on the biggest stage, the Champions League.
I definitely feel a lot more confident about our midfield with his arrival. Clearly there’s massive potential between Wilshere and Ramsey but I think concerns that they’re not quite ready to make the big step up in the wake of Cesc’s departure are justified. Certainly with Aaron who could do with somebody like Arteta at the club to learn from. Wilshere’s delight at the prospect of playing alongside our new Spaniard was great to see as well and as much as he’s a signing for now, if all goes well his impact might be seen for years to come in our midfield. Ramsey’s reaction to their arrival is excellent.
Meanwhile, Per Mertesacker reveals that he’s an Arsenal fan, and has been for years, saying:
When I was young and visited England with my auntie, as somebody who was football crazy, I simply had to come back with a shirt. I can’t remember why, but I came back with an Arsenal shirt and my brother had a Manchester United one.
This affinity has grown over more than 10 years and now the loop closes because I am delighted to finally get to play at a team I always supported and where I always wanted to appear eventually.
Not that I think this had any bearing on the signing, or why we signed him, but it’s no bad thing to have someone with a bit of love for the club and the shirt they’re putting on every weekend.
Overall, you have to look back at this week as one of the craziest in the club’s history. An historic defeat, one which was painful but perhaps necessary, and a mood shift from outright poisonous to a more calm, reassured place. Indeed, there’s some gentle optimism abounding too, which is nice to see.
Of course there are still many questions. I think ‘holic is right to ask why it is, when the club has made a very large profit in the transfer window, that the club felt the need to increase ticket prices. It’s not as if they didn’t know how much money they were going to earn this summer – the departures of Cesc and Na$ri were no surprise to anyone, least of all those in charge. I think it’s right to ask why the business we did so swiftly and decisively in the aftermath of Old Trafford (and with the deadline looming) couldn’t have been done sooner.
However, I think those questions need to be asked at a better time, not just for the sake of asking them either, or for the sake of those who like their voices to be heard, but in a constructive way, so the same mistakes aren’t made again. Whatever’s broken behind the scenes, from our PR to our transfer business to the decisions made at executive level, needs to be fixed.
I don’t think anyone at the club will look back on this as a model summer, and certainly the new owner hasn’t done much to win over the fans. They might have pulled a few talented and well needed rabbits out of the hat at the final minute but I would hope that now things have settled down, they’ll take a close look at what happened and ensure that it doesn’t happen this way again.
Overall though, I think it’s fair to say we’re in much better shape at the end of this week that we were at the start, certainly from a footballing point of view, and that, above all else, is the most important thing right now.
Ok, onto this week’s Arsecast and joining me to pick the bones out of the week that was are Goodplaya and the Man from East Lower. Internet Joe rounds up the week, we hear from TGSTEL and there’s the usual waffle in there too.
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Right, that’s yer lot. Have a good Friday, there’ll be more Interlulltacular stuff tomorrow.