Sunday, September 24, 2023

D-Day for Cesc and Nasri + Arsecast 204

Morning all, the new season is just a day away and this morning Arsene will meet the press in what is sure to be a fun-filled romp full of japery and good cheer.

Last night, we got a glimpse of the interview Arsene does with the official site before every game. He confirmed that it was true we had to sort out the Cesc issue and called the Nasri situation ‘stable’, before adding:

It is very difficult to speak about possible transfers but we are in a situation where we have to make decisions one way or the other. Ideally you want it to be sorted out before the season starts.

Indeed, ideally you would want that. But ‘before the season starts’ is loads of time when you’re saying those words in June but the night before New Season’s Eve, well, that doesn’t really give you much room to sort things out. Not so much the players leaving but in terms of the ones you might bring in to add to the squad with the great wheelbarrow loads of cash you now have at your disposal.

Anyway, the main thrust of this morning’s reportage is that the manager has sanctioned the sales of both Cesc and $amir Na$ri to Barcelona and Man City respectively. Cesc, I will miss. Back in 2003, a youthful, sprightly and slightly less balding Arseblog was the first site to confirm the arrival of the young Catalan. Regardless of anything else I feel sad that he’s going.

We’ve been here before though, players come and players go but the club is one the constant. As I said yesterday, it’s crucial that money be re-invested in the squad, as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible. The Guardian throws out the name of Juan Mata again and, in typical Arsene fashion, a little-known Brazilian named Jadson, playing in the Ukraine for Shaktar, was one of the first players to be linked with us. I mean, it’s just so Wenger. By all accounts a decent player but certainly short of the star quality many would like to see arrive. Shades of Eduardo, I guess, but is more important that the players we bring in have actual quality rather than perceived profile.

Ignore talk of €60m buy-out clauses for Mata. It may well exist but it doesn’t mean we’ll have to pay €60m to buy him. We can pay the clause amount and they’ll have no choice but to accept but the reality is if we want Mata and go to a Valencia with an offer they consider acceptable then they will sell. Simple as that. It remains to be seen if we really want him.

At this point anything else is just speculation. Yesterday we at least had a defender linked, Scott Dann from Birmingham City won’t have got too many people excited, but at least it showed that we’re possibly still looking. Maybe. Perhaps. We won’t get any confirmation of that from Arsene today. I doubt he’ll be giving anything away in terms of his transfer targets. I’ve also got £20 on him saying “When we sign someone, I promise you will be the first to know”, to the collection of journalists. The odds are so short on that though, that even if I win I lose money.

All the same we should have a clearer picture over the two transfer sagas which have dominated our summer. If they both go through we’ll be in a situation where we’ve let one player go for far less than I think he’s worth whilst making out like bandits on the other one. What Arsene says about them both will be very interesting and how he reacts to questions from the press corps should be quite telling. More on that throughout the day on Arseblog News.

Now, onto matters team and ahead of tomorrow’s game against Newcastle we’ve got relatively good news with injuries. Despite worries over van Persie, Gibbs, Theo Walcott and Thomas Vermaelen – as well as Ramsey and Arshavin who picked up knocks whilst on international duty in midweek – all of those players should be available. The only key player missing is Jack Wilshere whose Achilles injury sees him in protective boot and I think the club are being ultra-cautious with him after the Vermaelen problem last season. There’s also no mention of Koscielny so we’ll have to wait and see there.

I imagine we’ll find out from the boss at his presser if the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Miyaichi will be included in the squad. I suspect they probably will be given the unavailability of certain players and the dearth of options otherwise, but while we might be going into this in better shape, when you think about the team we could put out tomorrow evening it’s not too bad at all, especially from an attacking point of view. There’ll be a full preview of that game in tomorrow’s blog.

In other news, Newcastle are reportedly interested in Nick Bendtner but Stoke are still very much in the race to sign him. Maybe the delay is because we’re manufacturing a scarecrow who looks exactly like Nick but as soon as Pubis unwraps him it detonates a dirty bomb which will cover him in toxic, radioactive bison shite. I know that’s what I’d be doing if I were Arsenal.

And that’s kind of it, really. A little later on I’ll be posting the traditional Arseblog season preview which I’ve more or less finished but which I suspect I’m going to have to modify slightly in the wake of the press conference this morning. That should be up around lunch time so that’s some bonus reading for you.

And now, all that’s left for me to to is give you the very first Arsecast of the new season. Joining me to discuss the summer and the state we’re in ahead of the new campaign are Goonerholic and rap music’s latest sensation GilbertoSilver from Gunnerblog. Also on the agenda, Internet Joe, Amaury Bischoff PI and the usual guff and waffle.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too. To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (31mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.


Right, that’s that. Press conference awaits, season preview needs to be updated, it’s busy busy. And tomorrow there’s football. Real, actual football. Hurrah!

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