Morning all, a very quick Saturday round-up for you.
Arsenal announced their squad for the tour to Singapore next week when we play Atletico Madrid and PSG. There aren’t any real surprises in there. Lucas Perez is on board, and youngsters Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, Jordi Osei-Tutu and Eddie Nketiah are along too.
However, there’s no place for The Jeff, which is a bit of a surprise as he’d scored in both our pre-season games to now (against Boreham Wood and the behind closed doors win over Crawley Town). Is it a sign he’s not rated by Unai Emery or that he’s on his way out? Perhaps, it might also be an injury, it’s not beyond the realms possibility that he picked up a knock and can’t travel.
Chuba Akpom, the most senior of our ‘youngsters’ isn’t going because it looks as if he’s about to be sold to Belgian side Sint-Truiden. He had a loan spell there last season and did enough to impress them into splashing some cash to make it permanent. Good luck to him.
There’s no room at the far-east inn for Carl Jenkinson either, which is not really a surprise. It’s kind of amazing to think that he is now heading into his eighth season as an Arsenal player, but at this point he’s got to leave to play regularly somewhere else. It’s hard not to love the idea of a dyed in the wool Arsenal fan playing for the team, but in itself that’s not a sufficient credential for first team football.
Joel Campbell is due back from his post-World Cup holiday, but unlike Mesut Ozil, Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi who are straight back and onto the plane, he’ll be left behind to sort out his future which, undoubtedly, lies elsewhere. It’s not so much get out while you can but get out because you’re not needed anymore.
In not particularly exciting transfer news, we’re being linked with Barcelona midfield Andre Gomes. According to reports from local media, we’re talking to them about the deal but don’t seem willing to stump up the €30m they’re looking for. He’s a name that’s been doing the rounds for most of the summer, and I can’t look at these stories and not wonder if they have something to do with the Aaron Ramsey situation.
We’re another week closer to the new season and there appears to be no progress with regards his future. That’s despite a big offer made recently which you have to imagine was close to having a take it or leave it element to it. Can Arsenal afford to let a player like Ramsey leave on a free? I don’t think so. I really want him to stay but if he’s not going to sign, we need to cash in and reinvest.
Time is ticking on this one, and it remains the biggest decision of the summer for Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi. They’re rightly been given credit for the efficiency of our summer business so far, bringing in players in the positions we need in a timely manner. That’s something we can all get behind, whether you might have question marks over a couple of signings or otherwise.
Yet we’re on the cusp of a saga here, just like the old days. A top player inside the final 12 months starts to dominate the back pages eventually, and I feel a bit like the World Cup has been something of a distraction in that regard. The IRS have built up plenty of goodwill this summer, spending money, adding players to a squad which really needed them, but how they manage the Ramsey situation is going to really shine a light on them.
I’m not saying transfers are easy but basically every club in the world, with any kind of halfwit board, can go out and buy players. That’s not the hard part of the job. The hard part is how you cope with a player who has been made very substantial offers by the club but as yet has not put pen to paper. There comes a point where you have to make a decision, and while I truly hope the outcome is a new contract for the Welsh international, it may be a case we have to say we’ve gone as far as we can and now the only alternative is moving him on – and it might well be to a club we don’t like.
As for Gomes, he’d be a fairly underwhelming signing, he hasn’t been great for Barcelona, but perhaps we have to face the reality that until we find ourselves back in the Champions League, both in terms of prestige and cold, hard cash, this is the level of player we’ll be after.
Right, have yourselves a good Saturday. More from me tomorrow.