Friday, June 2, 2023

Saturday shennanigans

Good morning to you. It’s Tom filling in for blogs this dreich, dismal Saturday morning. It is July, yet it is not sunny and warm. It is summer, yet it is not in the least bit summery. In fact, it’s feckin’ dismal so far today. I’m especially annoyed because I slept with just a sheet on me last night and the window open, and so this morning I woke up absolutely freezing, but it doesn’t excuse the shitey conditions outside. It’s been lovely all week, and just seems to have decided that being the weekend, it’s going to be rubbish because I – me, personally – am not at work today. Anyway, I’ll do my best not to let my bitterness show. I’m not sure that’s going to work out, but we’ll see.

On to matters Arsenal, and I have to say I didn’t know what to make of Blogs’ report about Koscielny yesterday. That might be a reflection of me not knowing what to make of anything, well, pretty much all of last season really, maybe even since Arsene left, but I found it all even more dispiriting than today’s weather. Koscielny has been probably my favourite player since the invincibles team, so for him to treat the club the way he has feels especially demoralising, both in terms of his behaviour (there’s no doubt he’s entirely wrong to essentially go on strike), and in terms of what it says about his feeling for with the club that he holds – held – in such affection. What it says about how the club has changed such that he feels he should, could, and would behave the way he has is particularly disappointing. It’s the way players at other – shitty, classless – clubs behave, not how things are done at Arsenal, and especially not by players like Kos. Yet here we are. Are we one of those clubs now? It would appear so. Perhaps we’ve always been like this and my memory is being selective.

There’s little new to add to the situation. I’m not sure there’s profound meaning to be found in Kos apparently updating an emoji on his Instagram profile (that’s really what qualifies as news?!), and as Blogs alluded to yesterday, it’s seems unlikely to me that a man of Koscielny’s experience is simply being poorly advised by his representation, as Ian Wright seems to think. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see how Kos’s position is in any way tenable, certainly as captain, but probably even as an Arsenal player. I didn’t actually know he wanted to go. It was obvious that he was going to be involved less and less often – the ravages of injury having caught up with him – and I certainly knew we needed to strengthen at centre half, but I wasn’t aware that he actively wanted out. It’s all very miserable.

Moving on, in almost as cheery news, it’s being reported that Sp*rs are attempting to hijack our proposed deal for Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba. The idea was that we would €30m to sign the player, only to loan him back to Saint-Etienne for the season, but the suggestion is that Sp*rs have come in with a larger offer. It seemed like an odd deal to me, since if we have such limited funds, spunking €30m on a defender that we weren’t going to see until next season wasn’t going to help a situation that needs addressing now rather than in a year’s time. It’s not great news, but whether it turns out to be accurate is something we’ll have to wait to find out. If it does turn out to be true, it might not be the worst thing in the world because we’ll need to turn our attention elsewhere and maybe that’ll result in us getting a player now rather than twelve months’ time. I’m sure that won’t present any kind of problem for our well oiled and efficient transfer making machine. Not at all.

Perhaps Raul and co have another target in mind, someone that none of us have heard of that can slot in immediately and all thoughts of Saliba will immediately be forgotten. Perhaps it was all a smokescreen, but it’s hard to believe that’s the case, and it all adds to the impression that Blogs has discussed in previous days that things are badly wrong at the club right now. We’re just four weeks – four weeks! How the hell did that happen? – away from the start of the season, and we’ve not added to a team that collapsed spectacularly at the end of the season, and then got humped in the final of the Europa League – and it’s not like it was all happiness and sunshine throughout the season before that. Emery’s challenge – to get us back into the top four – feels a world away from where we seem to be right now. Without some serious squad reinforcement, which doesn’t seem to be coming, it’s hard to see us even being in contention for the top four, never mind actually in it, and then I’m not sure what our expectation should be. That we remain in the top six? Urgh.

Perhaps I’ve just not been paying enough attention, but it all just feels really very directionless at the moment – there doesn’t seem to be a plan, and we need one to get us back to where we want to be.

I’ll leave it there because I’m talking myself into more and more negative thinking. I shall be back tomorrow, when hopefully summer will have returned, and I’ll have found something more positive to talk about. Have yourselves a great Saturday, and I’ll catch you again tomorrow.

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