I had the strangest dream this morning as I was dozing before the alarm went off. Cheesed off by an elaborately wordy article in The Times about his time at Arsenal and his initial departure from Barcelona, a gigantic Hector Bellerin was terrorising a section of inner-city Dublin, going around shooting people like he was in a Call of Duty style video game. He only stopped when a famous comedian who I had never heard of but everyone else seemed to know, calmed him down and gave him a saucer of milk to lap from like a thirsty cat.
The carnage though. There were bodies everywhere. Grannies in their dressing gowns mown down by machine gun fire, but Hector didn’t seem at all remorseful, choosing instead to blame the writer of the newspaper piece. And everyone just accepted that and blamed the journalist too.
What does this say about Bellerin’s future? I don’t know, to be honest, but just in case, I will choose not to be prolix if and when his transfer to another club happens during this window.
“Hector is gone. He was here, but now he’s not. He is somewhere else. Good luck Hector.”
To be fair, I do think Bellerin would be very low down the list if I had to choose an Arsenal player to cause that kind of mayhem. He seems a conscientious fella, cares about the environment (the fact Canada is basically on fire might suggest he has good reason to bang that particular drum, eh?), and I’d say he’s more than capable of dealing with an opinion piece he didn’t care for.
Who would be top of my list, you didn’t ask? I think it’s obvious. He’s no longer an Arsenal player but I think it would have to be Shkodran Mustafi. Not that I think he is a malicious person, or capable of mass murder, but it’d be just his luck that after reading the newspaper he would be upset by it, and throw it away in a huff. The paper flies through the air, into the front wheel of a bicycle, sending the rider over the handlebars and straight through the window of an oncoming lorry. A lorry which is delivering a tank full of highly flammable material and which is now, due to the fact the driver has been knocked out cold by the cyclist, out of control and heading across the road into oncoming traffic where it creates a massive explosion right over an open manhole and the shockwave travels underground before bursting to the surface again at various points in the city causing buildings to collapse and creating an enormous sinkhole into which hundreds of thousands people fall right into the earth’s core.
Mustafi points at Bernd Leno, for some reason.
I guess the lesson for all of us who write about football is choose your words carefully. You never quite know the consequences, they could be very far reaching as this completely made-up example demonstrates.
Meanwhile, there are two Arsenal players left at the European Championships. One of them, who probably won’t even be an Arsenal player for much longer, is in action tonight. Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland face Spain in the first quarter-final. I still have the Spanish as favourites, but after their win against France, you can’t rule out another Swiss success.
At this point, you wonder if fitness/fatigue might play a part, but then both sides went to extra-time in their previous games. I just feel like Switzerland had to work a bit harder against France than Spain did against Croatia, and they also had to deal with an adrenaline sapping penalty shoot-out too.
That’s the early game, then it’s Belgium v Italy where we’ll be keeping an eye on Manuel Locatelli, imaging him in red and white pulling the midfield strings alongside Thomas Partey for us next season and then being brought down to earth when Juventus announce his signing halfway through the game.
As you’ll have gathered, there hasn’t been any official transfer news yet. Nobody in, nobody out (although there have been some movements with youth/U23 players). Ben Sheaf has joined Coventry permanently, while Northern Ireland international Daniel Ballard has joined Milwall on loan for the season. It’s relatively clear what Arsenal want to try and do (at least in terms of incomings), it’s just a matter of when they can start doing it.
That strategy, such as it is, is something we discuss in today’s Arsecast, along with the appointment of Jonas Eidevall as Head Coach of Arsenal Women. How the club arrived at the decision for him is an interesting one, so I chat to Tim Stillman about that, and we wonder if the way this decision was arrived upon offers signs of encouragement about what else Arsenal – and the people running it – have to do this summer.
Listen below or in your favourite podcast app by searching ‘arseblog’ or ‘arsecast’. News during the day on Arseblog News, enjoy the podcast!