Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Pizza. Tavares. Locatelli.

Good morning.

It was a football free day yesterday, and also a beautiful sunny summer’s day here in Dublin. In the absence of taking a break this summer (for obvious reasons), chilling in the  back garden with a couple of beers and making pizzas seemed like a good way to enjoy the weather.

I love pizza. If that makes me a ninja turtle, then so be it. Also, I can’t recommend the Ooni oven highly enough. If you’re into making pizza, it’s next level stuff. I have a good conventional oven that can reach extremely high temperatures, I have a pizza stone, a pizza steel, and all the rest, but this thing cooks a pizza in about 90 seconds and it gives you that lovely charred bit you really need. Imagine your normal oven is a 20 goal a season striker, and the other one is Thierry Henry, that’s what we’re dealing with here.

Note: This is not a paid endorsement of a product. I have no connection with them at all, other than I got one of their ovens and I think it’s great. People have asked me if it’s worth it, and if you make lots of pizza (or want to) then you’ll get your money’s worth.

Right, we’re into a brand new month and I suspect that things are going to start moving now. June 30th is the day football contracts end, and clearly the only reason we haven’t signed anyone yet is because we don’t want to pay them any wages before they join up for pre-season … *cough*.

Ok, perhaps that’s wildly optimistic, but it does look as if a couple of things are starting to near completion. The arrival of Nuno Tavares seems more or less certain according to those in the know, and in terms of the profile of the player it makes sense. He’s young, has potential to develop, relatively cheap for a position where we hope Kieran Tierney will basically play every game, and because of his age he doesn’t take up non-homegrown place in the squad (yet).

That seems sensible, verging on smart. I find this encouraging … and disconcerting because that’s not how we do things. Like most of you I know next to nothing about the player himself. He could be the next Gael Clichy, or he could be the next Armand Traore (have we done background checks on whether or not he possesses knuckle-dusters?), but what he’s definitely not is old, on a long contract, arriving on massive wages, and looking to see out the final years of his career in relative comfort without having do too much of that pesky stuff like running, competing and being arsed about playing football.

Even if he doesn’t work out, it’s much easier to move on a player with most of his career ahead of him than it is one whose best days are well and truly behind him. Also, the arrival of another left back must mean we’re confident of doing a deal to find Sead Kolasinac a new home. He still has 12 months left on his current contract, so hopefully something is sorted there. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was given an envelope full of cash, a carriage clock, and some kind of extendable baton as a parting gift (just in case he has to make a career shift to fearless vigilante). He is the last of the clique which we paid to go away in January, so regardless, he’s going to playing somewhere else next season.

Meanwhile, those of you who fancy a handsome Italian in midfield next season might find some comments from Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali encouraging. He spoke to Sky Sports about the future of Manuel Locatelli, said it would wait until after the Euros, and confirmed that Juventus are interested in the player (no surprise there). However, he also said this:

“It’s true that there are foreign clubs interested, including Arsenal. So far they are ahead and are the only side realistically to have made an important proposal for Manuel.”

I’ve enjoyed him at the Euros so far, and on that basis alone (and his lovely hair) I’d love to see him play for us, but I’m not going to count any chickens here. If Juventus want him, chances are he’ll go there. In general, the top Italian players don’t really come to the Premier League (at least not at this point in their careers), and while we might be able to sell him on an idea and a project, we can’t offer him European football next season which, I think, is going to be a hindrance if we’re competing with other clubs who can. Still, it’s nice to know we’re interested at least.

Right, let’s leave it there for this morning. Over on Patreon there’s a Euros/Arsenal round-up podcast available for you, I’ll be back with more here tomorrow and a brand new Arsecast too.

Until then, take it easy.

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