With the final international games last night, this season is finally over for some of our players, including Bukayo Saka.
It’s genuinely insane that these guys are still going in mid-June. Sure, there was a backlog and all that, but player welfare is now so far down the list of things the people who run football care about that it’s below decent treatment of fans. I don’t know how much of a break Saka is going to get, but I really hope that he gets some time off to just chill out and relax.
It’s why I’m so invested in another wide forward this summer. I want to add quality and depth to the squad, but I also want the brightest star to emerge from our Academy in a long time to have a long, successful career. Ensuring that happens is part of our duty of care towards him, and while his importance is a by-product of his talent and the best players always get played, we can offset some of the demands on him by bolstering our squad.
It was interesting to see James report genuine interest in Leeds’ Raphinha, but how likely that is I don’t know. The links with Barcelona would, I’m sure, be a bit more attractive to a Brazilian footballer, but their financial issues continue to be an impediment to getting deals done. There’s also interest from Sp*rs and I suspect that’s going to be something of a story this summer. Not so much them, but the way the football world works and the way transfer stories play out online, there’s a lot of mileage to be made from tacking other clubs onto to Arsenal related stuff.
I bet every single player spoken about in terms of a possible move to Arsenal will have at least one other club attached to it. Maybe it’s because there’s a shortage of quality players and there’s only so many to go around, but I guarantee some of it will be just clickbait to draw in terrified Arsenal fans looking to see how a deal might go south and how we’ll be dealt a ‘HUGE BLOW’ in the pursuit of a player we might not even have been that interested in.
I’d like Raphinha to be honest. He’s an exciting player who did well at Leeds and seems to have a bit of edge to him. If we also added Gabriel Jesus, we’d have quite the Brazilian community at the club with those two, Gabriels Martinelli and Magalhaes, and incoming new boy Marquinhos. The Edu influence, or just a coincidence based on who’s available in the market this summer?
Meanwhile, Lucas Torreira’s move to Fiorentina is well and truly off. He released a statement last night via his social media to say goodbye and thanks to the fans, and made it clear he’d have stayed but for the behaviour of people, we assume, at executive level. He said:
Know that I did my best to continue being part of this club, but unfortunately there were those who, acting in a bad way, according to my understanding, managed to prevent this from happening and that is why I have to leave.
The loan deal made last summer came with an €15m option, and after a great season in Serie A that should have been relatively straightforward. However, the Italian side sent Arsenal a knock-down bid which was rejected – understandably so when you’ve already negotiated a fair price that both sides have agreed to.
I’ve previously linked to reports that there was some kind of falling out between Torreira’s agent and Fiorentina, and given the way their owner thinks about agents and the way money influences decision making at football clubs, that wouldn’t be a surprise. However, the why it fell apart isn’t really the issue. Now we have a player with a year left on his contract who we know doesn’t want to be in England, and we have to find another willing buyer in what remains a difficult market for Premier League clubs to sell abroad.
With so much to do this summer, this is another complication I guess we’d have liked to do without, but that’s part of parcel of how football works, unfortunately, and an example of how what seems to be a slam-dunk transfer can fall apart despite everything being agreed. If you were looking at it objectively, you’d say that this is entirely deliberate from Fiorentina. While there’s always some room for negotiation, offering half what was agreed, as well as changing the terms of the player’s contract/salary, means it wasn’t really a negotiation at all but a self-destruct button.
There is a solid argument that Torreira could do a decent job for us next season, but then you have yet another player reaching the end of their contract and leaving for free. €15m was not a massive fee by any means, but it’s still FIFTEEN MILLION EUROS which would go a fair way in a summer when we have plenty do in terms of incoming business.
So where next for Torreira and what next for Edu and his transfer team? Your guess is as good as mine.