Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Friday waffle: Rumours, Rice, fresh air

Morning all, a quick Friday blog as I’m going to London later on and I need to get my stuff together and head to the airport.

You don’t need to be any kind of insider to know that one of Arsenal’s main targets this summer is Declan Rice. The West Ham and Ireland England midfielder is highly coveted by Mikel Arteta, and my understanding is that – much like the Gabriel Jesus transfer last year – a lot of groundwork has gone into this over the last few months. Which isn’t to say it’s a done deal or anything like it, but lines of communication have been very much open.

This week has seen stories about how he is coveted by Thomas Tuchel who wants him at Bayern Munich, and how Manchester United have made him one of their priority targets this summer. I have seen some online angst about this, but the reality is this is inevitable when you’re chasing top players. The better you get  – and there’s no question that Arsenal have improved this season – the pool of players who can actually improve you gets smaller and smaller.

It means that when you target high profile players, you’re going to have competition for them. It’s a fact of transfer life. If you want a peaceful summer, you have two options. One, urge your club to buy crap players that nobody wants, because that’s easy. Two, just accept that all of this stuff is completely out of your hands and let it play out. Que sera, sera – and all that.

Personally, I’m pretty confident on Rice. We’re in a very strong position at Arsenal after a good season of genuine progress. I also think the fact we have tied Bukayo Saka down to a new deal sends a message that this is a good club to be at if you’re a young, ambitious player. He is one of the best in England, if not Europe, and he is convinced that he can achieve what he wants as player with us. That tells potential recruits something about what’s going on. It makes us a more attractive destination.

Of course, the landscape can change quickly. We’re obviously a very wealthy club, but there are others who are richer or much more stupid with money (sometimes both), and not every footballer makes the right decision for their career – often choosing one that’s better for their bank balance. Some footballers aren’t even in control of that final decision, as we’ve seen quite recently. We have to have confidence that the persuasive powers of Mikel Arteta, which have worked on other recent arrivals, are sufficient to fend off the fluttering eyelids of other clubs. That and all the other stuff I said about how Arsenal is a good place to be right now.

I feel like I say this every year, but the media landscape within which we exists these days means that there’s more and more chaff, and you have to dig deeper and deeper to find the wheat. Don’t get suckered in. Ultimately though, there’s nothing we can do to influence it, and if anonymous updates on Twitter from @Insider173891283 and their ilk are sending you into a bit of a tailspin, it might be worth putting down the phone and getting some fresh air.

It’s going to be a big summer for the men, but also for Arsenal Women. Tim breaks a story that centre-half Rafaelle will depart, leaving a big gap in the centre of the defence. As ever, to keep up with all the goings on, and all the latest with regard transfers, make sure you keep tabs on Arseblog News’ dedicated section to the women’s team.

Here’s a little more from Tim, his column this week is a reflection on this season and how it made him feel – well worth your time (as always!).

That is just about that for this morning. As it is May 26th, it would be rude of me not to wish you all a very happy St Michael’s Day, and sure why not have a blast of this to kick off your day?

Right, that’s just about that. I’ll leave you with a brand new Arsecast, chatting to Kaya Kaynak of Football London about Saka’s new contract, the possibility of Sunday being Granit Xhaka’s final game for the club, the need to sell well this summer, and lots more.

All the links you need to listen/subscribe are below. We’ll also have our final preview podcast of the season on Patreon for you a bit later this afternoon. Happy listening, and I’m looking forward to catching up with as many folks as possible over the weekend – at our Union Chapel event and beyond.


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