Sunday, April 21, 2024

Saturday round-up: Simons, Xhaka, Tierney’s price

Morning all.

A very quick Saturday blog because there’s not a lot going on, the sun is shining and the air is warm, and I would rather be outside than in my office.

It’s basically all transfer stuff really. First up, we’re being linked with PSV’s Xavi Simons, a player who impressed against us in the two Europa League games we played against them last season. He had a good campaign for them, scoring 22 goals and making 12 assists in all competitions. Decent numbers, even if the step up from the Eredivisie to the Premier League is not always an easy one. There are more hits than misses in that regard, but he is only 20.

I had a quick look at where he has played most often this season, and a little Mikel Arteta shaped lightbulb went off in my head:

We know the manager likes versatility in his players, and Simons comes with a capital V … for Vendetta Versatile. I have no idea whether there’s anything to this one or not, but it might be one to keep an eye on. The player has just changed agent, often a sign they want a move, and his new one happens to be Darren Dein. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether that makes a move to Arsenal more or less likely.

There’s also some complication about PSG having a buy-back clause, but I think that’s to do with them having a fixed price. It doesn’t preclude other clubs agreeing a fee with PSV if they want to buy him.

Then there’s some talk about Bayern Munich trying to hijack the Granit Xhaka deal. We understand he’s been in talks with Bayer Leverkusen and that looks like his destination, but will the German giants gazump them? I’d be very surprised. I suspect Xhaka has been sold on a bit of a project at Leverkusen, coming in as key part of the team Xabi Alonso is trying to build. There’s also been some talk of a coaching role at the club down the line.

At Bayern he’d be just another player at a boring, boring football club. Maybe that might appeal to him. Guaranteed titles and all that, but I don’t think that’s what he’s leaving Arsenal for right now.

Finally, there’s some talk that Aston Villa are interested in Kieran Tierney. It feels a bit like 2+2 given he’s worked with Unai Emery before, but given they just brought in a left back in January, Alex Moreno from Real Betis, it doesn’t seem like an urgent need. Then again, they do have Europe next season and will need a bigger squad, so perhaps there’s something to it.

Chances are Tierney will go to Newcastle though. It’s closer to home for a player who never properly settled in London due to homesickness, and I do think that will be part of the decision making for him. I’m very interested in the price though. I had a discussion with Clive about this on the Arsecast. He was talking £35m and I thought we should look for something closer to £50m given it’s Newcastle with their Saudi PIF money and their Champions League money.

I know that’s a lot, but if someone like Marc Cucurella goes for £60m why shouldn’t we look for a big fee for Tierney? Maybe because he hasn’t been playing much, maybe because we’re not as good at selling as Brighton and there aren’t two mega-wealthy clubs haggling over him, and maybe because Newcastle aren’t as thick as pigshit like Chelsea are. So perhaps I over-egged that pudding. Still, I do think in a summer when a lot of focus will be on how well we sell players we actually like, this one might tell us something about how we can expect that part of our business to go.

We’ll find out in due course, I guess. Ok, I’m going to make pizza dough. Have a great Saturday folks. Till tomorrow.

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