Friday, May 24, 2024

January transfer difficulties + a chance for Smith Rowe?

Morning.

I asked for three small things in yesterday’s blog, and the football gods delivered only one of them. Booo. Unai went full Unai against Man Utd, and Liverpool dealt with Burnley handily enough, but at least Newcastle lost. At home. Haha. Chris Wood bagged a lovely hat-trick against his former club, nice feet for a big man a couple of times too, and it’s just one win in the last five for the fake choirboy Eddie Howe.

Elsewhere, Albert Sambi Lokonga was credited with an assist for Luton Town, but it’s about as far from an assist as you’re likely to see. He played a pass to a winger who then went on and did all the hard work to score the goal, but it’s good to see him back playing after suffering a relatively serious injury early in the season. He’s made three appearances in December, so hopefully he can continue to feature for Luton throughout the season.

January is around the corner, of course, and there’s a big piece by James in The Athletic (£) about Arsenal’s transfer plans. He reports that the priority is a defensive addition, then maybe midfield, but that ‘a short-term loan signing remains the most likely option’ due to FFP and how much Arsenal spent last summer. Remember, we have David Raya on a IOU to Brentford as a way to get around financial rules, so unless we sell, it’s unlikely that there’s going to be much in the coffers to spend.

The big question is who would be available on loan that would be good cover/depth for a team that is hoping to win the Premier League and wants to keep going in the Champions League? Your guess is as good as mine in that regard. Bar some kind of internal squabble or something, anyone of that quality will surely be playing regularly for their current team and unwilling to come to play back-up for us. Assuming that said club is even willing to let them go.

Which makes me think that perhaps some outgoing business might facilitate the arrival of a player who could make a difference. Again though, I’m not sure who that might be, and while I realise there’s a high profile goalkeeper who could fit the bill, letting Aaron Ramsdale leave would make me a bit uncomfortable because I don’t think we then have sufficient cover for David Raya should anything happen to him. The weight of a title chase hangs over every decision we make now, that’s true of business in both directions, but let’s see what Edu and his crew can come up with.

Finally for today, is tomorrow a big chance for Emile Smith Rowe? With Kai Havertz suspended for the West Ham game, there’s a position in midfield to be filled. Leandro Trossard has done it before, and done fine, but he wasn’t so brilliant you’d automatically pick him there. So beyond starting Jorginho and playing Declan Rice a bit further forward, that leaves a fit-again Smith Rowe as the obvious choice.

I’d love to see him get a go, and to me this is an opportunity for him, and for the manager to show some faith in a player who could still be an asset for us. If he doesn’t get a start in this one, I’d really worry that he’s going to remain peripheral, just squad fodder and that would be a real shame. Of course he has to take the chance if he’s given it too, but in a home game where he’s going to play with essentially the first XI and not a cup/shadow selection, it’d be easier for him to contribute. Maybe it’s something Mikel Arteta will be asked about later on, let’s see.

We’ll bring you the press conference news a bit later on Arseblog News, and we’ll have our West Ham preview podcast on Patreon in the afternoon too.

For now, have a good one.

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