Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sesko says no, the world keeps on turning

Morning all.

The main story to kick us off today is that Benjamin Sesko has decided to stay at Disgustingly Sweet Energy Drink Leipzig, with the intention to sign a new deal which will obviously include different parameters for his departure. His current release clause would then be invalid.

From the player’s side, you can understand this pretty well. He’s still only 21, his chances of playing week in, week out are much greater there than if he moved to Arsenal or somewhere else in the Premier League, and he has plenty of time to develop and make a move at some point in the future. Not to mention the fact he’ll probably have earned himself a nice pay-rise from his current club to show how much they want to keep him and to fend off interest from elsewhere.

It’s all worked out pretty nicely for him, and I have to admit, there has been so much said about his potential move to Arsenal that I did wonder if far more of this was coming from the player’s side than the club’s. That’s not to say we weren’t interested, or wouldn’t have been open to doing the deal, but in a summer when there’s so little information about who we want to sign, Sesko was very much an outlier in that sense. The fact he set this pre-Euros deadline to sort out his future was also a bit of a hint of his intention/openness to stay put, and fair play, he has got what he wanted.

If there’s disappointment from our side of things, it’s because – on a very basic level – it would have been the first deal of the summer, and everyone loves a transfer. The raw ingredients are there with him, he certainly has potential, but he always felt like more of an investment in the future than a player to come in and immediately raise the level, so on that basis, I’m not that bothered at this point. If we’re missing something, it’s what he might have become, not necessarily what he is now.

Arsenal have demonstrated an ability to pivot to something and someone else when a deal they’ve been pursuing doesn’t go down, and I think Edu, Arteta etc, have earned our trust in that sense. The question for me is whether or not they look for a Sekso alternative, or something a bit different. I’ve seen links to Joshua Zirkzee, a player with a similar kind of physical profile, but he feels a bit of an underwhelming option to me. Not to mention stories about his agent, our old friend Kia Joorabchian, looking for a massive commission immediately gives me considerable pause for thought. I’ve said before, I don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever that Arsenal pay the release clauses – or anything close to them – for Victor Osimhen or Viktor Gyokeres, and beyond unearthing a gem nobody has yet mentioned, the ‘9’/striker market isn’t especially exciting or interesting.

It has long been mooted that Arsenal would like to add another wide player to the mix. We tried very hard for Mykhaylo Mudryk as we all know, before turning our attention to Leandro Trossard, and I just wonder if that might be the direction we go rather than looking for another centre-forward in the Sesko mould. There are Premier League options in Pedro Neto (hamstrings aside) and Michael Olise (please don’t let him go to Chelsea!), and I suspect quite a lot more variety and availability in those positions around Europe – and perhaps South America too  – than your more traditional forward option. Let’s see what happens.

Beyond that, it’s quiet from an Arsenal perspective, but the other big story is that Erik ten Hag is to stay at Man Utd, with some talks planned for a contract extension. I mean, it is funny because of how poor their season was, and the way these new owners have come in and created an air of uncertainty around the place. Still, he did win the cup, and while I don’t think he’s ever going to get Man Utd to where they want to be, I suspect that if they aren’t quite as afflicted by injury next season, they’ll be better than they were. It’s a low bar though.

People laughed at the idea of Gareth Southgate going there, but there was a point last season when he would very clearly have been an upgrade on the Dutchman. In general though, it’s amusing that their two options were so very, very beige. 50 shades of beige, an erotic novel featuring two very bland men which is giving you images you didn’t need this early in the morning. Ten Hag is a personality vacuum, a man with all the charisma of a two-week-old ham, and I guess we can all look forward to hearing him go on and on and on about Garnacho being offside next season too.

Fun times. Right, let’s leave it there for now. Have a good Wednesday folks.

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