Happy Friday to you Gooners out there, I take it you are happy today. Trusted sources including the BBC confirmed last night that Arsenal were very close to completing the signings of Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi which would bring Arsène's summer spending to roughly £80-£100m on transfer fees.
I was always confident that Arsène would buy a centre back and an attacking player, I thought that seemed pretty obvious. Mertesacker and Gabriel are out medium to long term at the back while Welbeck is out for a large part of the season. Even if Arsène had to bring players in that were not perfect, he would have had to do something and I was certain he was going to do just that. I should have put my money where my mouth was by using Free Super Tips and I may have had a few extra sheckles in my pockets.
I was/am surprised that so many people almost ignored the remainder of the window just because we had not completed the squad before the season had started.
I suspect this is largely to do with the lack of outfield signings last season, ignoring the fact that it is probably the first time in Arsène's entire career at Arsenal that we have done that.
The question was always a case of when rather than if, the other question was also about quality, and it turns out that we've plumped for off the radar forward Lucas Perez. How many times have we seen that before? Linked to all sorts of people that folk talk about day and night, only for Arsenal to buy the player nobody was talking about all summer.
As far as I can see, he is a player who has not been linked with us this summer and that is saying something as we are linked with all and sundry.
I'm sure you've read all the articles on the player and the similarities with Jamie Vardy and it's kind of uncanny when you look at it isn't it? Striker who had a big season last season, under the radar for a long time. A man who fights for his team and is dangerous on the break due to his speed.
“But why didn't we just go for this guy once the Vardy deal went south, I just don't understand”
That is a sentence I have read a lot in the last 24 hours, I would say the last part of that is very true for all of us. We don't understand what our plans are and who are targets are. If I was to guess I would say that we had our eye on other priorities but once it seemed obvious that a deal could not be done we moved on.
Take Mesut Özil for example a few seasons back. We could have signed Christian Eriksen earlier on in that window and we might be none the wiser about Mesut Özil. He could be plying his trade at PSG or some such today. Would you take Eriksen before the season started or Özil at the end? It doesn't always have to be that way but sometimes we just need a little patience in our lives.
Anyhoo I digress once more, so what's new there I guess.
So what of this Lucas Perez character? I think it tells us a few things.
The bid for Jamie Vardy may not have been just an opportunistic move, it seems as if the profile of the player was very important for the attacking player Arsène wanted to bring in this season. So saying stuff like 'there are loads of strikers you could have bought this summer' kinda misses the point I reckon.
Arsene wanted a forward who is a fighter, a non stop worker who needs to slot into his pressing game. And as I mentioned in our pre season game against Manchester City
“Arsenal have been working on winning the ball higher up and also the speed of our transitions when we do win the ball”
Arsène knows that most goals are scored in these situations and we were pretty poor in this regard last season while the champions Leicester City were the best statistically in the Premier League for season 15/16
I really do not know how good (or not) he is but I do know that he has less rodent features than Vardy and is probably technically superior which my friends, is a good thing.
I am interested in a few answers on him though Has he been signed to play as back up, alternative to Giroud? Or will he be moved into first choice as soon as he settles? Will he play on the flank in his previous position?
It seems as if Valencia have done a bit of back tracking on Mustafi haven't they? Only a few days ago the player was not for sale or teams would have to pay his 50 million euro buy out. It looks like we have agreed on a £30-£35m fee but like I said above, I don't really have an idea apart from what we are told by the media.
Like with Lucas Perez, I am not going to pretend to be some expert on the player. I have to base my initial thoughts on one off games in which I wasn't paying much attention to the player and of course carefully selected YouTube clips for compilations.
He looks a front footed, aggressive defender who wants to pinch the ball pro actively and start attacks like Laurent Koscielny. He also looks a very gifted footballer. A few times I witnessed quick shuffles or side steps to avoid onrushing forwards.
He doesn't seem a natural fit with Laurent Koscielny based on a similar style, I also kinda like the fairy tale story of Rob Holding but I know that would be both risky and silly due to our injury record. It will be interesting to see where he slots and how he forms a partnership with Laurent. One suspects that if you pay crazy money for a centre back, he starts more often than not right?
For either one of the players to be involved against Watford on Saturday they will have to complete their medicals, sign and we have to submit their registration before lunch time today. Unlikely story for many reasons. It makes more sense for the players to train with the club, get the Internationals out the way and then be more ready for our next game which is Southampton on Saturday 10th September.
Arsène's press conference should be fairly interesting later today.
He will also be asked about our Champions League group for this year.
Paris St Germain
PFC Ludogorets Razgrad
Well for one thing, it's bloody nice to be given a different draw for a change. No Bayern, no Barcelona and no Olympiacos, what is going on? I suppose there was no Chelsea or Manchester United to give them to so the hot balls just got really confusing.
On paper you could be mistaken for thinking it's a two way battle for the top two but as we know, football on paper is stupid. Basel are a strong team at home and should not be taken lightly.
Anyway I am looking forward to it all, especially with our squad hopefully more or less complete now/soon.
Before that we have a tricky game away to Watford to plan for, let's hope we can slam down our first three points of the season.
'till next time.