The Return of Arsenal enters its second act today with a trip down to sunny Brighton.
Originally scheduled for the 13th March, it was a fixture that many were looking forward to.
It was set to be a rare Saturday 3pm kick off for Arsenal. And for travelling fans it would have been trip down to the coast on a fresh spring day. Beers would have been drunk in the sunshine, some would have stayed overnight, and it would have been a top trip.
Instead we will all be at home this Saturday, watching the first ever 3pm Premier League game on the TV.
It might be time to set the TV up outside for these summer fixtures.
The hope is we can bounce back from the predictable defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday against a Brighton side without a win since Boxing Day 2019.
Yesterday Arsenal were linked with West Ham right back Jeremy Ngakia.
The 19-year-old is available on a free transfer following turning down a contract extension.
The move would make a lot of sense.
Arsenal need a back-up for Hector Bellerin.
Buying someone like Max Aarons for £30million makes no sense. The Norwich player is too good (and too expensive) to be Bellerin’s back-up. That deal only makes sense if we sell the Spaniard (unlikely).
A few will be screaming out Jordi Osei-Tutu, who has been in fine form since German football returned.
The on-loan academy product has 2 goals and an assist his 7 games since the return. However he has not been playing at right back.
Osei-Tutu’s improvement at Bochum coincide with him being played further forward on the wing. That decision was made after he was exposed too often at right back.
If he is not good enough defensively to be trusted to play right back in the German second division, as return to Arsenal to be back-up to Bellerin in the Premier League does not make sense.
He also turns 22 in October.
Arsenal should cash in this summer, and use those funds to reinvest. Stick in a sell on clause and a buy back clause so that if he does continue his progression, Arsenal have an option to buy him back or make some cash on a future transfer. His level is probably a promotion chasing Championship team.
Time is also running out for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
There have always been rumblings that he is unhappy playing at right back. That he wants to be in the middle of the park. There have also been rumours in recent months of him showing a bit of an attitude problem on the training ground.
If he got his nut down, and accepted his position, he has a place at Arsenal as a utility man – covering Bellerin as well as a few other positions.
If he desires to play regularly in the middle of the park, he is best of seeking a new club.
Maitland-Niles is a sellable asset.
In the current market Arsenal could expect to receive up to £10million for him. Key funds that could then be reinvested.
If Arsenal then moved for Ngakia (or Cedric Soares on a free transfer) then any funds bought in from the sale of Maitland-Niles would be available to be invested elsewhere.
A case could also be made for Arsenal to buy both Soares and Ngakia.
Arsenal lack good right back options in the U23s; so the move for Ngakia could see him play U23 football next season, whilst pushing Soares for cup opportunities.
When it comes to finding a back-up for Bellerin, CHEAP is the most important requirement.
With finances tight, we do not want to be spending millions on back-up player.
Ngakia on a free transfer makes a lot of sense.