I write this blog at 14:54 on Monday. Just had a huge hail storm and I have spent the last 2 hours sweeping puddles of water off my new patio.
In the world of Arsenal, it feels like we are all sitting and waiting for something to happen. Waiting and sitting for something to happen. It is fairly boring.
Whether that is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract, the signing of Gabriel from Lille or Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.
It is odd. The media are not even linking us with too many players at the moment. Which would indicate:
- Deals are pretty much done
- We are not actually after anyone
- Journalists sources at the club have been made redundant
I know little about Gabriel, and I would find it odd for us to sign a 3rd central defender in a single summer (Pablo Mari and William Saliba are basically new signings). But the deal does have some logic behind it, and would also highlight why Mikel Arteta was so desperate for David Luiz to sign a new deal.
Luiz spent 2 years in France for PSG and is, of course, Brazilian. He has shown during the “drink break” that he is leader. He would make an ideal father figure for both Gabriel and Saliba, helping the pair settle into England.
But signing Gabriel would leave us with 8 central defenders (Luiz, Mari, Gabriel, Saliba, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Rob Holding & Calum Chambers). No team needs 8 centre backs.
In 12 months time, Luiz, Sokratis and Mustafi’s contract all expires. It might be a case of Gabriel coming available a year early then we really needed him. But rather than miss out on him we have decided to move.
It will then quicken up the urgency of getting rid of some central defenders.
I do not think there is much mileage in Luiz to Rennes. It would not make sense if he is going to be the role model for Saliba and Gabriel.
Likewise Pablo Mari is going no where.
So next season we will have Luiz, Saliba, Gabriel and Mari as our 4 “senior” central defenders. That only leaves space for one more.
Mustafi and Chambers are out until Christmas. So maybe we just need to ignore they are Arsenal players for now.
In Mustafi’s case, it will then mean we keep rehabilitate him, and then he leaves once his contract has expired in 12 months.
Maybe we might do a similar deal to how we signed Cedric Soares? That he goes on loan in January getting him off our wage bill, with a contract already in place for him at that club.
As for Chambers, the decision will be made next summer whether we keep or sell.
That still leaves Sokratis and Holding. We will be desperate to sell either.
Holding could end up at someone like Brighton, to replace Lewis Dunk if he joins Chelsea. Alternatively he might have to take a drop down and replace Nathan Ake at Bournemouth.
As for Sokratis, Arsenal might have to accept a nominal fee just to get his wages out of the club. It might even be a case of Arsenal accepting no fee.
That would leave Arsenal with Luiz, Saliba, Mari and Gabriel, with Mustafi and Chambers returning from injury.
12 months down the line, it is likely only Saliba, Mari and Gabriel would still be at the club – with an outside chance that we might keep Chambers as a home grown, 4th choice option. The 5th centre back position would then be taken by either Kostadinos Mavropanos or Zech Medley, who are both on loan, or Dan Ballard.
As for Partey, Ceballos and Aubameyang, it could end up a busy week for The Arsenal.