I still maintain we will not be in for Youri Tielemans.
I just can not see the deal happening when we have quite a few “number 8s” now in Martin Odergaard, Granit Xhaka, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Emile Smith Rowe.
Arsenal were in for him early in the summer, I think that is clear and obvious, but as it progressed we moved for someone else (Vieira) and decided to stick with a current player (Xhaka).
Now some might begin having the debate between Xhaka and Tielemans, but it is one that is not worthwhile waisting your breath on.
Tielemans only comes in if Xhaka is sold. And as anyone who has watched All or Nothing will know, Xhaka is the leader on and off the pitch. He might not wear the armband but he is the captain.
Add in the Zinchenko can play in midfield and we are overloaded in the centre of the park.
The only place in central midfield we need to strengthen is cover for Partey. but Tielemans is not that!
And I expect us to go big for a defensive midfielder next summer who can go on to be a long term replacement for PArtey rather than short term cover.
Tielemans will not happen (disclaimer: unless Leicester drop the price to something silly!)
Now Pedro Neto is a deal to keep an eye on…
There has been talk for some time that William Saliba has agreed a new contract, and the club are just waiting for the right time time too announce it.
The right time will probably be when Hector Bellerin leaves.
We know that Saliba has half an eye on Bellerin’s Number 2 shirt, and Arsenal do not have a habit of giving a shirt number to a “new” player when the incumbent is still at the club.
Saliba has worn a variety of shirt numbers throughout his career – 4 at AS Saint-Étienne and when he joined Arsenal, 4 at Nice, 17 with France and 2 at Marseille.
With many players wanting to associate themselves with a single shirt number – and build a brand around it – Saliba seems to have his eyes on the number 2 at Arsenal.
With 4 gone (Ben White), 2 could be vacated very soon if Bellerin gets his move away.
It is not too late for Saliba to swap shirt numbers this season so it would not be a surprise if his contract renewal is met with a new shirt announcement.
I only hope if this happens, Arsenal do the right thing and refund anyone that has bought Saliba 12.
Arsenal are still a selling (or loaning) club and whilst we have done well clearing the decks, there are still a couple more senior players that we will look to move on over the next week.
The recent departures have been development loans
Highly rates right back Brooke Norton-Cuffy has joined Rotherham in the Championship.
The 18-year-old right back impressed for Lincoln City last season in League One. Joining Rotherham is another step up in his development.
He should play week in, week out for them and will grow dramatically as a player. Next season expect him to return and compete for a starting place at right back – Norton-Cuffy is a big reason we have not signed a right back this summer.
Also loaned out is Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand.
The Dutchman joined in 2020, but spent most of his first season out injured.
Last season he was a regular for the youth team and appeared on the first team bench a handful of times.
Rumours are Hull City have an option to buy in the loan deal. This would surprise me as he is clearly a gifted footballer.
But then he also competes with the likes of Charlie Patino (who has joined Blackpool on loan) and as discussed above, plays in a position where Arsenal have a lot of competition.
Not every player will make it at Arsenal (most won’t) and the majority will not even “get their chance”. If the club has decided that Patino is streets ahead of M’Hand and therefore we should cash in rather than offer a new deal to the elder player, then we should back that.
Expect a few more outs between now and the end of the transfer window.
When youngster Hutchinson left a few weeks ago to Chelsea, there was some negativity about.
Some were concerned that we were letting go a talented young player on free to a rival.
The reality was Hutchinson’s contract came to an end and he joined the club that offered him the biggest salary – Chelsea.
I found it hilarious that Hutchinson was holding Chelsea’s number 7 shirt during the promotion pictures, only to then be given the 82.
He possibily went to Chelsea thinking he would get a chance to play. Reality is he has been sent to their youth team and will end up being loaned out 5 or 6 times.
At the weekend he played against Arsenal’s U21s. Arsenal won 4-1.
As they say, the grass isn’t always greener…