Another one bites the Arsenal dust
Arsenal look like they’re playing the most Harry Redknapp “well, I’m daan to th’ bare bones ‘ere lads” approach to squad composition I think I’ve ever seen in my life!
Yep, yesterday another one bit the Arsenal dust, as Calum Chambers signed for Aston Villa almost completely out of the blue. It took pretty much everyone by surprise and even the journos on the Arsenal beat were a bit “huh? What?” with that one. Chambers didn’t play last weekend because Mikel said he was injured, but I wonder how if he was just being saved for this transfer?
Personally I’m disappointed. You would have a hard time convincing me that Cedric is a better right back than the former England player and so the fact that we have let him go, for what Arsenal describe as an ‘undisclosed fee’, is poor in my opinion. Chambers was the most like Tomiyasu in style, stature and play, he is a better all round footballer than Cedric and let’s both forget that two weeks ago today he came on at Anfield and performed well.
This deal is, to me, weird. Yes, Chambers’ contract was up this summer, but it is widely known that we had an option to extend it for a year. I understand that he wasn’t playing and we needed to move him on, but why not just exercise that option to protect the value, keep him around until the summer, then move on for half decent money? It’s all very peculiar.
The noises are that all in we ‘saved’ £2million when you take in to account wages. But if I put it a little differently it doesn’t seem as impressive:
Aubameyang’s weekly wage and the fact he isn’t playing means that the money we ‘saved’ on wages and the fee, means that seven of the next weeks wages for Auba are paid for. Seven. That takes us to Friday 18th March.
I just have to put my faith in the club that they know what the heck they are doing, because from the outside it looks like we’ve turned into some kind of self-sabotaging masochists. I know the players we have lost this January were just squad players, but we’ve already seen how that moving on of players without replacements can impact you. January has been a car crash of results because of fatigue, injury and the inability to get players fit. We’ve lost players to suspension too – which happens – but to then gut your reserve options from your team and not replace players is just…well…odd.
This is all very odd.
Kolasinac, Mari, Maitland-Niles, Balogun, Auba (naughty step), Chambers. All gone. We are – officially as a squad – weaker than when we went in to this window on January 1st.
The depth in the squad is alarming now. Imagine injuries to Tomiyasu (already injured for ‘a few weeks), White, Partey and Lacazette. Not unfathomable. Yet their replacements would be Cedric, Holding, Sambi, Nketiah. The only one of those players I would have just a small concern about would be Sambi, who has acquitted himself well but has still had his moments as a young player. We are an injury crisis away from morphing back into the shambles that started the season.
That’s what’s worrying me today. I don’t disagree that the club are doing the right thing be jettisoning those fringe players. They weren’t playing, it’s waged off the books, etc, etc. But my worry is the lack of options behind that. And it really is a paucity of options right now.
Perhaps the club have looked at the spaces in between matches for the rest of the season and are confident that players can cope and we can have a tight-knit group of 14 or 15 who will play every week. Perhaps that could bring that smaller group closer together. But from the outside it looks strange because in that group will also be players out the door within six months. Laca, Eddie, Elneny – all gone in June at this rate, yet they will be in that ‘close group’. Can we really be sure that they will lay their bodies on the line when their future isn’t 100% secure? I certainly wouldn’t blame them if they were playing within themselves for the closing weeks of a season. That 50/50 that could set up a move for us? Maybe that foot doesn’t go in and maybe a move breaks down…
I really hope there is some kind of master plan in this. Arteta has been in the US with Stan and Josh for a few days and I wonder if he was sanctioning this kind of move to show the owners that he can save some costs but he still needs investment. Whatever the outcome of those discussions, we’ll find out just how successful the Spaniard was in trying to convince the yanks to part with their cash.
I just hope we have something exciting to sink our teeth in to by this time tomorrow, because so far it’s been a case of chasing outside bets and giving our players away for songs and prayers from other teams. It certainly feels like we’ve been very generous so far this January. But how generous were KSE feeling when Arteta arrived off a plane to plead his case for arrivals?
We’ll know soon enough.
Feels like this could be a tense few days people. Strap yourselves in.
Catch you all tomorrow.