So. Jamie Vardy. We get to hate him again now, right? That’s how this works, right?
After spending three weeks trying desperately to rationalise spending £20m for a 29-year-old striker with one season of top quality performances to his name, we now find ourselves in the position of trying to look not bothered that we didn’t sign him.
It’s both bizarre and hilarious at the same time.
We put ourselves in positions like this all the time though.
I spent last night surrounded by my friends in the local bar, with everyone hoping that Ireland would beat Italy and qualify for the knockout stage of the Euros. Well, almost everyone. I’m English, so whilst it was nice to see my friends happy, I can’t say I was rooting for ‘The Boys in Green’.
Being an Englishman in an Irish pub during an Ireland game must be what it feels like to be a Tottenham fan at a trophy parade; alone with no real connection to anything that is going on, other than the odd interaction with those there that are asking what the hell you’re doing here.
Of course, Ireland won 1-0 and the place went berserk, as you would expect. It took a good two hours and a lot of pints of Guinness before things started to settle down. A few of us found a quiet corner and went over the game. It didn’t take long for national allegiances to subside and club colours came back to the fore. I was now with three Manchester United fans and two Liverpool fans instead of five Ireland fans.
So when they asked me what I thought of the game, I had one query.
For a decade, these same people had mocked me, teased me, slagged me off for being happy when Arsenal came in the top four of the league. Yet here those same folks were, celebrating coming third in a group of four.
It was different circumstances, but the same reaction.
My point is, how we react to Vardy not joining is irrelevant.
He’s decided that playing with his friends at the club that gave him a chance to play in the Premier League is a better option than playing for Arsenal. It stinks that a player the club identified as someone who could improve the team has turned us down, but it happens.
There is no point in holding grudges or getting upset over it.
The only thing that is important now is to see how the club responds.
Rejection stinks, but it’s never stopped any of us going up to the next attractive person we see and saying hi. What we need to see from Arsenal is the same behaviour as that one friend who we all have, who goes up to anything that breaths in a nightclub in the hopes that someone might be interested in them too.
We’ve been here before.
In the summer of 2013 we were setting up a deal for Gonzalo Higuain when Luis Suarez popped up. Two big transfer deals, both of which ended up being unsuccessful.
Six weeks later, Mesut Özil walked through the doors at Colney, and he ended up costing more than the other two.
In the heat of the moment, not getting Vardy is bad. But using it as a stick to beat Wenger over the head with is pointless.
We’ve already spent big money on a player this summer, and £30m for Granit Xhaka is looking more and more like a bargain every time Switzerland play a game. We’ve convinced the likes of Özil and Alexis Sanchez to play for us over the last few years, so it’s not like our negotiation tactics are garbage.
Right now, we don’t know whether missing out on Vardy is a good thing or not. He might score thirty goals next season, he might score three. We might buy Alexandre Lacazette or Alvaro Morata, or we might end up with no-one.
All we can do is sit and wait and hope for the best, and God knows how bad we all are at that!
The important thing, is that whilst we bitch and moan about not signing someone we didn’t really want in the first place, the club doesn’t do the same.
If Plan A was Vardy, then plan B, C and D had better be in an easily accessible folder, because they’re needed NOW.
Arsenal needs at least one more attacking player and a defender, and the longer they wait, the less chance there is of getting their guy.
Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid are all about to enter the transfer market with new managers, managers who will be looking to put their stamp on their new teams, and won’t be afraid to overspend to do it.
Exhibit A – Eric Bailly. £25m for a central defender who has played forty league games in his career.
Once the Euros are over, the transfer market is going to go into hyperdrive, and Arsenal may find themselves unable to match the fees being paid by others.
We can offer Henrikh Mkhitaryan £140k a week, the same as what we’re paying Özil and Alexis, but if Manchester United offer £200k a week, we’re stuffed. If Chelsea offer £50m for Morata, we’re screwed.
If the Vardy deal was an attempt to get a cheap deal done before prices go sky high, then it was an admirable effort, but it didn’t pay off.
We now have to wait and see what else Arsene has up his sleeve.