It’s the sort of things other clubs do, isn’t it? We’re not used to this sort of thing at Arsenal. Yet here we are. Things certainly have changed around these parts.
Arsenal are about to sign Lucas Torreira, their biggest summer purchase of what has been an incredibly encouraging summer.
Arsenal have appointed a new and studious manager quickly. They have identified weak points in the squad, not hard given we’ve been crying about them for at least five years, and have addressed those issues.
The new regime has not looked to spend £100m on a single player when the side desperately needs a holding midfielder, a defender or two and a goalkeeper.
£26m is the largest transfer fee we seem to be shelling out this summer, and that is for a player who has got me as excited as any Mesut Ozil or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrival.
What a little gem he looks to be. And he is little, but you know when you just get a feeling about a player even though you’ve hardly seen them play?
That sort of knee-jerk fan reaction is nothing new. I’ve decided I’m going to like him, and with the addition of Stephan Lichtsteiner, whom referees have called the most difficult player to manage they’ve ever encountered, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who looks like he’ll quite happily take Mustafi’s lunch money every day and make the German thank him for the privilege, Arsenal seem to have acquired something of a steel frame this summer. One to pitch their pretty little passing and pressing tent around in the new season.
So far, so good.
From what David Ornstein says, once Torreira is in place, that’s it for Arsenal in terms of incomings, although we could see an exciting youngster recruited ‘One for the future’ said the Ornacle.
Other outlets, however, aren’t leaving at that.
No sooner had the Ornacle issued his latest statement, Sky Sports and others were reporting that Arsenal were holding talks with Steven N’Zonzi while some outlets in England and Spain jumped on board the ‘Arsenal-will-sell-Ramsey-to-get-Andre-Gomes-train’.
This is the thing we’re not used to.
At first, this story is concerning.
Arsenal selling Aaron Ramsey, especially to replace him with Gomes seems pretty stupid. Neither player nor club have given any indication that a parting of the ways is on the cards and Ramsey seems genuinely excited to get to work under Emery.
What they are in the middle of, however, is contract negotiations.
Arsenal bent themselves over a barrel somewhat in their desperation to keep Mesut Ozil after losing Alexis Sanchez. Although Arsenal actually seem to have done better from the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal than United, the club were keen not to lose Ozil, the man Wenger had brought to the club as the definitive sign that Arsenal were back at the big boys table once again.
They ended up agreeing to pay him what is, quite frankly, an obscene amount of money, blowing apart their wage structure in the process.
Looking at Ozil, Ramsey is no doubt keen to see his contribution rewarded similarly, as is his right. He didn’t set the top line at Arsenal, the club did that. Ramsey knows that, when fit, he is one of the first names on the team sheet. He is integral, he scores important goals, he never stops working for the team.
I’ve no evidence to back any of this up, but reading around the rumours on a regular basis, you sometimes get a feel for things.
Arsenal, after signing Torreira, have no need for N’Zonzi unless they free up another place in the middle.
The Gomes link isn’t even subtle – it says right there in the story that Arsenal can sell Ramsey to get him. They’re letting the Ramsey camp know that the club have options. Just like they know he has.
It’s all part of the game, but it’s one we aren’t used to seeing Arsenal play quite so publicly.
Or, at least, I hope it is.
After 20+ years of secrecy, I’d quite like the club to open up a little bit, even if it is all just smoke and mirrors…