After a lengthy and worrying lull in activity at Arsenal it seems things have suddenly exploded into life in the last week or so.
No sooner had young centre back Rob Holding arrived from Bolton – presumably to provide some cover for the first-choice trio of Laurent Koscielney, Gabriel, and Per Mertesacker – than the latter managed to seriously injure himself.
It looks as if the German will be out for a matter of months – five at least by most accounts – and it once again leaves us short in defence. I’m not saying that 20-year-old Holding was in any way enough to get us through the season upcoming, but our need is now more acute than ever.
As such, Arsene has now conceded that the club will have to enter the market for defensive cover and I hope the opportunity for a long-term solution is taken. We don’t want another Sebastian Squillaci or Mikael Silvestre episode, after all. Let’s take the opportunity to invest in a centre back of quality, with a track record of experience at the highest level, and someone who is at the top of their game – not someone after a final pay day before retiring to a time share in Magaluf.
With pre-season campaigns getting under way across Europe, the need to make a signing is pressing. Here’s hoping Arsene has something lined up.
At the other end of the pitch, it has been reported – and subsequently confirmed by Lyon – that Arsenal had a bid rebuffed for striker Alexandre Lacazette. The 25-year-old was second only to Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Ligue 1 scoring charts last season, with 21 league goals in 34 appearances.
By all accounts, Arsenal offered Lyon a fraction short of £30million for the Frenchman but the bid was turned down. Lyon are insisting that the player is not for sale at any price, but it’s difficult to take that seriously these days.
Whenever a club says a player is not for sale, it normally means that more money is required before the bid will be accepted.
The fact that Lyon went public with the offer – something that is never done or encouraged by Arsenal – suggests they are pushing for a higher bid, or better offers from elsewhere.
If Arsenal put £40million on the table, I’d be surprised if they were able to turn it down. But then, is the man worth that much money? Time will tell.
On that same note, Eurosport in France reported early in the week that Riyad Marhez had agreed to a move to Arsenal, with his agent in France to thrash out a deal with Wenger and his team. A price of around £40million was mooted.
As to the truth of this, it’s always impossible to say, but I would suspect it’s hogwash. Frankly, I don’t see room in the squad for the guy.
One area we are not short in is skilful, technical ball-players with a flair for the creative. Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil fill that brief already, do we require another? What would he add to the midfield that we don’t already have?
There are far more pressing issues with the squad, namely in attack and in defence, and I can’t see that investing £40million in a player who has only one season of real top-quality football under his belt is sensible.
There is no doubting that the guy has quality and creative flair but a lot of Leicester City players were performing far and away above the level any had achieved previously. Was that because they all suddenly became better or because of the system they were playing, and the momentum they achieved?
After a relatively quiet period for the club, a few issues have popped up in the last week that will need addressing sooner rather than later. Above all else, I hope that this next fortnight will be an exciting, rather than a frustrating one.
If Arsene makes the right moves, it could lay the foundations for a great campaign ahead. If he dawdles, and waits around until the last few days of August (not again, surely) it could be the beginning of the end for the Frenchman.