While my talented colleague Nate Smith enjoys a well deserved break wandering around the American wilds, he has kindly handed over the reigns for one week to myself for his excellent column. But don’t panic, normal service will resume next week, but in the mean time let’s take a look at the crazy world of being an Arsenal supporter in the Mid week memo.
Another week another preseason trophy
The club have another opportunity to lift more silverware this weekend with the Community Shield on Sunday against Chelsea. Now obviously we have given them a false sense of security with our atrocious performance in the 3-0 defeat in the friendly a few weeks ago, that was a truly magical piece of management from Arsene Wenger to lull them in and then destroy them on Sunday. Of course, if we do win, it will be interesting to see exactly how high we lift the Shield, as our previous two friendly trophies wins haven’t been lifted above waist height. I am voting for chest height with at least half the team smiling this time at the presentation.
Of course we will need to win the match without talisman Alexis Sanchez who finally returned to the club and training after his bout of flu, and as every man knows, man flu is deadly. We were even treated to a smiling Sanchez during training which must count for something. Although depending on which paper you read, it’s surely only a matter of time before he leaves the club. Even his fellow colleagues say so; well actually, it seems they didn’t say anything but that’s not important right now. Another day, another rumour.
Lemar a dead cert
Talking of rumours, we are still waiting for the, is he, isn’t he coming to the club transfer of Thomas Lemar. I’m obviously leaning towards Lemar is coming, especially after Bollywood star Esher Gupta let slip that Wenger is close to signing the player. That for me is all the confirmation I need. Clearly the delightful Esher is in the know. Put Wenger in a room full of journalists and he side steps every question aimed at him about transfers, but one look from Esher Gupta and the truth just flows. Just goes to show, even Wenger has his weakness.
But as I write, Monaco have announced their new signing of Adama Diakhaby who can play up top or out wide. Could it be a like for like replacement. Welcome to Arsenal Thomas Lemar, possibly a bit premature.
New Sanchez replacement
Now I know what your all wondering, just who is Aymen Barkok, and where did the rumour even come from. Well fear not, and let me fill you in. Young Barkok is currently plying his trade for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga and broke through into the first team last season, and when I say broke through, what I mean is, he played five games and scored two goals. Now apparently Arsene Wenger is an admirer of the 19 year old and of course the forward is clearly flattered of Arsenal’s interest, who even claimed he would love to play in the Europa League, now that’s a first. Although it seems he heard of the club’s interest through the press, so make of that what you will. But with rumours of an £8.8m bid, that’s some price, although in this day and age, what does £8.8m really get you. Apparently an inexperienced German U19 international.
Squad players or dead wood
One potential hold up for any new signings could be the lack of movement of the players who seem surplus to requirements. There is still a hefty list of players still at the club that are attracting interest but either won’t pay the fee or the players are demanding to higher wages. Jack Wilshere, David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Perez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy are all due to leave the club, but who knows when this will happen. This could shed as much as £19m off the wage bill which is nothing short of staggering, but with none of the players seemingly close to departing, the club may be forced into dropping the transfer fees. Let’s be honest, £25m does seem a tad steep for Calum Chambers but it’s nothing a quick car boot sell outside the Emirates wouldn’t solve.
One player definitely leaving for a year is back up goal keeper Emiliano Martinez. The highly rated keeper is to join Getafe for a season with first team opportunities limited at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger clearly rates the 24 year old and sees the Argentine as a future number one at the club.
So I leave you all with the hope that by next week we have signed a Thomas Lemar, although right now, the reality is looking more like an Aymen Barkok. It could be worse, we could re sign Yaya Sanogo. Now that would be banter on a whole new level.