Evening all. As a reminder of how quickly things can turn on a sixpence in football transfer land, Fabian Delph has today announced he is not imminently having a medical at Manchester City after all, and instead is looking forward to starting the new season with current club Aston Villa.
His statement comes mere hours after Sky Sports News HQ had revealed a fee of £8 million had been agreed between the two clubs, which would see the England international join City, before inevitably being sold to Sunderland after a couple of seasons warming the bench.
I wonder what went down? Have City made a breakthrough in negotiations with a preferred target? Did Delph get cold feet? Did Manuel Pellegrini pull the plug because he’s perturbed by the shape of Delph’s head? Who knows, but as I said, it highlights the delicacy of deals before they are complete and also the fact that more often than not, only a select few involved in any transfer really know what’s going on.
All that said though, it can still be pretty fun letting your imagination run wild on all the permutations of team selection based purely on the most tenuous of transfer links. Like for instance, when an allegedly well respected football agent recently teased the Arsenal fanbase on Twitter, with a message saying the Gunners will be making ‘the signing of the summer’ and that the deal was ‘almost complete’ and that he’ll ‘have more for us in the coming days’.
As hard as I try not to, because you know, it’s probably bullshit, my mind instinctively starts evaluating possible purchases. ‘Signing of the summer you say? Hmmm…’ :
- Paul Pogba? Nah, too expensive, probably off to Barca and we really don’t need another central midfielder unless it’s a Coquelin-type.
- Kevin De Bruyne? Always rated him and he’s reportedly been superb in the Bundesliga but we have the Ox and others of a similar type.
- Arturo Vidal. Maybe, it’s not impossible that Wenger could keep him on a leash, getting him guarding the back four and repressing his attacking instincts. He is getting on though, and isn’t he off to Real?
- Zlatan! Alright, he’s 33 but as a Davor Suker-esque short-term deal? Then again, his wages would be a problem and he doesn’t run a lot anymore.
- What about his team-mate Cavani? Or Napoli’s Higuain? Would they really represent the standout deal of the window?
Ah bollocks I give up. Only Arsene knows…
And speaking of the main man himself, he’s been reminding everyone that reinforcement isn’t always achieved via the window – we had several top players missing great chunks of last season through injury and having them all fit and available for the majority of the new campaign may be more than enough to see us conquer the world etc.
He told Arsenal.com:
The best way to strengthen other areas of the team is to get the players who did not play a lot last year and keep them fit. Walcott basically did not play until the end of the season, Wilshere has not played many games. Those two were very convincing at the end of the season so I hope that this season we can benefit from their participation and competitiveness. We lost Ozil and Giroud for long periods last year and they contributed a lot in the second part of the season. Let’s hope all these players will be fit and available. After, if we can still add some quality, we will do it.
Standard stuff from the boss there, and as usual, his words make perfect sense. But it’s obvious to most that a competitor/deputy for Coquelin, plus if we can find one available, a top, top, top striker – and in that order in my opinion – are the two positions we should look at. For what it’s worth, my two picks would be William Carvalho and Julian Draxler – who I’d love to see Arsene convert into a lone front-man.
I also think Steven N’Zonzi would have been a good, value-for-money buy for the defensive shield role but he’s off to Sevilla, which thinking about it, might mean Grzegorz Krychowiak‘s on the move. Or it might not. Morgan Schneiderlin is of course often linked but I prefer Carvalho mainly because I think he’d be less inclined to demand a start every week, and at 23, will still improve a great deal. Feel free to completely disagree in the comments! Let me know who you’d buy and why…
See you on Sunday.