By Tony Attwood
First off, Gabriel Magalhães has joined Arsenal from Lille for £27m, signing a five-year contract. The delay in the signing has simply been because of the lastest covid restrictions, which mean he is still in isolation having travelled from France on 24 August.
There has of course been a lot of talk about him going to Napoli rather than Arsenal, and further talk about Arsenal losing him to Manchester United and Manchester City (although probably not both at once) with blogs developing the theme that Arsenal have been dithering or arguing over some detail in the contract. It was all untrue.
We have also re-signed Dani Ceballos on a second season-long loan from Real Mad. There will soon be stories concerning how much more this is costing Arsenal than if we had bought him a year ago. They will by and large be untrue. I haven’t seen the stories yet, but they are bound to come out, and they are always untrue.
We have also signed Willian after he left Chelsea. So that makes three. But “who are the others?” I hear you cry.
One is Mohamed Elneny – although the press are trying desperately hard to cover their tracks having spent a year telling us he is on the way out.
Elneny played in the game against MK Dons, and then again in the Community Shield match wearing the number 25 shirt – there being many reports in the media that the fact he had lost his old number was proof he was off. Playing in both those games, and indeed playing well in both those games, has suggested all the stories are wrong.
Another player we have all been told was leaving was Maitland-Niles but again, the excellent development of the player suggests that he too is staying. He has also been called up for the England squad, which will probably knock his talent back a bit, and could lead to him getting the virus as he goes jetting across Europe in the pursuit of … well what? What is the trophy called that England are competing for? Someone probably knows.
So Gabriel, Ceballas, Willian, Elneny, Maitland-Niles. Not a bad start to the window.
Going in the opposite direction we are told there is Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Rob Holding and Sokratis, the latter who, having asked all the questions is now looking for the answers. (The old ones are not necessarily the best, but it is good to keep up traditions).
However a certain rehabilitation for Guendouzi does seem to have been encountered of late. Which means he could stay, and that would be a real bonus. A Guendouzi who stays and doesn’t get into trouble off the pitch would bring a real extra buzz to the team.
This all comes on top of winning the FA Cup and Community Shield.
And thanks to our Swiss correspondent Christophe Jost for pointing out that Mr Arteta has one huge advantage : he was a player under Mr Wenger and assistant manager under Mr Guardiola. Both, as Christophe says, are legends on their own in terms of football strategy, tactics, coaching. Mr Wenger was even given the honour of having a style of football named after him: Wengerball. (The only other manager who got a football event named after him was Ferguson, who got Fergie-time.)
There is also one other factor about our manager that Christophe ventured: Mikel Arteta has four trophies as a player with Arsenal, and two as a manager with Arsenal.
Beyond that he has nine appearances as a player / manager in seven years in Wembley.
Which is by and large not bad going.
- Arsenal: the underdogs; exactly when we shine
- Arsenal’s record breaking cup final run and Arteta’s amazing Wembley record
- Another legal case involving Fifa, yet more silence in the UK media
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP