Starting to prepare for next season’s squad while retaining freedom of speech

by Tony Attwood

TransferMarkt web site has done one of its estimations on how the price tag of various players has changed this season – and as you would expect Saka is high up on the list with a new valuation of £56m.

Of course all such valuations are totally speculative, but I would certainly say the growing experience of Saka and Smith Rowe in the Arsenal squad is a big reason to think that the improvement in form since Christmas this season, will be carried forward into next season.

Emi Martinez has also seen his value rise up to £22m, and that will lead some commentators to express the view that this is Arsenal incompetence once again.  Of course I have no idea what was in the contract when Arsenal sold him, but sell-on clauses are often included, so if he does move again, we might well get something more out of the deal.   Also a lot of back-up keepers have the right to move on if an offer is made, in their contracts.

Smith Rowe has himself gone up by £11.7m in the Transfermart table while Tierney’s value has shot up to £27m – a major leap.  So it isn’t just Arsenal that don’t get the best possible deal for a player.

The rumour being circulated also is that Arsenal are going to try and get Josh Doig as a backup to Tierney.  Doig is currently with Hibs.  Meanwhile Aaron Ramsey is on the way back.  Joe Willock is going to be sold – but only if it is “for the right price.”

Now a lot of papers are saying that Arsenal are going to lose seven players this year, but when the list is considered, it is perhaps less frightening that it might feel at first.

Willian is usually the first on the list and there is also Joe Willock – but only if it is “for the right price”

Also going, according to the insatiable chatter is Leno, for reasons that are never given, Hector Bellerin who it is suggested would like to go back to Spain, and the collection of players who are out on loan: Kollasinac, Torreira, Guendouzi, plus Nketiah who has had very few chances this season.

So that gives us the list of seven departures, only two of whom are regularly being seen in the squad.

But of course the issue is not entirely one of who to get rid of and who to buy.  There is also that pesky business of nationality.  Eight players in the 25 have to be locally trained – or put another way, 17 players can be non-local.  (And don’t forget Scotland counts as foreign in these calculations, although Wales does not).

  • 1. Hector Bellerin
  • 2. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  • 3. Rob Holding
  • 4. Calum Chambers
  • 5. Matt Macey
  • 6. Bukayo Saka
  • 7. Emile Smith Rowe
  • 8,  Joe Willock
  • 9.  Eddie Nketiah
  • 10.  Reiss Nelson

So basically we need to keep seven of those ten if we are going to maintain our full quota – or of course do a swap.

One interesting point on the websites is the number of people who are demanding Elneny goes – one person I read said “he really must go this time”.  I hope not.  I was arguing he was a fine player at the start of this season, and I haven’t changed my mind.

Incidentally Mo Elneny has allegedly got into hot water over a tweet of his which read, “My heart and my soul and my support for you Palestine,” with a sponsor allegedly suggesting that this could make them pull out of a deal.

This really is, in my view, getting ludicrous.  I don’t expect Arsenal players to have my social or political beliefs, and I really can’t see why people do this.  Supposing Arsenal hired a player who thought that homosexuality was an affront to God, and such people should be put down.  I’m not gay, but I would find that an affront to me.  But I live in a country where there are a fair number of freedoms for people to think as they wish, so no laws broken.

If Elneny were to be chastised by the club for his simple “heart and soul” message I’d really find that tough to take.   And the argument about whether the Palestine cause or Al Jazeera are terrorists or not does not affect me, because expressing support for the people of Palestine (which is all he has done) is not a crime.

If Arsenal do come down on Elneny for that, that’s a black moment for Arsenal in my view, not because of the cause espoused, but because Elneny has broken no law and has just expressed support for the people of Palestine.  Nothing more.   Arguing that this is wrong, is to argue against the freedom of speech that is a fundamental of UK law, and one that I consider quite important.

7 Replies to “Starting to prepare for next season’s squad while retaining freedom of speech”

  1. 4 will be there add balogun, azzez, saliba you get your 7. saliba will become a homegrown player next season

  2. My heart, my soul and my support goes to Mo Elneny and Palestine. I am with you Tony and can’t understand the constant desire by some to see him sold.

  3. I think Mo Elneny has breached the non-religious comment making ethic order at Arsenal. Wherefore the club have made it very clear to all their players and staff that, AFC is not a religious affiliated club side. And therefore all Gunners MUST adhere to the club’s none religious affiliation stance.

    But I think Elneny knew what he was about to do and the consequences that will follow if he does it. But I think Ozil’s anti- China religious tweet and the consequences that followed his action when he was at Arsenal should have informed Elneny to be careful. But he has appeared he wouldn’t give a dam to whatever may follow his pro-Palestinian support tweet later.

    Consequently, Elneny who I have liked very much as Arsenal player before this his essentially alleged anti-Israel tweet should in his own interest find another club and move there during the coming summer transfer window to continue with ply his trade there. Where he can be expressing his Palestinian religious support tweets unlimited through the social media purportedly at the detriment of the Israelis. At where he won’t be hindered or disliked when he expresses it.

    On the subject of the coming summer transfer window as it concerns Arsenal. But i don’t think Arsenal have switched ON to it yet. But they will invariably switched on to it when they’ve played their last next 2 matches of the season in the PL which brings the curtain down to their season campaign this season.

    For, at the moment, they are still waiting to see if they’ll have an interrupted 5 games win run in the PL if the Gunners beat Crystal Palace at away and Brighton & HA at the Ems. Which by so doing will let Arsenal know if they have finished on 61 points in table this season. And in which position they are placed in it. Probably know if they are placed on 7th to qualify for the inaugural Uefa Conference League. Or have battered that to miraculously placed 6th in the final table to again for the forth-seasons running play in the Europa League competition next season.

  4. Respect to Elneny.

    Also a much better player than some seem to think. Rarely gives the ball away and always gives maximum effort

    Hope he stays.

  5. Elneny is a good footballer who wasn’t given enough opportunities by Mikel to build that partnership with Partey. Another example of Artetas mismanagement.

    Also we must respect freedom of speech, especially if Elneny didn’t say anything too controversial. The club would be wrong to punish him in someway for his tweet.

  6. The issue I have with the Elneny case is that it put a completely different light on the Özil case.

    It seems that it’s OK to perpetrate genocide or make various war crimes as long as the victims are Muslims but speaking about those victims is not OK.

    Arsenal FC have put itself on the wrong side of the history.

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