By Tony Attwood
It appears that we are signing Jakub Kiwior from Spezia, who is a 22-year-old, who joined the Serie A side in August 2021 and is now joining Arsenal for more than €20m including the inevitable add-ons. Jakub also plays for the Polish national team.
It is an interesting transfer in that Spezia was given a two year transfer ban by Fifa starting this month, following their illegal signing of 13 underage players from Nigeria, which when you come to think of it, is rather silly. On appeal that was reduced to a one year sentence and then again to make it partially suspended.
The player has had quite an up and down time of it of late because during the pandemic the finances of his previous club Žilina got into such a state that they entered liquidation to survive financially. They then released 17 players, although Kiwior remained unaffected. Kiwior played 46 times for Žilina before moving on to Spezia. who are currently 15th in the Italian league table, nine points above relegation.
Kiwior only signed for Spezia on 31 August 2021, so it looks as if the club are looking to get some reliable income from his sale as they try and sort out the underage players mess at the club.
.But if his past in club football looks like a bit of a muddle he has made his mark in international football starting for Poland against the Netherlands in the Nations League on 11 June last year. He has now played in nine games for the Poland first XI.
Arsenal are also said to be buying Leandro Trossard from Brighton – but we’ll come back to that anon.
Meanwhile, Nitram has kindly pointed out to me that the Guardian are not letting up on their anti-Arsenal commentaries with Nick Ames now saying, “It has taken Arteta three years to effect what looks close to a complete turnaround. His feat will certainly fit that definition as soon as Arsenal begin winning major trophies again”.
In fact in the last nine seasons Arsenal have won the FA Cup four times, and the last of these wins was effected by Arteta in 2020. Although there are a few moments of realism inserted into the piece as when they note in the headline “Even if United win, they will be five points shy of Arsenal having played a game more.”
Of course all the media need to cover their backs quite a bit because none of them predicted Arsenal getting into the top four this season, all of them placing Arsenal as 5th or 6th in their pre-season predictions.
But the table, after the latest round of games does have an interesting look about it…
Should Arsenal slip up and Manchester United win Arsenal will still have a game in hand and be two points clear at the top of Manchester City and five points clear of Manchester U. As for Tottenham, whom it seems the media have now given up on, having predicted them as top four certainties this season, they have played two more games than Arsenal and are a whopping 14 points behind before this weekend’s matches.
Arsenal have gone through six wins and one draw in the Premier League in the build up to this game, while Manchester United approach it after six straight league wins and a draw with Palace.
There is one other point that is of particular note in this context. From the Arsenal team that beat Manchester United in 2020, only Granit Xhaka is still playing with the club in the first team. And he was the player more than any other that some Arsenal fans, aided of course as ever by the national media, wanted out of the club.
As yet, we have not got to the stage of making thumping Manchester United on a regular basis, part of the routine. In the last five we have won two of the encounters and so had they. The goal count in those five matches is 7-7. It could be a draw.
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