It’s 40 days until the new season starts and Arsenal haven’t signed anybody. Sure, there are a number of deals simmering on the stove – White, Tavares and Lokonga – but that’s not even a dent in our quite possibly imaginary summer warchest. Also, aside from a few kids, three loanees and our curly-haired liabilities, we’ve not got rid of anyone.
It’s about to get busy.
It sounds like our offer to extend Eddie’s contract has been rebuffed meaning his sale becomes a priority for this summer as we risk losing him on a free in 12 months time. Patrick Vieira, newly installed as Crystal Palace manager, is sniffing around, West Ham are long-term admirers and Bayer Leverkusen have been named as a foreign option. Having tied down Folarin Balogun to a long-term deal, it does feel like Eddie’s time at the Emirates is nearly up.
Arsenal were linked with Barcelona’s backup keeper last summer while we looked for a replacement for Emi Martinez. That hunt is continuing into a second summer with Alex Runarsson not up to the job and Mat Ryan, despite doing well on loan, not offered a contract. There were concerns about the latter’s status as a non-homegrown player which would make an approach for Neto, peddled by Mundo Deportivo, pretty odd. On the flip side, he’s a Kia Joorabchian client and we know full well that can get you a foot in the door at the Emirates. On the subject of Ryan, he’s on the cusp of joining Real Sociedad.
In a single line update on their transfer blog on Saturday, Belgian site Voetbal24 claimed we’re keeping an eye on Albert Lokonga’s teammate Yari Verschaeren. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has already been capped by Belgium and has 10 goals and nine assists to his name in 67 appearances for Anderlecht. The numbers are decent, as is the fact he sounds like Vermaelen after you’ve sunk a few pints. We’re struggling to believe we’re this savvy though. He’s not 32. Or past it.
Now that Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, David Luiz and Dinos Mavropanos have left and Wiliam Saliba is set to join Marseille, I think we can all agree that it’s time for Arsenal to replenish its diminished stock of centre-backs. Oh, you think £50 million for Ben White is a bit overkill? Tough. How about another £17 million on Bologna’s Japan international Takehiro Tomiyasu? That’s what Football Italia would have you believe. Given their stories are as frothy as a James Richardson piazza cappuccino, we’re inclined to roll our eyes.
News broke yesterday afternoon that Alkay Spor, newly promoted to the Turkish Lig, have sealed a deal for the Icelandic keeper. It appears both parties have been in negotiations for much of the summer and he’ll initially join on loan as the club’s first-choice keeper. Good for him. We expect we won’t see Alex in an Arsenal shirt again but six games as a Gunner is something to tell the grandkids about.