I’ve got no idea who Arsenal will sign this summer. I suspect that at this stage Arsene doesn’t have much of an idea either. I’m sure he has ideas about who he wants and people are talking, but nothing is ever 100 per cent sure until the contract is signed, no matter how many ITKs take to Twitter to say “X to Arsenal is a done deal – FACT.” The on/off M’Vila deal last year should be proof enough to everyone of that.
I also don’t watch nearly enough foreign football to have ideas about who from other leagues Arsenal should sign. But I do know these things about transfers (he says, setting himself up for egg on face):
Cesc Fabregas is not going to Man Utd this year, as some have suggested. If he wanted to leave Barca, Arsenal have first refusal anyway, but he’s not leaving Barca this year. His lifelong dream was to play for Barca and even if he is not as central to their plans as he’d like, he isn’t going to give up that dream so quickly. He knows that other players come and go, and his role and position in the hierarchy may change. He’ll give it another year at least.
Wayne Rooney is not going to sign for Arsenal. He gets paid (I wouldn’t say ‘earns’) £250k a week, and Arsenal don’t pay that. Arsenal are also not offering any guarantee of medals. Some people say, “But he doesn’t NEED £250k a week, so he might be prepared to take a pay cut.” No, he doesn’t need that much money, but he didn’t need to visit aged prostitutes either. Rooney is weak-minded and unintelligent; if he wasn’t blessed with football talent no one would ever have heard of him, he’d be an anonymous manual worker in Liverpool. Even if he’s determined to leave and Barca, Madrid and Bayern don’t want him, he’ll think he’s worth more than Arsenal will pay him, and his advisors will tell him he is. Unless Arsenal really push the boat out, buy three or four megastars and pay them all megabucks, then forget Rooney. And with Stan and Arsene in charge this is unlikely.
Jose Mourinho will never be Man Utd manager while Fergie is sitting in the Boardroom watching him. Mourinho would love the chance, but with Fergie there his ego couldn’t take it. They might be friends now, but that wouldn’t last long. It looks a done deal (ha!) that he’s going back to Chelsea for a while anyway, but if that doesn’t work out and he can’t get on with Abramovich, and Moyes is a disaster and gets the boot after one season, then ‘Mourinho to Man Utd’ would be back on the agenda. If Fergie’s still there I’d give it six months tops. There’s no way Man U would have employed Moyes if Fergie didn’t choose him; that’s the power Fergie has over the football side at that club.
Christian Benteke has had one good season; that doesn’t make him worth £20m, or necessarily good enough for Arsenal. I thought about expanding on that, but hell, I shouldn’t have to.
Paying big money is no guarantee of suitable signings. Even Messi played in the wrong system will look a shadow of the player he is. Torres and Carroll are now both cut price bargains (to be fair the number of people who ever thought Carroll was worth more than a third of what Liverpool paid must be tiny, but Liverpool thought £50m for Torres was too good to turn down and they needed a replacement fast.) None of us care if a cheap player turns out to be brilliant – we forget that we wanted a huge marquee signing if the £5m man turns out to be perfectly suited to his teammates and the Premier League and bangs in 30 goals a season. Is there more chance of an expensive player fitting in and doing well? Probably, but the number of expensive failures shows that it’s by no means certain. Ultimately, teams that win are ones where the manager has made a team better than the sum of its parts, not the ones who always pay the most money.
So kick back, delete the ITKs from your twitter feed give it till the end of July before starting to wonder what’s going on. Then the hard bit – give it till the end of the year before even thinking about judging whether the new signings are working out.