I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy.
We’re another week closer to football returning, which means we’re another week closer to watching Xhaka lose his runner countless times within 90 minutes.
Are we definitely sure we want football back?!
(SORT OF) BACK TO TRAINING
I’m sure you would have seen that the boys were back at the training ground last week, albeit in a very limited setting.
The players have returned to London Colney on a rota basis, with no more than five of them allowed in the complex at the same time. They’ve actually been training alone on completely different pitches. I guess that’s a good way for Guendouzi to work on his long passes?
It’s a step in the direction towards some sort of normality, but the sad reality is that football as we know and love it, is still a long, long way from making a return.
Regardless, it’s good to see that the boys are being put through their paces, as there’s going to have to be an extensive period of fitness work before anyone can return to action – think pre season, just without the lucrative fixtures in America.
We were the first Premier League club to return to training and, as such, it’s sparked debate over whether or not its the right thing to do at this time. Can the Government really be telling all non-essential workers to stay at home, yet at the same time be allowing Luiz to head out for a few hours to work on his free-kicks?
I’ll let you decide that one…
SALIBA’S SECOND COMING
Who remembers Saliba? You know, that French lad who we signed last summer and loaned straight back to St Etienne. Well, with the Ligue 1 season officially cancelled, Saliba’s loan has come to an end and he’s free to join up with us once again!
In a stroke of genius from Arsenal back in the summer, Saliba was registered in our squad for this season, despite the fact that he obviously wouldn’t play. Allow me to explain…
Basically, Arsenal wanted him to get a year on our books in order for him to qualify as a ‘homegrown’ player quicker. It’s a delicious loophole in the rules and one that could really benefit us should this current season be resumed at some point.
Where do I see Saliba fitting in for us in the long term? Well, with Sokratis, Luiz and Mustafi all entering the last year of their contracts, we’re in serious need of young blood to freshen up our defence.
My dream is for a French partnership of Saliba alongside Dayot Upamecano, with Holding, Chambers, and Mavropanos providing the backup.
If you want to get really excited for Saliba’s arrival, just rewatch the announcement video that was made when he joined us.
LACAZETTE SWAP DEAL
Remember I told you about those whispers linking us with Partey from Atletico Madrid? Well, they’re only getting louder and louder.
According to the Telegraph, Partey has made it clear to Atletico that he wants to live out his dream of playing for Arsenal in the Premier League. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, the catch is that Lacazette is looking like he might be used as a makeweight in any deal to sign the midfielder. It’s the worst kept secret in football that Atletico have been after Laca for years now and this might be their chance to finally get their man.
While I seriously rate Partey, I would be reluctant to let Laca leave, especially when the Aubameyang situation is still rumbling on. I love Nketiah as much as anyone, but leaving him as our only recognised striker would just be asking for trouble.
In Partey’s defence, he’s more than capable of scoring a goal or two himself…
IN LOCKDOWN PODCAST
Now, I never thought I would enjoy listening to Senderos speak for 30 minutes straight, but it turns out that I was very wrong.
Big Phil is just one of the guests who has featured on Arsenal’s brand new podcast – ‘In Lockdown’.
Along with Senderos, Szczesny and Lauren have also featured and it’s brought to light plenty of amazing stories from within Arsenal that had never been heard before.
Right from Senderos’ confession of throwing up before facing Real Madrid in 2006, to what really happened when Szczesny got caught smoking in the showers after that Southampton shocker.
If you haven’t listed to the podcast yet, you can catch the first episode with Szczesny here.