The new Premier League season is just around the corner; Arsene Wenger is now just a figure of the past and the Club have recruited five players in areas that have historically been problematic. There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming campaign; we have a young, exciting and hungry new manager, over £100m worth of striking talent, Mesut Ozil and to have a worse season than Wenger’s last will take some doing.
There is a feel good factor amongst the Arsenal supporters at present and in truth I can’t remember the last time I was so enthused about a Premier League campaign. In the past, I’ve been labeled as negative and pessimistic but in actual fact all I’ve ever been is realistic.
Can Arsenal reclaim their place in the top four next season? Of course we can. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. Manchester City continue to bolster their already impressive squad, Jurgen Klopp has splashed out in excess of £175m in an attempt to mount a sustained title challenge and you can bet Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United will all be there or thereabouts. The competition is greater than ever and qualifying for the Champions League is as tough as its ever been.
Despite the club getting the majority of their transfer business done early and registering an impressive victory over PSG in pre-season there are still a couple of issues that require urgent attention.
Speaking during a recent press conference Unai Emery confirmed Laurent Koscielny would be one of five captains within the squad and the others in his thinking include Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil. This notion of naming a group of leaders as opposed to one sounds fantastic in theory but is it practical? Who would pull rank in a situation where there is a difference of opinion?
Mesut Ozil wore the armband out in Singapore versus PSG and many believe Unai Emery will turn to the former (yes, former) German international in the hope giving him a greater level of responsibility will inspire him to perform on a more consistent basis.
Is Mesut captain material? I’m certainly not convinced and I’m of the opinion that had Aaron Ramsey’s future not been up in the air he’d have been a strong contender for the armband. I have a theory when it comes to deciding who your captain should be and it goes like this…
Your first choice should be your most natural leader, the most vocal, an exemplary professional and be on the same wave length as the manager in order to best communicate his instructions on the field of play. If there is no standout candidate then I’d look to my most talented player, the team member the rest of the group look to when they’re in need of inspiration.
By that logic I guess Mesut Ozil would be a sensible choice given Laurent Koscielny is a long way from recovery.
Aaron Ramsey’s Future…
Mr Emery has repeatedly praised Aaron Ramsey since his arrival and spoken of the significant part he is set to play in our journey towards the Champions League promise land. But you’d be foolish not be concerned about the Welshman’s future, he only has a year remaining on his current contract and when asked in an interview he couldn’t tell us what was preventing him signing an extension but it’s obviously money! “We’ll just have to wait and see” said the midfielder, hardly convincing words.
He’s yet to speak publicly of his desire to remain an Arsenal player and all the signs up until now point to a potential departure.
Perhaps I’m reading into his comments too literally, maybe Aaron just didn’t fancy letting the cat out of the bag from fear of it weakening his negotiating position? Having met Aaron on a couple of occasions I can confidently say he is one of the coldest, un-talkative people I’ve ever come across. Either that or he just didn’t like me.
Knowing what I know about his character I guess I was wrong to expect a heart-felt message and an accurate progress update from the player when faced with a camera. Jokes aside, this is a situation that must be resolved sooner rather than later. I’d hoped the fear of losing key players during the final year of their contracts would be a thing of the past, a problem that departed with Arsene Wenger but I guess I was wrong.
If he is to be sold and replaced time is not on our side with little over ten days remaining before the transfer window closes ahead of Manchester United’s opening fixture versus Leicester City. As a supporter I’ve come to terms with the fact he could be on his way but there’s a small part of me that thinks his representatives will take this right down to the wire with no real intention of moving their client on in order to obtain the maximum offer they can. After all, they’ve just watched Mesut Ozil do the same and I think we can all agree he’s done pretty well for himself financially!