It is time for a little recap, as recently, my number of posts has decreased to an unacceptable low. I had my reasons obviously as I have bought a new house where a lot of work had to be done. Nonetheless the club has been going forward in the meantime, and here’s my view on all this.
Probably the biggest thing was the signing of Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka for a fee that is thought to be in the region of £30–35 million. Although his move to Arsenal has been on the cards for quite some time already, it’s an exciting signing I think. Can he be the anchorman that might just prove the missing link in the Arsenal midfield? At a relatively young age he might be there for years to come which is a good thing. We will still have to wait a while before seeing him in an Arsenal kit, but he is competing with Switzerland at the European Championship in France. He has been quite impressive so far and emerged as one of the key players for the Swiss team. After qualifying from a group with Albania (for who his brother Taulant Xhaka plays), Romania and the French team where Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud are in, Switzerland are now facing Wojciech Szczesny’s Poland in the first knock-out round tomorrow. With every chance of qualifying for the quarter finals, Granit will hope to continue his fine form so far.
On the other hand we saw a goodbye to two players as well. Both Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta will not return in the Arsenal squad next season. Rosicky is expected to hang up his boots, and Mikel Arteta has already been handed a coaching position by Arsene Wenger. Especially Rosicky, who was signed from Borussia Dortmund ten years ago, has been a truly special player. I have no doubt that ‘Little Mozart’ will last in numerous Arsenal fans’ memories. However, I was expecting Mathieu Flamini to leave this summer as well. The goodbye scenes after the final game of the season were focused on Arteta and Rosicky, and also Flamini’s 2016-2017 kit is ready for purchase at the club’s fanstore. He must have signed a contract extension recently. If so, Wenger must be keeping him around to provide cover for the defensive midfield position where Le Professeur can also choose from Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka.
Another thing that kept dragging until earlier this week was the possible signing of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy. Personally I am not too disappointed that Vardy has signed a new deal with Leicester City earlier this week, ruling out a move to the Emirates. I think Jamie Vardy has had a truly marvelous season with the Foxes, but I am not sure whether he can keep up his level. These words might (and probably will) come back to haunt me but I don’t think he would have been the ultimate signing we need. Vardy is 29 years old, and to spend so much on a man who might be able to perform at this level for max two or three more seasons is quite a lot. Obviously, if he would bring us two titles in the next two years it would be a brilliant move but I doubt if he can make such a difference. Besides, by signing his extension with Leicester he is now practically immortal there. A true club legend which the supporters are totally in love with. By moving to Arsenal, he would have had to prove it all again, and with much more pressure on him to perform. I think everyone wins by letting Jamie Vardy stay with Leicester. Now let’s just hope he won’t bag four against us in our next meeting.
With the first pre-season friendly expected against the MLS All-Stars come the end of July we will have to wait some more time until we can cheer on our team again. A lot of things might happen in the meantime. It is believed that Arsenal are on the lookout for another striker now the Vardy deal has collapsed, but I am unsure who would fit the bill. Alvaro Morata has been linked with us a number of times but he recently signed for Real Madrid and Dutch Eredivisie top scorer Vincent Janssen is expected to sign for Tottenham anytime soon (unless the Brexit will spoil their party). However, a Twitter message by Italian reporter Emanuele Giulianelli suggests that Arsenal have agreed personal terms with Everton forward Romelu Lukaku. Now that would be an impressive signing! However, new Everton manager Ronald Koeman has expressed his desire to keep Lukaku at Goodison Park. We will once more have to wait and see what happens…