I’m going out on a limb here, forget all the talk about Wilfred Zaha. Whilst fans have been waiting for news of a complete u-turn in transfer policy to facilitate a big money move or they have been consumed by the distraction of offloading the deadwood in the squad, Reiss Nelson has quietly taken up his role in the first team.
That is seen as an obvious endorsement of the great potential and talent of Reiss Nelson, but also serves to signal the end of the fanciful notion that Wilfred Zaha will wear Arsenal colours.
You could see it as an an act that covers all angles in the meantime whilst negotiations are ongoing, but with the defensive problems unresolved, Zaha is firmly in the luxury category for at least this season in my opinion.
Reiss Nelson gets his opportunity along with Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock, who have been knocking on the door for a while now, but are we to read anything in to this in terms of transfer policy ?
Arsenal first team ✔
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) July 11, 2019
Striking a balance in this transfer window was always going to be difficult, but it appears Arsenal are going to be as practical as they are frugal, hiding behind the promise to promote youth by playing Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah instead of spending but this will only be an astute move if they shore up the fractured defence.
The likely deal to secure William Saliba from Saint Etienne is not going to help with Arsenal’s immediate woes, if the reports that he is to remain for another season at the French club are true.
The much fancied Krystian Bielik is apparently desperate to move away from the Emirates and only a breakdown in negotiations prevented him heading to AC Milan.
So that leaves Arsenal much as they were after the tragic display in the Europa league final, where Eden Hazard rescued an average Chelsea side to run off with the trophy.
Bielik’s departure would be more evidence of incompetence at the highest level. Another occasion where a player with potential was drafted in only to be loaned out or left languishing in the youth system.
Who can blame him for wanting out when he isn’t even worthy of replacing the spectacularly inept Mustafi or the broken bones of Koscielny.
Worse still, Arsenal have options in their academy such as Zac Medley, Osei-Tutu, Omole, Thompson and McGuinness to name but a few in varied defensive positions. Osei-Tutu is already on loan at Vlf Bochum in the Bundesliga, which is fast becoming an outlet for untested Arsenal prospects.
It’s all very familiar and it makes one suspicious whether the club have any genuine intent in resolving a problem that threatens to ensure a top 10 finish, rather than a top 4.
The disbelief on social media regarding the Saliba loan is justified with comments such as ‘typical Arsenal’, ‘WTF’ and ‘you have got to be joking’, just three of the more sedate responses that are actually printable.
Who knows !
The only reason I haven’t mentioned Sokratis Papastathopoulos, apart from the spelling, is that with the introduction of VAR, Arsenal could be without his services during the season as refs tighten up on gritty tackles, such as the ones served up by the hairy Greek colossus.
There’s still time to make deals, but let’s hope they aren’t ones that favour anyone other than Arsenal in the coming weeks.