Ok, lest you lot think this has to do with the rumoured imminent exciting transfer of Pepe, I’d have you know I started writing this 2 days before that news broke. (Hail Ornstein!) The new season is almost upon us. How has time flown by? I wasn’t even having fun. On the contrary I was annoyed. I did start to look for things to be happy about though. Something to look forward to.
So here’s some things I came up with, in no particular order.
Goalkeepers – Happy that Leno is No. 1 and Martinez gets a real chance at the first team. He’s been here since he was 16, so I’m looking forward to seeing him play for the first team, even if it’s only in the cups.
Right Backs – The club sent Osei-Tutu on loan and doesn’t look like we’ll be signing another right back. This maybe indicates we believe in his talent. In the meantime, Maitland-Niles gets to be back up RB for another season, and it also means that Carl Jenkinson gets to stay for a little while longer. Carl loves Arsenal, and I love Carl. I also think it’s unfortunate and unfair how he’s mocked. I like having him around, and so this counts as a positive for me.
Promotions – The club officially promoted 4 youngsters to the first team. Congratulations to Joe Willock, Emil Smith-Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah. All of them, except Nelson who was on loan, maybe deserved more playing time last season, but with this promotion hopefully will get their chances. We might even go back to playing youth in the League Cup, which is always fun.
Kit – What a beauty! Great marketing campaign, awesome away kit too. Not skin tight fit anymore, which if you ask me makes this a whole lot cooler. Third kit yet to be revealed along with maybe Nicolas Pepe? Which brings us to
Kitty – As in transfer kitty. Josh Kroenke appeared in an interview after Raul had done the same a few months prior. This gave me hope that we’ll make some good transfers. But this is beyond expectations. Maybe we are finally starting to make use of the cash reserves we’ve built up over the years? Adding Saliba made sense to me, even if he spends next season on loan in France. Martinelli looks exciting and hopefully can be a star. Ceballos on loan is a little iffy, but also potentially very good. Tierney is still rumoured, but it seems there is something to it. And then there’s Pepe. That got me excited.
Playing style – But, transfers were not my biggest concern this summer. It was about having a set identity and making good use of the squad. The early signs are good (not great, but we’re trying to be positive) Ozil seems back into the fold, fully rehabilitated both in the club’s PR output and the coach’s thinking. We seem to have a little more about us than just cutbacks, and more additions to the squad ought to help. May not be fully convinced, but there’s something there to look forward to.
Backroom changes – We shall ignore the one who shall not be named. But adding Freddie and creating a ‘transition team’ that he heads, was a major positive signal for me. It at least showed the club were serious in upholding some of what was promised last season, but not delivered. Ie youth development. This should promote the boot room culture of Arsenal. The spirit of Arsenal lives. Bringing Edu back adds to this. He seems to ‘get’ Arsenal. Not something that we’d always say about those in charge. He clearly wants to do well. Hopefully he can be both good at his job, and remember the Arsenal values we want to uphold. He did say that setting a style of play is important, so that gives me hope. There are also reports that Per Mertesacker is increasingly influential behind the scenes. Having the BFG involved can only be a good thing.
Today’s the first pre-season game at home. Another opportunity to see if there’s an identity being built. Maybe we’ll even announce a transfer or two to get us more excited? Who knows. But for the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to the season ahead, hoping we get to see the return of The Arsenal.