Euro 2020 ended on Sunday, Arsenal’s pre-season begins today. I hope you enjoyed one day of rest and are now ready, updated and recharged to do it all again.
We’re playing Hibs tonight on Easter Road, and for those of you who are Arsenal members, check your email for a message on how to access pre-season games via the official website. You have until noon today to redeem a coupon code, then get on it as soon as possible. Otherwise, they sell access packages.
I can not watch tonight’s games on any schedules, so I guess this is the only place you can watch. What you will say about the games in Scotland is that they are the very epitome of training games, the kind of pre-season fixture that does not count for anything in one way or another (as long as something bad does not happen in terms of injury). They are fitness exercises more than anything else. Suffice it to say we are not doing a ’17 thing we learned from Arsenal’s 8-6 defeat against the Hibs’ on the pitch tomorrow.
A quick look at the training photos shows many familiar faces, with only Nuno Tavares a new addition along with a few young players from our Academy of Academy. Is there a club in the world that has a better collection of young players with dash surnames? After promoting Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Emile Smith Rowe, we still have:
- Brooke Norton-Cuffy
- Tyreece John-Jules
- Jack Henry-Francis
- Peter Bjorn-Johnson
- Chris Aka-Boossy
- Harvey Harveson-Harvington III
- Steve (his last names are silent and can only be expressed through the medium of interpretive dance).
Things have not yet really started moving in terms of the transfer market. Maybe it’s because of Euro 2020 and the Copa America, maybe it’s just a slow burner this summer, but it’s now July 13th and our first game is August 13th. There is plenty to do in between now and then, but because the window does not close until the end of August, it is inevitable that some scenarios will play right up until death, because that is how the market works.
As much as we want to do our business nicely and early and get everything sorted before the season begins, the reality is a little different. It would be good to get a good deal of it sorted out, and I expect some things to happen relatively soon, but as I have said before, many of the things we will do are a little complicated. For example, if we want to move Willian further, we need to find a club that is willing to take him and his gigantic salary that he would earn with us for the two years he is under contract. It’s our fault it’s hard because of the deal we gave him, but it does not make it any easier to sort.
The rumor is also pretty quiet, especially with regard to outgoing offers. There was some talk last week about a bid of £ 12m. From Crystal Palace to Eddie Nketiah, who we reportedly rejected because we hold out for more. In this current climate, however, how much can you get for an almost completely marginalized player in the last year of his contract who has rejected a new deal? I know there is the ‘English tax’, but £ 12m. For Eddie (assuming there were some additions included), sounds pretty decent to me.
Of course, it is difficult to know how much truth there is in these reports. I think we as fans are hard to believe in or add credibility to the things we don’t like (maybe carried by mistrust). So that to give a reported £ 12 million. To a fringe player sounds a bit boring, but perhaps the offer would amount to £ 12 million, if Eddie scored 20 goals each season for three consecutive years, got the England team and got 500 appearances for Palace. In which case, it becomes much more understandable that we knock it back.
In any case, when you consider Eddie, Willian, Maitland-Niles, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette, Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka and more, there is plenty for Edu and Richard Garlick to fix while Mikel Arteta works with the players and prepares for new season.
Finally, it was great to see the overwhelming outpouring of support for Bukayo Saka as well as Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford after the racist abuse they were subjected to after the Euro 2020 final on Sunday. I know there is a lot of focus on social media and their role in this and I understand why. These platforms give racists a way to connect directly to the players they want to abuse.
I’ve said it before, I do not think they do anywhere near enough to cope with this problem. When you can automatically be banned from using the C-word but escape without criticism for actual racism or overt discrimination, there is something wrong with their moderation. The fact is, they could do a lot more if they wanted to, but they do not because it is one) expensive, b) time consuming, and c) would have a negative impact on the size of their subscriber bases if they were to ban people from violating their vague terms of service.
I do not suppose it has happened to them that size is not everything. There is value in a platform that is well-run, inclusive, and that does not spoil the worst instincts of the worst people. In the end, though, social media is just a channel. It does not cause racism, it is simply an outlet through which these disgusting thoughts can be expressed.
The problem is obviously societal and I can not sit here and give a practical answer. However, it has been great to see the wider football world condemn what happened to the three players on Sunday, and for some of those involved in the England team to call hypocrisy out of politicians who were happy piggy-backing about the success of the team in the past. contributed to the feverish atmosphere around the knee, etc.
It feels different. Encouraging. I do not know where it goes from here, but when you see a footballer calling the Home Secretary, you know that something significant has changed.
That’s it for this morning. Enjoy the game later if you see it and we’ll get more here tomorrow.