Talking Points from Arteta’s Community Shield Press Conference
Mikel Arteta, in his usual traditional fashion, held a press conference for the clash against Manchester City with a chance to grab the first trophy of the season. It still baffles me why we have Community Shield matches the season after a team wins the domestic double, but I guess it’s okay to bring the second placed team in the Premier League to remind them how they fell short to the champions, since those champions were childish enough to win the FA Cup as well.
Manchester City’s FA Cup final against Manchester United was a pulsating affair with Ilkay Gundogan bidding his farewell to England in the best possible way. When you think of the fact that Manchester City beat Arsenal in the Fourth Round in their run to winning the whole damn thing, you can say it’s no less than they deserved. Ok, I think I’m digressing.
As expected, Arteta was asked about his thoughts on Aaron Ramsdale’s article on Player Tribune, that saw his goalie dig deep on some personal challenges footballers face in the modern day sport. He lauded his goalkeeper on his transparency and bravery, and commented on the responsibility the club has to well-being of its players – something Ramsdale also touched on. Still sticking with goalies, Arteta kept his cards close to his chest regarding the David Raya transfer saga, as you’d expect from the crafty fox that he is.
The proverbial Elephant in the Room, which is the size of the Arsenal squad was addressed yet again, and the gaffer confirmed that while he was happy with the squad the way it is, he and of course, Edu Gaspar, are working on it, so we are to expect more departures before the transfer window closes. It is believed that the second highest signing for the club, Nicolas Pepe, is on the verge of having his contract rescinded, which will permit him to move to Turkish giants, Besiktas, on a free transfer.
If Pepe successfully moves to Besiktas on a free transfer, this would mean that Arsenal’s second (Pepe – £72m), fourth (Aubameyang – £56m), fifth (Lacazette – £52m) and sixth (Ozil – £42.5m) highest transfer arrivals of all time, cost the club £222.5m and left for nothing. Extremely smart business if you ask me!!!
On injuries, Arteta touched on the Gabriel Jesus situation, expressing his disappointment no doubt, but confirming it has to be done to mitigate a long term issue, so he wasn’t all doom and gloom, which essentially means that Jesus might not be out for a considerable chunk of the season that would make Arsenal do something drastic in the transfer window. I have considered the alternatives to cover for Gabriel Jesus while he’s injured, and it’s fair to say that in as much as we miss our attacking messiah, Arsenal has dependable depth to manage his absence.
It was expected that Arteta would talk about the club’s new signings, with the British record transfer, Declan Rice, taking center stage. Arteta spoke about how he sweet talked Rice to becoming part of the exciting project at Arsenal, lauded his excellent abilities, winning mentality and confirmed his leadership attributes, which is clear for everyone to see. The boss also spoke about fitting Kai Havertz to his team, with the jury still out for the ex-Chelsea midfielder following his underwhelming spell at Stamford Bridge.
Most importantly, Arteta was asked if he could challenge Manchester City yet again this season and the boss spoke about how Arsenal is much more better than how they were last season. Rice will add much needed security to the holding midfield role, Havertz will be utilized effectively to support the already potent attack and Jurrien Timber’s qualities will add to the club’s defensive depth which helps in the short-, mid- and long-term.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game against Manchester City and will provide a preview post to match.
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