Morning all.

The loveable, or perhaps rather unloveable rogue Matteo Guendouzi is determined to upset the Arsenal apple cart by saying:

William (Saliba) now has Marseille in his heart and I am sure that he will come back to Marseille next season. So I am going to try to push again for him to stay with us.

Well he’s not, he’s returning to Arsenal this summer with intent to show everyone just how good he is in the Premier League. Of course, Guendouzi’s quotes might have been slightly twisted but even so, I wouldn’t put it past him to say such things. Saliba has been at Marseille for one season only and as much as he might have had a good season, an enjoyable one even, I very much doubt Marseille is in his heart. Why would it he having been born in a suburb of Paris. If he’s like most football fans, he’ll be a fan of his local team, or at least one near to where he was born and not one a million miles away. Ok, slight exaggeration I know but I’m sure you get my drift. Surely, his ambition will be to one day play for PSG or even return to the club where his career got going, Saint-Etienne.

Before anyone takes offence from the above sweeping statement, I’m fully aware that we’re free to support whichever club we like. I wasn’t born within a 50 mile radius of Highbury but does that mean I support them any less than the guy or gal who was? Yes, I think it does. I think every emotion hits a locally born fan harder. The losses hurt more, the bad performances stay in the mind for longer, the ambition is perhaps greater. The acceptance of mediocrity probably doesn’t exist.

Arsene Wenger turned Arsenal upside down and for ten years, fans who’d be used to the defensive  style of football George Graham served up, were suddenly entertained in a very different way. Week in, week out and season after season. It was fantastic. During that period of time, there wasn’t one league fixture I thought we could lose, even though occasionally we did.

Arsene Wenger picked up players from all around the world and made them tick. Someone mentioned David Dein on here yesterday and his ability to get transfer deals over the line at great speed but as good as he was, even he’d struggle today with the way things are at Arsenal in my opinion. What he’d have perhaps done though, is make a better job of replenishing the squad post 2005 (ish). Mind you, we might have been playing at Wembley instead of The Emirates.

Some of us on here moan about the way Arsenal do their transfer business, the manager, the board, the coaches, the owner, especially the owner but wasn’t it David Dein who introduced the Kroenke family to the club in the first place? Then jumped ship and got into bed with Alisher Usmanov? Can you imagine where Arsenal might be now if Red & White Holdings had taken ownership of the club? Other than looking for a new owner after the sanctions imposed on the Russian oligarchs? I think we’d probably have a few more pieces of silverware in the trophy cabinet. I very much doubt we’d have ever have a rookie managing the team though. Arsene Wenger wasn’t a rookie in my opinion, a risk perhaps as he was unknown, but he knew how to manage as he’d been doing it for a while.

Let’s not kid ourselves though that Arsenal has ever been a free spending club because it hasn’t and when the Kroenke family bought into the club, they brought into the same philosophy. Spend what you earn and very little more. Back in Arsene Wenger and David Dean’s day, money went a long way, nowadays though it’s very different. An average English player can cost £50 million. Kalvin Phillips to Man City for £60 million? Since when did a 22 year old overseas striker cost nearly £90 million which is what Liverpool are reported to be paying for Darwin Nunez? Simple, since football clubs sold out to the multi millionaires. Good for Liverpool though because it shows they know what they want and how to get it, as well as not being afraid to sell a big player to help fund the transfer.

We can look back and remember how good Mr X, Y or Z was at achieving what he did or dealing with transfers quicker than the club are now but we’re in 2022.  Players are far more expensive, every club now searches far and wide for players and on top of that, we’ve missed out on Champions League football and the money it hands out yet again.

I think next season will be even more difficult to finish in the top six let alone top four. Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Newcastle Utd will probably spend big, Liverpool will make an already strong squad, stronger and that lot down the road will no doubt invest in their squad too. Then there’s Brighton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. The list goes on really.

Arsenal need to invest in the squad just to get closer to the clubs as they were last season so if we’re to have a much better campaign, as well as investing, I think we have to hope that a few of the academy players who step up, hit the ground running, the likes of Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares do really well and the entire squad can get through an entire season without serious injury. Oh, and let’s not forget Mikel Arteta who’ll be into his 4th season as Arsenal manager so I think the “lack of experience” label no longer exists. The “give him time or trust the process” is in the bin. At least it is for me.

Catch up in the comments.