Gunner Thoughts

A look at the week ahead

As international duties finish up, here are a few things to keep a look out for before the Manchester City match on Saturday.

With players still off fulfilling their international duties, it was a slow Arsenal news weekend. Charlie George and Tony Adams birthdays topped some of the headlines, which tells a story within itself. Don’t get me wrong, legends, so happy birthday to them and thank you for everything they contributed and continue to contribute to the club, it is nice when you see them involved or the club pay homage.

Other than that, the news revolved around the exits of two U23 academy players, Deyan Iliev and Tolaji Bola to Shrewsbury Town and Rochdale, who will likely not return to the club down the line, or will be moved along at the end of their time away.

It wouldn’t be a week or weekend these days if Ozil didn’t find himself in the news. Reports that Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr made a £5m bid to Arsenal, plus covering complete wages, but Ozil turned the offer down and refused to go. Make of that what you will. Part of me doesn’t blame Ozil for not wanting to move to Saudi Arabia’s league, but obviously having an offer for all of Ozil’s wages plus a small fee on the table is a dream come true for Arsenal, the club saddled with the mistakes of their past. Ozil was not registered in Arsenal’s Europa League squad, which potentially foreshadows Ozil missing out on Arsenal’s Premier League registration that is made official on October 20th.

Moving into this week, there is still a half-week of international friendlies before the full squad returns to London to rejoin Arteta and prep for a difficult match against Manchester City at the Ethiad. It’s a quick turnaround for those that were off on international duty, an aspect that could potentially alter the tactics and lineup that Arteta is forced to deploy. On top of that, it will be a big ask to have new-man Thomas Partey return from his time with Ghana and be ready to go for the weekend.

In the meantime, Arsenal still have a few days remaining to participate in the domestic transfer window. Until October 16th, Arsenal will be able to make deals with clubs in the Championship or below. Premier League teams are not capable of making deals amongst each other, only loans or purchases with the leagues below. While this is usually a time that sees simple youth deals and loans done, it could be worth paying attention to this time around.

Arsenal have a few players that could find themselves being loaned out including Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, and William Saliba. It’s hard to image all of them being sent away, but as time goes on, Saliba seems closer to a loan. There had been efforts made to send him back to St. Etienne, but reports suggest there was not enough time to get the deal done. Now, he is linked with a few Championship clubs.

It is worth remembering that Saliba suffered from injury problems last season and failed to make 15 appearances. Additionally, Arsenal have signed Saliba until 2024, which means it is hardly time to start worrying about him too much. It is certainly disappointing, especially if you were one of the many that thought he would come in and be an immediate staple for the Arsenal backline, but  at such a young age we can afford the time to make sure we grow him the right way. We will report more as it develops, but there is plenty of reason to believe he could benefit from time with a Championship club. The Championship season is a flurry of matches and generally a physical grind. Competing and growing at that level could benefit the 19-year-old quite a bit.

When it comes to incomings, the domestic window is not usually one Arsenal would participate in, but with their attempts at sealing a deal for Aouar and his creative abilities falling through, Arsenal may turn to the Championship for a short-term injection. Many fans would like Arsenal to strongly consider a move for Norwich’s Buendia or Cantwell, especially after Brentford’s Benrahma sealed a move to West Ham. There are no concrete links, but many will have fingers crossed in hope.

It should make for an interesting week, a big match at the weekend, and another opportunity to see if Arteta makes adjustments to the lineup. I imagine we will still see Arsenal take up a 3-4-3 formation given the type of match it is likely to be against the Cityzens, but everyone will want to see who is selected to take part.

After a topsy-turvy match day 4 saw Leicester City, Liverpool, and Manchester United lose, Arsenal sit in 4t on goal differential, tied for second on points, with a tough run of Premier League matches. Arsenal play Manchester City, Leicester City, and Manchester United in their next 3 league fixtures. Finding a way to take at least 3 or 4 points would be good, 6 would be fantastic. In between those matches, Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign against Rapid Wien and Dundalk. Lots to look forward to, a bit more transfer window chaos, and possible another round of registration drama. New week, enjoy!

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