Oli Price-Bates talks Man City, Suarez, Gustavo and all things #afc

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It’s Monday the 12th of August and my weekly season review begins without any stellar signing to discuss. Hopefully by my next entry that will be different.

Forget the transfer tirade (or not) Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners against Man City in Helsinki on Saturday – albeit in a friendly, that would have given then team some needed confidence going into the big games next season. We really struggled in the big games last season and Wenger made a very valid point. He felt that the team lacked confidence against the best sides the league and this was backed up with some poor results. With the derby against Spurs as September begins – it’s key to have that belief installed in the players before the big kick off on Saturday. It’s rare to see Arsenal be so clinical and contain the opposition with a rigid and counter attack style – a tactic we are normally on the receiving end of. It’s certainly encouraging to see Arsene willing to nip tuck the formation and tactics depending on the opponent, something which is often not the Frenchman’s priority. We begin the season against Aston Villa on Saturday and go into the fixture with a frighteningly ‘thin’ squad. Luckily there’s a few weeks of the window left yet, but all Arsenal fans will be frustrated with the fact no new signings look to be in place for the seasons start, something which can hardly be excused considering the funds at Arsenal’s disposal. Gervinho and Chamakh confirmed their departures away from the club in the last few days, and that sums up the summer so far. Excellent business going out and not much in. It is encouraging that so much deadwood has been shifted, especially because it surely means players must be coming in. Around £400,000 per-week of wages have been cleared and over £10million in transfer fees received.

Stories of a third bid for Suarez are beginning to gather pace. In my opinion Luis is the best player Arsenal can sign right now – despite his baggage. Would I pay £50million, at this point, yes I would. We’ve backed ourselves into a corner and if we pay the £50million I think this deal could be tied up as soon as next week. The fact is the reason for the delay is because once again Arsenal and Arsene believe that if they wait there will be a reduction in the players’ value to Liverpool. This could go three ways. 1. His value does decrease and we sign him for £40million or less. 2. It doesn’t decrease and another club come in and sign him. 3. We don’t qualify for the Champions League and he doesn’t want to join. Personally I’d pay the extra £10million rather than risk any of the other two events from occurring.

Luiz Gustavo looks close to joining, although the possibility of a deal collapsing remains possible, especially as this is Arsenal we are talking about. Gustavo is a real interesting one. He’s a player I’ve insisted Arsene wouldn’t be interested in because of his position. We’ve not had a player of his ilk since a certain Gilberto Silva, and again, I thought Arsene would be too stubborn to re-integrate a midfielder with such a defensive style. I like it. Whilst Arteta’s ability and experience in the squad will be vital, a midfield with Gustavo sitting behind Wilshere and Ramsey would the best out of everyone, something we’ve struggled to do with this electric duo since both have been fit. Chamberlain has also shown he will be used in the centre of midfield at times this season and this 1-2 midfield will allow the Ox to play to his strengths.

I’d like to hear your comments on the issues I’ve discussed in this brief blog, either comment in the section below or tweet me at @OliPriceBates to extend this discussion. Until next week – Ciao.

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