Mikel, Edu, & Kroenke: Bayern can pound sand.


As the silly season ramps up, the number of stories linking coveted players multiplies like a wet mogwai. Just as aggravating, most of those stories are about as reliable as a wet tissue in a rainstorm. Still, the persistence of the stories around our interest in Declan Rice lends a veneer of verisimilitude to them all. With that in mind, it’s more than a bit galling to see the likes of PSG and Bayern getting linked to Rice. That’s our rumour, our clickbait! It’s bad form to horn in on another club’s action.

With West Ham unlikely to allow any talks before their Europa Conference League final on 7 June, we’ll have at least another week of folderol…and maybe more with the Euro qualifiers. If there’s a bonus to that second delay, it’s that it gives Ramsdale a chance to drape an Arsenal jersey over Rice’s head while Saka gets him to admit that North London is Red while Nketiah serves up his homemade jollof…

To be honest, it’s more than a bit mad that Rice, admired as one of the best in the world at his position, would leave the Prem for the Bundesliga. Yes, Bayern can offer domestic silverware, but, at some level, playing for them isn’t far off from playing for Man City or PSG. Yes, you rake in the loot and the silverware, but don’t you, at some point, ask yourself questions about how much you actually earned it? Rice strikes me as a warrior, a battler, a player who wants to know that he’s elevated a squad rather than merely glomming onto one. If he’s off to Bayern or PSG or Man City, we’ll know that he’s not the kind of player we want or need (or can afford).

Speaking of the money, it sounds like Arteta, Edu, and the Kroenkes (especially Josh) are ready to let loose the pursestrings to sign the players we’ll need to build on this season’s impressive success and disappointing end.

“There is still a lot do. We see our squad with a margin to improve,” said Edu. “There are different levels of football we can go to as well and we are really excited to start next season as well, because we know where we are. We know probably what we need to go for a different level. We receive a lot of support from the board to do what we plan to do. And then, let’s face the summer and see how we are going to finish that to improve our squad.”

That’s not the talk of a board that is content with the progress it’s seen. That’s the talk of a board that wants to use this season’s progress as a springboard. We all know that a lack of depth was one of the major obstacles to winning the Prem. Having even just one or two players on the level of Rice, Caicedo, Maddison, or Cancelo might have been enough to see us achieve the impossible. Adding three or four players may be necessary just to see us match this season’s achievements. Coasting through the Europa League group stage is one thing, what with its chance to rotate and also stroke the ego; getting through the Champions League is a horse of another colour. Getting battered by (to name a random club or two) PSG or Bayern would feel quite different.

We may not yet be on a level that allows us to seduce the likes of a Bellingham or a (an?) Mbappe, but securing the services of Rice and Caicedo would still put us on a path toward domestic dominance if not continental relevance. Arteta and Edu have shown that they have the vision and the acumen. The Kroenkes are finally showing that they are willing to finance that vision and acumen. Will that recipe be enough to out-cook the bottomless finances and talent at Man City and Newcastle? What of Man U or Chelsea?

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5 thoughts on “Mikel, Edu, & Kroenke: Bayern can pound sand.

  1. Bish

    First and foremost, Declan is a West Ham boy. The only club he really cares about play in claret and blue. Unfortunately, the desire for silverware means he’ll move on – and that means to a club that offers the greatest prospect of winning things. It therefore almost doesn’t matter who he signs for as long as they look like potential trophy winners – which actually puts Arsenal well down the pecking order. Signing for Bayern, however, not only gives Declan a greater possibility of lifting trophies, it provides a new challenge – different culture, different language, new experiences – that any young man would be excited by. It also means Dec wouldn’t have to play against the team he loves twice a season. So though it will be sad to see him go, Bayern is the best bet all round.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      What you’re saying makes sense, I’m sad to say. If he’s to leave West Ham for anywhere other than Arsenal, it might as well be outside of the Prem. There have been rumours about him wanting to stay in London, which, if true, would point to Arsenal. No other London club has a realistic chance at silverware next season except Chelsea if Poch can sort that squad out.

  2. palladio43

    For all of the talk and all of the predictions, rumors, etc. I suspect that, as usual, most of the transfers and most of the departures or arrivals will not ever take place. At some point, with the exception of the very wealthy teams who have discovered “end runs” around (not so very) Fair Play such as Chelsea’s extended payment plans or who just ignore the rules, e.g., City, and others in the picture (Newcastle, Liverpool, MU, PSG, etc), at some point reality sets in. Somewhere within the upper reaches of these clubs, someone sits down and analyzes whether they will, in actuality, reap added income (or even silverware) from spending an added 10 to 20 million on a player above his “real” value (amazing how we throw these monetary amounts around as if they were pennies and not dollars or pounds). At that point, they tend to draw back and take a deep breath before plunging recklessly forward.

    Consider the bidding war that we saw involving Mudryk. Arsenal, finally, realized that the price was well in excess of his value and, in fact, as we have seen to date (unless Mauricio can change things for the poor and unhappy lad), the Blues have an overpriced player on their hands for years whose present value may well be half or less of what they paid unless someone sees a diamond in the rough and takes him off their hands. It may well be, as Billie Bean proved, you can, by careful analysis and cybermetrics (or the like) , construct a team that can be very good and win quite often, e.g., Brighton, et al, get to Europe, albeit not win the CL, PL, etc., but still be entertaining, develop and play excellent players and survive among those whales. Declan Rice is an example of such a situation and the question may become whether Arsenal assesses where prices are going and realizes, as they did after the Mudryk fiasco, that they could, in fact, find and sign players at a third of his cost who may, in fact, have done more for them than the Ukrainian boy wonder. Whether Arsenal’s approach proves out is something we only discover in the long run and with the benefit of hindsight, as witnessed by the Pepe purchase, possibly an effort to dump the Wenger approach of never overpaying, but too often, underpaying and underbidding as well as ignoring the changing marketplace.

    For now, I worry more about the need for a striker (Jesus or not), an added wing (to save Saka’s strength), midfielders (to replace Xhaka and maybe Thomas) , and back line folks (to aid or replace the walking wounded and the less capable). Now we may also have a new problem, even before winning anything and despite an injury that might require surgery (that seems not to be happening) or even curtail his career, in the form of Saliba’s wage demands. Obviously every agent and player reads about Stan’s wealth and recognizes that Arsenal’s income will rise with CL participation, but as discussed above there is a difference between valuation and over-valuation.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Aye, just having fun with the idea that “Mbappe” starts with a consonant but gets pronounced more like im-BOP-ay rather than Muh-BOP-ay. Thanks for popping, and I appreciate the play on words there!


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