It’s been a whirlwind week. The events speak for themselves. We started the week worrying about losing Declan Rice to Man City’s “embarrassing” bid only to see them back out after we improved our bid. As it currently stands, we’re set to sign Rice at a final fee of some £105m, give or take, depending on how the payments and add-ons are structured, and that’s a fee that would reduce the pressure on Rice to prove that he’s among the top three most-expensive transfers ever.
One almost has to feel bad for Kai Havertz, whose transfer was officially confirmed on Wednesday but overshadowed by the unofficial news of Rice’s transfer. Havertz is in the squad. That’s done and dusted. Some will complain about the fact that we gave Chelsea anything at all to help them escape FFP sanctions, but they’d have to explain how us strengthening ourselves at Chelsea’s expense is any better or worse than Chelsea selling numerous players off to Saudi Arabia. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
All I’m hearing is crickets and tumbleweed.
Elsewhere, the depth and quality continues to improve as we seem to have also secured the services of Ajax’s Jurriën Timber on a £50m fee. We’re now looking at having signed three players—three—and the window is just a few weeks old. Wee want it all: the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles. Sure, we might offend a few of the bluenoses with our cocky stride and musky odors – oh, we’ll never be the darling of the so-called “City Fathers” who cluck their tongues, stroke their beards, and talk about “What’s to be done with this new Arsenal?”
After suffering years and years of Arsène’s philosophical opposition to spending, which offered a fig leaf to Silent Stan’s refusal to spend, it’s more than a bit bewildering to see where we currently stand. Not only have we signed one of England’s (if not Europe’s) most-coveted central midfielders, we’ve also added one of Germany’s most-gifted if under-utilised attacking midfileders, each of whom has yet to fully plumb the depths of his potential. Add to that cache one Jurriën Timber, and you’d have a transfer-window that would be the envy of just about any club in Europe.
And…however…one gets the sense that we’re not quite done. We still have reinforcements to summon. Positions to strengthen. Deadwood to move. It’s too early to wash away the years and years during which the Kroenkes treated this club like a piggy bank to be raided and emptied. However, when you see your club beat Man City to the signing of Declan Rice after seizing Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from right under their noses; when you see your club snatch Kai Havertz; when you see your club “overpay” for Benny Blanco and snatch Martin Ødegaard away from Real Madrid while also renewing contracts for Martinelli, Saka, and Saliba, well, you have to start to wonder where this is all going.
For most clubs, all of this business would represent a window for the ages. Something tells me we’re just getting started…