I’m not usually one to talk about what other clubs are doing, but the sheer trolling nature of the Pedro saga means I feel compelled to write something, because it is funny. Well, it would be if it was someone other than Chelski getting the player. If Pedro headed over to Dortmund at the last minute, leaving United with egg on their faces, that would be really funny.
The transfer has all the hallmarks of the Willian to Spurs transfer that was hijacked. Only this time it’s United who are the sad clowns. Mourinho doesn’t even need Pedro, but I suppose if he’s not even willing to give Cuardrado a go at settling in, then perhaps he feels he does need a player.
One things for sure, we certainly don’t need Pedro, we’ve got enough wide forwards as it is thank you very much. And yet I have seen some angry Gooners once again talk about our inactivity in the transfer market thus far, as if this transfer is another “one that got away”.
Eh? How is us not signing an unwanted wide forward from Barcelona linked to us not getting a striker or another destroyed in the middle of the park? Pedro can’t play as a loan front man, can he? I’ve never seen that from the fella, but am happy to be proved wrong.
And besides, getting stressed about another team making another signing in a position in which we’re already pretty stocked, is akin to moaning to you’re mum when you want a tricycle when she’s already bought you an 18-speed Raleigh Max (do they even still make those?) only a few months earlier. Let Chelski have their replacement winger. Without wanting to be too clichéd about it all, they can’t play all of the players they stockpile, so I’m less bothered. But United will be pretty cheesed off. They’ve got 11 days to find another centre forward, possibly a goalkeeper and another centre half. It’s doable, but at the right level of quality, or just as a filler for squad places?
The difficulty that United have had in the last two summers over their transfers does show you one thing though: in today’s game, history of a club will only get you so far. Fergie was a part of the appeal of United and when he left with David Gill, there was a massive chunk of the carrot taken away from prospective signings to dangle in front of.
Players these days want Champions League football and a manager they can play for. Louis van Gaal is perhaps showing that he’s the last of a dying breed. The dictatorial manager who every player fears is dying out. The players just don’t respond to it. They have so much power these days that they don’t need to. And they all talk to each other. There’s probably an element of truth about Pedro having a word with Valdes and deciding to steer clear, heading to see his mate Cesc at Chelski instead.
Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky that we have the consistency of Arsène and his record. Players know they’ll play in the Champions League with him. Players get the arm around the shoulder with him. Arsène doesn’t do the gun resting on the spine with instructions to “get in the van”. You get more from the horse by ushering it to water than by whipping it.
We’re at a stage now where players linked know what they’ll be getting with Arsenal, so all that’s left to do is to talk terms, which we can now somewhat compete. I say ‘somewhat’ because now that UEFA are seemingly giving the complete green light to the oligarch-run clubs that they’ll not really enforce FFP, City are going out and slinking cash left, right and centre and they’re probably paying players a bajillion-a-week at the same time.
So Benzema still seems to be in the news, despite the actual football having got well under way, with various horrifically obvious attention seekers talking up a move within 48 hours apparently. Take it from me: come Monday morning we’ll be talking about Arsenal vs Liverpool and nothing else. Madrid will not unload Benzema without having another player of sufficient quality to bring in. I know their transfer policies are battling sometimes and seem to be led by a crazy desire to get a specific player whether they need him or not, but they would be mental – Britney shaving her head mental – to offload Benzema and bring in a weaker option. They are fighting against a Barcelona team with the most fearsome front three in the world and Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo are the best option you could possibly hope for. I know Madrid have changed their formation – supposedly – but I still don’t think that will be enough for us to prize him. I really don’t. Sorry.
Anyway, this may sound ridiculously patriotic, but I’d rather an English Danny Welbeck, Ox and Walcott step up and show us what we’ve got right now in the squad. I think our team balance is good and whilst Benzema would undoubtedly improve us, I want to see us kick on with the current squad.
Perhaps I’m an idealist. Perhaps I’m barking mad. But I’m just sick of all the speculation and click-baiters. We don’t need it.
We need three points on Monday night.