Arteta on injuries – Ornstein on transfer targets

Arteta on injuries - Ornstein on transfer targets


Happy Friday to you from Dublin, where spring has sprung … in the shape of snow. Wonderful stuff.

There wasn’t a huge amount in Mikel Arteta’s press conference, beyond Thomas Partey’s likely return to the squad for the game on Monday. There are still some question marks over Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu in particular, and as expected it’s all too soon for Jurrien Timber. With the March fixture list so light, I don’t think they’ll take any risk at all with him – and if there is a target it’s probably Man City away. A bridge we can cross when we come to it.

Speaking of caution, that seems to be the case with Tomiyasu. When asked about his involvement in the Asian Cup, but no football since his return, Arteta said:

He had an injury, in the last game that he played with Japan he felt something and he was out. We expected him to recover a little bit shorter but he was struggling at the beginning of the recovery and we decided to extend that period to be more certain because he is a player we really need. We are short and we cannot risk him being out for months.

Again, like Timber, maybe the fact we’ve found a bit of balance with Jakub Kiwior at left-back, plus the fact Zinchenko might also be able to return soon enough, means this period could be used to ensure Tomi gets properly fit. If we make progress in Europe, which we all hope is the case, the period between March 31st and May 19th – the final day of the Premier League season – could be really hectic, so having all hands on deck will be what Arteta is looking for.

The news on Gabriel Jesus was basically positive, but still a little vague. The manager played down a suggestion that he might have to undergo surgery for the most recent knee issue, insisting it was a different problem from the most serious one he suffered, but also said:

It is probably a question more specifically for the doctors, but as far as I’m concerned that has been resolved.

He was on the bench for the Newcastle game, essentially as emergency option, a 10 minute Hail Mary if we needed something in the final few minutes, but thankfully our performance on the night meant that wasn’t necessary. I suspect he’ll be on the bench again for the Sheffield United game, and building his fitness back up with some substitute cameos might be the way they’re planning this. Although, despite how well Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard have done, there are certain games for which I feel the Brazilian is really well suited, and Brentford at home is one of those. Let’s see how he goes.

Away from injuries, David Ornstein spoke about Arsenal’s summer plans in an Athletic Q&A and said:

A striker is the main focus and they admire Benjamin Sesko, Viktor Gyokeres, Evan Ferguson and others. Then there is the long-term desire to bring in competition/backup in the wide attacking area.

Those striker names make more sense to me than the oft-mooted moves for Ivan Toney or Victor Osimhen, but I still wonder if there might be a left-field candidate we’re interested in whose name hasn’t yet surfaced. David also cites an interest in Pedro Neto (but not at Wolves £80m asking price), and refers to central midfield, saying:

Depending on departures, a central midfielder might be needed, with long-term interest in Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi.

I think it’s unquestionable a central midfielder will be needed. Mohamed Elneny will leave at the end of his contract, and Arsenal should part ways with Partey this summer. That leaves us very light in that area, even if a new offer to hold onto Jorginho is in the works. I’d be happy with that, but while there’s genuine depth in almost every position, the centre of park is an area where I feel we could do with strengthening. And for the record, injury worries aside, Neto is a player I would love to see at Arsenal.

In reality, for fans transfer stuff is little more than a distraction at this point of the campaign. There are more important things going on, but behind the scenes the plans will be in place to augment and strengthen the squad, regardless of how this season plays out.

Ok, let’s leave it there for now. There’s a brand new Arsecast available below, in which I chat to Amy Lawrence about the season, and Mikel Arteta; plus we hear from Tim Stillman ahead of another record breaking sell-out for Arsenal Women, Jorginho and lots more.

All the links you need are below, happy listening. We’ll have our Patreon preview podcast for you tomorrow. Until then.


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