Atletico Madrid star latest to be linked as Arsenal transfer saga drags on

Atletico Madrid centre back Jose Gimenez is the latest player to be linked with a move to Arsenal as the transfer rumour mill grinds its way into warp speed.

The 21-year-old Uruguayan was a regular fixture for Diego Simeone’s Madrid last season and, according to the Mail Online, Arsenal have opened negotiations with the Spanish club over a possible transfer.

In the same article, however, they claim the player has been valued at £40million by Atletico, which instantly pours cold piss onto the flames of the story, given that Arsenal are, by all accounts, currently quibbling with Valencia over the £25million capture of Shkodran Mustafi.

Frankly, it’s all ridiculous.

Whatever you believe about these transfers, that we are still heavily involved with this farcical merry-go-round is perhaps the most embarrassing part about it all.

The manager was very well aware at the end of last season that urgent defensive reinforcement were needed, well before the injury to Per Mertesacker, and yet here we are, still scraping around in search of a players in the second week of the new season.

It’s all sorry worryingly familiar and so badly managed and handled. There is no way the club should still be in this position. If Arsene knew that he needed a striker and a defender, he should have set his stall out comfortably before the European Championships and started negotiations, as was the case with Xhaka.

I don’t doubt for a second that that is what Jose Mourinho did, and he had his summer transfer business completed well before the start of the season. Even the high profile deal for Paul Pogba was wrapped up without much fuss at all, something Arsene seems entirely incapable of.

Why, after years and years of making the same mistakes, are we still involved in this absolute folly?

Worst of all, this whole business is played out in front of the glare of the sporting press, who continued to laugh and jape as Arsene fulfils every stereotype that exists about him.

The days of driving hard bargains and getting value in the transfer market are gone. Agents are too canny for all that now, there are dozens of people who need to get their slice of the cake. But Arsene refuses to see it, refuses to play the game.

Nobody else seems to share his transfer rectitude, and there is scarcely a club in world football with a cash pile as large as ours. Other teams ask for a price and pay it. Arsene seems to ask for a price, and then enter a bidding war until he is blue in the face and the transfer target is then snapped up by a club willing to part with the cash.

Why is it necessary to quibble over four or five million pounds when there is in excess of £100million in the bank? It’s madness, and it is costing this club points season-after-season.

And what of Ivan Gazidis, Stan Kroenke, even Steve Bould? Is anyone asking what on earth is going on?

Barring some sort of minor miracle, we will more than likely find ourselves forced to rush Laurent Koscielny back into action for Saturday’s trip to Leicester, thereby running the risk of injuring the only vaguely-fit senior centre back we have left.

It is yet another gamble Arsene is going to have to take because he has made a real error of judgement by not getting new signings in place quickly enough.

If he starts with Calum Chambers and Rob Holding, there is a good chance that the duo will be exposed once again, and that will create a really ugly atmosphere around the club.

The deal for Mustafi must, absolutely must, be wrapped up before Friday. If Arsenal drop more points because of mistakes and weaknesses in areas that were long ago identified as in need of attention, there are going to be no valid excuses left.

It is unthinkable that the final day of the transfer window would arrive without Arsenal having completed their business.

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