25/07/2016 12:57 BST | Updated 23/07/2017 06:12 BST

Pre-Season Ponderings: Arsenal to Crystal Palace

Originally published on Sixth Feb

Praise be the gods, club football is almost back! After enduring a summer that was somehow both packed with football and had nothing interesting to watch at the same time, we get to look forward the excitement of the Premier League! I mean if Leicester City - the greatest underdog story ever© - could win it, anyone can right? It's not like the Euros or the Copa America where the obvious favourites keep winning. In that vein, the ignorant fan is going to make completely informed judgments* on the upcoming season based on clubs' transfers so far!

*Judgments may not be complete or informed. Or even judgments, honestly.


Ins: Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding, and Takuma Asano

Outs: Isaac Hayden, Wellington Silva, Jon Toral, Dan Crowley, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky

It's impossible to have an original thought about Arsenal, because the internet will not shut up about them. I know far too much about them, including where Wenger buys his delicates. No, I will not tell you. And no, I refuse to say that Arsenal seemed to have bought a solution to their midfield problems, only to have gone and released half that midfield anyway. And I definitely will not say that Giroud is not a good enough first-choice striker. There's enough of that talk out there already. However, I will say Holding is a great name for a goalkeeper. What do you mean he's not a keeper?


Ins: Jordon Ibe, Lewis Cook, Lys Mousset, Emerson Hyndman and Nathan Ake

Outs: Matt Ritchie, Tommy Elphick, Lee Tomlin, Glenn Murray, Joe Quigley, Jayden Stockley, Sylvain Distin, Stephane Zubar, Josh Carmichael, Josh Wakefield, Mason Walsh and Jon Muleba

I can't believe Bournemouth managed to get Jordan Ibe for just £15million! Just a year ago, Brendan Rodgers told the media the Ibe was a better player than Raheem Sterling, who had just been sold for almost £50million! And, if there is one thing you can trust Rodgers to do, it's not to over exaggerate how talented his team are.


Ins: Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Nick Pope

Outs: Joey Barton, Matt Gilks, Luke Conlan and Steven Hewitt

I have to say, I think Burnley have fallen into the trap of buying a player who impressed at a major tournament. They're not the first (Poborsky, people), and they wont be the last (Arshavin, anybody?), but I don't know if they can afford to make the mistake. I know, I know, Iceland were revelations, but Gudmundsson? Why not Birkir Bjarnason? He was so much better at the tournament. Sure, no one else may be looking at him, but he's so charming and good-looking. Anyway, that's what tournaments are for right? To showcase your talent and get the deserved transfer. When has that strategy ever gone wrong for an English club?


Ins: Michy Batshuayi and N'Golo Kante

Outs: Stipe Perica, Nathan Ake, Nathan, Lewis Baker, Alex Kiwomya, Joao Rodriguez, Charly Musonda, Mitchell Beeney, Kasey Palmer, Victorien Angban, Reece Mitchell, John Swift, Marco Amelia and Kevin Wright

Turns out Nathan and Nathan Ake are different people. Seriously, it's not just a typographical error. They're loaned out to different clubs and everything. Blew my mind when I found out. But I guess we should talk about the big transfer. After all, it's not everyday you see a league winner willing to take a challenge and move down to a mid-table club. Kante could've played in the Champions League against the best teams in Europe, but he knew that real joy is only experienced when you put in that extra effort. And boy, is he going to have to put in that extra effort covering for the inevitable Conte three-man defense including Ivanović and Terry.

Crystal Palace

Ins: Andros Townsend, James Tomkins and Steve Mandanda

Outs: Dwight Gayle, David Gregory, Christopher Kettings, Emmanuel Adebayor, Reise Allassani, Andreas Breimyr, Marouane Chamakh, Connor Dymond, Spencer Forte, Matthew George, David Gregory, Brede Hangeland, William Hoare, Adrian Mariappa, Patrick McCarthy, Oliver Pain and Christian Scales

I've got to say, Palace's dealings look like they're from a five year old copy of Football Manager. Tomkins and Mandanda in? I'm pretty sure they were the backbone of my 2015 Champions League winning Huddersfield side. Also, how did they manage to lose Gayle to a championship side? Yes, Newcastle have Benitez, yes, they have St. James Park, and yes, they have massive support, but they're in the championship! Although, getting £10million for him isn't the worst transfer of the summer. Replacing him with Andros Townsend is though.

For Parts 2,3 and 4, click here