Good morning to you all. Hope you have had a nice weekend so far.
Friday saw the official unveiling of Fran Merida as an Atletico Madrid player and he was full of kind and respectful words for Wenger and the club, and rightly so. Like Cesc, we took him from Barcelona and gave him a real footballing education. It is nice to see that even though he is just 20yrs old, he still has enough intelligence and good grace to leave the club with his head held high which, again, is the complete opposite of players such as Cole and Adebayor.
The Evening Standard is persisting with linking us with Brede Hangeland, but John Cross of The Mirror is fairly insistent that there is absolutely nothing in this link. Time will tell, I suppose. To be honest, I would prefer to see someone like Chiellini sign for us rather than Hangeland. However, I would definitely prefer Hangeland over Newcastle’s Taylor. The latter being a player I have always loathed, so I am praying that we don’t sign him.
7am kick-off has an interesting take on the detestable ‘transfer linked’ section on the official website. I really do hope that the club sees some sense and takes it down soon. Though if, as 7am kick-off hypothesizes, their idea is to put it there just to throw lazy journalists off the scent of our true targets it would be a surprising move by the club. I don’t feel that having transfer speculation and gossip on the club’s official site is a good idea. The official site should be bigger and better than that.
Elsewhere, Paul Merson has had a bit of a pop at Walcott and his lack of any real improvement. He does have a point, to an extent, but I don’t think that he should be too hard on Walcott as he has spent much of the past two seasons out with injury and therefore hasn’t had a good period of fitness in which to get a proper run of games and training together in order to make the desired improvement. Given a full season of injury-free football, the Holy Grail for any Arsenal player, I am sure that he will improve and develop into the player that we hoped he would be when we first signed him. It’s too early to write him off just yet. Hopefully the help and tuition from Beckham at the World Cup will result in an improvement in Theo’s delivery of the final ball.
There is no further word on the potential signing of Joe Cole as mentioned by Arseblog the other day, but it is a possibility especially as he is going on a free. To get two free players in one summer would sort out the attacking element of our team nicely and still leave Wenger with a sizeable kitty to reinforce the defensive side of things. So, we’ll just have to wait and see. Though if Man Shitty step in with a contract offer, we won’t be able to come close to matching it.
Reading this article about the debt at ManUre just serves to highlight and reinforce how lucky we are that the board of our club act as custodians and run things in a self-sustaining manner. It also places more importance on the final destination of the shares of Lady Nina. We need those shares to go to someone that feels a responsibility towards the club and its fans, not to someone that will try and leverage any buyout against the club in order to sell that stake on at a profit at a later point and walk away leaving the club in a debt-ridden state like ManUre or Liverpool.
Reuters reported yesterday that Diaby is keen to step out of Vieira’s long shadow, by which I hope they are talking in terms of the metaphorical big boots that Diaby has to fill, and not the long shadow that Vieira was famous for while at the club.
Mark Schwarzer gave a less than convincing denial of the current rumours linking him to Arsenal. It was a typical move by a footballer to stay on the good side of his own fans but also leaving the door ajar for a possible move, should a formal offer be made. While not being an earth shattering signing, he would certainly be an improvement over what we have, for a year or so anyway.
Barcelona have said that they won’t break the bank to sign Cesc. Fair enough, then you should just abandon your plans now and sod off, as you won’t be getting him on the cheap. When you see how much money they blew last summer on the likes of Ibrahimovic and Chygrynskiy, then they can’t start acting all ‘we won’t pay above market value’ now. Besides, they aren’t being asked to pay above market value, they are simply required to pay what Cesc is actually worth. If they won’t, or can’t, do that then they should shut their mouths and sling their hooks.
The News of the World is linking us with a young Crewe player called Nick Powell. I don’t know much about him, to be honest, but what with Arsene’s love of signing young players and the new 25 player squad limit and 8 homegrown player quota requirement, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this young player sign for us. Yet another player for the future. It’s what we do. I really hope that we go out and sign some proper players before signing any more kids, though.
If you are having serious Arsenal withdrawal symptoms, then I suggest that you download and listen to the podcasts of Arseblog and It’s Up For Grabs Now. Both are very, very good and funny to boot. So, either click on the above two links or go to iTunes and subscribe to them there, though there probably won’t be any new episodes until pre-season gets underway. But, the episodes from the season just gone are well worth a listen.
For those with more general football, and premier league, withdrawal symptoms, two more that are well worth a listen are the Guardian’s Football Weekly and Chappers’ Premier League podcasts, both of those are funny and informative. You could also check out the BBC’s Five Live Football Daily podcast, too. Though beware, the latter often has the half-witted opinions of David Pleat, approach with caution, but on the upside it often has Perry Groves on, too.
One final thing, check out the comment at the bottom of this earlier post. It has some interesting information about that Uzbek that we all love to hate.
That’s that for today, enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’ll leave you with a classic Highbury moment in front of The North Bank. It’s very nice to have a non-Cesc dominated post, hopefully no news is good news on that front.
***UPDATE: Arseblog has linked to a picture of the back page of today’s Star newspaper which states that Joe Cole will sign for us on a free. Interesting, if true. It would be a very typical Wenger signing, in that while we all think that he should sign a defender and keeper, he goes out and bolsters the attacking side of our team… If it is true, I guess it means that our next signing after that MUST be on the defensive side of things.