Today marks the earlier than expected return to blogging following my World Cup hiatus.
So, yesterday finally saw us officially unveil one of our most widely expected, but least commented on in an official capacity, transfers of the summer, that of Laurent Koscielny. As usual there has been no confirmation of the actual fee paid, but it is believed to be somewhere in the region of £8.5m-£10m, which represents a good turnaround for Lorient as they just paid about £1.5m for him a year ago. Let’s hope that the deal turns out to be as good for Arsenal as it was profitable for Lorient.
Anyway, he will wear the no6 shirt and, considering those that have worn that jersey before him, there are some big boots to fill. At just 24 years of age, his best years as a central defender are most definitely ahead of him. Hopefully, he will be able to make the transition from Lique 1 to Premier League and become a mainstay of our central defence for the next eight or nine years. Unless, of course, Wenger goes out and signs someone like Chiellini whereby Koscielny would then become a mainstay of our bench for the next seven or eight years.
The player himself seems delighted to have joined us, which I for one am taking as evidence that Silvestre won’t be at the club next year. It’d be hard to be so delighted if you knew you had to look at the Elephant Man in training every day. He also appears to have eyebrows that look like thick strips of Velcro, so one can only assume that these act as some kind of adhesive device to which the ball will stick once he gets his head on it. The player himself had this to say about his arrival:
“It wasn’t a difficult decision to make. It is exceptional to have a club like Arsenal wanting to sign you. I don’t believe any French player would have refused to come and play for Arsenal. It is a very big club that plays in the Champions League and it is always near the top of the Premier League. Arsenal is a reference for football and we all know the quality of their game.
The decision was quickly taken. I took the decision the day after hearing about their interest in me. I know the club have the means and the ambition to get that Premier League title and to go as far as possible in the Champions League.
It is nice for French players to come and join a team like Arsenal where there are so many other French players. It will help me to integrate easily in the team. I have great respect for Arsene Wenger. He uses lots of young players and he allows them to play.
Taking time out from his duties at the World Cup, Wenger had this to say:
“Koscielny is a central defender with great ability who performed extremely well last season for Lorient. We identified him as a very strong centre half, who has made big progress very quickly. He has shown he is mentally strong, he’s a fighter and a very strong competitor. Koscielny is a great addition to our squad.”
That leaves us with Vermaelen, Koscielny and Djourou as our recognised centre backs going into the pre-season training. Therefore, you would expect that it is an area that the club are still looking to strengthen. Just who they may have in mind to fill that fourth centre half berth well, your guess is as good as mine at this stage. I have a feeling that the other players we sign this summer will be Premier League based. I imagine that Campbell will only be resigned should we be unable to find a suitable player at an even more suitable price in the post-World Cup transfer market. One thing is certain, his skipping out on pre-season training in favour of going on honeymoon won’t do him any favours in securing a new contract with us.
One player that is unlikely to be coming is Joe Cole as I think that if we were really in for him, we would have sealed the deal already. Maybe Arsene declaring his interest in Cole was an attempt to get buffoons like Redknapp to follow suit and waste some of their own transfer budgets on his huge salary and signing-on fee, not to mention huge hat’s for Cole’s Silvestre-shaped head.
Last week saw the club unveil the new home shirt for next season and it really is a nice jersey. This is the first season for a while where I have really liked both the home and away shirts and am considering buying one of each, though I am not sure if I will be getting Cesc’s name on the back this time around because, regardless of whether he stays this summer, it is clearer than ever that he is seriously considering his long-term future. Maybe the news of financial strife at his boyhood club will help him decide to stay with us for another year or two. I certainly hope he will stay for a few seasons more. Realistically though, if he does stay this summer, I think we will just have him until the next European Championships when he will again be relentlessly tapped up by all and sundry in the Spain squad, prompting his return to Barcelona. Maybe this is the ideal time to get Van Persie on my jersey.
One thing that crossed my mind over the past few days was how, with the new UEFA financial rules soon coming into play, can Man Shitty pay the likes of Yaya Toure a reported £200,000 per week? Crazy money for anyone, let alone a defensive midfielder. It will be interesting to see what their wages to turnover ratio is next year.
Reports today are linking us with Shaun
The Sheep Wright-Philips, but I am hoping that they are as wide of the mark as a John Jensen shot. We really need to sign players of a higher caliber than him.
Right, that’ll just about do for today. I’m off to enjoy what is left of the afternoon sunshine. I’ll be back on Sunday with a look at the papers and other assorted thoughts.