In last weekend’s Mail on Sunday supplement, there was an interesting article on life at Wigan and their existence. Equally, there was an uninteresting ego-fest asking the question about what life would be like if men suffered from PMT. They do actually although the author of the piece in question failed to come up with the correct answer which is that they go to the web and scweam and scweam and scweam until they are allowed to list all of the players that they want Arsene to sign irrespective of the money it would cost. Everyone is spending big so why aren’t we, so the argument goes. We will never compete until we do, the punchline.
Their prayers may get some sort of answer in the next few weeks if Arsene has his way although the stature of the players coming is unlikely to be satisfactory in their eyes. Wenger said that he hopes to make a signing by the end of the month,
I know what I want and I am very confident. I hope to turn that around in the next two or three weeks. But the fans should be re-assured by what they see. It would be better to buy someone who has played in England because they are less risky. But it costs more money if they are from the Premier League, so maybe I will try to do both
So there you go. The media have already linked the club with Hatem Ben Arfa – perhaps the one from abroad but maybe not because depending on which outlet you believe, the player has signed, is coy about whether or not he has signed, or is not thinking about his future until after the Coupe de France final in a week or so’s time. Maybe it is Gareth Barry but unlikely because Martin O’Neill has not gone to the media to bleat about a derisory offer although the Arsenal way of conducting transfers is to not conduct negotiations through the media so perhaps not.
But wait, maybe Gareth Barry is not the one to be signed. It could Niko from Portsmouth, Jean from Lille, Mario from Germany, Seydou from Seville, Raul from Valencia, Yaya from Barcelona or Eric from Mars. Keeping track of who Arsene is supposed to be interested in is a full-time business.
One player who seems to want to stay even though as a World Cup winner he might have expected to play more often, is Gilberto Silva who has again re-iterated his desire to stay. For Arsene, this is a thorny issue. Had Mathieu Flamini not left for the lucre of Milan, I have no doubt that the Brazilian would have been told he could leave for a reasonable fee this summer. The question for Arsene now is whether or not to hold onto Gilberto for one more season and let him depart on a free transfer once the manager has had time to refocus on the midfield? Personally, I would keep the player who seems willing to stay and is understanding of the circumstances, publicly at least. The key thing though is to keep him match fit. Understandably rusty during his limited starts this season, Arsene must involve him in some key matches early on, perhaps the CL Qualifier away leg and may be some of the Group Stage ties assuming Arsenal progress that far, of course.
Theo Walcott has been tasked by Arsene with being a regular starter next season. It presents the youngster with opportunity to unseat Emmanuel Eboue on the right, I suspect, with the possibility of moving inside for some matches. If Arsene is to get the best from him though, he needs to give the player stability in a positional sense which suggests that the front two for the first half of the season will predominantly be Adebayor and van Persie with Bendtner as their reserve. Eduardo is on the road to recovery with Arsene believing that mental strength is going to be his biggest challenge. Le Boss believes he will be back in November / December,
We believe medically there is no problem, he will play again, but after that how well can he deal with it? He is a tough boy so I am confident he will deal with it. We expect him to be out completely for six months but to play really at the top, top level, it will be nine months [from when he was injured]
Eduardo’s fitness is the one area where the rumour of signing Mario Gomez has big doubts cast over it. What is the point in signing another forward if there are already four players with first team experience to cover for the Croat’s absence? Unless of course, Arsene does not believe that Walcott, Adebayor, van Persie and Bendtner will score the requisite number of goals. If that is the case, then it should be a case of ‘X – you are the weakest link. Goodbye’ although Arsene, it would be greatly appreciated if you would leave out the Botox overdose should you decide that is route to follow.
Still no confirmation of Alexander Hleb chucking his ticket in. You have to assume that if it is a case of he is leaving, he and his agent are negotiating with Internazionale to pay the compensation or better still, offer Arsenal a fee because there is little doubt in my mind that the player does not have the stomach for a fight with Arsenal over being released under the provisions of Article 17, especially if the club decide to argue it out. One soon to be ex-Arsenal player looks set for life after The Emirates with Jens Lehmann reportedly signing for Stuttgart.