Arsene was apparently a tad naughty when persuading Aaron Ramsey to sign if reports are to be believed. Claims are being made that Le Boss has rediscovered his mischievous edge by suggesting that Ramsey would find his way to the United first team blocked by a plethora of midfielders – what is the collective noun for them? A tackle? A stud? Anyway, were that to have been the case, I am sure Ramsey would have said that a similar number were at The Emirates. No doubt Arsene had prepared for that by pointing out that at any given moment in time, half of them were injured.
The Alexander Hleb saga continues unabated with the media helping to turn the tables somewhat on Barcelona by suggesting that Arsenal have told the Catalans that a Hleb is equal to a Yaya plus some cash. Txiki Begiristain has told the press that this is the case so playing hardball with the Catalans is seemingly happening although it might simply be the case that the £8m bid has been accepted and Begiristain is just making the Board look good when he says,
Nothing has been decided as yet but we want Yaya to stay with us and he is not on the market
Arsene could say the same about Hleb. Sr Begiristain is fully conversant with football-speak or as the Hollywood Western cliché goes, “White Man speak with forked tongue“. Still it makes a mockery of Hleb’s claim that he wanted to sit down and work out his future. All of which means there will probably be a brace of Toure’s at Arsenal next season.
Talking of which, apparently Emmanuel Adebayor‘s agent is going to demand that Arsenal release his client. I wonder if the source of this story, La Gazetta dello Sport, and AC Milan are in any way related? Apparently, Adebayor is worth £15m to Arsenal and they are prepared to use a ‘percentage’ of that sum to buy Roque Santa Cruz. Around 100% if reports are to be believed although as Blackburn are managerless, expect some more unsettled player stories to emerge. If Allardyce is appointed, they will probably happen a lot quicker.
About as close to the truth as the Adebayor tale is the ‘news’ that Atletico Madrid are preparing to try to hijack Samir Nasri‘s move to Arsenal, or proposed move depending on whom you believe. A final piece of the transfer jigsaw is the relatively old chestnut of West Brom wanting Armand Traore on loan.
It seems that Arsenal saw the best of Manu Petit on and off the pitch, if his soon-to-released warts and all autobiography is anything to go by. It appears that even Plaistow Patricia might even have made an appearance amongst the Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll. Sweet Gene Vincent indeed.
Talking of autobiographies, if you were not one of the winners of the signed Kenny Sansom books on the official website, fear not for there are two signed copies to be won here. Kindly provided by Word of Sport, purveyors of fine football books, DVD’s and artwork, email the answer to the following question to email@example.com.
Against whom did Kenny Sansom score his first Arsenal league goal?
a – West Ham United
b – Coventry City
c – Stoke City
Closing date is Monday 16th June 2008 and the competition is open worldwide.
Arsene spoke in an interview of the speculation surrounding Vincent Kompany,
I have known Kompany for a long time, since he was 16. I keep following him but the story that we want him for next season is wrong. I know him to be very, very good but I have decided that defenders are no longer necessarily needed for next season. Therefore, he will not come
A turn of phrase that is definitive yet open to misinterpretation. Definitive? Kompany is not a target. Misinterpretation? ‘no longer necessarily needed’. Something has put doubt in his mind regarding strengthening the defence and it would be interesting to know why. Indeed, perhaps the question is who. Toure and Gallas are presumably his first choice pairing with Song and Senderos as his back-up, perhaps even Nordveidt as well. Does he now consider this to be strong enough to cope with long-term injury in any of the positions across the back four?
There was a powder-puff quality at times with Toure playing right back in Sagna’s absence; Senderos was not outstanding enough in Switzerland’s Euro 2008 campaign to suggest he is going to challenge for a regular spot nor is there any suggestion that his confidence is unshattered following on from being dropped in the aftermath of the Champions League defeat at Anfield. Meanwhile Song has potential but not enough experience for a full campaign in that position, perhaps twelve months away.
There is an element that is missing from the squad. Toure and Gallas are very capable centre-backs but there is a lack of pressure on them for their places. Whilst they are no doubt motivated through personal pride to play to the best of their abilities, having someone breathing down your neck for a starting place certainly helps to keep people on their toes. It could be that Arsene has been rebuffed on the defenders he has targeted and is rethinking his strategy or believes he will have to spend more replacing Flamini than he originally thought. Either way, he has not ruled out signing a defender but suggests it is not his highest priority.
Finally for today, this from yesterday’s Fiver, proof if ever there were any needed that the life of a football reporter is anything but glamorous,
“Wait, wait, can I just ask one more question, I’ve just taken a five-and-a-half-hour train journey to get here?” – Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterril bursts into this afternoon’s Dutch press conference just as it is ending.
“Edwin [van der Sar], do you think it would be a bad move for Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Manchester United?” – Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterril is allowed to ask his question.
“I’m only here to talk about the Dutch team. Sorry about your journey” – Van der Sar’s response.
We shouldn’t laugh but hey, I’m going to…