It seems that our January signings are about to arrive! Theo Walcott’s imminent signature at the end of a new contract heralds the end of the club’s interest in Wilfred Zaha whilst Abou Diaby‘s appearance for the reserves yesterday will bolster the midfield until the visit of Stoke City to The Emirates on 2nd February when the masterplan’s flaw will be cruelly exposed. Unless of course Arsène is has a cunning plan to drop Diaby for that game. Everyone I know wishes Diaby a full recovery this time, everyone surely wishes that he would realise his full potential. It is fair to say that everyone wishes that Arsène would realise the folly of relying on his compatriot being able to fulful more than a bit part in the season.
His injury record hides his obvious talent. At 26, you expect a first team player to have played more than 169 times. Only once has he managed more than 30 appearances in one season; he has just about scraped into double figures in the past season and a half. I have immense sympathy for the man, his dream of becoming a professional footballer has become something of a personal nightmare. It is testament to his character that he comes back for more, year after year. I wonder if a less physically demanding league suit him better, one where the exertions required are a step down from the Premier League? The vicious circle emerges, the full fitness needed to engineer a move is denied by the physical demands placed on him when he is deemed to have reached that level.
Another string to the transfer bow is the emergence of claims that Carl Jenkinson has turned down the opportunity to move to Crystal Palace on loan for the rest of the season. The report suggest Wenger wants the full back to have more playing time. If that is true, it is hardly surprising that Jenkinson did not want to move on. Should Bacary Sagna’s performances not rapidly return to their former consistent level, the younger right back probably thinks he is a certainty for a run in the first team. It is unclear whether this is linked to Manchester United stealing a march on buying Zaha. The interest in the winger was not surprising given the media attention his performances have garnered. Although in some respects it was given the belief that the manager has put in Ryo previously. Injury has forced the youngster out of the public eye in his loan spell, as has being out of the Premier League. Is his imminent return the real reason for dropping of interest in Zaha, if there was a genuine intent to sign the player.
Some of the ‘left-field’ transfer talk this window has been in signing a goalkeeper to challenge Wojciech Szczesny, to keep the Pole on his toes and push to a higher level. I understand the need for that long term but it does not strike me as an urgent need. If this window of opportunity closes at the end of the month with Walcott’s signature and a new reserve goalkeeper, that would not strike me as strengthening the squad. Quite simply it is not urgent and unlikely to impact the short-term needs of the squad. The youngster spoke of his own determination to remain at the club. His ability to produce a cutting comment has not been quelled despite his absence from social media, Cesc getting a barb thrown in his direction. A refreshing change although such has been the recent frequency of those who have proclaimed their love for the club it is a case of “I’ll believe it when I see it“. He is a player who will always have his detractors, his brashness rubs people up the wrong way but the potential to be regarded as a goalkeeping great is there; delivery is now the next phase. We shall see.
Elsewhere Gervinho talks of the African Cup of Nations, about redemption for last season’s defeat in the tournament’s final. I am sure that Arsène is looking for the Ivorian’s redemption as well; if only he find the receipt to return him to the shop…