Busy times at Highbury House, with all these contract negotiations ongoing. It’s just as well Huss Fahmy is in charge of those talks; all his experience at Team Sky is useful with the back-peddling going on over Jack Wilshere’s contract.
Only for the club to sell him in the summer, of course.
Which is the way we need to do business if that’s the plan? I mentioned the Monaco/Porto model the other day and Wilshere would be a prime example of how that could work better for us.
However, I’d guess the new boss sanctioned his retention, fully aware that our transfer budget is too low to solve the major weaknesses in our squad. Keeping Wilshire staves off one of the problems for another twelve months.
Which almost segues seamlessly into Santi Cazorla’s future. He wants to play for the first-team before the end of the season and after his trials of the past few years, it’s a welcome sight to see him jogging around the Emirates turf.
From memory, Santi’s contract runs out this summer and the decision is weighing up the cost of his wages against that money being freed up for another player. With the attitude toward Wilshere’s contract, it’s almost unthinkable that any new deal for Santi won’t run along the same lines.
It’s a tough call. The grin is only just returning to his face after a bleak time; would you want to wipe it away again? It would be the same gut-wrenching feeling as realising you’d shot Bambi’s mother; you knew what you were doing but the guilt would devour your soul.
I Don’t See Any Method at All, Sir
As you can guess, I’m almost avoiding talking about the Atletico Madrid match. Not because I think it will bring a jinx to bear on the result – I wish I were that confident we will dig that performance out. In any case, I don’t need to worry about jinxes. We’ve got the Chuckle Brothers in the centre of defence; I’m more worried about them.
No, thinking about Thursday night sends me off into a moment’s reverie. Sepia-tinged memories of Paul Vaessen scoring in Turin or Thierry’s virtuoso effort flood through, and for a moment I think we can do the same in the Wanda Metropolitano.
We ought to be able to but I’d then be worried about the final itself, thinking we used all our luck up in reaching Lyon. It would be nice to have that worry, I must admit. I’d quite like to have that worry.
There’s no reason why we can’t do it. Every team has those performances in them, even one as hit-and-miss as this lot. What it will need for everyone to turn up and be focused. No kicking the ball into your face when row Z beckons; no drifting out to the wings to find space only to watch helplessly as the ball spends more time on the other flank. None of the rank stupidity which sees us in the worst away form for more than half a century.
In short, probably the best performance of the season. The late equaliser conceded means it’s now a one-off cup-tie for us. We need to approach it with the same mentality as if it were an FA Cup semi-final or final against much better teams. We managed that at Wembley last season, we need the same in Madrid.
Terminate…with Extreme Prejudice.
Will it happen? I wouldn’t bet on it – another jinx, you see – because I don’t believe it will happen. I hope it will, but I don’t believe it.
For every Milan, there are the first 70 minutes in Moscow. And we don’t have a habit of turning ties around in the second leg either. This is where we capitulate normally; let’s hope the squad hasn’t read that script.
Finally, you’ve seen the photos of what is being claimed as the ‘official’ kit next season. Normally, such things don’t vex me but…I hope this a joke. A wind-up. Something from the casual range. It probably is; not even the clowns running the club now are this daft, surely?
It looks like a t-shirt, doesn’t it? It is a t-shirt. Isn’t it?