It seems that the order of the day is to create speculation with the good players in the squad being reported targets for all of the supposedly bigger clubs in Europe/ We have had weeks of such stories and now even Philippe Senderos is the subject of one. Except that the whole point of the piece is to create more uncertainty and give the impression of a club in turmoil. Still, it must be nice for the lad, boosting his confidence knowing that somebody is thinking of him, even if it is in a negative way.
The one thing about the speculation that the club always used to be firm about is they never responded. Well, it was until the Reyes fiasco a couple of years back since when someone from within the stadium walls has commented. Arsene has told everyone that Internazionale have not contacted him about the player. Presumably this is in much the same way that Juventus have not contacted him about Mathieu Flamini. Of course, Arsene is trying to quell the speculation (or maybe even flush it out) but the one certainty is that whatever his motivation is, the story will remain on the back pages instead of being allowed to fade away.
He went onto threaten to report the Italians to the relevant authorities,
I find all the talk about the players completely disrespectful. When it comes directly from the club, enough is enough, we shall report them directly to FIFA from now on
I vaguely (well, no, definitely) remember him saying the same about Real over Vieira and Reyes which suggests this might be him letting off steam. He is right; it is disrespectful but unless the club are genuinely prepared to report Inter then to be honest, he should not even mention it because it does make him look rather foolish to make empty threats. Arsene was a tad disingenuous when comparing his M.O. to that of Inter for in denying talking about players, he has spoken in the recent past about David Villa and Micah Richards (Babel last summer as well). Whilst it is less direct and more a general admiration, the responses have been to questions about transfer speculation.
William Gallas has responded to the criticism of his captaincy,
They can say whatever they want. They won’t kill me, I am stronger than this
Which ought to make yesterday’s training session interesting as Kolo Toure openly criticising his captain,
Gallas was really good for us at the start of the season but then after this Birmingham game he made a mistake, he knows that and we all tried to bring him back to the team and he came back well. When you make a mistake it is difficult after that, it was a really important part of our season
The comments are unusual for Toure in that I do not recall reading any comments attributed to him that were publicly critical of a colleague before. Still, politics is politics whatever the work environment and Kolo did not miss a beat when he said,
I would be really, really proud to be captain. I am now one of the oldest players in the squad so naturally I feel like a captain and it doesn’t matter if I have the armband or not. It is a decision for the manager and he is the only one who can make it
Life would be dull if everyone got along all of the time but it is indicative of the problem that Arsene faces with Gallas; the team needed a leader and did not necessarily get one during its rough spell. That is not to say that Gallas is solely responsible for the slump but his inability to raise the spirits was reminiscent of Henry’s captaincy. It seems to me that if one has not taken place already, the squad need to have a clear the air where they tell him what is expected and he does likewise to them otherwise it is hard to see him continuing in the role.