The usual transfer speculation over the weekend which is nothing much in particular. According to the News Of The World, Piotr Trochowski will be the ‘second major signing of the summer’ which is pretty incredible since the first one has not yet been formally announced – a Rolf Harris moment, I suppose, ‘can you guess who it is yet?’ – but Trochowski is a defensive midfielder in the Flamini role at Hamburg and a typical Arsene signing at £5m with a hint of ‘yah boo sucks’ to Sepp Blatter at the same time. According to the same paper, Aaron Ramsey’s preferred destination from Cardiff’s point of view is Old Trafford because United will loan him back for another season to the Welsh club. The fee is going to be £5m again, a sum that the press had Cardiff rejecting early last week. And Samir Nasri is not joining just yet because of increasing wage demands. Speculation is that the murky hand of his agent is behind it. Presumably, if he has a good Euro2008, he will want more. So therefore it is logical to assume that a poor performance will lead to an increased wage demand. If Arsene is happy to wait then so be it but one would hope that his back-up plan is being worked upon because Nasri is leading them a merry dance and it has all the hallmarks of a ‘thanks but no thanks’ written over it.
According to The People, Arsene’s close friendship with the new chairman of PSG means that in 2011 when his current managerial contract expires, he will be joining the Parisian club’s Board of Directors. It makes a pleasant change for his future not to be speculated upon – it must be the first summer in about half a decade that this has not been the case – and to be honest, 2011 is so far off, it is hard to give any credence to the story. Which I would not have done in any case given the source. But The Sunday Telegraph did give it credence – a worrying trend for The Telegraph is that they are becoming more frenzied than the tabloids in their pursuit of the lead story in anything football-related.
Other than that, Euro2008 looms large on the horizon. From an Arsenal perspective, the continuing struggle for fitness of Robin van Persie is the questionable aspect of the tournament. The Dutchman ought not to be going if he is struggling with a thigh injury but that will probably not stop his inclusion in the line-ups of Marco van Basten as some point. There is a long history of players worsening injuries at these tournaments and this situation merely exacerbates the continued antagonism between club and country. It is a forlorn hope but a ruling that players such as van Persie who have suffered badly at the hands of injury during the preceding season should not be allowed to participate in the summer tournaments would go a long way to resolving a central plank to the conflict. Quiet times ahead for the next few weeks…