So Alexander Hleb has been speaking about the stories linking him with a move away from Arsenal.
He’s been gushing in his praise of Arsene Wenger, calling him the best manager he’s ever had, he says he’s disappointed not to have won anything with Arsenal and that stories suggesting he wants to go because of that are false, and that that club means a lot to him.
His words are carefully chosen though. When he denies ever saying he wants to leave he’s quite correct. We’ve had almost total silence from Hleb since these stories emerged. It has been his representatives who have been doing all the talking.
So while Hleb can certainly deny saying he wants to leave Arsenal it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to. He makes no assertion that he wants to stay, the only thing he says is that if he were to leave it would not to be another English club – which is exactly what Ashley Cole said. I wonder if the fact that Mourinho is set to take over at Inter has sparked a bit of a rethink from Hleb. I don’t see Hleb as a Mourinho player and I’m not sure Hleb would enjoy Mourinho as a manager. So what was almost a certain deal is now doubtful.
The interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid is there but these clubs declare interest in almost every player in existence during the course of a summer. He who is flavour of the week (mint-chocolate, perhaps?) can find himself off the menu the next. My own opinion is that Hleb still wants to leave Arsenal but he’s playing politics a bit in case it doesn’t happen.
The Telegraph says we’ve signed some bloke called Samir Nasri for £12.5m. Does anyone know anything about this guy? I mean, wow, this one has come right out of left field.
Meanwhile Robin van Persie says Arsenal need to pay better wages to keep the top players at the club. Rather injudicious comments from a man who has hardly provided value for money since his arrival at the club. I really like van Persie, I think he’s an excellent player, but when you’ve completed a full season, injury free, and earned the big, big money you’re earning then you can say something about this, Robin.
His comments are made rather more foolish when you look at the books and see that our wage bill is more or less the same as United’s and I think the bit about players earning three or four times more has to be put in context. No doubt he’s referring to Mathieu Flamini who was on a relatively low wage since his arrival and his Milan deal will have increased his wages by that much. On the other hand a Rosicky or Hleb going somewhere to earn four times his current wage which instantly become one of the best paid players on the planet. Silly stuff – A Cultured Left Foot has a nice take on it too.
The Guardian reports that we’ve been knocked back by Cardiff after a £5m bid for wonderkid Aaron Ramsey. The Welsh club are looking for more cash up front and we’ve offered a deal based on his appearances and achievements. They say we’ll go back and offer more, we’ll wait and see.
Right, that’s your lot. Perhaps we’ll get official confirmation of this Nasri fella, whoever he is, later on.