Christmas eve round-up

Good morning to you. I hope you’re all set for tomorrow, dinner wrapped, presents cooked, and all that.

The action continues though and as we prepare for our festive football fare the manager is mulling (eh? EH?!) over some possible recruitments as our squad, already quite stretched, gets set to lose a couple more players. Up front we know we need someone to share the burden with Robin van Awesome and the boss is thinking about a possible return for Thierry Henry. At his press conference yesterday he said:

I have to think about that. Short-term is ideal for us, but I haven’t made any enquiry yet. Thierry is not here at the moment. It has never come up in conversation!

The first of January is the vital date for us. We have seven days to make decisions and I will make a decision in the next seven days on players.

Frankly the idea that it hasn’t come up in conversation seems rather far-fetched to me but I guess there’s much to think about when it comes to forward recruitment. It may well be that the player he really wants won’t be available until the summer and clubs are often reluctant to let their best players go mid-season. Then again, when Arsene had all summer to buy a striker – and with lots of money at his disposal – the best he could come up with was Park, South Korea’s invisible man.

Henry’s return would be short-term with the MLS kicking off again in Feb/March and whether or not Arsene is looking elsewhere I just don’t know. I also don’t know if Thierry is still up to the standard of the Premier League. Arsene will have been looking at him during training over the last few weeks I’m sure and I guess he’ll make a decision based on that. It’s curious though, we used to say about the manager that he never went back, but in recent seasons Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann have made cameos of varying effectiveness, so it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he did the same with Henry. Let’s see.

Meanwhile, there’s the left back issue. Kieran Gibbs is out for another 4 weeks, at least, after further hernia surgery and again the manager is looking short-term, which is completely understandable. He says:

It can only be a short-term solution for us because we have bought Santos, we have Gibbs, we have Vermaelen who can play there, so we do not need a long-term solution. If you have to sign a player for three or four years and then you have three or four left backs, only one can play, so they are not happy.

Frustrating as it is to have players injured you can’t just write them off because of that. We spent a decent chunk of money, by our standards, for Santos in the summer. And he looked as if he was really getting to grips with the game in England when he had that unfortunate ankle twist. Signing a new player would obviously have a big impact on him, and Gibbs, and leave us with a super-abundance of left-backs once everyone was fit again.

I’m all for competition for places and all that but we have to be realistic in how we deal with this issue. A loan signing is clearly the obvious choice and while the manager said he hadn’t made any enquiry for Wayne Bridge (phew) he also said he hadn’t made an equiry for anyone. Which means it could be someone else or Wayne Bridge but I don’t think it’ll Wayne Bridge because, frankly, he’s shitter than Mr Hanky.

Who else is out there or available in January is beyond me but then I don’t have a network of scouts, nor do I have agents bombarding me with info about their clients, so I guess Arsene is best placed to decide who should fill the gap. And as I said the other day, the solution may be to bring in a right back on a temporary basis and kep Vermaelen out left so that could increase our options. Again, we’ll see.

In other news The Sun says that Francis Coquelin is in talks over a new deal. Good news if true, I like the look of him as a player and I think he would have been a better option in midfield than Frimpong against Villa. The fact we had to use him at right back meant that didn’t happen but fingers crossed he does sign on because he looks best placed to step into that defensive role in Song’s absence.

Beyond that not a great deal going on this morning so I’ll just take the time to wish you all a very happy Christmas, thanks for all your readership/listenership and I hope you have a most pleasant time. And if you’re lucky enough to get one of those fancy eBook devices from Satan tomorrow, you can pick up the digital edition of So Paddy Got Up.

It’s available from KindleiTunes and Kobo. And for those who are awaiting the reprint of the physical book, it’ll be available from early January. I’ll post more details as soon as I have them.

Right, that’s it. Not quite time for a Christmas pint. But close enough. Cheers!