Welcome to Sunday folks and a very quick Sunday round-up.
Most of the news this morning comes from the Sunday Mirror who lead with an exclusive about Jack Wilshere. They say that he’s going to miss the start of the season and won’t be available until mid-September. Frankly, I don’t know why anyone would be surprised at this.
When you consider the fact he had surgery in late May, with the surgeon himself saying the ‘typical’ recovery period was 2-3 months bringing us to late August, you then have to take into account that his last competitive game of football was on June 4th 2011, playing for England. If he were fit as a fiddle going into that surgery even then it would be optimistic to expect him to go straight back into games after the minimum recovery time.
He’s obviously doing a lot of gym work and conditioning as part of his rehab, but in order to get properly fit he’ll need more time. And after such a long spell out of the game the last thing we want to do, or should do, is rush him back. It’s important that his return is meticulously planned and only occurs when he’s 100% ready. We know far too well how prevalent little niggles are when a player has been out for such an extended period so any risk has to be avoided as much as possible.
As I mentioned the other day, it doesn’t help much when the Redknapps are rather injudiciously building up Jack as England’s Pirlo, thus heaping pressure and expectation on him that he really doesn’t need at this point. He’s a young man who lives for football and he hasn’t kicked a ball in over a year. He needs to get fit again and get playing for Arsenal again before halfwits who can barely speak English start championing him as the saviour of the national team.
And while we, as Arsenal fans, dearly want to see him in red and white again, we know well enough that for him to be that man for England he’s got to be that man for us first. Let’s not weigh him down with unnecessary time-frames, when he’s fit, he’s fit, and when he’s fit, he’ll play. And we can take it from there.
Of course there are implications for us and the manager as we prepare for a new season. A fit Jack Wilshere would be a fixture in this team now, one of the first names on the team-sheet, but we also have to deal with the fact that it could take Jack some time to find his form when he does start playing again. It’s an uncomfortable parallel, I know, but Aaron Ramsey’s first full season back after his injury problem (and let’s not ignore the fact he was out for less time than Wilshere will be), saw him struggle for consistency and form. Whether that’s a quality issue or not is up for debate but it’s not the main point.
Will Jack make up for lost time and pick up where he left off or will it take him weeks or months to get to grips with the pace and intensity of Premier League football again? It’s worth remembering too that his first full season with us was a success but you’d have to be looking through extremely rose-tinted glasses to suggest he was even close to being the finished article. How could he be? His first season was meant to be educational, playing in a deeper-lying, more defensive role than his natural position. He did well but the manager would have hoped that last season would have been developmental too, and while he won’t be back to square one, he’s got a lot to do. It’d foolish to think his return would solve all our midfield problems and we may have to ‘carry’ him a bit along the way. Such is the reality of football.
If this all means Arsene is looking to bring in someone new in midfield, I genuinely don’t know. I don’t think anyone does. Again in the Mirror, a story about how we’ve pulled out of a deal for Yann M’Vila because of his behavioural issues. I don’t think that’s anything new and I think it’s based on information journalist Matt Spiro tweeted during the week. On the one hand you wouldn’t blame Arsene if he was keen to avoid another French player with a suspect temperament, on the other you have to take every piece of transfer news with a pinch of salt.
I think midfield needs at least one addition this summer, M’Vila is the go to guy, the player who everyone has their sights on, but perhaps has become a bit mythical. He’s not the only defensive midfielder out there and if that’s an area we’re looking to strengthen then I’d be more than happy. If it’s M’Vila, fine, if it’s someone else, also fine. Putting all eggs in one basket generally leads to disappointment, but what’s becoming more and more clear is the fact that this signing was never as close as some people would have you believe. Unless it’s some classic brinksmanship by Arsenal to keep this one as under the radar as possible, but it might well be that we’re just not that keen.
Finally for today, stupidest transfer story of the day goes to the Express who link Theo Walcott with Sp*rs. While there’s definitely some worry over his future as long as he continues to delay on a new deal, there’s about as much chance of him going there as there is of me inviting John Terry over for dinner and his dinner to be cyanide free.
Euro 2012 final tonight, Italy v Spain. While I’m hoping for a classic I’m expecting a terrible, awful game so hopefully I’ll be surprised. Like when you watch a film you don’t really want to watch but it turns out better than you think.