and welcome to purple Thursday. No doubt many people will have an opinion about our new away kit. I’ve given up and accepted that there’s somebody inside Nike having a huge laugh at this.
“Purple. Haha. They went for it. That’s $5 you owe me, Dirk.”
Kudos to the club for the ‘Purple Reign’ bit (I do like a good pun) but apart from that it doesn’t look much like any Arsenal kit I’ve ever seen before or hope to see again. Purple. I ask you. As for poor Wojciech, he looks like a lanky highlighter pen crossed with a Dynorod man.
Anyway, onto matters more pressing and … well … it’s gone very quiet despite the players being back in training. Reports that Robin van Persie was back from holiday and going to talk to the club without his agent appear wide of the mark as he’s either still away, or gone on another holiday. He’s in Ibiza. We know this thanks to Ruud Gullit’s Twitter account. One of those moments I feel where life itself has jumped the shark. Still, Robin looks like he’s having a good time and that’s all that counts.
Earlier, Gilles Grimandi had a bit to say about his situation:
We want him to stay but he is left with one year contract so it’s complicated. Was the recruitment of Olivier Giroud made to compensate for his departure? Yes, we work to avoid being cornered. But we do everything to keep him [Van Persie] and we want him to stay.
If there’s a great offer and if he wants to leave, it will be difficult to keep him.
The writing, if we didn’t know already, is well and truly on the wall. Signing Giroud early is a sign that we won’t let a summer saga drag us down, like last summer, but also a sign that there’s a willingness on our part to let him go. From everything I hear he’s pushing hard for a move to Man City, that’s where he wants to go. It doesn’t preclude him going elsewhere, I suppose, but if the club do put their foot down and refuse to buckle under the Middle Eastlands pressure (and that coming from van Persie’s side of things), then it might well get a bit ugly.
As I’ve said before, we owe him nothing, he deserves no favour or special treatment to find his new club, so the next few weeks could be very interesting indeed. And while I think City is his likely destination, I would dearly love it if we made it as difficult as possible for him to go there. Not out of any real spite towards him, nor due to the contempt I have for City (already at maximum), but because it’d be Arsenal showing some backbone which I think is long overdue.
Theo Walcott’s situation is ongoing too. According to his agent he’s on holidays at the beach somewhere and although he told me yesterday there are no deadlines or time-frames involved, the plan has always been to sit down and talk to the club after the Euros. He refused to be drawn on whether or not they had turned down offers of a new deal from the club, citing this weird thing called ‘confidentiality’, but there was no suggestion that signing was a priority for him or anything like that.
I could be wrong – I often am – but the longer this goes on the more pessimistic I would be about him signing a new deal. Much will depend on what his options are, of course. I think there will be more clubs willing to make a bid for him with one year left on his contract than if he had two or three, but he’s also looking for a substantial pay increase, which might narrow things down a bit too. A situation to keep a close eye on.
The Great Forward Clear-Out 2012©® continues with Carlos Vela being on the point of signing for Real Sociedad. This has been going on for weeks and weeks now despite Sociedad’s clear desire to get a deal done as quickly as possible. Perhaps it’s because Vela’s loan spell last season was a real success (no pun) and he’s the one deal from which we can generate real transfer funds, but it looks like €4m + a load of add-ons and sell-on fees which are probably what’s taking so long to get things finished.
There appears to be little interest in Marouane Chamakh or Ju Young Park (which isn’t much of a surprise, really), Andrei Arshavin is interesting Zenit again according to reports in the Russian press, while there’s still no deal been done for The Greatest Striker That Ever Lived. It’s hard to know if that’s because we haven’t had any offers or if we have had difficulties dealing with offers. I was reminded this morning of information from last summer when more than 6 Premier League clubs apparently bid for Bendtner, but it took us so long to deal with them the Sunderland loan was the last option we had left. There is still much shifting to be done.
Finally, after I expressed my reservations regarding Kyle Bartley yesterday, he’s only gone and been promoted to the first team squad for the upcoming season. He has declared himself ‘over the moon’ and who can blame him? He’s got a lot to do to show he’s got what it takes, the Carling Cup seems the most likely opportunity for him, but the way we pick up injuries he’s got to be prepared for the more important stuff too.
Beyond that not much to tell you, let’s hope for some real news at some point today. Any old thing will do. Till tomorrow.