Happy Friday to you all.
The week of FA Cup basking is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to bask if you feel like it. Especially as it’s the weekend and some lying around smiling to yourself as you replay that goal from the Welsh Jesus again. And again. And again.
I managed to get the whole thing downloaded (in 1080p HD an’ all), but really haven’t had time to look at it properly since I got back to Dublin. I think, at some point (when book mountain dwindles), I’m going to sit down and watch it all again, from pitiful start to glorious finish, over a few beers or glasses of wine.
No nerves, no sweating this time because I know how it turns out and when it turns out. And I might text some random people to say ‘We won the cup’, and then I’ll hug the dog who won’t mind at all because he loves hugs, especially FA Cup winning ones.
At some point the glow will fade, I know that, but I’m determined to keep it going just a little bit longer. When you look at what else we have to deal with between now and the start of next season, with transfer speculation and the rest of it, it seems sensible to stay grounded in some kind of delicious FA Cup Winners 2014 reality.
As you might expect there’s not a lot going on this morning. A few more stories emerged yesterday about Bacary Sagna going to Man City and if that’s the case, then so be it. The man played his heart out for us for seven years, never gave less than 100% and was with us through the one of most difficult and frustrating periods. He didn’t agitate like a van Persie or a Nasri, he stuck with us, and now that his contract is done he’s perfectly entitled to go where he likes.
Would I have preferred if he’d gone abroad? Sure, but it doesn’t taint anything he’s done in red and white for me. When Man City can pay a 31 year-old £100,000 a week for three years and pay him a substantial signing on fee which would essentially bump his weekly pay to the £140,000+ mark, then I’d suggest that’s hard to resist. And while I’m sure the money on offer has played a part in his decision making – because what Arsenal were offering wasn’t too far away from the City package really (and certainly an awful lot of money by any standards) – he’s also going to join the Premier League champions.
Whether he plays as much as he’d like with Zabaleta in front of him, who knows? Frankly, I don’t care. Maybe they have plans we don’t know about. The bottom line for me though is that as much as I wanted him to stay, when a player gets to 31 you’re going to have to replace him sooner or later. And by that I mean sooner.
His departure should come as no surprise to the manager or anyone at the club. I was told way back before Christmas that he was nailed on to go, so there’s no reason at all why we should be caught on the hop by this one. A decision should have been made by now. If we’re going to replace him via the transfer market, then that deal ought to be as close to done as possible at this point. If it’s an ‘internal solution’, then we’ve got Jenkinson and Bellerin who would vie for that position.
Personally, I think we’ll make a signing. While there have been a couple of less than successful captures in the manager’s tenure, he has brought us two of the best right-backs in the club’s history in Sagna and Lauren, so let’s hope he can replicate that and not Ebouefy it.
There’s also a gansey-load of Cesc talk and while I’d take him back in a heartbeat I just don’t really understand why Barcelona would let him go. With Xavi not getting any younger, and Alex Song just an injury away from being a first team regular, the idea of letting a player of his quality go makes no sense to me.
Still, if they want to do it, I think we should bite their hands off. ‘Where would we fit him in?’, people ask. How about we cross that most interesting of bridges when we come to it. I mean, it’s not as if we have loads of players who get injured all the time whose absences cost us dearly so having super-quality across the squad would help us cope with that, or anything.
Plus he could get the band back together with Rosicky and Flamini and Hleb could be his butler. I still think it’s fanciful, but then isn’t most of it?
Right, time for this week’s Arsecast and it is the final Arsecast of this 2013-14 season. The ‘cast packing its bags and heading off the beach (although looking out the window here this morning it would want to pack its galoshes and bring a warm jumper as this has been, so far, a very Irish summer. Boooo!).
Anyway, I’m joined by Goonerholic, Tim from Arse2Mouse, the Man from East Lower and Andrew Allen to look back on winning the FA Cup, what it all means, what might happen this summer, as well as the season as a whole picking out some of our favourite bits for your aural delectation. It’s over an hour long so extra value this week.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly click here – 46mb MP3.
The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.
Remember though, that your Arsenal podcast needs will be taken care of as Gunnerblog and I will continue the Arsecast Extra throughout the summer.
Now, a day of packing and posting ahead. Till tomorrow.