Ok, here’s what I think. We’re not going to sign anyone before the new season (provided nobody else leaves). Here’s why I think it.
Goalkeeper: We have Jens, Almunia, Poom, Mannone and a brand new Polish keeper whose name could well be Wojciech Szczesny. It’s hard to say we need a signing there.
Defence: Campbell has gone, Gilbert is out on loan and Cole may leave but we still have Eboue, Lauren (who is close to a return), Kolo, Senderos (who is ahead of schedule), Djourou, Cygan, Clichy, Hoyte and Traore and that’s not counting Connolly or Joe O’Cearuill who can play centrally. We’ve given a trial to Ghanian defender Shilla Illiasu and if he signs we’ve got more than enough.
Wenger wants Djourou to make the breakthrough. Signing an established centre-half will put paid to that and will see a very promising player, with World Cup experience, have to leave to get games this season. The only possibility of a defensive signing I see is a left back but with Clichy, Traore and Flamini all around it’s doubtful.
Midfield: Wenger said last night that Diaby was ahead of schedule and could be back by November. That leaves us with Gilberto, Cesc, Flamini and the hapless Alex Song. I suspect Wenger has high hopes for Diaby so any signing he makes will push him further away from the first team therefore I don’t see any signings in midfield. When Diaby comes back Song gets pushed down the pecking order, thankfully, and I think the amount of pre-season time he’s getting is to get him ready for when he has to play next season.
I’m no fan of Alex Song and I sincerely hope the other three stay as fit as possible so he doesn’t have to play but if Diaby was not injured we probably wouldn’t be looking for a signing in this area. The fact that he is is means people want this area to be strengthened but an established signing means Diaby will be singing for his supper elsewhere and I can’t see that happening.
On the wings we have Reyes, Ljungberg, Hleb and Rosicky backed up with van den Berg. Plenty of options provided Freddie can find fitness again.
Forwards: Henry, van Persie, Reyes, Adebayor, Lupoli, Aliadiere, Bendtner and of course Theo Walcott. Lots to choose from. We really don’t need a signing there at all.
So, based on what we know about the players out injured and the players in the squad right now I can’t see the manager bringing in anyone.
Now, I should point out that I hope that I’m completely and utterly wrong about this because I feel our squad needs bolstering and bolstering with experience and quality, not a bloke who did OK for a Ghana defence that looked just about professional in the World Cup. However, I just don’t think Arsene is going to bring in anyone.
There’s no question the young players are going to be better for last season. They’ll have more experience, more confidence, more ability and that’s fantastic. He didn’t blood them for nothing. That said we all agreed the balance between youth and experience was wrong last season and with Bergkamp retiring, Le Bob off to Spain and Campbell told to fuck off that problem with balance still exists despite the youngters’ exploits last time around. In midfield in particular I think we need somebody to provide competition for Gilberto and to add some grit to the centre of the team.
In the last 12 months the manager has signed 5 players though. Hleb, Rosicky, Adebayor, Diaby and Walcott for a total of around Â£22m (which could rise if Walcott ever gets a game). That’s reasonable spending by our standards and unless something special comes along I reckon that’s it. Again, I’d be happy to be as wrong as a common Myles Palmer about this for the reasons I’ve given above. Let’s hope I am!
Ok, onto today’s news. Ashley Cole arrived for training at London Colney yesterday, spent most of the time in heated dicussions with David Dein, then went home early saying he was too sick to train. A clearly irritated Arsene Wenger said afterwards:
If Ashley is going to be sold he will be informed and if he is staying he will be informed about that as well. He is still under contract and no one else will decide what he does. It is frustrating to still be talking about one player who is not with us in Austria when we have 25 who are preparing for the season.
The Times reports that Cole told Double-D he doesn’t want to play for us again and that he said goodbye to some of the backroom staff at the club. No doubt we’ll get a hastily added chapter in his book about how Arsenal fed him to lions and stabbed him in the back and insulted his loyalty and blah blah blah.
The bottom line is Cole’s behaviour is just appalling and the sooner we get this little cunt out of the club the better. At this point I’d be happy to sell him Chelsea for the extra money and the chance to abuse the little fucker twice a season.
After an 8-1 win yesterday over Schwadorf the boss revealed that Thierry Henry is unlikely to feature in the first leg of the Champions League qualifying round as he’ll be short of fitness. Jens Lehmann is suspended. The goals came from all over with van Persie and Adebayor getting two each, and Kolo, Hleb, Djourou and Bendtner the others.
Marca claims Real Madrid are still interested in JosÃ© Antonio Reyes and have made contact with his representatives. They hope to close a deal for around â‚¬20m. AS goes further and they say that David Dein told Reyes’ agent that “JosÃ© Antonio is for sale once the right offer comes in”.
There’s definitely some mileage to this story despite the hastily issued denials on Sunday. Further quotes from the player himself show this to be true.
Patrick Vieira could join Manchester United. Oh dear.
And there you go. Jolly stuff, no?