Well, it’s mostly transfer related stuff this morning. Once again we’ve got the Thierry Henry to Barcelona stories doing the rounds on the back of a couple of highly speculative articles in the Spanish press. I wrote a bit about it on the columns section yesterday and to be honest it’s just more of the same tripe as previously.
After a season in which we’ve missed Henry and his goals badly there’s no chance of us selling him this time around. Some of the stuff they say in the El Mundo article is quite obviously fiction but it’s the usual tactic from the press and from Barcelona using the press and quite frankly Joan Laporta talks more bollocks than anyone in the entire world. He goes around the place telling people he invented the internet and that he was married to Angelina Jolie, amongst other things. I’ll point you to the quotes from Henry at the bottom and leave it at that.
Of course Arsene could decide that the time is right to sell Henry in the same way he did with Patrick Vieira but he can’t do that without replacing him properly in a way he didn’t when Vieira left. That left a massive gap in our midfield that we’re really only coming to terms with this season. If you sell a striker that can get you 25-30 goals a season then youÂ have to replace him with similar, especially when the rest of your team is so craven in front of goal. I just can’t see it happening as that kind of striker costs the kind of money we don’t have.
The other main news is that the rest of the press have caught up with Arseblog (heh) and announced that we’ll be signing Lukasz Fabianski. The player had a medical, a fee was agreed, a deal was struck, his agent was dealt with and all without an orange man in sight. At 22 years of age he’s the sort of goalkeeping signing many people have been looking for. Somebody who, if all goes well, can make the number one jersey his own for years without speculation each summer about whether he’s too old to continue. I suspect this means the end for Manuel Almunia who, it’s rumoured, has been offered deals with Spanish clubs to be their top guy.
I don’t know a great deal more about Fabianski other than he’s made 4 international appearances for Poland and has won the Polish league with Legia Warsaw. I have asked my Polish scouts, who bring you Polish news before anyone else, if they can fill me in a bit. I’ll update here if they get back to me today. A fee of around Â£2m has been mentioned.
Another man we’ve missed badly this season is Robin van Persie. He’s been talking about his time out injured and he’s looking forward to next season already, saying:
What I really miss is the atmosphere in the stadium. I think the fans and me have a connection and that is a great feeling. I want that feeling back, to celebrate a goal with the fans again. I cannot wait for that, it is my aim now.
If he can stay injury free then I think we’ve got a player of real potential on our hands. Hopefully he’s just been unlucky with injuries and it’s not a mild case of Aliadieretis.
Arsene Wenger talks about his future and has come to the inescapable conclusion that within 10 years he’ll be 67. It’s hard to argue with him. What is easier to argue with is his contention that that winning the league next season doesn’t depend on new signings. There isn’t a person who watches Arsenal who won’t tell you that this squad needs freshening up and improvement in some places. As well as that there are players who will leave this summer. Reyes (if we can find anyone to buy him), Baptista, Flamini, Aliadiere, Almunia and possibly Freddie Ljungberg. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Gallas go. Those players need to be replaced and some of the problems we have in our team need to be addressed in the transfer market. We’ve spoken at length about what they are so there’s no need to go over old ground at this stage. I know he says this kind of thing every summer but there is a big gap between us and the top 2 that will not close unless we bring in new players. I realise we’ve got players coming back but those players won’t be enough. If he doesn’t buy well this summer and we ‘suffer’ another average season it could be a case of him falling on his own sword and I’d hate that to happen.
One area in which a signing might go a long way is the appointment of a new defensive coach. In one of the previous Arsecasts Amy Lawrence indicated that she thought this was an area that could do with some fresh blood and many of our problems this season have stemmed from the fact we’re completely unreliable at the back – even with Wenger’s so-called best back 4. We look like we can concede at any time and we often too. If this area can be improved it means 1-1s can become 1-0s or better, especially as we’ve often conceded first and ended up chasing a game against a team willing to sit back with 10 or 11 men behind the ball.
I can’t quite figure it out but no doubt some statto can show how many times we conceded first (even just at home) and how much our league position would have improved if we’d managed to take three points from those games.
Steve Coppell fancies Fabrice Muamba to replace Steve Sidwell who appears to be on his way to Chelsea. I’ve always thought Sidwell was a decent player but not a player for a top 4 club, the way he had rings run around by Cesc when we played Reading on both occasions this season was evidence of that, I thought.
And that’s about that. More tomorrow and an Arsecast.