07.31 – So it’s farewell to Gio as our Dutch midfielder joins Barcelona on loan for the season.
They’ve been on the look out for a left back all summer, and were linked to Silvinho at one stage (they couldn’t sign him due to his non-EU status …*cough*…). Gio never really made an impact at Arsenal. He did suffer a cruciate ligament injury at a time when he was beginning to make a few regular appearances, but after that it was always going to be a struggle. Obviously his best position is central midfield, and he didn’t really do himself justice covering for Ashley Cole last season. He was never going to play in central midfield ahead of Paddy, Gilberto, Edu or even Ray Parlour so a move is probably in everyone’s best interests.
Gio said “I’ve really enjoyed the last two years at Arsenal, me and my family feel very settled here. But what I need now is to play matches.”
Still, there are worse places to go on loan than Barcelona. Just ask Jermaine Pennant. Gio’s goal against Leicester in the double season was invaluable and although it looks like we’re going to take a big hit on his reported £8.5m transfer fee, we wish him all the best at Camp Nou. Except if he plays against us.
Young defender Liam Chilvers has gone for his second loan spell at Colchester United.
Nigel Winterburn as new West Ham boss? Sounds unlikely, but according to the Independent, one leading bookmaker has suspended betting on the post and has cut Nutty’s odds from 33-1 to 7-2. Interesting.
AW is looking for more defensive stability this season. Speaking ahead of tonight’s game against Aston Villa he said “Our 42 goals conceded last season were, first of all, the reason we lost the league and so we must improve that without losing our offensive power. We can compensate a lot by defending better as a team.”
The boss seems set to field an unchanged line-up, which means Kolo Toure will again start ahead of Martin Keown and so far he’s impressed at the back, albeit against fairly tepid opposition. According to AW “It’s a little bit early to say whether he will make it or not, but the first signs are very positive. We will know more in October. Frankly, I didn’t originally think he would be a centre-back. I tried him in central defence in pre-season training and then in the Community Shield as I wanted to try something different.”
More from Sporting Life. Now that the new season has started, it’s worth reminding you of a couple of places you might have forgotten about over the summer. Danger Here is always funny, and if you’re into Spanish football then Sid Lowe’s Guardian pieces are worth a read.
Right, just a day of work, then an evening by the wireless to listen to Arsenal v Villa.
Come ooooooooooon you gooooooooooners.