Sunday round-up

Morning, a quick Sunday round-up for you.

Johan Djourou spoke yesterday about how Arsenal, as a team, need to be more aggressive in light of our defensive record, the official description of which is ‘utterly poxy’. He says:

I think sometimes we are missing a bit of aggression. It is not that we are not good enough, because the team is good enough. We have top players at the back, top players all over the pitch. It is just that we have to be stronger as a unit.

The aggression bit I agree with completely. We’re a bit anemic at times, too content to sit on our holes and complain about physical play rather than do anything to combat it. And the stronger as a unit bit, absolutely spot on. The good enough part though, well, that’s open to question. Still, Djourou, a bit like Theo Walcott and the World Cup, came through last season with his reputation enhanced simply by not playing. He wasn’t bashed around by the usual suspects so we’ve got some hope that he’ll get stuck in this season.

And with new hobbit boy Laurent Koscielny saying he likes the physical side of the game perhaps it augurs well. Nevertheless I’m beginning to get a bit anxious that we haven’t yet sorted out our defence and showed the kind of ambition in the transfer market that we’re capable of from a financial point of view.

The transfer business is illustrated rather brilliantly by the Daily Mail saying we’re going to go back to Everton with a £15m bid for Jagielka, the People reports Everton won’t even discuss the idea of a transfer with us, which is entirely their right and one we ought to respect if true.

As Fulham’s search for a new manager makes any deal for Mark Schwarzer more complicated, Russian number 1 Igor Akifeev says he’d be into it if Arsenal asked his friend to ask him out. He says:

I have spoken with Arshavin about Arsenal and ­London life. He has only had good things to say about the club and the city. He said some very nice things about me going on to be the best goalkeeper in the world – and that he would like me to reach that goal at Arsenal with him. They are a great club with a great manager.

Now, to my mind this is the kind of keeper we ought to be looking at. Young, talented, good, not shit, and with the greatest respect to Schwarzer, and fully accepting he’s better than anything we have at present, a player for the future of Arsenal. Not just a short term solution. Otherwise we face the same issue over and over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d take Schwarzer over no-one, but he’s not exactly the kind of signing that would have you leppin’ about the place in joy. That said, there are exactly three weeks before we kick off the new season against Liverpool, plenty of time to get things done.

The Sunday Mirror says Arsene and Cesc are set for ‘showdown’ talks next week. Nothing much in there we don’t already know or haven’t heard a bazillion times before. So I prefer to think of Arsene and Cesc having hoedown talks, dancing like loons while a toothless redneck goes crazy on his fiddle. Now that’d be something worth reporting.

I’ve had a quick look around the Spanish press and they’re suggesting Arsene is softening to the idea of letting Cesc go, Barcelona will pay him €7m in his first season, he’ll be made King of Catalunya by the end of 2013 and he’s just bought a palace with rose petals for carpet. The usual shite, you know yourself. What’s clear is that despite Arsene saying talk about a potential move should stop, Barcelona continue their multi-pronged campaign to sign Cesc and it remains an unwanted and destabalising influence on our pre-season efforts.

Beyond that not a lot happening, have yourselves a nicely chilled-out Sunday. Until tomorrow.


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