The defender situation, Arsenal Twitter + Arsecast 184

It’s been a while since I dreamt about Arsenal. Last night I was playing an indoor training match with some of the players. I say some because I’m pretty sure Zoolander wasn’t an Arsenal player (he’s rubbish, btw). Anyway, at one point I had the ball out on the touchline, Jack Wilshere came over to tackle me and I nutmegged him.

He gave me a ‘Ok, fair enough, that kind of thing can happen’, look as I plodded off with the ball. And the next time he came near me he elbowed me viciously in the face then ran off as if he’d done nothing.

I love that little guy.

Back in the real world there’s no time to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s straight back into Premier League action after Wednesday’s cup disappointment. We’ve got to put Ipswich to one side and we’ll get another chance at them in a couple of weeks time.

The early team news ahead of that game is that Denilson is a doubt with a thigh problem and beyond that nobody else, bar the usual suspects, is out. Interestingly Arsene reckons there’s some ‘good news’ about Thomas Vermaelen and that there are no long term concerns over him. Well, not beyond the months and months he’s already spent out. From what I was hearing, outside of the Daily Mail article, was that he’d be undergoing exploratory surgery to see if they could find the cause of his achilles problem.

This was worrying in the sense that this was very much last resort stuff. Get in and have a look around to see if they can find something rather than going in there to fix something specific. However, it might well be there’s better news and the surgery is not necessary. I don’t have any great hope that we’re going to see him any time soon, sadly, but if he went under the knife I think it’d be fairly safe to assume that his season was done.

As for a potential new recruit at the back the boss was asked about Matthew Upson and said:

I do not want to give any special name. The day we buy somebody we will inform people and usually we do not go where the media or some agents guide us. If we buy somebody, don’t worry, we’ll inform you.

He seemed quite tetchy saying this and considering this was the pre-match interview with Arsenal.com it’ll be interesting to see how he reacts to these kinds of questions in his press conference later today. In The Mirror John Cross reports we’re only willing to pay £500,000 for Upson. Whether that’s because he’s out of contract in the summer or because that’s what he’s actually worth is up to you to decide. What would be typical, of course, is for Upson to put in a monster of a performance tomorrow at Upton Park.

How much truth there is in the Upson stuff I just don’t know but if that’s the kind of player we’re looking at it then it’s another stop-gap kind of signing. Maybe it’s difficult to do anything else in January, with clubs unwilling to let their best players go, but it would be nice to see a statement of intent from the club by bringing in a player who can add something to our defence and do so for the medium-long term. We’ve found a Vermaelen, not saying they grow on trees or anything, but he can’t be the only one. Of course it may well  be that we’ve identified a summer target and don’t want to make a signing that would complicate that but it’s hard to tally that kind of long-term strategy with Arsenals recent activity.

To be honest, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in with our centre-halves, I don’t particularly expect the manager to go out and buy anyone. It’d be nice if we did but I just can’t see it happening. Naturally I’d be more than happy to be as wrong as wrong can be about this but that’s just the feeling I get.

He also ruled out any departures but qualified those with his ‘at the moment’ bit. Almunia and Arshavin won’t be leaving ‘at the moment’, nor will Aaron Ramsey go on loan ‘at the moment’ because of the amount of games we have, but you get the sense that’s something he could easily revisit. We might get more from his press conference later on so more on that tomorrow.

In other news Wellington has gone to the bootiful city of Valencia. He’s on loan at Levante until the end of the season and it’ll be interesting to see how he does there. They’re currently just above the relegation zone in La Liga and it’ll be an almighty scrap between now and the end of the season. Also, you’ve gotta laugh at the article talking about the loan move:

Arsenal has established a long-term strategy for identifying the best talent from around the world. This process has worked well in the past with players such as Carlos Vela.

Erm, ok then. Wellington is lucky though. Valencia is a beautiful place. He probably won’t want to come back, you know.

And finally, the manager has been talking about his players and Twitter. Ryan Babel found himself in trouble during the week for his online antics but Wenger has no plans to ban it. He says:

I don’t like to go against progress because usually it’s a lost battle but maybe we have to sit together and see how we can use this in the best possible way. The key is to think before you tweet. It’s not just about talking to friends. In the on-line world you potentially speak to more than the traditional media world.

The idea of Arsene Wenger saying ‘Think before you tweet’ amuses me to no end, I have to say. It is now impossible to ignore social media, the club now have a duty to set standards and control what it is the players say. You don’t want to make it boring and censor them but they also have to be mindful they represent the club when they do post anything. And that there are media vultures lurking for their 140 character carrion.

Even yesterday the Metro posted an ‘article’ about how Arsenal fans were ‘slamming’ Bendtner and Arshavin after the Ipswich game. The bloke just plucked some random tweets and fashioned it into a fairly risible piece of journalism, but that’s the reality of the world we live in. It’s perfectly ok to take whatever you want from online sources, re-write and publish it yourself. The same is true of what Arsenal players, or any other players, put on their Twitter or Facebook.

Personally, I’m all for it. I think, in a way, it knocks down barriers between players and fans. Sometimes we see stuff behind the barrier we’d rather not see but that’s the ying and yang of it. And if they try to stop Wojscez©® saying the stuff he does I’ll be most unimpressed.

Now, onto this week’s Arsecast and joining me to discuss the glorious week of cup football is GilbertoSilver from Gunnerblog. Internet Joe has his usual round-up and Arshavin explains all.

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. To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (22mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.

[audio:http://arseblog.com/podcasts/arsecast_episode184.mp3]

And that’s yer lot, back tomorrow with a West Ham preview. Till then.

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