So the team arrived in Germany without Cesc but with Samir Nasri, and still the futures of both players dominate proceedings.
One is clearly affecting the other. If there was no Barcelona interest in Cesc then Nasri would be gone by now. Sold. Done and dusted. There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind about that. The club would rightly refuse to lose out on the money on offer for a player who is refusing to sign a new deal. That there is interest in Barcelona for Cesc means Wenger is reluctant to lose both players in one summer, and I can understand that.
This morning in the Express it’s reported that Nasri has no intention of signing a new deal with us and still wants to leave. Which is fine. I’ve really got no problem with him wanting to leave and I believe, regardless of the Cesc situation, that we should sell him. What’s a bit hard to credit is the claim that Nasri decided not to sign a new deal because the contract offer promised to him wasn’t presented on time.
I just find it a bit tough to get my head around the new deals signed by almost every player at the club in the last 24 months yet in Nasri’s case we didn’t have our shit together? We can prioritise Eboue but forget Nasri? I don’t buy it, it’s agent spin, so for me it’s clear that he’s had his head turned by bigger money on offer elsewhere and has decided that’s what he wants. Again, I have no real issue with that, it’s a job to them, but don’t try and spoof us.
[It is] not completely [sorted that Samir will stay] but I want him to stay. He knows that. Hopefully we can sort that out in the coming weeks.
Simple solution now. Sell him. Take the money, make Arsene fight against every instinct he has and have him re-invest it. Draw a line under it. Much as we need to do with the Cesc situation. There’s ‘no movement’ with that according to Arsene. In which case we need to put some kind of a deadline on it because it can’t drag on and on and on like this. Unless Barcelona are willing to match our valuation by that date, we simply refuse to negotiate any further and get on with our season.
Probably far too simplistic I know but there’s no doubt both situations are a right mess. And a mess ultimately created by Arsene. It’s happened under his watch and while he can’t control players like robots he’s the man in charge, the man responsible. He’s got to fix it and soon.
In exactly three weeks we’ll be previewing the Newcastle game, which is followed by Champions League qualifiers, Liverpool and Manchester United. This is the most crucial August I can remember for years and it’s hard, at this point, to look forward to it with much confidence. This is why we have to be decisive and finally concentrate on the players we have (or the replacements we need to buy).
All the same, the manager says he is looking for a defender, which is something I suppose. He says:
Certainly, we will have to find one more defender. I can promise we work very hard on it. In fairness, everybody looks for players.
I don’t want to comment individually because I do not want to destabilise clubs. I do not want to do to other clubs what some clubs do to us so I wouldn’t like to comment individually on any player.
If that’s a hint that he’s looking at Jagielka, or the Cahill/Samba situations, it’s hard to know. He could just be speaking generally but at least he’s looking. His also made comments about the size of his squad, traveling to Cologne with 26 players, which could be a hint he’s not looking at making further signings, or simply a statement of fact.
If we sign another central defender one of the existing four has to go. He’s still got Bendtner and Almunia on the books. You could look at the likes of Traore and even Vela as dispensable if the right offers came along, and it should be noted the ‘massive’ squad he’s taken to Germany has a number of youth team players in it. So, basically, I’m none the wiser about any of his intentions in the transfer market but as yet we’re not ‘very active’, at least not in terms of new arrivals.
On a more positive note we get our first chance to see new boy Gervinho today. Arsene is hoping he’ll settle in:
He looks to me like he has adjusted very quickly. Let’s hope it goes quickly for him. You never know, some players take six months and some players take two weeks.
I would have thought he’d need to see him play some proper football to make any assessment of how he’s settled in, but I suppose as he sees them every day in training and stuff he’d have a better idea than any of us. And he’s suggested that Walcott and Arshavin need to be on their toes with the new boy around:
He is a positive threat to everybody up front. He is an addition to the Arsenal squad of top quality. Players like Walcott or Arshavin can see that more as a help because they know in some games you need variety. Up front is the most demanding position where you need to be fresh.
Let’s hope he can make an impact as quickly as the manager thinks. And from what he says in that article he’s looking at Miyaichi and Afobe as youngster who can put pressure on the more established players as the season goes on. I’m unsure about the work permit issue but it’s interesting to note that Miyaichi is listed in the first team squad on the official site.
And beyond that there’s not much to tell you. Kick off this afternoon is 2.30 and the game should be a level above that of the Asian tour, although still very much part of the fitness/sharpness training.