Good morning from Dublin where the sky is grey and it is teeming down with rain. That really straight falling rain too, the one that makes you extra wet.
Miserable as it might be though, if you were playing football today it’d be a great day for the sliding tackle. There really is nothing like a good sliding tackle. In the Astro league I play in of a Tuesday there’s no sliding allowed. Immediate free kick to the opposition if you do, but dammit if there were a game today, and even though there’d be none of the splashy, muddy goodness you get on a regular bockety old park pitch, I’d be sorely tempted to launch myself at some random forward.
Probably the ugly fat bloke we played the other night who did nothing but whinge and moan the whole game. “Oh ref, ref! Penalty”, he cried as I slyly pushed him out of the way to win the header from a corner. “Oh ref, ref! PENALTY!”, he moaned as I stood in his way as he chased a ball into the box and ever so slightly got tripped up before falling on his face. He needed a good sliding tackle. I could even put up with the 275,002 little black rubber bits that would attach themselves to my clothing and person. It’d be worth it.
I might even sliding tackle someone going down the street later. It’s just that kind of day. Ask yourself this – if you saw Xavi ambling along, coming back from the bakery with his gypsy’s arm and a copy of the newspaper, would you be able to stop yourself? I don’t think you would.
The more I think about this the more I think this is the only way to solve the Cesc situation. A sliding tackle-off between Arsenal and Barcelona officials and coaching staff. Each team has 11 men, take them to a muddy pitch and let them tackle the shite out of each other. Last man standing wins and gets to decide the future of our captain. And those of you who would have us replace Pat Rice would be eating the humblest of humble pie as he rolled back the years to flatten Rosell, Zubizarreta and Jordi Pau Pol Maradona Jordi II Passeig de Gracia.
Well have you got any better idea to bring this thing to a close? What on earth do you mean tell Barcelona to pay the money required or return home Cescless? That is an absurd notion and you really ought to know better. I hope this Catalan delegation brought their boots but forget their shinpads. We’ll see who wins the day then. Sharpen those studs, Pat. Sharpen them like a fox.
Meanwhile, The Express and The Sun both report this morning that there’s a certain anxiousness inside the club at the fact that Arsene Wenger hasn’t yet added more players to his squad. There’s a certain anxiousness outside it too. The Express reports on a £10m bid for Phil Jagielka being turned down which means that Arsene Wenger will turn his attention to … oh … Gary Cahill. Really? Not that I’d have any big problem with Cahill, it’s just, well, I’m a little bit bored of hearing his name and then some guff about how we’re not prepared to pay £17m for him.
I also like the ‘some Emirates chiefs’ line in The Sun. How many are there? Maybe that’s the problem. We have too many. I want Gazidis to bring in some goddam Indians at once, that would restore the balance and bring about the transfers we need. Geronimo?! Is that you?
Some interesting quotes have emerged from the Valencia manager regarding Juan Mata. He says:
The possibility exists that Mata will leave the club. We want him to stay and Mata has also expressed his desire to stay at Valencia, but at the same time we cannot stop a player who really wants to leave for money or for a bigger club.
So, if there is a large financial offer from any club, that is good for both us and him, we will have to let him leave.
And the thing is, pretty much any large offer is good for Valencia for they are poorer than Trampy Joe who lives under a bridge with a raggedy old dog to keep him company and a dirty old, piss-stained coat as a blanket. If it is a case we lose the sliding tackle-off and reluctantly sell Cesc to Barcelona then whatever we do get for the captain must be re-invested in the team and must go some way to replacing the creativity we would lose. Mata would certainly be a good candidate for that.
In The Mirror a story revealing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has been put up for sale and offered around to various Championship clubs. The big man clearly has plenty of footballing ability but if the club are prepared to let him go then it tells you that the problems with his attitude and application are no closer to being solved. I’m not sure £1m is a ‘stunning’ amount of money to want for him either, although anyone who watched him stroll about for Cardiff whilst on loan last season might be unwilling to take the risk on him.
Talent will only get you so far in professional football. If you’re not willing to work hard, or if it’s a case you get too much too young (money and profile) and you think you’ve already made it, then the game can put you in your place quite quickly. I’m interested to see how this one pans out.
Southampton want £12m for Oxencart-Chamberpot. So that pretty much rules that one out – not that it would surprise me if AW spent that on a 17 year old whilst we’re dying of the thirst for a centre-half.
And that’s really about that. Bonus reading for you this morning in the shape of Tim Stillman’s latest column – containing thoughts on the merits of Denilson and Squillaci, amongst other things.
Right, off to do some sliding. Till tomorrow.