Sunday round-up

Morning all.

It’s pretty quiet today, really. Still a bit of Thierry Henry stuff around with the manager confirming he’ll be in the squad for the Champions League game against AC Milan. Interestingly, he hinted that the reason he loaned out Vito Mannone wasn’t for the player’s own benefit but so he could make space in the squad for Henry (I guess we were at the limit in terms of the number of ‘non-homegrown’ players in the squad).

It’s interesting because obviously that would have an impact on any other signings we make this month. Hahaha, ‘any other signings’, I slay me. But clearly it’s an issue. We might have to sell someone to buy someone and as much as it’s difficult for clubs to buy in January, players can be reluctant to move too, knowing that if they wait until summer they might have better options.

This morning’s Mail says that any move for Lukasz Podolski has been put on hold till the summer because of Henry’s arrival, but those with greater knowledge of the German game than you or I have long been saying that Podolski going anywhere in January is extremely unlikely. Henry’s return has little to do with it really. Anyway, I do wonder that if, in our desire for a player – any player – Podolski has taken on qualities which perhaps he doesn’t possess.

Gary Cahill syndrome kicking in. He was the player we had to sign, no doubt about it, but when you’ve seen how he’s played this season it’s rather at odds with the way he was built up. Decent enough player, I guess, but clearly not worth the kind of money Bolton were looking for. And when it comes right down to it us paying £17m for him would have been crazy. That Bolton are now willing to accept less than our ‘derisory’ offer says a lot. Yes, I know he’s got less time on his contract but they were playing hardball and played it badly.

I’m not saying Podolski isn’t a good player, I’ve really seen too little of him at club level to make any kind of judgement on him, but it seems in every transfer window there’s one player we ‘must’ get and when the window closes it’s not the end of the world that we don’t. Maybe this time it will be the mistake which explodes the club from the inside out but then again …

Anyway, back to Henry and his availability for the Champions League. It’s a little worrying I have to say because he’s got little or no experience of the San Siro or how tough it is to play there. Oh, wait a minute …

Meanwhile, The People says we’re in a ‘battle’ with Liverpool (our first fight of the transfer window!) over the signing of Demba Ba who, apparently, has a £10m release clause in his contract. Steady on though, he’s off to the African Cup of Nations with Senegal so there’s absolutely no chance of a deal being done before the summer. That’s if we’re interested.

I mean, we probably should be, he looks a fine player going through a great run of form but his knees are dodgier than a batch of Mickey Thomas tenners. Knowing our luck we’d sign him and he’d rupture his kneecaps in his first training session. Still, the worst thing about Ba is that Pardew took a punt on him and it paid off. A man as odious as that doesn’t deserve that kind of luck. If he gets what he deserves Ba will be kidnapped by space pirates on his way back from the ACN and forced to mate with alien females who all look like Sam Allardyce. It’d be harsh on the player but not even close to that on Pardew.

Martin Keown on Henry:

I think his return will restore Arsenal’s pride. It will energise ­Arsene Wenger and he’ll be a huge influence on the young stars such as Jack Wilshere and Theo ­Walcott. Theo idolises him. It could certainly ­galvanise the team into winning a ­trophy.

That’s certainly a most optimistic outlook but what’s the harm in that? In a world of relentless negativity it’s nice to read someone whose clouds have silver linings rather than linings made of more clouds and clouds that are made from puppy entrails and septic hippo shit.

Right, that’s that, United v City should be fun later. Back tomorrow with more on the Leeds game tomorrow night.

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