Good morning to you. It’s another scorcher in Edinburgh.
Thanks to all for the kind messages re: Mrs Blogs and the marathon running. I can think of a million things to do on a hot day like that, running 26 miles is really not one of them. Sitting in the park supportively drinking cold beer before going to finish line to see a sunburnt Mrs Blogs arrive was one of them.
Which is what we did. And we did it well, let me tell you. There was then much re-hydrating required, for Mrs Blogs too, and we also did that. All in all good fun and Edinburgh is such a fantastic city. I know everywhere seems better when the sun is shining but I recommend the shit out of it.
Right, onto matters Arsenal are there are a few bits and pieces around, starting with Johan Djourou who has been ‘advised’ by his international boss that he needs to leave Arsenal if he wants to play for Switzerland. Ottmar Hitzfeld says:
For Djourou, the question arises of a transfer. If he wants to be selected, he must have some game time in the club. This is not the case at Arsenal.
I know there are some who would be quite happy if Djourou took this advice, but who exactly should we have as fourth choice centre-half at the club? I agreed with the man from East Lower’s assessment on the Arsecast last week when he said that Djourou had been a bit of a disappointment last season, and certainly his performances were lacking but his lack of impact had as much to do with the improvement of Koscielny and the arrival of Mertesacker as much as anything else.
It meant Djourou wasn’t able to build up any kind of consistency and form and was asked, at times, to play in a position which really didn’t suit him. He’s no right back and that was apparent early in the season when he played there during our 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge. He had a nightmare there at home against United, and I suspect he too would suggest he could do better overall.
But, knowing that he’s a player that can do better what is the realistic option for fourth choice centre-half at a club like Arsenal? Everyone loves Koscielny, everyone loves Vermaelen (although I think he gets away with stuff that Djourou, for example, doesn’t – and I do know he contributes in other ways to make up for it), I’m a fan of Mertesacker and I think he’s got much to offer the team next season. So, what standard of player should we have in this position?
People say we should give Kyle Bartley a chance but this, to me, is the classic case of Arsenal fans who assign qualities to young players that they don’t really have just because they want a different option. His season long loan at Rangers was hardly a success (he played right back some of the time too), and he looks a long way from being an improvement on Djourou.
And that’s what we’d have to find to make it a transaction worth carrying out – a player who is accepting of the fact they’ll be 4th choice while at the same time improving the side. I’m not sure those two things go together very well. Now, don’t get me wrong, find me that player and I say go for it. I also think Djourou is capable of better and is very much at the point where he’s got to show an Arsenal career is something his future will hold, but in a summer when we’ve got a lot of transfer business to do, I genuinely think this is quite low down on our list of priorities. Some will disagree, I’m sure, but there you go.
Meanwhile, the agent of Carlos Vela told the press in Mexico that some big clubs are sniffing around El Chipador:
We are in talks. There are several clubs interested in him because he had an exceptional year. All the clubs are important, because Carlos has shown the talent and strength he has.
But there’s no movement on the fact that Vela has to discuss his future with Arsene Wenger first. On the plus side though the fact that there’s good interest from other clubs after the season he had in La Liga means that his move away from the club should be one of the easiest to sort out. If we send guys like Vela out loan at his age it’s really not for development purposes, it’s so he can put himself in the shop window and he’s done that. Let’s wait and see what happens.
And finally for today, Lukasz Fabianski fears his shoulder injury – which will keep him out of Euro 2012 – may be a repeat of the injury which kept him out for months last season. Obviously that would have a big impact on his desire to leave the club this summer, nobody’s gonna buy an injured player, so for his sake, and perhaps ours too, let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Right, that’s about that. Time to find some breakfast in Edinburgh before heading back to Dublin this afternoon.