Early Sunday football + news/transfer round-up

This morning sees the final game of the Asia tour as we take on Kitchee FC in Hong Kong. It comes less than 48 hours after the Man City game and with the squad feeling the effects of all the traveling I don’t expect this to much more than a training game, to be honest.

We might see more time given to the younger/fringe members of the squad as the senior players played most of the game on Friday and with, I’m sure, all due care and attention being paid to their fitness the last thing we want to do is pick up silly injuries by asking too much of players when there’s still a good three weeks until the first game of the Premier League season.

Arsene Wenger says that there’s plenty of promise in the new generation:

We have some more young players who might push up this season. On tour we have Chuks Aneke who has shown quality and of course Ryo.

And what better chance to take a look at players like Afobe, Eisfeld and others before pre-season takes on a serious side. No doubt we’ll see some of the names, maybe for 45 minutes, as this is a commercial venture as much as anything else, and while it would be useful to give youngsters a run-out the fans who pay their money want to see the likes of Arteta, Vermaelen and co. Kick off is 10am, so there’s just about time for breakfast.

Away from the tour and it’s being reported this morning that Jack Wilshere won’t be back till October. Arsene says:

Hopefully, we will get Wilshere back playing for October. With Abou Diaby returning, it will be like signing two new players.

L2NS! Awesome. While the news regarding Jack isn’t great, it’s not hugely unexpected. There has never been a suggestion he’d be fit for the start of the season, if there has I haven’t seen it, and I think everyone accepted the fact his recovery would be gradual and not rushed in any way. Of course the longer he’s out the more you worry about his future but this isn’t some shocking revelation that requires us to be up in arms.

What is interesting, however, is that we seem to be mindful of the fact that both Wilshere and Diaby, while L2NS, are both very difficult to rely on. We have to wait and see how Jack’s recuperation is going to go and how he’ll cope with the rigours of first team football again, and Abou Diaby’s record speaks for itself. He may well feel fine and sharp right now, but one clogger going in hard on that ankle again and it could be curtains for his season, maybe worse.

So the twin pursuits of both Cazorla and Sahin suggest that we’re looking to build a squad that can cope with injury as and when it happens, and also provide a truly competitive environment if and when most of these players are fit. Remember, we’ve still got Song, Coquelin, Ramsey, Rosicky and Arteta in the midfield, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has, interestingly, been played central in both games on the Aisa tour thus far, suggesting he’s an option there this season. The official bid for Cazorla was submitted yesterday with many reports suggesting it could all be done as early as Tuesday, and if you were a transfer whisperer you’d be hearing lots of talk about Sahin is practically done already, hence the Marca story from the other day.

It’s all quite encouraging really but I’d urge caution until the deals are done and dusted. We were close to Cazorla last summer and I think he’d like to join us now, stories like this don’t get this far without the player being open to a move, but Malaga’s complicated financial situation is certainly an issue. This morning the Spanish press are reporting an Albanian-Russian conglomerate are bidding for the club and there’s a chance we could find it difficult to complete any transfer as long as this kind of thing is going on. Let’s hope not.

Meanwhile, Sahin has gone on Real Madrid’s tour of America despite Mourinho quite publicly saying he needs to play somewhere else next season. And although his relationship with Arsene has always been poor, I don’t think this is a deal being done between the two managers. The player himself is reportedly not keen to leave Madrid but when your manager says you need to go somewhere else to play I guess you need to listen. Let’s see where this goes.

Other than that little to talk about or speculate on. The most ridiculous transfer story of the day goes to the Sunday Mirror who suggest Southampton could be in for £15m, £100,000 a week Theo Walcott. I expect we’ll get some clarity regarding Walcott’s future in the next week or so, when he returns from tour, but whatever happens a return to his former club seems pretty much impossible.

Right, bacon time, then football time, then laze about on a Sunday time. Have a good one folks.


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