Good morning to you.
First thing this morning I went scouring the Spanish football dailies to see what I could find the latest on Santi Cazorla. More than one headline this morning suggests it’s D-Day, what with Malaga having to pay their bills or face expulsion from La Liga, but while it’s not impossible something could happen today, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
It’s not that I don’t think we’re in for Cazorla, it’s pretty obvious that we are, but transfers are complicated things and we have a reputation, rightly or wrongly, for making them a bit more complicated than they need to be. Even when we have a player willing to come and a club willing to sell it can still take ages to complete a deal. Look at the Gervinho situation last summer. Malaga’s problems might make things more simple, it might be a case they’re desperate for the money and are forced into doing a deal as quickly as possible.
On the other hand it might make things even more complicated. How easy is it to buy a player from a club that is up for sale and whose owners no longer give a fish’s tit about anything other than getting rid? The power vacuum could bring about a state of transfer stasis where even if they wanted to sell they don’t know who’s going to sign the papers. I could be wrong of course, I frequently am (except about John Terry), but I just think this might be a little more difficult to wrap up than we might like.
Anyway, as I was going through the papers I came across an article in Sport which suggested that Barcelona are looking at Alex Song as a replacement for Seydou Keita who left them this summer. The article is interesting because although it doesn’t give any quotes from anyone at all, it’s like a gigantic Alex Song CV. It tells of how he signed from Bastia, went on loan to Charlton and shone like a shiny shiny thing, and then lists all the reasons Barcelona would be interested in him: he’s tall, he’s friends with Cesc Fabregas, he’s brilliant with both feet, he’s used to playing in a team which passes the ball like Barcelona so he’d fit in with the style of the team, and he’s played against Barcelona loads of times including, get this, in the Champions League final in 2006. Er, whoops.
They then go on to talk about his contract situation, saying he has a deal until 2014 but also that he has rejected a new contract offer from Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal in a position where know he could leave on a free in two years time. It is an interesting situation of course, will we be faced with another van Persie/Walcott situation with Song next summer? Knowing that Darren Dein is now his agent, and knowing Darren Dein’s connections with Barcelona (you’ll remember he did such wonderful work bringing Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas there), I’d be very surprised if we weren’t.
Unless the player has a real desire to stay with us and insists on signing a new contract (Koscielny, for example), any agent is going to advise him to wait. Not just to play the game with Arsenal, but to see who might be interested next summer when he’s got a year left on his deal and his price drops because of that. Then you wonder is Arsenal’s interest in Sahin pre-emptive, in a way. If we did sign both of the Spanish based players we’re after then our midfield line-up consists of Cazorla, Sahin, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Coquelin, Frimpong.
I realise there are fitness issues with some of those players but that’s a lot of midfielders and maybe we’re reacting to something other than the Wilshere situation. I realise it’s all speculative at the moment but to me the Sport article is worth mentioning because it reads like an obvious plant, part of the machinations of transfer business from a player/agent point of view. From what I can see Song is happy at Arsenal and Arsenal should be, relatively, happy with him. I have some reservations about him as a player and would like to see more focus from him defensively, but he has become an important part of the squad. He knows that, his agent knows that, and it’s just funny to see the wheels start turning so early.
Meanwhile, The Mirror reports that Juventus have uncooled their interest in Robin van Persie. In fact, they’ve stuck it in the microwave and it’s all scaldy in the middle and tepid around the edges. A 5 year deal worth £190,000 per week after tax is on offer apparently, as well as a £20m fee for Arsenal. Frankly, and as much as I have loved Robin as a player, anyone offering a five year deal to 29 year old with an injury record longer than a blue whale’s mickey is off their rocker.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t take it if I were Arsenal. Bite their damn hands off because £20m for a player in the final year of his contract from a club that isn’t one of the petro-dollar giants is a remarkable offer and one, all things considered, that we’d be quite mad to turn down. The ideal situation, for me at least, is van Persie buggering off outside of England. That way I could still enjoy some of what he did for us, if he rocks up in a United/City shirt then I’m afraid he is stricken from my memory-relishing lobe and becomes just another Nasribayor.
It is still shaping up to be a busy week and although the team flew back from Hong Kong on Sunday, jet-lag plus a day of rest means that the manager will probably be well and truly back in the saddle today. Let’s see what happens.
Finally for today, if you haven’t already seen the video of Mertesacker, Sagna and Podolski in a dance routine in Nigeria, then your life is not complete. The twinkle toes on the BFG are really something to behold. Enjoy and I’ll be back tomorrow.