To tour or not to tour that is the ARRRRGGGHHH

The squad for Arsenal’s tour of Asia was supposed to be announced yesterday at around lunchtime. As of this moment, early on a Saturday morning, that announcement has yet to be made.

There were reports that aside from everything else Robin van Persie would not be going on the tour. The line being peddled is that it’s a fitness thing but under the circumstances I don’t know that anyone will really believe that, especially when further reports of bids from Man City, Man United and Juventus emerged.

Alex Ferguson was quite public about it, suggesting that Arsenal had leaked details of the bid:

Obviously Arsenal have given out the fact that we’ve made a bid for him. We try to keep business as close as possible to us until the moment we conclude a deal. There’s no point talking about something that might not happen.

I think we all know how circumspect Arsenal are when it comes to transfers but maybe in this case there’s a need to make it public. Whether van Persie’s absence from the tour is a mutual decision or whether he’s refused to go really makes little difference at this state. What we have is an unseemly mess in which the captain of Arsenal will not be taking part in a large chunk of pre-season and the only reason for that is because he doesn’t want to play for the club anymore.

That there’s a ‘bidding war’ separates it from last season’s Barcelonathon but I remain hugely skeptical about the interest from Juventus and United. I just don’t think he wants to go there, I think City is where his mind (and possibly his heart – it is up for sale, you know) is set. Obviously I’d prefer him to go to Juventus, seeing him in a United or City shirt would not so much taint his Arsenal legacy but squat over it and splatter it with worm infested diarrhea. At this point though, we really need to get something sorted as soon as possible because I’m just tired of every single summer being dominated by players who want to leave the club.

Now, there are certainly lessons for us to learn and ways that we can prevent this happening year after year, and I hope we do more in that regard, but in the here and now the only thing we can do is get the best price we can then move on with the players we’ve got. I would happily take a lower fee from Juventus than a higher one from a Manchester club but I’m not the one making those kind of decisions. I fear money will talk loudest at the end of the day, for all that will entail. Whatever happens, I wish it would happen soon so we can concentrate on things which are important to Arsenal, and Robin van Persie is not important anymore.

The Guardian this morning reports that other players who won’t travel are Bacary Sagna (injured), Jack Wilshere (rehabbing), Tomas Rosicky (injured), Per Mertesacker (dunno, too tall for economy class?), Lukas Podolski (house-hunting) and Nicklas Bendtner (on his way out). So the tour might well provide some chances for those on the fringes to impress and with 3 games inside a week there’ll be plenty of rotation, no doubt. More on the tour etc over the next few days and hopefully we’ll get the full announcement this morning.

In transfer related news Russia is calling for two of our forwards. Firstly, Andrei Arshavin is still on Zenit’s radar, with manager Luciano Spalletti saying:

From my point of view, Arshavin is a player of high class. In addition, he is an intelligent man. It all depends on his motivation

And therein lies the rub. He’s such a smiley little owl but he’s also a bit of a lazy little owl too, happy for other non-owls to do all the work for him. With just a year left on his contract I’d be surprised if Arsenal didn’t try and recoup some of what we paid for him, and with talk of Reading and also a Qatari club having interest in him he’s got some options it seems.

Elsewhere this morning the Mail says that Besiktas are offering Marouane Chamakh a chance to resurrect his footballing career, looking for a loan move with a view to a permanent deal. Meanwhile, the Russian media have linked him with Rubin Kazan, their spokesperson saying:

Chamakh is very interesting to our club. He can be a great striker to provide a focal point to our attacks.

Yes, he can do that. He can be a focal point. Or a non-focal point. Or any other kind of point you want. You don’t want him to be any kind of point? A pony, you say? HE CAN BE A PONY! Sorry, getting a bit desperate here. Whatever ju-ju Chamakh had when he first arrived, it’s now well and truly lost, just small wispy clouds disappearing in a Dutch haze from a shisha pipe. I suppose that there’s interest in him in a positive thing, let’s see what happens.

And in transfer news in, Spanish reports that Santi Cazorla has an offer on the table from Arsenal are making me somewhat moist. He was very much on the radar last summer, we did a huge amount of groundwork and were very close to a deal before we got gazumped by megabucks Malaga. I don’t quite know what’s happened to all their bucks now but it seems they’ve got to sell their best players and he’s definitely one. Wenger is a known admirer and there’s no doubt our midfield could do with an injection of creativity.

This morning’s AS say that Cazorla’s agents have spoken with Malaga about Arsenal’s interest and while there’s no firm offer as yet, that could change if Malaga give the green light. A fee of about €20m is suggested but let’s not get hung up on the one detail which could make this impossible. Believe!

Finally for today, you can get the thoughts of Leopold Mendacious on the captain over on the real ANR – Robin van Iscariot.

Have yourselves a good Saturday, the sun is shining here. Hurrah! Till tomorrow.

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