You don’t need to be match fit to take a flight

Morning all, thank goodness it’s Friday and thank goodness I woke from the terrible dream I had where I was running the Dublin marathon. It was every bit as terrible as I’m sure it is in real life, plus I had to run in Doc Martens carrying a large sock of dog kibble. I’m exhausted.

Hopefully we’ll find out today if Robin van Persie is going on the tour to the far east. While his presence would do nothing at all to stop speculation about his future, his absence would ramp it up. To 11. It’d go up to 11. That’s one more than 10. There’s a suggestion in The Mirror that he might be left behind under because he’s ‘short of match fitness’.

Er, they all are. It’s pre-season. That’s what it’s for. You do some running, a bit more running, lift a couple of heavy things and then you play some matches. Which get you match fit. That’s the whole goddam point. The only way this could be seen as anything other than a fairly lame excuse is if every player who was at the Euros and came back late to pre-season training didn’t go on the tour. And with Arsene Wenger telling people Giroud and Podolski would be playing means that’s unlikely.

Nobody would be fooled by any talk of van Persie not going because of fitness (or indeed poor sentence structure). It’d mean we’ve got a code red Defcon something situation. With the manager away it’d be something of a problem too unless a decision has already been made but look, let’s wait and see what happens and then we can idly speculate about it tomorrow, perhaps waving our hands in the air and shrieking a bit. Why not?

Meanwhile, the manager has spoken about the season ahead and says that there’s no reason why not having Man City’s money means we can’t challenge for the league or the Champions League (or some English lessons to improve my sentence structure). He says:

When I first came to England, this question did not exist. Every club was run within its resources. The Chelseas and the Man Citys are new problems.

But with this new financial environment, what has not changed at all is our policy that we will be as ambitious as ever and spend the money that we have available, if possible in an intelligent and wise way. We have always spent money because we are ambitious for top-class players and if you look at the history of our last 15 years, we have always had top-class players.

It does not mean you can’t win the title if you can’t compete financially.

And despite the growing belief that you have to have a billionaire’s billions to win things, I’ve long said it’s possible to compete. It is just 11 v 11 at the end of the day and the key word here is ‘compete’. There can be no guarantees of silverware although obviously spending like City and Chelsea do means they have an advantage, no question.

Which means we need to be smarter and, most importantly, use all (or at least more) of our resources. Last season we had a situation where 6-8 players contributed absolutely nothing on the pitch. I don’t want to get into the detail of the whys and wherefores. Some were poor signings which didn’t work out, some were players whose contribution was always going to be minimal because of their quality, others through injury, but there’s no doubt we could use the resources (financial and playing) better.

While people might be getting a little antsy over the fact we haven’t made any further signings to complement the arrivals of Giroud and Podolski, the issue remains that we need to find new forever homes for some of the squad. It’s at the point where we might need to take some of them out into the woods and drive off. We’ve got to streamline what we have, add some quality, make better use of our wage budget and look for players who represent good value for money. We can’t go out and spend £30m on a player, it’s just not possible, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring in good players.

Arsene’s talk of not repeating last summer is obviously welcome, but with just under a month to go until the new season – and many issues still outstanding – we’ve got plenty of work to do. I would hope that things really start kicking into action in the next week or two. Some departures and some arrivals are needed to get us ready for the new season so let’s see what transpires.

There’s all kinds of transfer gossip floating about today, most of it nonsense of course. We’re linked with Brazilian midfielder Ganso (just me or does it sound like the name of a sinister ventriloquist’s dummy? Or a ventriloquist’s sinsiter dummy, both work for me ) which makes sense because he’s training at London Colney with the Brazilian Olympic team. Today’s blog picture sees Arsene and Ivan watching Brazil train. OMG we’re probably going to buy Neymar too! But look, I haven’t got the faintest idea who we’re after. Adding some quality to midfield would be nice though and it’s good that Arsene isn’t wasting money on an umbrella.

In some better news, it’s being reported that Laurent Koscielny is ‘on the cusp’ of signing a new deal with the club. There were reports in the Spanish press this week which said Barcelona were sniffing around, no doubt impressed with the way Kos played against them in Europe, but hopefully this is something we’ll get done and dusted as soon as possible. It’s almost remarkable how important he’s become and I think he’s still going to improve as a player which is why securing his future is vital.

And that’s really about the size of it. Hopefully we’ll get some clarity on van Persie’s participation in the Asian tour today, and you can find any breaking stories over on Arseblog News. For now, I’ve got get my Doc Marten’s on and go for a run.

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