And the countdown continues.
Still there’s nothing concrete regarding new players, but Bayern Munich’s Luiz Gustavo (Almadovar) has expressed his desire to come and play for us. Speaking at a press conference before Brazil’s game against Switzerland, he said:
I have heard about the Arsenal interest. It’s a big club we’re talking about here so of course I’d like to play for them. Arsenal play a very attractive brand of football and are in the Champions League. They also have a very clever manager in Arsène Wenger.
Well that all sounds a bit promising, doesn’t it? And when you look at the pros and cons of the situation it makes sense:
– Defensively minded midfielder and we need a midfielder
– Versatile, can fill in at left back and centre-half (areas we’re a bit short in right now)
– 26, plenty of experience
– Has won things so brings that mentality to the club
– Wants to leave Bayern, would be happy to come to us
– Reasonable fee for a player of his stature
– Not free
– Would cost money
– Would plunge us into a transfer deficit for this summer
– Almost too easy now, where’s the challenge?
All perfectly cromulent, but, to paraphrase Ivan Gazidis talking about the manager, ‘What makes sense to you and I isn’t necessarily what makes sense to Arsene Wenger’. Beyond the newspaper speculation there’s no real suggestion that we’re after him. Apparently Arsene Wenger said something vague in his post Man City press conference, but I remain unconvinced we’re really interested.
Perhaps it’s this summer beating me down, but the idea of us signing a good player from a top club for a reasonable fee seems ludicrous to me. It makes so much sense it has to be a trap of some kind. Not quite too good to be true, but simply so obvious and helpful to us that we would eschew any interest in it because of that.
We’re like footballing hipsters. We want to discover what’s cool ourselves, find it before anyone else does, and if someone tells us about something that’s already cool we’ll tilt our gigantic glasses, twirl our ridiculous, wispy moustache, stand with one hand on the hip of our ridiculously tight, pink three-quarter length sailor pants and say ‘Yeah, but have you got a 16 year old from Ethiopia?’
So, let’s see what happens, but I’m not really sure there’s anything going on here beyond a player answering a question. I suspect, had their been a bid from us, or real interest, his answer would probably have been a bit more guarded, as that is the way Arsenal like to do things. Time will tell, I suppose.
Meanwhile, as the players jet across the planet for various useless, interminable, pointless friendlies, Aaron Ramsey is out of the Wales game against the Republic of Ireland with an ankle injury. Ideally this would be the Welsh manager showing some common sense before the start of the new season and ensuring that one of his best players doesn’t aggravate a small knock in a game that means nothing.
The worry, of course, is that it’s serious enough to keep him out of this weekend’s Premier League opener against Villa. I sincerely hope that’s not the case. Ramsey has become a vital component of our midfield (again you might say this is down to paucity of options but there’s no doubt his performances have been of a very high standard), and going into the first game of the new season without him would be a blow.
Let’s hope it’s not as serious as we fear but it highlights once again just how damaging an injury or two could be and how light we are in the midfield area. Jack Wilshere is away with England having been nursed through pre-season with 45 minutes here, another 45 minutes there, and Roy Hodgson says he’s mindful of that:
I have not had the benefit of Jack Wilshere for a qualifying match or an important match so we are pleased to have him back. We are aware of the fact that Arsene is careful with him at Arsenal and I will be careful with him as well.
All the games take place tomorrow evening so fingers crossed our lot come through unscathed. It really only gives the manager Friday to work with them, but while it’s not ideal, everything should be more or less in place now anyway. We’ve got a small group of players who know each other well, so from that point of view it’s hardly a massive problem. There’ll be worries about fatigue and so on for those having to travel any distance (poor old Santi, for example).
Elsewhere the club officially confirmed the transfer of Marouane Chamakh to Crystal Palace while the Tactics Column returns with @arsenalcolumn making the case that even with the departures, and the lack of additions, we’re a better team than we were last season. Give it a read (please note: he’s not actually saying we don’t need new players).
Finally, Yaya Sanogo could miss the start of the season with a hamstring injury. You couldn’t make it up etc etc. Well, you could, but there’d be no need.