No football today, for us anyway, so a quick round-up of what’s going on this morning.
Kieran Gibbs is out with his ankle injury, Thomas Vermaelen could resume. Abou Diaby picked up a little groin strain playing for the U21s but I don’t really see any reason to get bent out of shape about that because he was never going to play a significant part in what’s left of this season.
Other than that everyone’s fit apart from the people who aren’t but nobody who played at Hull is missing. Mikel Arteta got a new tooth. Thanks to Richard who sent through the following picture of what Mikel would look like if he installed the super-long fang as suggested on this week’s Arsecast Extra.
I think it quite suits him, to be honest. And if you were ever stuck in the woods without a can opener, how handy would it be?
He’s going to leave, basically. Arsene Wenger was asked about his future yesterday and said:
Talks are not progressing. The ball is not in our court any more and he has to come back to us.
A few weeks back I got some information which I pondered sharing but ultimately didn’t. It came at a time when the team were really struggling and I had to balance my supporter hat with my blogger hat and the supporter hat won. The crux of it was that the decision to leave was made long ago and there’s little or no chance of that being reversed.
Talks broke down in February, as we reported at the time, and although the intention was for him to go abroad, if there’s a massive contract from another English club then it might well be considered. I don’t know how true the reports about Man City offering him three years are, but I hope he doesn’t go there.
I don’t begrudge him a move at all, really. He’s given us fantastic, consistent service and at the end of his contract he’s fully entitled to go where he likes, but all the same I’d prefer to see him outside England. L’Equipe this morning suggest he could go to Fenerbache and double his salary (because of the Bosman). I could live with that.
As for the complaints about us not trying to keep him, I don’t think we can put this one entirely on the club. We’ve been flexible and offered a longer deal than usual, with an increase in wages, but I just think it’s about him wanting to play somewhere else before he retires. We’ve managed to secure new deals with almost every other player at the club in recent times, so you then have to ask why we’re in this situation with Bac.
In the end it takes two to tango, the desire to sign a new deal has to be present on both sides, and I don’t think it’s there with Sagna. He’ll be 100% committed until the final second of his final game, I have no doubt about that, but I don’t believe he’ll be an Arsenal player next season.
The question then is ‘Who is going to be right back?’. Is it time for Carl Jenkinson to step up and fulfill his Gooner destiny? Can Hector Bellerin become our Seamus Coleman without having to go and buy Seamus Coleman? Or do we need to go out and spend sfm on a player we might never have heard of really, you know, like when we bought Sagna that time?
We’ll be losing a very important part of our back four and it’s going to be hugely important that we get the replacement right.
The manager has spoken to beIN Sport about his future, saying:
Look, I have said that many times already, I have given my word to this club and that I want to continue where I am. That means to stay.
I suppose the key thing is him saying that he wants to continue, and I don’t think that’s new in any way. But for me the situation hasn’t changed really, his future is dependent on the last few games of this season. If we fail to beat Hull in the FA Cup final then I don’t think he can stay, and I think he probably needs the top four finish too.
I also think he knows that which is why nothing has been signed yet. The only thing that’s clear to me is that there is no desire from the board to even consider anything other than Arsene Wenger continuing. If things go to plan in the Premier League and the cup, then he’s going to stay, no doubt about it, and their problem goes away.
If things go awry, however, then it could make this summer a seismic one in terms of the future of this club, and you can’t help but worry that we’re not prepared for it in the slightest.
That’s it. I’ve got to throw stuff into a skip all day. The Gent will be here later on, more from me tomorrow.