In the quest for more gruesome pain to be inflicted on his person, I’m demanding you to put shards of glass in the tomatoes you choose to hurl at me. There’s nothing like lacerations that wont quit screaming. By the by: Let me know what you think of the little redesigns I’ve done here and there…
Again, little news to speak of today, which is why the opinion pieces come thick and fast. There is some glimmer of maybes in Slavan Bilic (Croatian coach) stating that Eduardo da Silva could be returning for Arsenal as soon as preseason training begins. Although I think that’s a real stretch for the Croat, it would be absolutely brilliant news to have him back.
Eduardo was a player I picked on when he first donned an Arsenal shirt, mainly due to his ineffectual play down Arsenal’s left wing. However, he won me over reasonably quickly (though not as quickly as the rest of the Gunners-faithful, who lapped the excellent-finisher up), and started hitting a fine partnership with leading scorer, Emmanuel Adebayor. To have him back early (as a bit part role until December, I would think) would be a good, solid bonus to a squad having to put up with the outgoing Flamini and Hleb.
The Hleb-transfer to Barcelona rumbles on, and until something is officially confirmed, you wont be hearing much from me about it.
Former Liverpool striker and current Marseille’s forward Djibril Cisse has said Samir Nasri ‘will enjoy Arsenal’, though that’s from a story I picked up on FansFC who quote The Observer. Search The Observer, however, and you’ll struggle to find this story at all. If anyone actually finds the original Observer story, send a link through the comments. Until then, Nasri is likely to sign for Arsenal, but certainly not a definite signing.
UPDATE: Cisse’s story was carried by Sky Sports, as well. Pointed out by commenter, hus. Thank’s for the shout, friend.
When it comes to transfers, my opinions are pretty clear. With the departures of Lehmann, Flamini and the likely shut door of Aliaksandr Hleb, the potential squad has a few basic requirements:
- Shore up defence with someone to compliment Toure and Gallas. Kompany and Zapata are two names we can all oggle over, and while they are good players, defenders are usually found through scouting networks and not by reputation. Are Gallas and Toure – two super defenders (but not a super pair) – going to have to go in competition with each other? Many Gunners-fans would not be too sad at Gallas leaving, though I for one would love him to have one more chance to prove himself.
- Direct replacements for Hleb and Flamini. Many see Nasri as fitting the bill for Hleb’s successor, and several want Yaya Toure for the latter. Again, Denilson and Diaby may surprise us and earn a promotion, or someone else could be found through the myriad of contacts Arsenal FC have.
- A utility player to shore up midfield and maybe the odd wingback requirement every now and then. Diarra was this, but had an ego the size of prize-winning Gouda cheese, as he trampled off to Portsmouth (and maybe Spurs). That was his doing, and not Arsene’s, as many will lampoon. The Next-Gen version of Gilles Grimandi would be very useful to either compliment Fabregas or compete with Nasri for a birth in midfield. One thing’s for sure: This squad needs depth.
- Finally, those having fond memories of the 97/98 title campaign will remember a precocious young teenage striker in the form of Nicolas Anelka adding some momentum to the latter stages of the season. While I’m not asking for him to come back to Arsenal, Carlos Vela could fill the role at some stage in the season to show us what he is capable of. Read Sanderson’s report on Mexico’s victory over Peru, and his impression of Vela’s goalscoring performance here. A definite, definite prospect for the club.
One particular note that should be emphasized is that one strength of the 07/08 side was their ability to rob the ball away from opposition in midfield. Flamini was not the only player who specialised in this. You may be surprised to find out that Hleb had a large part to play in this faculty as well – just have a look at our victory over AC Milan for evidence. The point I’m trying to make (apart from the fact we have some absences to make up for in the transfer market) is that this can be trained into the players you dont expect to carry such mantles. Fabregas, Walcott, Rosicky and Denilson should all add more of this quality to their game.
UPDATE: Alex Song has signed a new ‘long-term contract’ with Arsenal. Is this the ‘Grimandi’ we’re looking for?
It all just reminds me of Thierry Henry’s comments on the eve of the Invicibles Season. The rallying cry was for ‘everyone to defend’ in open play. What occured was a team that was willing to fight for each other, that was willing to defend en masse and then counter attack with rapier speed, and ultimately, a title-winning side was born into fruition. This is Arsenal’s ambition. An ambition born out of experienced managers and staff aware of the requirements for mounting title-challenges, and aware that players with massive egos and pay packets do not make a club.
It is the ethic that makes a club. And after all the one-dimensional shopping lists fans throw into the ether during the transfer window flutter into the rubbish heap, it is that single simplicity that shines through in the actual reality of football. Who, in the end, wants it more?