Theo To The World Cup, Hleb Says No To Cesc & More
England’s 3 – 1 win over Mexico last night has been generally described as disjointed and unconvincing with defensive frailties exposed by the visitors forwards whilst their English counterparts were for the most part one-dimensional.
Theo Walcott was the only Arsenal player on show for the hosts and personally, I think he did enough to warrant inclusion in the final England squad, or confirm what I suspect is his already booked place. Aaron Lennon may have made eyecatching incursions against a tired defence but was not as productive in terms of keeping possession, a key factor at the coming World Cup.
Crucially, Walcott has more to his game than a simple directness on the wing yet is no more consistent than Lennon. However, if England do not play a tall centre forward such as Crouch or Heskey, Lennon’s usefulness to the team diminishes whilst Walcott can hardly be said to be reliant upon that aspect in his club career with the advantage of being able to play centrally in extreme circumstances.
Having said that, this is the area where I expect Capello to be indulgent. The Italian has said previously that he needs players who are versatile but with the paucity of good right-sided midfielders, both will probably go to South Africa, the one indulgence he will allow himself.
Before we get to the non-transfer gossip, some errrrm, non-transfer gossip. Arsene is looking for a goalkeeper and current favourite is Robert Green, his Mr20% telling those who wanted to know that no deal would be done on his client’s future until after the World Cup. Assuming he goes of course, which he probably will with Ben Foster the goalkeeper to make way.
Arsenal are apparently favourites although Mark Schwarzer is emerging from the shadows to rival Green as a candidate, a signing whose age works in favour of the theory that the No.1 shirt is being kept warm for Wojciech Szczesny. That could be said of Sebastian Frey whose future is now being seen in the Premier League and being seven years younger than Schwarzer, gives Szczesny more chance to develop.
At centre back, Newcastle’s Steven Taylor was touted yesterday and would not come cheap. Today it’s Bolton’s Gary Cahill and at £14m, he is not coming cheap either. Cahill showed early promise at Aston Villa and is a decent English centre back whose raison d’être is not to kick anything that moves.
The ongoing saga of Cesc is still in the back pages, England unable to knock him, sorry, out of journalists stride. Depending on which report you want to believe, the price is anywhere from £30m (Spanish, Barcelona supporting media) to £40m (lowest case, The Mirror) to £80m (top dollar from The Sun). Except the expected offer of £30m has not materialised so everything is speculation.
Alex Hleb makes it clear that Cesc should stay:
I stay in touch with Cesc a lot and it’s hard for me to judge what he should do. He and Gael Clichy are both very good players who must make their own decisions about their future. But I would advise them to stay.
It didn’t work out for Arsenal this season but, if Arsene Wenger keeps the side together, they can really go far next year. They play great football. It’s partly a question of experience and next season Arsenal will have more of it if everyone stays.All things being equal, I think they have a very good chance of the title next season.
No doubt Hleb’s view is tainted by his own Camp Nou experiences and another midfielder arriving narrows his options further. Genuinely though, he seems to regret his move based on his previous interviews and wants Arsenal to do well.
Of course, were Cesc to return it would be different and he is likely to play more than Hleb would, especially with a big price tag hanging from his kit made from recycled plastic, which apparently Barcelona’s is this coming season. No, seriously it is. Hopefully they will have removed the Diet Coke labels before the tops were stitched together and those lids might have to be strategically placed to avoid Jogger’s Nipple.
A rather large fly in the ointment is apparently Joan Laporta. According to AS, the Arsenal board do not want to negotiate with the outgoing President, denying his ego and political ambitions a massive boost, preferring to wait to see if his replacement wants to talk directly and if Pep Guardiola actually wants the player.
Sport are trying to get Fabregas to put pressure on Arsenal, the crudeness of Laporta’s strategy laid bare, the top price is €45m and anything else is not fair (boo-hoo, sob). Apparently the price cannot be pushed up even if Arsenal go to Fifa – which they should – for protection. This is the threat used before to increase the transfer fee on previous occasions although when is not stated.
Still, according to the report, he has rejected the advances of Real Madrid and Internazionale which weakens Arsenal’s hand as they cannot force an auction.If they were minded to sell him which they are not. Rather than being a rerun of previous transfers to the Camp Nou, this is now a Vieira-esque Summer, multitudinous column inches devoted to him with no real action but plenty to talk about. How long before the stories emerge that Cesc has cleared his locker at the training ground and said goodbye to the players. I do apologise, according to my source that is tomorrow’s angle.
The only truth to emerge from the Iberian Peninsula is that a deal done in August is not good for Arsenal, unless there is a replacement lined-up already, which that late in the day you would expect to be the case.
Posted on May 25, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, World Cup 2010 and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink. 308 Comments.