World Cup Enters KO Phase As Transfer Talk Gets Tied Up
The final group phase matches passed without much incident last night, no surprise that Spain beat Chile nor that Switzerland failed to score the goal which would have taken them into a Round of 16 encounter with Brazil. Cesc once more had a substitute appearance for the Spaniards as they weathered a Chilean storm to win 2 – 1. Villa and Iniesta both provided finishing lessons, the former opportunistic and well-executed, the latter passing the ball into the net.
Cesc arrived with Spain determined to play ‘keep ball’ and he duly delivered. Chile’s ten men gave them a fright at the start of the second half with a deserved goal but the last twenty minutes was reminiscent of Germany v Austria in 1982, no meaningful attacks, lots of passes with the sole intention of keeping the ball and little else.
Elsewhere, number eight of the eleven Arsenal players who travelled to the World Cup is on his way home. Ivory Coast failed to reach half of the nine goal swing they needed to stay in the competition, a target rendered irrelevant as the media anticipated clash between Brazil and Portugal was a display in how not to play the beautiful game.
Of the remaning three Arsenal squad members, Carlos Vela will probably be returning home on Monday whilst Cesc and Robin van Persie could conceivably be on their summer holidays by next weekend. Spain has a trickier Round of 16 fixture with Portugal whilst the Netherlands should progress to the quarter-finals where they will most likely meet Brazil. If Spain win, they meet Argentina a week on Monday who on tournament form should probably progress.
Onto matters Arsenal. It seems that age is catching up with Arsene, he has apparently left his Blackberry in London whilst in South Africa and cannot review the new deal which has been emailed to him and the club from Lorient, seeking to reach agreement for the transfer of Laurent Koscielny. As excuses for longing out a transfer deal go, that is by far the weakest to date.
Is it beyond the wit of any one at Arsenal to walk to his secretary and ask her to fax the details to his hotel? Yes, I know faxes are “old-hat” but they do serve a purpose. I am sure that there is more to it than old Mr Forget-My-Head-If-It-Wasn’t-Screwed-On‘s supposed mistake. And let’s not overlook the fact that it is Koscielny’s Mr20% who is the source of the story so a touch of salt may be advisable.
Whilst on the subject of central defenders, it seems that the future of Sol Campbell has not yet been resolved which is hardly surprising since the player himself said in the last fortnight that he wanted to talk to Wenger when he returned from South Africa. Which he has not yet done so said meeting cannot have taken place.
When it comes to transfers, it seems that He who shouts loudest becomes the favourite to sign Joe Cole following England’s inevitable exit on penalties come Sunday. ‘Appy ‘Arry has ascended to that throne with reports suggesting that the formerly ‘Appy ‘Ammer will sign for the formerly ‘Appy ‘Ammer. We shall see but it would be no surprise for an announcement to be made on Wednesday or Thursday of next week when Cole’s contract with Chelsea formally expires.
Also donning their best Rent-A-Gob garb are Internazionale, newly emerging as favourites to sign Felipe Melo. No, I don’t think Wenger is interested either. Similarly, Mesut Ozil is apparently on Wenger’s radar but Barcelona are looking to offload the pup that Arsenal sold them in the shape of Alexander Hleb and want to use him to knock down the fee by probably 90% because they are skint think Hleb is a highly valued player. He might have been before he joined Barcelona but his stock has fallen considerably since then.
Barely has he joined Arsenal than Maruoane Chamakh has told Arsene to go and get Yoann Gorcuff. You don’t have to possess a vivid imagination to guess what sort of reception a fax from Arsenal will get in Bordeaux after the courtship of Chamakh. The minds of journalists are in overdrive with Mark Schwarzer seemingly set to replaced by David James when the former draws his pension at The Emirates. A scary thought for the Australian is that legally some of the Arsenal starting line-up are young enough to be his children.
On the subject of imaginations, a portion of the transfer speculation surrounding the club is based on Cesc leaving, a rare word of sense emerged from Catalunya yesterday. Rodolf Borrell, currently at Liverpool but formerly a coach at Barcelona put the reason for Arsenal’s intransigence into words for those Catalans who cannot fathom how anyone can turn the club away: selling him disrupts the club, parts can be replaced by other players but not the whole and it would be like Barcelona selling Messi right now. Not that it stopped Borrell saying he thought Cesc would eventually go, just not right now.
That’s it for today as we wait to see if the defensive shackles have really been cast aside by the coaches of the quartet of teams in the first knockout matches in South Africa. Don’t hold your breath.
Posted on June 26, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010 and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink. 61 Comments.