Thomas Want Trophies, Keown Experience & Other Gossip
Thomas Vermaelen spoke with ATVO recently, fresh from his holiday in Congo, about the coming season. Barely had he shed his Jean Claude van Damme garb than he said of his debut English season:
It is not easy when you come from another country because the Premier League is the hardest league in the world. I learned a lot from playing at a higher level, I have learned from different situations in the games, so I hope that I can improve next year.
It was a sparkling first season. Dismissed beforehand as being too diminutive of stature – not the clogger that many were calling for – he assauged fears of his abilities by being assured in tackle and free-scoring by a centre back standard in the opening half of the season.
Looking ahead to the coming campaign:
This year it did not work out, but we have a lot of good players and a good team with a lot of quality. We have to continue what we have been doing, we are working hard. I am convinced that next year we can win trophies with this team. We had a lot of injuries, and if we can all be fit for a long time next season, it will be a good year for us.
Injuries were pivotal, Vermaelen one of those who succumbed for a time leaving the centre bereft with the ageing pair of Campbell and Silvestre. That situation will not arise this time around since the Frenchman has left and he seems to have been replaced by Koscielny. Whether the newbie is to partner Vermaelen or not is dependent upon any other signings and how the often forgotten Djourou perform in the pre-season.
Martin Keown spoke of the need for experience,
I’m worried that he’s [Koscielny] young. When he played, I think Sol Campbell displayed an element that was missing from the team. There’s no substitute for experience, in all walks of life.I think Arsenal have suffered over the last five years for not having quite enough experience – although they’ve clearly been hamstrung by their new stadium.
A fair observation but not a stick with which Koscielny is to be beaten, surely. That is unless the relative inexperience proves to be a problem. However, that overlooks the nous that Vermaelen has acquired at Ajax, Arsenal and international level. In short, he is no slouch and having made 140 first team appearances and heading towards thirty caps, some of those as captain, is not a junior partner in any defence.
Experience is needed but more than that, it is what Keown called ‘football intelligence‘ something he felt Senderos lacked and that Bendtner needs to show. In the Dane’s case, Keown believes it needs to manifest itself as aggression. Despite his nation’s premature exit, the World Cup ought to have given Bendtner confidence because he did reasonably well in his appearances, scoring in their win over Cameroon. He showed the ability to impose himself on the defences but now needs to do that consistently although he will not be the first choice central striker which makes this task more difficult.
Keown identified the key to the coming seasons, where Arsenal will base their success:
What will become their strength has been their weakness over the last five years
Players derided for their youth are becoming experienced. They have the base to build on, the knowledge of where failure is founded will be the guide they need to become a success in trophy terms.
Onto transfer gossip. Honda, a huge favourite at the World Cup amongst the media, is apparently being given the chance to get on his bike to Milan although Arsene also rates him. There is a possibility that this move may be funded by Emirates so perhaps someone at Arsenal can have a word to use this ‘facility’ as well?
Goalkeepers and centre backs have instructed their Mr20% around Europe to talk a good game with Handanovic jealous of Eduardo’s success in getting linked to Arsenal whilst Stephane Ruffier has the press doing his leg work about a possible move from Monaco.
Elsewhere, Steven Pienaar is entering the last 12 months of his current deal at Everton so is obliged to be linked with a move, Joe Cole is building sandcastles in the shape of The Emirates although froma distance it looks like Anfield or White Hart Lane which suggests training as an architect is not going to be an option once he retires.
Serdar Tasci is apparently hailing a black cab to London and once he has been to Tottenham, he’ll scrounge the fare to Arsenal from them before signing whilst Rafik Halliche’s ominously titled ‘minders’ are talking to Arsenal who apparently aren’t talking to Benfica because the Portuguese club want too much money or they are but only in the region of £1m, depending on whom you believe.
Barcelona have not taken their eyes off the prize. Pep Guardiola and Sandro Rosell are to fly to South Africa to meet their players and hope to bump into Cesc in the team hotel elevator. All purely innocent and in no way a strategic operation.
Whilst there Rosell is hoping to meet with Arsene Wenger to discuss the non-transfer of Fabregas. Arsene though is a wily old fox and will bring his Pimpernel-esque attributes to the fore, eluding and evading the Catalans at every turn. The entourage will believe they have seen him buying a Pepsi, signing up for a Mastercard, eating a reclaimed meat Hot Dog or drinking a Bud; none will track him down as he moves through the media centre ether.
Rosell meanwhile had his photo opportunity with the ladies from Team Fabregas at the weekend, the media in Spain offering it as tacit approval from the clan for the club’s approaches. More likely is that Rosell’s office is bereft of momentos of him meeting the rich and famous, needing a quick fix for his short spell at the helm. Beware ladies; you may have been centre stage at the weekend but you watch, one opportunity with Michael Buble and you will be unceremoniously shunted sideways.
’til Tomorrow when hopefully we’ll all be drooling over Robin van Persie’s hat-trick as the Netherlands put five past Uruguay this evening.
Posted on July 6, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 256 Comments.