Spain Through, RvP, Koscielny Signs And Other Gossip
Spain deservedly qualified for the World Cup Final on Sunday, a meeting against the Dutch which will be intriguing encounter and be the first time a European nation has won the trophy outside of the continent. For Arsenal, Cesc will no doubt have a good view from the bench barring injury to others. This World Cup has not been good for the captain in terms of playing time.
Germany were unable to break through the Spanish defence and were well beaten. For the first time this tournament, Spain hit form consistently throughout the ninety minutes, the margin of victory should have been greater with opportunities not taken, Pedro failed to cap a good all-round display with a second goal for the Spanish.
Ahead of Sunday, Robin van Persie has spoken of his own desires and downplayed the long-standing rift between himself and Wesley Sneijder, instead emphasising the relatively unified nature of this Dutch squad. The opportunity to outshine the 1974 and 1978 squads is a key driver for van Persie to succeed, to have their name in lights. It is a tough result to call with neither of the finalists at their best although the Dutch seem to be in a higher gear than their opponents. Pragmatic in their victories, the confidence will be high with six victories behind them.
Onto Arsenal. Laurent Koscielny has finally completed his long-drawn out move from Lorient. Surprisingly he has not been a fan since childhood but has pledged to do his best for the club. Arsene highlighted the reasons for his signature:
We identified him as a very strong centre half, who has made big progress very quickly. He has shown he is mentally strong, he’s a fighter and a very strong competitor. Koscielny is a great addition to our squad.
There are doubts cast over the signing, principally because few of us have seen anything of him other than grainy YouTube clips as well as a career that is short and has been played out of the Champions League eye. That should not be a reason to dismiss him or his abilities. These questions will be answered in due course.
What is apparent is the requirement for another centre back. With Senderos, Silvestre and Gallas released, whilst Campbell possibly joining them, numbers are short and experience at the highest level evaporating, a wiser head might be needed to add to the mix of youthful exuberance in the centre.
Like Vermaelen, he is going to be fondly remembered by a colleague. van Persie and the Belgian had an altercation in the Amsterdam tournament whilst Koscielny was apparently sent off for a challenge on Chamakh in Ligue 1 last season.
Elsewhere, Gael Clichy is to be lured to Turin, the promise of the Europa League Third Qualifying Round surely too much for anyone to resist. A new name, for this close season anyway, has arrived in the form of Shaun Wright-Phillips who wants out of Manchester City, an Asda carrier bag with £6m is apparently enough to make him move. Quite why Arsenal would be interested is beyond me with midfield well-stocked and a number of players who can fill the same role rather better than SWP would. But then who can fathom the reason for half of the transfer gossip that goes around?
Back on the subject of William Gallas, who vaguely turned up earlier in the post, he has had his say admitting that none of the French players including himself were good enough in the World Cup but if they were bad, Domenech was worse. Far worse, although the much-maligned coach did get one thing right:
I realised when I entered the changing room prior to the friendly with Costa Rica that the captain’s armband was placed beside Evra’s shirt. Domenech told me: ‘In any case, you would not be a good captain’
Having seen his stint as Arsenal captain disintegrate into a complete shambles, it is hard to argue with Domenech’s logic, a train of thought that might take a while to recover from.
Goonblog is reporting that Mark Schwarzer has passed a medical at Arsenal, his second after a knee problem was identified in the first. The signing would fit in with the theory that Wenger is waiting for one of the two Polish youngsters to come good. The assumption is that it is Szczesny but it may not be.
Elsewhere, there is a Kenyan interview with Wenger doing the rounds that has doubts cast about its veracity. Some of the comments are typcial Wengerisms but the issue seems to have arisen over the observations made about Almunia and his nerves, the point being that it is almost unheard of for the manager to identify one individual for criticism publicly. But then again, a few years ago, we were surprised when he commented on players at other clubs. The truth will no doubt come out.
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Posted on July 8, 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. 196 Comments.