Looking At Barnet & Transfer Mill Turns…
Very quietly, very slowly, the new season is creeping upon us, the lengthening shadow of the Premier League is snaking outwards enveloping the ground previously occupied by the World Cup finals in South Africa. It is somewhat premature to be thinking of the new season as already here but it will be here so quickly that barely a breath will have been caught before the trip to Anfield on the opening weekend.
As it is Arsenal cravings begin to be sated this afternoon with the now obligatory trip to Barnet. A good afternoon out for the most part with previous outings being quite enjoyable and occasionally very enjoyable in terms of the scoreline. Nothing can be read into them, a win no guarantee of success and a draw no ominous portent for the coming campaign.
The 22 man squad was announced yesterday and contained few surprises since it is largely the first team squad which has reported for pre-season training. To the chagrin of some, Szczesny is not included, Fabianksi and Almunia the two ‘keepers chosen to represent the club this afternoon. I suspect the only thing to be read into that is the younger Pole going on loan somewhere for the 2010/11 season, especially if the reported interest in other goalkeepers manifests a new signing.
Chamakh and Koscielny are both included and will no doubt get a runout of sorts whilst Djourou having been out for so long will “seem like a new signing” as will Jack Wilshere following his loan spell at Bolton. For the younger players, it will an opportunity to see the progress made in the development of Miquel, who looked impressive on the couple of occasions I saw him play. Likewise, Emmanuel-Thomas and Nordtveit have spent time on loan which had the aim of speeding their path to the first team, a chance to see if that has worked. ATVO are showing the match if you want to catch it.
Onto the rumour mill and no end in site for the Barcelona bleating. Sandro Rosell has complained that the directors and manager are sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting, “La, la, la, la, I can’t hear you” to drown out the poor little mite when he tries to talk to them. Apparently the damage done by the public courtship of Fabregas by his predecessor has registered on the Barcelona horizon and the sound of a towel wafting in to the centre of the ring from their cornermen can be heard. It hasn’t landed yet and to consider the irritants to have fully taken on board the message of “No Sale” is perhaps premature and wishful thinking.
No sooner has one Spanish foe been vanquished than the ghost of Sir Francis Drake has been summoned in a secret meeting of The Coven (Arsenal Branch) as Valencia are sniffing around Eduardo having raked in €80m in this transfer window. Given the financial incentives for clubs which change hands at the end of the season as relegation and European qualifications are at stake, I am surprised Barcelona didn’t ask to borrow back the money from their peers to fund the Cesc deal. Racing Santander are also apparently looking covetously at Samuel Galindo, a loan deal being mooted.
Per Mertesacker has yet to decide where his lack of height and pace will be deficient next season, possibly Arsenal or Bayern Munich so the rumour goes whilst the Ivorian, Gervinho, is looking to ply his trade away from Lille. Given he is playing for a French club, it makes perfect sense for him to be linked with Arsenal as it is a nice, easy, simply and probably inaccurate, link to make. Quite possibly the funniest transfer rumour though was denied by Mick McCarthy yesterday, with Kevin Doyle supposedly interesting Wenger. I know people are crying out for world class players but this one had me crying with laughter.