No Cole As Experienced Centre Backs Fly The Nest
Another morning of some dreams biting the dust with Joe Cole signing for Liverpool. Personally, it is not a signing that concerns me. Arsenal has enough players in his position and Arsene’s focus is surely on defensive issues rather than attack. In many respects Cole is similar to Ozil; highly popular in some quarters, the clamour arising from the World Cup but not a central requirement to the squad.
Either would have been a more than suitable replacement for Cesc had Arsenal been willing to cash in on their captain. The club has made it clear that they are not. Despite this, the Catalans are still desperate to sign him on the cheap and are willing to fly in for talks. They would find any meeting one-sided as Arsenal would probably not turn up, rather like in South Africa.
Wenger mentioned at the weekend that the club were still looking for replacements and any lingering doubts (hopes) that Gallas or Silvestre will remain have been all but confirmed (dashed) by the manager:
At the moment none of them have signed again for us. At the moment there is nothing special to say about that. I believe that Gallas and Silvestre will sign somewhere else. Campbell is still in no-man’s land at the moment.
Whilst few will lament the passing through of Mikael Silvestre, the absence of both Gallas and Campbell would leave Wenger with a headache. The former could still perform in the first team on a regular basis whilst the latter’s experience would be invaluable for the younger squad members. In both cases, their desire to play every week or more frequently than Arsenal may be able to offer them, is entirely understandable.
Even so, were they to remain I would still look to Wenger to sign another centre back. Koscielny has progressed quickly in his career thus far and may prove to be an astute signing by Arsene. His fee suggests that the manager believes him to be ready for the first team although perhaps requiring some time to settle in for the physical task in the Premier League. The links to Jagielka gained ground at the weekend and have persisted this morning albeit not as strongly.
Having had good World Cups, van der Weil, Steklenburg and Suarez are being once more targeted with a move to England, this time the lack of interest shown by Chelsea and Manchester United means that Arsenal are now the preferred media destinations. With the friendlies and tours underway, those responsible for filling the newsfeeds are desperate for some action, especially with the Cole saga now resolved.
Goalkeepers continue to cause concern at Arsenal and Handanovic’s Mr20% refuting rumours means looking elsewhere. Wenger’s comment that there was no clear Number One at the club had a two-fold effect. Firstly, it is a signal to those at the club that they need to up their performances and more importantly, do so on a consistent basis. Almunia’s ‘illness’ merely served to feed the second effect: speculation about signings.
It would be no surprise if there was not a new goalkeeper at the club, particularly if Fabianski or Almunia had a good, solid pre-season. The long-term aim of Szczesny or Mannone as Number One would be served by that. Confidence from the stands in either of last season’s first two choices is of no relevance to Wenger; he cares nothing to what we feel, believing with his eyes in training and matches.
He made it clear at the weekend that Schwarzer is unlikely to join so attention turns elsewhere. Those at Arsenal need to make sure that they take this opportunity to fill the gap if the chance arises. Criticism will be forthcoming and mistakes pounced upon quickly if there is no replacement, potentially damaging media comments filtering through to supporters.
Finally, a while back I mentioned a survey that was being organised on fans’ views towards gay football players by Dr Jamie Clelland of Staffordshire University. Phase 1 has been successfully completed and Phase 2 has been launched with the support of the PFA. Check www.topfan.co.uk for the full statement, latest results and make your contribution to Phase 2 of the project.
Posted on July 20, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 210 Comments.