Arsène, It’s Good To Talk & Aaron Gets The Olympic Spirit
A wet and sodden morning in dear old Blighty has been made brighter by Andy Roxborough, Uefa’s Technical Director, claiming that England are twenty years behind Spain. Which, as it happens, is a lot closer than I thought they were which means that the day has started positively at least. Whether it remains that way, will only be known as the hours unfurl.
Having been relatively uninterested in anything vaguely akin to a transfer rumour for the last month, the media are waking up to the fact that Robin van Persie has not signed a new contract or made any comment whatsoever; keeping schtum indeed. Apparently, Arsène is going to arrange to meet with the Dutch striker. I wonder if he will be more successful than Spike Milligan was in arranging to meet George Martin:
The fabulous fiction that underpins the transfer window surfaced into public view with an apparent bid of £8m from Juventus drawing derisory comments. Except that there has been no bid, according to Peter Hill-Wood at least,
As far as I am aware nobody has made any offer for him and he is away so we are not in any dialogue at all. We’re not in the remotest bit interested in selling him.
Such is his distance from the machinations of the club, he is adding his own provisos in conversations. Never let it be said that he is not self-aware.
It was supposed to be a Summer of the Long Knives as far as the board was concerned; that seems unlikely to happen en masse. As far as the investor / owner is concerned, why should he divest himself of a group of people who are growing his eventual return quite nicely, providing an income and not asking him to part with any cash whatsoever. Not a bad little number for KSE and entirely in keeping with their sporting philosophy. But at least they have one rather than relying on the cheap politician tactic of opportune PR comments with no substance behind them.
Elsewhere, Aaron Ramsey has been called up into the Olympic Squad as part of TeamGBexcludingScotland&NorthernIreland (or Team Whatever, as it is going to be known). Whilst the timing of the tournament and the refusal (arrogance) of the Premier League to revise the season around it, is a pain in the arsenal, it is also churlish to deny Ramsey the opportunity to appear in the final stages of an international tournament. The Welsh have not appeared in any finals since 1958 and seem unlikely to do so in the near future, Ramsey surely should not be discouraged from taking this opportunity.
Arsenal have emulated Team Whatever; they have got off relatively scot-free with selections confirmed thus far. The only other ‘casualty’ is Park. There are so many cheap shots to take, it is almost cruelty to do so now.
Ramsey’s absence might be an inconvenience initially but much of that will depend on how injuries and fitness are when the Big Kick-Off happens. The triumverate of Arteta, Song and Rosicky might well be favourites to start although Denilson is returning to the club at present, whilst Andrey Arshavin in the advanced attacking role might offer an alternative to the Czech if his fitness needs to be managed. You could arguably include Diaby in that list but that is another cheap shot I will resist for today.
But I do not see the necessity for Ramsey’s Olympic call-up to offer a basis for signing new players; it is nonsensical to sign someone on the basis of a four-week pre-season absence. At the latest, Ramsey will be back at Arsenal around August 9th; it’s a British national team (of sorts) and we do not go beyond the quarter-finals. He has had his holiday and arguably competitive football is better pre-season training than a series of friendlies. And that still leaves Arsène and his staff a week to erase the bad habits that Stuart Pearce will have instilled in him.
Finally, Joel Campbell has reportedly failing to obtain a work permit from the British government. It is not that surprising since Costa Rica had a whole year without an ‘A’ grade fixture – generally the qualifiers for international tournaments – and this would have counted against Campbell. Equally whilst his season in France was promising and marked his potential out, reports that I have seen suggest he was not at a level where ‘exceptional talent’ could be applied. I have mixed feelings about this loan, Spain has been fertile ground for developing players but not in making an Arsenal career. Arguably, it is a shop window for the club to look to offload those who fail to adapt to the English game but there has, at some point, got to be someone who bucks this trend and why not let that be Campbell?