Author Archives: Yogi's Warrior
The squad numbers for 2012/13 season were announced yesterday, a menu choice for those purchasing replica shirts. The Retail Department came up with an interesting ploy to rid themselves of their surplus stock of the letters, t, b and c, by persuading the Premier League to permit ‘TBC’ as a squad number, Lukas Podolski the first to take advantage of the new rule.
Whilst many are presuming that his choice is the No.10 shirt about to be vacated by Robin van Persie – or not as the case may be – but I have a suspicion that he is hankering after the No. 9 shirt allocated to an unknown youngster by the name of Park; looking forward to his breakthrough season at the club. Or is he just lusting for 52 when Bendtner goes to Celta Vigo?
Transfer talk is dominating the airwaves at the moment. Peter Wimsey momentarily removed his left foot from his mouth to insert his right, with a naive statement about van Persie’s situation. It is a peculiarity that his media organ of choice is the Daily Star, although the ties between that paper and his father’s pet media outlet, the Daily Express, are extremely close. The suggestion is that he has a good working lunch relationship with well-known toff, Brian Woolnough.
With Arsène talking freely about signing players, it was no surprise to learn that Santi Cazorla and his agent met with Malaga yesterday to discuss the ongoing problems on the Costa del Sol. Mikel Arteta made sure that the welcome mat was rolled out even further, although he was careful not to become embroiled in a tapping up row with his countrymen,
I cannot talk about the actual situation but I can say that I know him as a player really well. And he’s a top, top player. He has got unbelievable quality and talent and that is all I can say.
It’s enough of a recommendation for me. Arsène saw the open goal and hammered home from close range,
I share the opinion of Mikel Arteta. Cazorla is a great player.
Let’s hope negotiations are more successful than with the last Spanish international midfielder we tried to sign; God help the board if it falls through over £200k again.
Whilst Cazorla can play across the midfield, the initial thought is that he would put pressure on Theo Walcott but I am not sure this is the case. Tomas Rosicky is once more recuperating from injury and my own view is that we have sufficient cover in the wide attacking midfield area. A triumverate of Song, Arteta and Cazorla would be a strong attacking line-up but would allow Song to concentrate more on marshalling the midfield in its defensive duties. This is before promising youngsters such as Coquelin are brought into the equation. I am not sure about Frimpong though. He had good initial games last season but I wonder how much impetus has been lost with his injury. Certainly another loan spell would seem the likeliest option for him whilst it is difficult to see where Henri Lansbury fits in at all, especially with the other younger players making decent outings in the pre-season games so far. As much as we want Steve Bould to organise the defence, the message needs to get through that the successful teams defend from the front when not in possession.
The real pressure on Walcott comes from Oxlade-Chamberlain. The youngster seems physically stronger than Walcott at a similar age and that physique has helped his progress. The thought must be crossing Walcott’s mind that having the same pressure in the England team is something of a message? Whatever the case is, Arsenal have strength in depth on the wings with Gervinho, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski to name but a few. Using Santos as a wide midfielder might be a tactic employed more often away from home, to offer Kieran Gibbs more protection although that team ethic was a quality noted in Podolski by the manager during the summer. It is a failing from last season which on the face of it has been addressed.
Oxlade-Chamberlain offered his somewhat beleaguered manager some support. At a time when players he has nutured are seemingly turning their back on him, Oxlade-Chamberlain sang his praises, offering an insight into how the manager thinks about football. I wonder if his apparent obsession with fitness is an extension of his early impact on the English game or more acutely influenced by injuries suffered in recent seasons? It is an interesting read, with an insight into what appears to be an impressive application of the lessons he has learned in his career.
The Far East tour got off to a winning start, completing a good day for Arsenal.
Barely had the print dried on the morning’s blogs when the club confirmed that Laurent Koscielny had secured his transfer to Barcelona next summer by signing a new four year deal with Arsenal. Crucially part of the negotiatons included a medical examination which confirmed his Catalan DNA, clearing the way for a move at the end of the coming campaign.
There can be no argument about securing Kos’ future, he was THE outstanding defender in a much-maligned back twelve, a consistent performer in what was a season best forgotten defensively at least. Should he show the same improvement this season, there is no doubt he will be confirmed as another Wenger ‘gem’, if he has not already merited such status.
The only black cloud came with the FA charging Emmanuel Frimpong over an apparent Twitter spat following abuse received from a Tottenham fan. Only Frimpong knows whether or not the comment he made was racially motivated but that seems unlikely; that is no excuse either but getting involved in the first place was questionable judgement. He must have seen the aggravation which fellow professionals rise above, begging the question as to why he reacted.
Player interaction is welcomed in an era when they are more distant from the ‘ordinary man’ than previously but it comes with a caveat; too many keyboard warriors exist and rarely waste the opportunity to entice a reactionary response. The incident exemplifies why O2 are withdrawing their support from football although quite what traditional values blood capsules, tawdry affairs and gouging in rugby uphold is yet to be fully explained.
So back to the tour match. It was a hotch-potch side fielded at kick-off, a mixture of youth and experience. In terms of the performance and result, they are insignificant. The match was the first of pre-season for many, certainly for the players who are reasonably expected to play in the majority of fixtures this season. As such, what should be expected? Not a lot and on a pitch which would be shamed by Hackney Marshes, avoiding injury certainly is a bonus.
The goal conceded contained lessons; yes, it was well-struck and a cracking shot at that. But why did Arsenal back off to allow Azmi Muslim to have a free shot at goal? It was a basic error and one I am sure that it will be something not lost on the coaching staff. However, to place too much emphasis on it is as much of a sin; getting the message home will not be hard given that a goal was conceded as a result of the backing off. That point was not lost on the manager who noted post-match that there was tactical work as well as physical conditioning to be completed,
We are far away physically and tactically we still have some work to do. Technically it was not bad considering because the pitch was not easy and the pace of Malaysia was quite good.
Overall we still have some tactical work to do and some physical work but don’t forget that some players have only had two or three days training. Some others have only had a maximum of seven or eight so physically we are far from what we can produce.
If it is a mistake which is repeated in future tour matches, then yes, there are grounds for concern.
Both sides had ample opportunities to score more and perhaps should have. Aneke and Afobe were lively whilst Thomas Eisfeld’s run in creating the equaliser was another promising step. The experience of watching the ball constantly fly over his head at Euro2012 does not appear to have done Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain any harm. The left side was an interesting experiment with Gibbs and Santos; I know Wenger has used the Brazilian in a more advanced role before and it does seem to give a more sturdy look to that area of the pitch. If Santos had a right leg that was used for anything other than stopping him running round in an ever-decreasing circle, he might have grabbed a couple. Gervinho and Diaby put in useful shifts which given the former’s apparent loss of confidence post-ACN is good whilst anything from the latter that has not resulted in injury has to be considered a bonus.
As the squad moved to Bejing ahead of Friday’s meeting with Manchester City, Arsène has set a deadline of August 18th for any deal to be concluded with Robin van Pursestring‘s sale; whether the Powers That Be will agree to that is an altogether different matter. Santi Cazorla will be the subject of a bid of £16m plus the entire back catalogue of Earth Wind and Fire, all duly signed, as an inducement. The Spaniard apparently likes the idea of having his wages paid on time.
Can you feel the relief, the anticipation? A proper football match takes place this afternoon (or tonight depending on your timezone, might even be the morning for all I know) and no, I don’t care that it is a friendly since it signals that the season is upon us. Almost. The tour party mixed youth and experience so you would expect the starting – and finishing – XI to reflect that. Off the pitch, the reaction is almost a no-win situation for Arsenal. Handsome victory? Meh, expected against relatively poor opposition. Anything less will bring forth a microscopic and forensic analysis of the failings, fuelling more criticism of the lack of transfer activity this week.
One player missing is punk legend Jimmy van Pursey. He continues to teach the 1970s anthems to the kids, he’s down with them, drawing on his own working class struggle against The Man. Hoping to pull his family clear of the poverty stricken life that fate has dealt them is not proving to be easy, the Oil City Sheikhs are closing the wallet until some of the freeloaders at City are removed from the wage bill.
Fair play to Emmanuel Adebayor as he refuses to buckle; it lays bare the folly of a spendthrift squad-building policy with the real danger for the club that they will be left with a dozen cases of Winstone Bogarde, players who feel the wealth offered by their current contracts exceeds the lure of playing every week for a lesser salary.
One player hoping that current pacesetters Juventus will squeeze some more money from the boot of the rusting Fiat 125 in the car park is Marouane Chamakh,
Yes. If I am staying here with Arsenal, I will do my best for the team and give the maximum.
That’s my boy, the attitude is right. Although I am not too sure whether his hookah pipe has something a tad illicit in it as his reality perspective seemed to dip a little as the conversation went on,
Last season was difficult. We were playing with just one striker and that striker was the best player in Europe. There was not a lot I could do. I was upset because thought I could have played more but football is like that. Sometimes you do not have a chance. I hope this season I will play more than last. I have not spoken with the manager but I will soon.
In the first six months after signing I had lots of games but after that I only played a few. Now I hope this season will be good for me and the club.
Yes, I need more confidence. But to be confident I need to play more. I am determined to stay.
It is something of a chicken and egg situation. Arsène saw that Chamakh’s confidence had gone but in order to play, Chamakh needs to be ready and able to offer an alternative goalscoring solution. His solitary goal last season came at Blackburn, his first since his hat-trick against Orient in the FA Cup. Those are damning statistics.
With the additions of Podolski and Giroud, I would suggest that the chances of him playing are reducing further. Whilst the German is more used on the flanks, he has the ability to play centrally and I suspect he is likely to be ahead of Chamakh in that pecking order. It is far from certain whether the public statements reflect his private thoughts; I doubt that they do, his self-awareness seems to be more acute than that. In terms of maintaining squad harmony, the Moroccan has shown himself to more astute than former Arsenal captain, Robin Rotten – he’s moved from Sham 69 to the reformed Pistols for £20 and a signed Sid Vicious handwritten bass chord tab of No-one Is Innocent.
Elsewhere, questions remain about Arsène’s involvement in the club’s transfer policy remain with a player he knows nothing about – Santi Carzola – once more heavily linked with a move to Arsenal. Curiously enough, it all ties in rather nicely with the ongoing financial woes of oil-rich Malaga who now have until July 31st to settle their debts with Villarreal or face a ban on all transfers. The monetary issues of the Spanish nation will not be solved by all Spanish clubs paying their tax bills but given the level of indebtedness reflected in Barcelona’s latest accounts, it might help along the way?
Jack Wilshere‘s close allies are optimistic – perhaps overly so – that he will be back sooner than Arsène’s observations earlier this week and to be honest, I wonder if JW has been at the JD to believe he might be back in August / September. He might be back in full training but surely the club will hesitate to bring him back into action that soon, erring on the side of caution with a stress fracture must be the right course of action. In any case, someone has to keep Tomas Rosicky company in the medical room.
You can’t imagine how happy I am firstly to have him in the squad, because he is an exceptional player.
Whoa, we signed Lionel Messi? Ronaldo? van Persie issued a mea culpa, begged forgiveness and has shown so much contrition that he has signed a new contract for £15 per week on the basis that if it was good enough for Joe Mercer, it’s good enough for him?
The player in question is Abou Diaby.
I am sure that the manager is delighted to have him back, we probably all are if you consider his ability on its own. But you can’t because his injury record is second to none in length and frequency of his absences. He will always come with a massive BUT.
Arsène is right to be cautious about the midfielder’s fitness and absolutely right to determine the player’s future based on this tour. One bad tackle and a career has been tortured out of the Frenchman, seasons begun and ended before their natural conclusion. Just when you feel the player has turned the corner, injury strikes once more. The Gods who govern such fates have turned with malevolence on Diaby.
It highlights the risks that waiting for him to be fit hold. The praise of club and country managers is welcomed but surely overly optimistic. With Jack Wilshere absent for at least the first six weeks of the season, is Arsène right to wait and see before venturing into the transfer market for the defensive or box-to-box midfielder?
It is not the number of midfielders which is the concern, it is that two are recovering from serious injury and there is no guarantee that they will not break down again. You could counter that by arguing that injury might strike at with someone who is currently fit and we would not buy just in case that happens. In the circumstances, caution is well-applied with signings.
As ever there is a But. In these circumstances, is Arsène taking too much of a risk? What happens if two of the remaining quartet named as being part of the “well stocked” midfield are injured? That leaves two plus Rosicky to play as a triumverate for an unspecified length of time. The greater danger is the temptation for the manager to rush a return from injury as a result of short-term necessity, over-playing a recently injured player on their return is as much of a problem as the over-playing which caused the injury in the first place. Or at least set the environment for the injury to occur.
The balancing act is delicate. In the days before named squads, such issues could be glossed over with a signing. Before the transfer window became a domestic hurdle, the end of March was the only time-barrier. Problems before then could be resolved with a loan or permanent deal. Now the manager(s) have to take a punt, drop to their knees before the Injury Gods and pray.
Crucially, there is no necessity for Arsenal to buy right now. The tour will give them time to assess Diaby and his reaction to matches, even though the intensity of competitive games is not recreated. This is a secondary issue, hence the manager’s caution. If he breaks down now, action will be required quickly and decisively.
For Diaby, I wonder how this is impacting on him? It would be natural for him to be hesitant initially, to not throw himself fully into a game for fear of aggravating his condition(s). Yet he has to, to prove to himself that he is not going to crumble under pressure, to prove that he is going to resurrect his career. At 26, there is a danger of being cast adrift although playing in a less physical league might be a better option for his long-term career.
I hope it does not come to this. He is a talented player and I don’t think the manager would have kept faith in him under other circumstances. I hope that he comes through the tour and decides too much time has already been lost to the medical rooms and operating theatres, tearing through Premier and Champions League midfields is the answer, the best therapy. A fit Diaby has the potential to be as comparably influential to Arsenal as Yaya Toure was to Manchester City last season. At 26, we are still talking about unfulfilled potential. Hope, the eternal sustenance of a footballer for the coming season.
And yes, I am well aware that the manager may have been publicly closing the door on M’vila to turn down the flames of speculation to allow discreet talks to take place. I am sure of one thing; Plan B has already been identified in case of setbacks.
The tour party announced yesterday has enabled a welter of spin and speculation to reign supreme this morning, the absence of Robin van Persie took focus away from those who remain in England with him. Whilst Arsène told the world that he was not giving up on the relationship, the Dutchman’s representatives have been busy telling all and sundry what all and sundry have been offering as salaries. Ambitions are laid bare; £10.1m is the sum total of his ambitions.
By some strange quirk of fate, that is £30k per week less than Manchester City have reportedly offered but more than Manchester United will pay. Juventus managed to guess correctly that van Persie would want substantially less than Zlatan Ibrahimovic and must surely have won? That’s the ideal world but according to The Sunday Times, van Persie is an old romantic at heart and favours United whilst his agents are torn between their client’s wishes and the rich pickings that City will pay them in commission. Arsenal can brief just as well as the agents it seems, with the real divergence of views on the club’s future revealed for all to see.
No doubt that this is Arsène’s fault. If he had not wasted the money on Bendtner, Vela, Denilson, Squillaci and Chamakh, Arsenal could pay those wages. And he wants to try out an unknown French forward for more than £6m. Caen you dig it? Yes, they can. When will he learn, eh?
Football is at once divisive and uniting; a common aim but so many different ways in which to achieve it. So many different ways for hypocrisy to shine through. Casting out those deemed no longer fit for purpose has been an aim of this summer; a realignment of the squad to rationalise the salary structure. Yet when that has not happened by the end of June, knives are sharpened, criticism rains in.
But in trying to restructure the wages paid to the playing staff, Arsenal are now caught in a web of ambitions and greed. It is easy to pontificate about selling the above quintet but the reality is proving somewhat trickier. The manager for example, is finding himself stifled in the transfer market,
We are still looking to add one or two players but it depends also on how many go out because we have to respect the squad number. It’s important to respect that so before we get players in we have to get some players out. That has not happened yet, the market is very quiet.
I cannot tell you anything concrete about the situation [regarding those who might leave] because if they are not finding clubs they will stay here and be players of the squad. At the moment I cannot give you any concrete or clear indication.
He is as usual clever with his words. They can be “players of the squad” and yet not play. It is a test for those individuals and leaves a gap for interpretation. Are they actually holding transfers back or is it a case of we cannot sign anyone until they depart for financial reasons?
On a simplistic level, it is the latter. The number of players in the squad is largely irrelevant, you do not have to name every player as part of the 25 for the Premier and Champions Leagues. They can train and train but never play, other than the Capital One Cup-ties. That then brings their ambitions into focus. Squillaci I can understand, an older player who could quite happily take a paypacket home each week with little damage to his career in comparison to Bendtner and Chamakh. They are internationals and the Dane certainly has ambitions to play otherwise he would not go on loan.
But what of Chamakh? Hookah pipes aside, he seems content not to rock the boat by demanding a move. Fair enough he does not have to, he is contracted to Arsenal and is entitled to his wages. However, he is already facing challenges for his spot in the international squad so has his spell in England killed all of his footballing ambitions? Or is a tour of the Far East as good as he thinks life is going to get?
Arsenal of course can resolve the issue. Pay the players off, a lump sum and your registration, go to another club. That causes monetary loss but as a one-off, surely that is acceptable to the owner(s)? It solves a problem and strengthens their position in terms of moving forward. Those who have no future at the club are given control of their own destinies once more, given their sporting careers on a plate and left with no regrets about wasting two or three years seeing out contract.
This option might be considered ‘nuclear’; it is but there is so much antagonism hanging over the club that we need to move on from this. Refining the club over a period of time is the Arsenal Way; organic change rather than short, sharp shocks. Perhaps that is what we need. The club signals time and again that they are changing commercially, becoming more savvy about deals. For all of the loyalty being shown to the club by those deemed to be leaders on the pitch, why should the club bother with any of them. Footballers are the commodity now; players want power, money and riches? This is the fallout.
That is modern football for you. Pay or play. Where’s Jon Stark, Football Mercenary when you need him?
Don’t get me wrong, Robin, I appreciate your performances in an Arsenal shirt. I adored the goals; I was as mesmirised as the defenders you left in your wake or as bedraggled heaps in the penalty area. They will not be forgotten.
You’ll never get one of these:
Remember those who you have played alongside in your time at the club.
They ought to:
Will it feel hollow to know that a part of London will forever belong to these men? Will your money bring you comfort?
You choose to be remembered as one who put money above all else. When the roll call of Arsenal Legends is called, your name will noticeable by its absence; so will Cesc’s, so will Nasri. You’ll just be good players who passed through the marble halls.
Heads will always be turned by money, it would hypocritical of me to chastise you for that. And yet I will for there is no comparison to the ordinary man in the salaries, in the size and nor in occupation, in the adulation that thousands, nay millions, point in your direction.
I understand the desire to win trophies but where is your admission of culpability in failing to deliver them for Arsenal? Maybe you have disagreed for some time with the club’s financial policy but do you think that we bought this excuse? Where was this last summer? Vocalising now, trying to tap into the supporters psyche with your excuses was a fundamental misjudgement on the part of yourself and your advisors; you don’t support Arsenal. If you did, I offer your heroes quote:
I really like Arsenal. But you, do you really like Arsenal? Or just with trophies?
We know your answer.
And so the mating ritual begins. Reports emerge of three bids for van Persie’s services, none coming up to scratch. It is the same as the Samir Nasri scenario last season. Now the peacocks feathers are shown; the end game is in sight. How many of three will drop out remains to be seen. I wonder if the price is the same for all three. Do United and City have to pay a premium for being in the same competition? Do Juventus get a reduction for the opposite? What of Milan, do the same rules apply? I can reveal that there was a fourth bid; Clive Allen reckons two-bob ought to be enough to buy van Persie.
The dishonesty of his website statement bit to the core; a lesson Andrey Arshavin‘s advisors have apparently taken to heart: his next move, most likely this summer, is for money. His time at Arsenal effectively came to an end when he went on loan earlier this year but fair play for telling it how it really is.
Another summer, another key player departing against a backdrop of allegations of refusing to tour. A de facto strike? Sorry, that is one reason for his omission that I do not buy into. Unless of course, someone can prove it is true. A deal is close to being struck with one of the interested parties and he can fly off to whichever part of the world they are currently in to join his new team-mates.
As that sad song reaches its end, the funeral dirge of an Arsenal career, we look forward. What do Arsenal need to replace their central striker? Gilles Grimandi observed that Olivier Giroud was signed so that Arsenal were not backed into a corner this summer; that is probably true but it is not a statement of confidence that he is the replacement for the Dutchman. I believe he was signed to give more variety in attack, the much-vaunted Plan B if you like. Media stories link Arsenal with Llorente or Lewandowski; truth or dare, Arsenal. Dare.
Equally though eyes need to remain on the ball. Any deal with van Persie is not out of the blue, red or black and white. The club has known it is coming and have no doubt already been talking to other clubs about him. It is an unwelcome distraction and signals what ought to be a busy time for the negotiating team; the manager wants to avoid a last-ditch transfer tackle, people behind the scenes need to ensure that there is no repeat of last summer. Heads would have to roll if there is, slack work impedes squad preparations.
Still, at least the sun is shining.
I feel that this morning’s post should begin with some rousing wartime music; something to get the pulses racing – or the paces rulsing as I typed in a Scooby Doo style first time around – or to signify the donning of Arsène’s tin hat ahead of what is preposterously being called a “D-Day”. I suppose technically it is, the manager has to announce the squad going to Asia this weekend but to believe he does not already know who is going to make the journey is daft.
If Robin stays and works on his training, is it a sign that he is leaving or that he let himself go on holiday and is not match fit? If he goes, will he play his last match for Arsenal against Manchester City in ten days or so time, the first half a farewell performance, the second for his new employers? And that answers the only question for which there is an answer: Do we know what is going on? No. So much conjecture, so little time.
And there’s still room for more. Yesterday was supposedly the day when the squad would be announced. It wasn’t, why not? What shenanigans are concealed. You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth. In some cases, you can’t even handle the lies. But it’s the not knowing that kills you.
Talking to the media, Arsène‘s grabbed the horns of the modern football dilemma and in doing so, set a kitten amongst a flock of birds. It might only be a small cat but by September, it will be a big one whose existence will be hard to ignore,
I believe that to lose £150million a year, you don’t deserve a lot of credit to win a competition
Indeed you don’t but in answering that criticism, the Manchester City’s and Chelsea’s of the world will argue that winning is all that matters. In the Premier League era, money has overridden sporting endeavour. It is little wonder that managerial longevity is a thing of the past. Ferguson and Wenger are throwbacks to a bygone era, one where managing meant building a squad rather than a fight between the biggest cheque book.
That shift in balance raises uncomfortable questions about the basis of professional sport. The Corinthian spirit died long ago and this era of wealth (or debt, depending on your viewpoint) underlines that. At the heart of the matter is what is the point of a football club in the professional game if there is no chance of winning? It isn’t profitable, the Premier League underlines that. If it is for the sport, that is against the ethos of professional sport since we are continually told that it is to win at all costs. It’s a vacuous argument but it reflects the world we live in today.
Arsène invoked the title wins of Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa but they were not sustained success. Derby were champions twice in five years, Forest fared little better in terms of longevity whilst Villa arguably capitalised on Ipswich’s overriding desire to finish second rather than top the table. The team that finished top in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and this century has invariably been one of the big spenders. Liverpool did not construct a squad from the reserves, most players were bought. Neither did Arsenal or Manchester United. Big money just got bigger and the gap to the rest, considerably wider in the financial sense.
You wonder what now for Abramovich. The Champions League is now secured and I guess he wants to see Chelsea win the World Club Cup or whatever Fifa call it these days. But what then, what if they do? Go out and win it again? Despite protestations to the contrary, I am not convinced of this. How long does his ego need assuaging in that sense? Diminishing returns is about to set in, each trophy lifted with a lessening sense of fulfilment. That is not to say he will sell immediately but once was a long-term project may need redefining.
In that sense, FFP may yet help the owners of the richest clubs in the world. Looking at football now, to buy a club is not enough any more, the financial structure has to be there to sustain it as well. FFP may make that infinitely more manageable and football clubs will become more saleable assets.
It is somewhat perturbing though to read of his continued faith in Uefa’s regulations,
If the rules are well introduced, it will be a massive advantage to Arsenal Football Club, of course, and we will be well positioned for that.
They won’t be and his contract ends at around the time that will become proven. Will it be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the end of a managerial reign that has transformed the club in the same way that Herbert Chapman did in the previous century?
Back to the coming season. The squad for Arsenal will be all; Laurent Koscielny is on the verge of signing a new deal according to reports which a promising start. The manager does not want to wait until August 31st again before finishing his transfer business – I hope he kept his diary clear for August 8th when Yann M’vila has another medical pencilled in – and that is a good start although now he will find the crescendo for more signings is unstoppable; an unyielding and unforgiving cacophony.
The season starts in less than one month. That is a lot of time in football but as it gets closer, that time will seem to pass more quickly.