Rumor has it that the boss traveled to Switzerland to watch the Swiss dismantle poor Cyprus 4-1. Sure, he could have been there to watch Djourou (but not Senderos since he’s still injured) but, of course, the rumors are that he was there to watch Inler. I say this is all rumor because I cannot find any news reports putting Arsene in Switzerland last night and you’d think they’d be all over this story since they are the ones banging the ‘Inler to Arsenal’ drum.
There are some actual reports linking Djourou to Rennes for a season long loan. I’m of two minds on this one: on the one hand, Djourou will only get better by playing. On the other hand, he’d get even better by playing for Arsenal. He really made an impression on me so far this season and frankly I’d love to see the kid stay and compete for a spot in defense or possibly in that midfield position he covets. Of course, now with Song coming back (which is just a bizarre thing to say) and Silvestre an obvious and immediate third choice getting any spot in defense is going to be difficult.
The aquisition of Silvestre also makes selection and keeping all these players happy more difficult. Because now Arsenal have 9-10 guys competing for 4 slots. Obviously, the starters at full back are Sagna and Clichy and now they have cover of Eboue, Toure, Traore and Silvestre. But the center of the field is a bit of a jam: Gallas is not going to lose his starting spot unless he climbs on the professor’s desk and takes a huge dump in front of him, that’s about as close to a guaranteed spot on the team as you get. Which leaves Toure, Silvestre, Song, Djourou, and Senderos all fighting for that last spot. I can see some games where he’ll rest Gallas and start Silvestre — but that can’t be more than a handful of matches, really. So the million dollar question is; can you really see Djourou, Song, or Senderos dislodging Toure? I really have a hard time seeing that. No, it’s more likely that they too won’t get more than a handful of starts when Arsene needs to rest someone. So, barring any injuries, I see 4 players who won’t split more than 20 games among them. That’s why we’re hearing rumors that Djourou is going out on loan. If he stays, it will be interesting to see how the boss balances that congestion out.
Meanwhile, I have to admit that the midfield is looking a little thin. I just happened to cruise over to the dot com to refresh my memory of who’s on the team and noticed that they are putting up some rather strange divisions. Maybe it’s just for the sake of having 9 defenders, 9 midfielders, and 6 strikers or maybe that’s how Arsenal see all those players, but they are now officially listing Eboue as a midfielder and Theo as a striker. This means that 5 of the 9 midfielders currently listed are either injured or under the age of 19 and have never played a single professional match for Arsenal. Wouldn’t it be funny if Eboue is Arsenal’s first choice defensive midfielder all season? No. That’s not funny, that’s nightmare fuel — because then I have to listen to all of us Arsenal supporters bitch and moan all season about how horrible he is.
Yesterday was International Friendlies day and just about every player for Arsenal put in some work. Fortunately, not much happened in the matches — well, “not much” except Robin van Persie put up this spectacular goal.
I had to watch that over and over again. Could it be that RvP is back to 100%? That would be a pleasant surprise for Arsenal.
Before I sign off for the day (unless Arsene signs Inler this afternoon) I just want to rake over the dead coals of the Silvestre signing one last time. It’s done now, the boy’s a Gooner and of course I support him 100%. Also, as my regular reader knows, I am usually the first person to call for solidarity behind the player, the team, and the coach: just look at how I still want to give Senderos a chance! I think the signing just took me and many others by complete surprise and my initial reaction was quite negative. But, on reflection I think it’s a tremendous signing. Gunnerblog gave me some perspective on the whole affair: we just traded Hoyte for Silvestre AND got £2.25m out of the deal. Fair enough piece of business if you think about it that way. A vastly experienced defender, superb professional, who is hard working and dedicated and will be great cover should anything befall our current back 4 in exchange for a kid with some potential who was going to have a hard time making the first team no matter what. That’s smart business and good for our championship aspirations.
On that note, unless Arsenal sign Inler, I’ll see you folks tomorrow. See, I can be positive about Arsenal signing a Manc.
P.S. reports are that Liam Brady is currently under observation at a hospital in Dublin. Nothing more is known at this time, except that he felt “unwell” and checked himself in. May it be a simple thing and Godspeed on a quick recovery Liam.