In his Friday press conference, Arsene Wenger spoke frankly about Silvestre and the in code about his interest in Barry/Alonso. First to the Silvestre story, Wenger let out that the player had already “been released” by Man U and was virtually at the signing table with Citeh — rumor is he’d even already had a physical with Man City — when Arsene swooped in and offered the player a spot at Arsenal. So, one of the questions that I had was completely put to rest; how on earth did Ferguson allow a player of any value go to a title rival? Simple, the player was released by the team and anyone who would pay the agreed upon fee (£750,000) could negotiate with the player. The fact that Fergie corroborates Wenger’s story makes me feel really good about this signing. Not only does Arsenal get a vastly experienced player who plays his heart out on the pitch, but they got him dirt cheap and the pulled one over on Ferguson’s acolyte Mark Hughes. I’ll bet if Silvestre stays healthy he will be seen by Gooners as yet another master stroke by the boss.
Meanwhile, the boss was more circumspect with his statements about Barry/Alosno. I’m lumping both players together here because, they are both 27, both play midfield, both are cup tied, both are Arsenal targets and both players fit Arsene’s quotes. Thus, I consider Arsene to be chasing both players and whichever one we get, I think Arsenal fans will be happy. I’d prefer Alonso because I think he’s a technically superior player, he’s Spanish, and he would fit right into the Arsenal midfield. On the other hand, Barry would bring steel and English-ness to the team, and let’s not let the importance of having Englishmen on the team fall to the way side. Rumor has it Arsenal have already negotiated a contract with Alonso but Liverpool is refusing to lower their value of the player at £18m, even though, as Arsene points out he’s cup tied. Villa, similarly, are stuck with their £18m valuation since they have already turned down a lesser bid from Liverpool. I suppose they could offer Arsenal the player for less, but wouldn’t that allow Liverpool the same chance to swoop for the player that Arsenal just did for Silvestre?
More importantly for me is I don’t get the sense that Barry wants to play for Arsenal. No. He wants to play for Liverpool, you know, to “fulfill his dream.” I think Barry is a smokescreen. Arsenal are in for Alonso and Alonso only. We’ll just have to wait and see. Just the other day I was preparing you all for a summer with no more signings and now here I am hopeful that the team will sign the one player I wanted all summer — starry eyed optimist that I am.
On the injury front, Diaby is getting better, Song is back, Silvestre has a strain, Rosicky is two weeks away and Cesc is being evaluated day-to-day to see if he’ll play on Wednesday against FC Twente. If there’s any chance he’ll get hurt, don’t play him. End of story. As for Diaby/Song, I suspect that Song will play in the holding midfield position but you know, after Wenger put Eboue there, it’s pretty much a crap shoot as to who will play where right now. In which case, I’m going with… Gael Clichy in the holding midfield spot. Why not?
It was inevitable after the signing of Silvestre but there are now two rumors about Senderos. One has him going to Milan (Vincenzo Morabito anyone?) and the other has him going to Newcastle. I think Arsene really likes Senderos, in spite of the collective wisdom of the Football Manager playing population, and wouldn’t be shocked to see him stay at the club. If they let Senderos go, there will only be 6 defenders left, right? That’s not enough depth to make a serious challenge for the two big trophies. Sorry, I’m skeptical.
The Story That Won’t Die
Almunia is making noise about playing for Engerland again. Dude… you don’t want that shiat storm. Almunia would have a better chance winning over Spurs fans after a switch than he would of convincing English fans that he should be the English #1. He would have to be the best keeper England ever had in order to just keep the blatant xenophobia down to a low roar. No, I think Capello would lose his job if he appointed Almunia and I stand by ready to eat my words.
Just an honorable mention to Rambo, who was selected to play for Wales in their World Cup run up. Good for you, son.
And I only got 7/10 on this quiz about Silvestre’s transfer to Arsenal. How many can you score?