T-minus 5 days until Arsenal play in the first pre-season friendly against Barnet and the squad is starting to take shape.
First, it was announced this morning that Adebayor is in talks with Man City to shore up their need for a big, languid, striker who occasionally scores eye-wateringly beautiful goals. The fee is reportedly £20m and could go some way toward buying a replacement and pulling in the last piece of the puzzle in midfield.
In a bit of a surprise move, last month Wenger publicly stated that the club are interested in £10m rated Bordeaux striker, Marouane Chamakh should Adebayor leave and so pretty much everyone expects that Chamakh would be the replacement.
I know a lot of folks will be happy to see the back of Adebayor, but I’m not one of them. He’s one of Arsenal’s best strikers and he adds a whole new dimension to the attack that we lacked for so long. I know, he was pitiful and lazy and off sides over 40 times last year. I also know that the list of grievances for some folks is long and varied.
But I was kind of hoping that Cesc and Wenger would sit him down and just shake his tree a bit, get him to snap out of these doldrums. But it looks like that never happened and now he may be off to Citeh.
I haven’t ever seen Chamakh play outside of the YouTube videos that show him missing a lot of goals but if he’s the type of guy who can hold the ball up, work hard, and get the occasional header, then he and Bendtner will be pushing each other for playing time. The other interesting fact about Chamakh is that he plays for the Moroccan national team, in spite of having the ability to play for France. What this means if he comes to Arsenal is that, yes, he will be playing in 2010 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Which is a wash because Adebayor would have as well — well theoretically, if he didn’t get kicked out of the team again.
Either way, striker is not that critical a position for me. We’ve got Robin van Persie, Eduardo, Arshavin, Bendtner, Walcott, and Vela who can all play there. If the first two are healthy, I have no concerns — of course, that’s a pretty big IF, so it makes sense that Arsene is looking for one more.
In the midfield, reports have M’Bia signing for l’OM today, which takes him off our transfer targets list, but frees up Lorik Cana who has hinted that a move was in the works (with an unspecified club) as soon as the club that he captained signed a suitable replacement.
Hell, for Adebayor’s £20m (and his £80k/wk salary) we could get Chamakh (£10m), Cana (£6.5m), and Matuidi (£2.5m)! Unlike last year, I think it’s pretty clear that the fan’s, and player’s, agitation for some sort of serious experienced signing has reached the ears of Arsene and the board. I’d be shocked to the core if they sold Adebayor and sat on the money.
I’m also ruling out Felipe Melo today as reports have him undergoing a physical. I was always underwhelmed by the performances I watched, though I was impressed with his passing range, so the fee of £22m always seemed a bit steep. But as CaribKid pointed out in yesterday’s comments that’s what happens when you are a starter for Brazil.
With all of the above said, here’s the key thing to remember:
We have all of this month and all of August to go before the transfer window closes so it’s a bit premature to start panicking. Now, if Ade is sold and we still haven’t brought anyone in by the start of the season (August 15th away to Everton) well, then I might get a bit tetchy.
Gooner of the Year
We must get a different reader here than at the dot com, because our poll for Gooner of the Year, taken earlier this season, came up quite a bit different than theirs. It wasn’t even close, Arshavin won by a landslide in my poll.
Irregardless how we voted, congratulations are in order for Robin van Persie who scooped the Player of the Year award over at the dot com. He had a good season and remained relatively healthy for the whole year. Thank you sir, may we have another?
England’s Future #1
This will not surprise my regular readers, but for the new folks, prepare yourself for a hell of a shock: the Yank who writes about Arsenal thinks that if Almunia gets his British passport, AND he’s selected by England’s Italian coach, AND he’s got gigantic balls, then he should play for England.
I know the arguments, he’s not English because his mum and dad aren’t English. But frankly that’s an old way of looking at the world. Now days, people can change nationalities, that’s just the reality and I think we need to get over the old, biological, and in some ways xenophobic, way of looking at the world. Fabrice Muamba is English, right?
That said, would I play for England if I was him?
NO FUCKING WAY.
Don’t get me wrong, since Almunia is eligible for an English passport I think he should get it, at the very least him having the ‘correct’ passport will shut up some of the 6+5 ers. But there is no way in hell you could get me to pull on that white shirt because the criticism I hear you all level at your best players, home town boys that you all supposedly love, would turn quickly to vitriol the first time he made a mistake.
The problem is, as a ‘foreigner’ he will never be good enough in many people’s eyes. Twitchy Redknapp had a rip at him this spring when he was just rumored to be thinking about trying out. The first time he doesn’t command his penalty box, the boo boys will come out and every media outlet from Penzance to Berwick upon Tweed will be calling for Calamity James’ reinstatement to the team.
I don’t know how the English national team players handle you guys as it is, but with everyone in England and potential teammates, like Ferdinand, saying that they don’t want him to do it, I’m just going to say that he shouldn’t do it. He’s not man enough to take all that on. No one is. Just get your passport Manny and give up on your dream to play in any World Cup.
If that crazy mother fucker gets his passport and gets chosen for the England team, then I’ll be here, in America, rooting him on to glory. Why not?
He’s only 34
Former Arsenal striker, John Hartson, has brain cancer. He’s only 34 and just a few years out of the game for gods sake. I really do wish him and his family the best of luck and a speedy recovery.