Daily Archives: July 10, 2012
As the new season edges closer, football will do the talking once more. The European Championships offered the lovers of the beautiful game a welcome distraction for the best part of one month and many lessons were learned in the course of the tournament.
I don’t know about you, but Euro 2012 taught me that you could actually win a trophy without using a striker. It also showed the world that waiting to take the final penalty for your team can last for all eternity and of course, you can make a pose like Arnold Schwarzenegger after scoring an incredible goal.
From an Arsenal perspective, Gooners had the chance to see their heroes fire their cannons. However, the new season has began in earnest as the players have reported to the Emirates to begin their training schedules. Euro 2012 participants still have their leave of absence to recuperate.
Laurent Koscielny was rightfully called up to represent Les Bleus in the tournament but it was an uphill task competing with Phillippe Mexes and Adil Rami for a first team berth. Mexes’ suspension paved the way for Bosscielny against the eventual winners, Spain, and it’s fair to say that the defender made a good account of himself in that match.
Robin van Persie’s recent shenanigans have served as a wake-up call for Arsenal in terms of the way contracts are been handled. Despite the fact that van Persie has been dominating the headlines, Theo Walcott is faced with an equally similar situation, as he has only one year left in his deal.
While van Persie has made his intentions known, much to the rage of the Arsenal faithful, Walcott has remained coy and there are surely measures put in place to ensure that he puts pen to paper on a new long term deal.
Arsenal isn’t taking such chances with Koscielny, as Arseblog News has reported that the Gunners are looking to extend the Frenchman’s stay at the club. Koscielny’s current deal expires in 2014, but the Gunners are looking to keep the center back till 2017.
The way his career has turned around is a massive fairytale. Five years ago, he was plying his trade in Tours FC, a Ligue 2 outfit. In his second season at Tours FC, he was an ever-present figure, missing only four league appearances and he earned a place in the Ligue 2 Team of the Year at the end of that season.
FC Lorient snatched him up for €1.7m and he was also a regular starter in the mid-table outfit, amassing a 100% tackle rating. With the exits of Mercenary Gallas, Phillippe Senderos and Mikael Silvestre, Arsene Wenger offered this lad a chance to play top flight football on a consistent basis.
He notched up 43 appearances in his first season at Arsenal and even got on the scoresheet three times. Last season, Koscielny endeared himself into Arsenal hearts with consistent stellar performances that even made him to overshadow Thomas Vermaelen in the heart of Arsenal’s defense.
Vermaelen ran out of superlatives for his defensive partner labelling him as a key ingredient to Arsenal’s success story next season. The Frenchman played a lot of football last season but the way he matured tremendously has been a major jaw dropper.
Unlike Koscielny that will remain at Arsenal for a long while, van Persie’s future has been decided. However, some optimistic Arsenal fans believe that people are having half-assed assumptions, and are treating RVP like Nasri.
For what it’s worth, van Persie has not gone yet, and as far as we know, this can turn out to be a plot to hold Arsenal for ransom. People change minds, and people are susceptible to influence.
Wayne Rooney 2010 anyone?
If he does decide he will stick around, Arsenal should welcome him back with open arms, because from a footballing point of view, he is almost “immediately” irreplaceable.
Aaron Ramsey has stated that van Persie’s teammates are in the dark on this issue and they’ll wait to see how things pan out. In my opinion, this can only be sorted out by Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger and it’s fair to say that we are in for a long summer with the van Persiegate dominating the headlines till August 31st.
Moving over to transfer tidbits, there have been some headlines making waves in the Arsenal blogosphere.
Starting with players seeking to ply their trade outside Arsenal, the club has confirmed that it has received a bid from Fiorentina for the services of Marouane Chamakh. Denilson was also in action for Sao Paulo in their 3-1 victory against Coritiba.
Moving over to the spicy aspect which involves players linked with moves to Arsenal, Sky Sports has reported that the club is set to take a young French starlet M’Baye Niang on trail. The youngster currently plies his trade from Caen in the Ligue 1, but his manager, Patrice Garande, is adamant on not allowing him to go. The bloke scored twice in 14 appearances for Caen.
The Express has tabbed Fiorentina’s dynamo Stevan Jovetic as the Gunner’s No. 1 target and potential replacement for van Persie. Jovetic is a great prospect and his versatility is a tool a club like Arsenal will be willing to exploit. He’s a center forward that’s also adept playing on the flanks or in the hole behind the main striker.
He’s an expert dribbler, technically astute and his flamboyant style of play as well as his close control has drawn football critics to compare him with the great Roberto Baggio. He can’t be compared with van Persie in terms of his finishing ability but Jovetic is the type of forward that can give you a handful of goals that can come in handy, especially when the chips are down.
In four seasons with Fiorentina, Jovetic has scored 22 goals in 84 appearances.
To wrap things up, ex-Gunner great Marc Overmars has been appointed as a technical director in Ajax. Overmars was part of that golden era that amassed the League and Cup double in 1998. He made 142 appearances for Arsenal and scored 41 goals before leaving for Barcelona in 2000.
I can remember vividly that his sale to Barcelona (£25m) made him the most expensive Dutch player of all time. In his prime, I think that he was faster than Walcott?
That’s today’s bit.
Have a great Tuesday.
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