Daily Archives: July 26, 2012
Captain Verm, Return of the King and More on van Persie
With the first pre-season fixture done and dusted, eyes are firmly fixed on Arsenal’s match against a familiar foe, Manchester City, in the magnificent Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium, a ground that has overawed Thomas Vermaelen. There has been no love lost between both sides in recent seasons, as it has been fabled that Arsene Wenger’s Army has become a feeder club to their oil-rich counterparts.
A lot has been going on at the club recently, as the team confirmed its squad numbers for the forthcoming season. Wojciech Szczesny has taken the jersey that was worn by legends like David Seaman and Mad Jens Lehmann, Olivier Giroud took the jersey vacated by Thierry Henry in his second coming while Francis Coquelin took the No. 22 jersey.
However, Lukas Podolski appears to be waiting patiently for Robin van Persie’s No. 10 jersey as he probably believes that his preferred option could be freed up by the Flying Dutchman’s exit.
Van Persie has dominated the headlines all summer long for more reasons than one. His current situation at the club has been made public, from his statement revealing that he wasn’t going to renew his contract to the way Arsenal has handled the transfer saga so far. Arsene Wenger has reiterated his desire to keep him times without number, and ESPN Star reports that he has told Manchester United and Manchester City to fuck off, as he doesn’t intend to strengthen his rivals.
With Arsenal not prepared to sell van Persie to their Premier League rivals, Juventus would be in pole position to secure his signature. The Italian giants have a great prestige but they made an initial meager £8m bid that was turned down by Arsenal.
The Telegraph reported that Juventus are preparing a second bid for Robin van Persie which, significantly, will be close to the £20 million threshold set by Arsenal. They are also prepared to make Van Persie the highest paid player in their history, with wages of around £190,000 per-week on a potential five year deal.
With the summer is well ahead of us, van Persie is certainly not short of options but Arsenal will only let their prized asset go when a club brings an offer worthy of a sale. Arsenal wants to keep van Persie because he’s the club’s best player, a feared and lethal predator in the opposition area and he’s capable of leading the club to glory.
Laurent Koscielny recently signed a new deal, much to the delight of the Arsenal faithful but he has also urged van Persie to remain at the club,
“Giroud and Robin van Persie can play together. Van Persie is one of the greatest strikers in the world. We all want him to stay and help Arsenal win a trophy.”
“I trust Arsene Wenger and I had to continue with him. Giroud wanted to have information [about Arsenal]. I did my job and told him that Arsenal was a club where there was everything he needed to improve.
Like Koscielny, I and many Gooners out there have high hopes for Olivier Giroud and I must express my disappointment in not seeing him as part of the squad involved in the Asian tour. Arsenal has a final preseason fixture against Lukas Podolski’s former employers, FC Cologne, before the Premier League curtain raiser against Sunderland so we’ll get a chance to see Giroud strut his stuff.
In other Arsenal related news, Thomas Vermaelen has expressed his delight in seeing his defensive partner, Laurent Koscielny, sign a new long term contract.
“I heard the news that Laurent extended his contract and I’m really happy. From the start when he came to Arsenal he has shown he is a great player and he is developing really well. I think he has done everything for the Club already and I hope he will stay a few more years.”
Vermaelen also spoke about his pride in leading the team currently basking the Asian sun,
“First of all I want to say that I am only captain for now. Last year I was vice-captain for Arsenal and I was really proud to be in that role for such a big club.
“I dreamed to play for this club and to play an important role as a vice-captain. It makes me really happy to help the players and help the team go forward and win trophies this year.”
The Verm is a dedicated, vocal, coordinated, influential and composed defender that can lead the line for years to come. He arrived in the shores of England after a good spell at Ajax Amsterdam. It was fabled that Vermaelen was watched over 49 times by Arsenal’s scouts to confirm that he was the man for Arsenal’s defense and he has proved that because he’s presently regarded as Arsenal’s star defender and he’s a regular starter whenever he’s fit.
He scored a header in his Arsenal debut against Everton in Goodison Park and his stellar performances didn’t go unnoticed as he was awarded a place in the 2009 PFA Team of the Year. A lot was expected of the Belgian defender in his second season at the club but an Achilles tendon injury he sustained in international duty kept him out of action for the best part of seven months. Vermaelen has also been plagued by injuries in his third season with the club.
Vermaelen has made 91 appearances for Arsenal thus far and he has 14 goals to show for it. In the poll created below, a large percentage of the Arsenal faithful want the Verm to be the first player to walk out on the pitch on the 18th of August against Sunderland.
I’m one of them. -__-
I’m looking forward to seeing the newly improved Arsenal backline under the tutelage of Steve Bould. Vermaelen’s quality is unrivaled and Koscielny was a massively improved player last season. I can only hope that the left fullbacks step their game up because Bacary Sagna is the football S.I. unit for consistency.
A collective defense line with Wojciech Szczesny improving behind them will make Arsenal’s rearguard impregnable. In 2006, Arsene Wenger managed a team that kept 10 clean sheets in a row in Europe’s elite competition, but conceding 49 league goals last season was an aberration.
Finally, King Thierry Henry has stated that he won’t rule out a second comeback to Arsenal in the MLS break,
‘I would like to go back to England with Arsenal for sure. I wasn’t planning to go back to play last season. I was there to train and they asked me if I wanted to play. Who knows what might happen in the future?
‘I’ve not yet spoken to Arsene about it so I don’t know what capacity I could go back in.’
‘Coaching does interest me but I don’t know what my talent is going to be after I have finished my career. But I will go back to Arsenal.’
It would be great having a legend like Thierry Henry in Arsenal’s backroom staff. C’mon, doesn’t the idea of Henry teaching Podolski how to place a shot with perfection bring butterflies to your tummy?
It was nice staying up late to watch Thierry Henry and his fellow MLS All Stars beat the free-spending Chelsea (3-2).
Chris Wondowlowski opened the scoring for the hosts but it was cancelled out by a John Terry header from a Frank Lampback of Notre Dame corner kick. Chelsea’s Quasimodo turned from provider to scorer when he latched on to a cross to slot the ball home from less than two yards out.
The MLS All Stars levelled the contest when Chris Pontius placed his effort past Ross Turnbull after receiving a Dwayne De Rosario cutback. Eddie Johnson won the game through a sucker punch in the 90th minute when he fired a shot that ricocheted off David Luiz’ leg, sending the keeper the wrong way.
My most treasured moment of the game was watching Henry (jokingly) trying to drag David Beckham away when the MLS All Stars had a free kick on the edge of Chelsea’s area. After a brief chat brightened up with a few smiles, Henry allowed Becks to take the free kick. However, Beckham’s free kick didn’t cause any collateral damage.
A preview of the Manchester City game will come in tomorrow’s post.
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