Injuries, Interlull and Transfer Speculation
With the Premier League just a stone throw away, a set of friendly fixtures have been scheduled to take place in midweek, and Arsenal has sent its fair share of ambassadors to represent their nations. Among the friendly games, there are no much mouthwatering prospects but a repeat of the European Championships quarterfinal fixture between England and Italy will be worth half an eye.
For what its worth, there’ll be no penalty shoot-out to decide England’s fate this time. The last time I checked, there are three certainties in life; death, taxes and England losing on penalties.
However, some Gunners have been forced to pull out of their national teams because the gods of injuries have ravaged the Emirates yet again. I guess the Jack Wilshere sacrifice wasn’t good enough. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a stormer against Cologne but it’s unfortunate to know that the Ox has suffered an ankle injury that would sideline him for a while. Woy Hodgson has more injury woes to his team as Joe Hart and Danny Sturridge have also pulled out as well.
A few Gunners are expected to lock horns against each other as well. Thomas Vermaelen and Robin van Persie will have a showdown against each other while Andrey Arshavin and Gervinho will be on opposing sides as well. Olivier Giroud was called up to represent Les Bleus in their friendly encounter against Uruguay but Laurent Koscielny will be absent from the French side as he has picked up a calf strain.
With the Premier League curtain raiser just days away, Arsenal has added Kos the Boss and the Ox to its injury list that’s presently occupied by Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and
Abou Diaby Bacary Sagna. Per Mertesacker is odds on to step in for Koscielny and the Ox’s presence won’t be missed because Arsene Wenger has a million and one options in midfield.
As expected, there has been some transfer news dominating proceedings in the Arsenal blogosphere.
Starting with potential arrivals, The Metro reports that Real Madrid’s deep-lying playmaker, Nuri Sahin, is set to decide on his future this week with many teams (Arsenal included) waiting patiently for his signature on a temporary basis. He has been given the go-ahead by his manager, Jose Mourinho, to get some playing time elsewhere as he failed to secure a first team berth in Santiago Bernabeu, with a meager 10 appearances last season.
Many Gooners are drooling with the prospect of Nuri Sahin in the team and he’ll be the icing on a well-baked transfer cake by Arsenal if he secures a loan switch to the Emirates. AC Milan, Lyon and Turkish duo Galatasaray and Besiktas have all been linked with moves, while Liverpool are understood to have made an offer over the weekend. It will be a real battle for Sahin as all interested parties require his services on a temporary basis.
There has also been some reports about Arsenal engaging AC Milan over a shock swap deal which would involve Arsene Wenger’s long term admirer, Phillippe Mexes, moving over to the Emirates while the World’s Best Striker,
Lionel Messi Nicklas Bendtner, would move to the San Siro. Mexes has been in some hot soup recently, as he pulled out from Milan’s pre-season adventure to stay at home with his pregnant wife. The Italians are upset about the defender’s refusal to join the team in the American tour and they are looking to part ways with him.
If this move goes through, it would be heralded as a very good piece of business by Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal hierarchy. According to Arseblog News, Bendtner has already declared that staying in Arsenal is not an option, and I strongly believe that Arsenal has no plans to keep him as well.
There’s also some side talk about Tottenham launching a £9.5m bid for Yann M’Vila (via the Metro). I don’t believe that the folks at Rennes will allow their prized asset to leave for such a paltry amount but if he succeeds in going to Tottenham, many Gooners out there will be the ‘P’ in pissed. In my opinion, news about M’Vila has been taken with a pinch of salt because Rennes has placed a monumental price tag for his services.
On departures, Alex Song continues to cause a stir in the Arsenal realm. The Daily Mail has reported that Barcelona has upped their bid to £17m in their attempt to lure him out of Arsenal. Tito Vilanova intends to use Song as a replacement for the departed Seydou Keita but the Cameroonian gem has acknowledged their interest and has stated that he’s happy at Arsenal,
“I am not going to lie if I said there is no interest but I am at Arsenal and I am happy at Arsenal,
“Barcelona are the best team in the world, and speculation will always continue until the window closes.”
Like Robin van Persie, Alex Song’s transfer speculation with a move away from the Emirates has brought mixed emotions to the Arsenal faithful. Many Gooners still laud Song for his newly-found attacking verve but he was a bit suspect for some of the club’s shortcomings in defense because he failed to do his “primary job” in midfield. Last season, Mikel Arteta was very balanced and mature in his box-to-box role, supporting the attack when he was needed as well as sweeping Song’s tracks when he forayed forward.
Aaron Ramsey lacked the positional awareness to wipe’s Song’s butt when he waltzed forward leaving Arsenal deeply exposed through the middle.
Whatever your opinion of Song is (whether good, bad or ugly), he’s still needed at the Emirates and I will be unhappy if Arsenal sells that bloke when he’s just hitting top gear. At 24, Song’s best years are ahead of him and I hope that Arsenal does well to sort out his contract as well as that of Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie.
I’ll keep you posted with every development.
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