It’s Friday and there is a big weekend of football ahead of us, with the Valencia vs Arsenal game tomorrow night. The game should be the first game back for Theo Walcott and for Kieran Gibbs, so we’ll be able to see them both in competitive action. News on the grapevine is that Arsene wants to carry on with the 4-4-3 formation that he’s been playing pre-season and admits he does like it.
The Gibbs return is intresting because we’ve seen more of Traore and Silvestre at left back this pre-season and then of course we have the resident left back in Gael Clichy. At one point, with all the interest around Traore, I thought Arsene was going to let him out on loan again, but I think Arsene is waiting for the end of the transfer window, because if we did bring in another central defender, like maybe Hangeland (more on that later) then we could look at loaning out Traore.
Alex McLeish of Birmingham said:
“I’ve had a response from Arsene and it is not positive because he is going to keep Traore in the meantime and won’t make a decision on him until the end of the transfer window.”
Whilst Arsene himself talked for pretty much the first time about the potential signing saying:
“We had a look at him, but we have not contacted Fulham, have not contacted Hangeland and have not made our choice on him or anybody else.”
Whilst also commenting on the departure of Senderos:
“At the moment there’s an interest from Everton [in Senderos] but he is still our player. He has an opportunity to go because he has one year to go on his contract. We will see what happens in the next week. If he goes, and if there is an opportunity, then we will look. But we still have Silvestre, Gallas, Djourou, Vermaelen and Song. That’s five centre backs.”
The key phrases to pick up here are when Arsene says that “if he goes, if there is an opportunity, then we will look”. Sounds like it may be one in and one out in terms of Senderos and Hangeland, but I understand that there is a lot to do in both transfers before anything becomes certain. At least from a fans point of view it looks like Arsene is being active(ish) in the transfer market. Arsene recently saying that there was a plan to purchase one or two players. And I do think we’re looking at Chamakh, maybe Vieira and maybe Matuidi – on Vieira, Arsene’s concluded that we’re not near anything, and I do wonder whether it will happen, will it say to the world “my youth project has failed” and does Arsene even think like that?
“Not at the moment, no. We can still make do with one or two players more. One could be in the defensive areas, and one in the attacking areas.”
And the attacking area will be none other than Chamakh. You have the feeling that it will happen eventually this summer. Arsene is ready to play the waiting game, as he’s already taking about the last 5 days of the transfer window (which may be extended until the 1st of September as the 31st is a bank holiday).
“Usually the transfer market speeds up from August 26 up to midnight on 31st – especially in the last two hours.”
He went onto talk about Chamakh saying:
” The fee asked is too high. The player is under contract, so Bordeaux are making the decision. They can ask whatever fee they want. Will I abandon that trail? I don’t know. I will give myself a few days to think about it. He is an excellent player that works for his team and makes the other players good. They are the kind of qualities that we like.”
So, in summary, the transfer window is still open, we’ve got until the 1st of September to register players for the Champions League too, so as long as they haven’t featured already in European competition, they should be okay – Hangeland has played for Fulham, so he wouldn’t be legible. Matuidi and Chamakh would both be. As far as I am aware, neither Kolo Toure or Adebayor were registered for the qualifying round, and with most of our squad so young, adding three further players wouldn’t be a problem.
Oh, whilst, we’re talking about the Champions League, for those of you weren’t around today, we were paired with the mighty Celtic in the qualifying round of the Champions League, in what will be a tricky encounter.
So, it’s Friday and it’s the evening, so time to relax and get ready for the Valencia game which kicks off tomorrow evening at 20.30. Which I was going to preview at some point. But somehow I didn’t.
Oh well, there is always tomorrow… til then…