This week has been quite a busy week in the wonderful world of Arsenal, and after taking stock and then signing three players in Sol Campbell, Samuel Galindo and Wellington Silva, it’s time to turn our attention onto the game this weekend.
Before I do… (and you all knew that was coming)… the re-signing of Sol Campbell has got a lot of minds thinking about the possibility of re-signing other players. And of course, if we are going to buck the precedent that Arsene set in both a) age and b) returning players then who else could / would / should we sign. However, one question to ask, is whether Arsene has really changed the precedent – most players left because they wanted to and / or the boss wanted them out – but Sol was different – he was a player who had mental issues rather than anything else. He wanted a fresh challenge and couldn’t stand the kids coming into his place. Now that he’s left, he’s realised what the difference playing at Arsenal and playing at other clubs is all about. He has realised that he can play a part within a squad and within a team. He has signing as a backup player and one on a relatively low wage. Rumours have it that Sol didn’t even require a sign on fee (which would be stupid of him to ask).
I’ll take a Sol, with some lime…
So why didn’t we sign Vieira? Well – with Campbell on £20,000 a week and no sign on fee – also being a player who would be quiet in terms of demanding to play, but at the same time, when called upon could make a difference… but Vieira signed in order to play first team football – and we couldn’t offer him that – he also signed with a £1m sign-on fee on £140,000 a week wages, again, not something we could do or should have thought of and that’s exactly why Arsene didn’t go near him.
Vieira, no way Jose!
So, what of Matty Flamini – well the former Arsenal player is a different kettle of fish all together. Firstly, he left Arsenal against the wishes of the Arsenal management and board. We offered him a treble your money deal and he was part of a very good team that almost won a lot of things. He left us and said a few things about Le Boss and the club that weren’t too nice. I remember when I met him in Vegas, he was very dismissive of Arsene, swearing about him and saying a whole host of things. The player was also known for his disruptive influence and one thing he forgot was all the effort that was put into him to make him a household name. At Milan, he’s hardly done anything and that’s why he is keen on making a move. He has fallen lower and lower in the pecking order for his club and country and no football means potentially no world cup.
If we did bring him back, it would be completely different. He’d have the upper hand – on, by the way, we’d have to fork out about £5m+ for him and whack him on wages of £75,000 to keep him happy until he decided to leave in 2 years time. And what we do with Alex Song, Denilson, Diaby, Ramsey? Would Flamini go first, on what merit? Diaby and Song have looked exceptionally good in the last few weeks and of course, Cesc’s place cannot be questioned.
Flamini, no thanks!
Don’t think I don’t recognise how much of a good player he was for us when he was with us, but his character is not something I really want at the club – we finally got rid of Adebayor and managed to tame Gallas and as Traore says the dressing room is in good spirits.
So, who else could we bring back? Well, Thierry is an option, but if anyone watched him for Barcelona last night against Sevilla, it’s quite obvious to see he is a spent force – whether his position on the left is not preferable for him or whether Sevilla were just marking him out of the game, I think his overall ball play and passing was so off, it was scary and to think what was of him. The thing with Arsene is that a lot of his work is about rejuvenating the team when players age and since Thierry’s left, he’s not been the player who graced the Premiership in the way he did.
Thierry, as a coach, one day
Who else does that leave? Lassana Diarra looks pretty good in the role he has at Real Madrid, but it’s impossible to think of re-signing him – his attitude, his wages, everything would be a no-go. He is one of those players that we should have kept on hindsight – he is now first choice for France and Real Madrid… But what about Matthew Upson? He’s available for £5m and £60,000 but those figures just make me justify the Sol signing instead. I’d expect Silvestre and Senderos not to be with us in the 2010 / 2011 season, so maybe, just maybe, our third and fourth choice could be Djourou and someone else? Will that someone else be promoted from the youth or will we sign another centre half soon, and if so, will it be Matthew Upson?
Matty Upson as third / fourth choice… maybe!
So, that’s where I’ll stop talking about the re-signing of old players for the moment and take a sneak preview of the Bolton game (which I will look at in more detail after Arsene’s Friday press conference), but news is that both Cesc and Clichy are back in the squad. And if Clichy is back in the squad, you would be tempted to start the boy, right? Which means we may see a full team except for a DM and a striker…
With Denilson out, who will the midfield trio be:
Ramsey – Cesc – Diaby
Nasri – Cesc – Diaby
Eastmond – Cesc – Diaby?
It’s a tricky one – as both Cesc and Diaby like to go forward and are pretty good at it – so out of the above, the last option looks like the one I would play against Bolton as Eastmond is a snap at people’s heels type of defensive midfielder, but with no experience at this level, is Bolton away a game too much for the youngster? I’m sure we’ll find out more about who will play tomorrow, but someone who may not be in the squad is Wham, Bam, Thank You Fran, as the midfielder is locked in talks with Arsenal, but in fact has all but virtually signed for Athletico – if I was a betting man (which I am), I would put money on it that Merida will be at Athletico Madrid next season. The issue to think about is whether the compensation levels that would be owed to Arsenal can be paid now or in Summer. If he is going to go, then I’d say go now, we can concentrate on giving valuable first team experience to other players who have their heart in it!
Wham, Bam, Thank You Fran!