Time To Fly To South Africa…

I write this blog post today, in reality I should be packing my bags – why you may ask? Well, of course, you’ve guessed it, I depart for South Africa tomorrow – a very exciting adventure to support England and of course, all the beloved Arsenal players that will be putting on a show out there too.

One player who technically isn’t an Arsenal player any more is Philippe Senderos and in reality, stints at Milan and Everton over the last two years have really meant that he’s not been an Arsenal player for about the last two years. I, for one, wish Senderos all the luck in the world. He always gave 100% when at the Arsenal and was very fond of the club. The major problems I believe were down to confidence and the ability to make a mistake, something which Arsene eventually had to call time on. But I do believe that his time at the Arsenal would have given him the experience he needs to go on and become a good player and I think after his training and experience at Arsenal, Internationally, at Milan and then up in Everton, he will finally become the player he was supposed to be under the guidance of Roy Hodgson. For any Liverpool supporters out there – I doubt Hodgson is going to be your new manager if he’s busy signing players down at Fulham…!

But back to all things Arsenal and we’ve got quite a few people down at the World Cup and for those of you who aren’t sure who’s going, here’s a quick overview of the World Cup Arsenal team…

Goalkeepers – None

Sagna – Song – Gallas – Clichy
(France) – (Cameroon) – (France) – (France)

Eboue – Cesc – Diaby
(Ivory Coast) – (Spain) – (France)

Van Persie – Bendtner –  Vela
(Holland) – (Denmark) – (Mexico)

Due to the desire to show you a 4-3-3 formation and due to the fact that Alex Song plays centre back for his country, I’ve put the Cameroonian at the back – hopefully that’s a good guide to who will be playing at the World Cup. The consensus says we should support France as we have 4 French players and a French manager, but I’ve got a sneaky eye on Holland – and I think most of you do – of course, I mean that as a second team – and it’s England as our first team!

And that will be my first game of the tournament, on Saturday – England vs USA – and I can’t wait – I am officially over excited, but I love it. Although Arsenal have no English players at the World Cup, we could end up with one, with the Daily Mail confirming that Joe Cole has been released by the club on a free along side Michael Ballack. The news broke just a day after £8m Benjani as well as Petrov and Sylvinho were released by Man City.

“Joe Cole and Michael Ballack will signal the start of a free transfer stampede when they are formally released by Chelsea. After Manchester City showed the door to striker Benjani, winger Martin Petrov and full back Sylvinho, Chelsea will follow by letting England midfielder Cole and injured Germany World Cup captain Ballack leave after failing to offer them new contracts. Cole will become one of the highest-profile free transfers in England, but will not hold talks with any club while he is with England’s World Cup squad in South Africa.”

As I said yesterday, I have major reservations on whether Joe Cole is anywhere near coming to Arsenal. My view is that he would stay at Chelsea, but with news that he’s now been released, I think he will go to one of 4 clubs. He wants a high pay packet, and Man City can certainly offer that, but only Man United and Arsenal can offer him guaranteed Champions League football. Being a London lad, it suddenly makes a move across the capital a little bit more appealing for us and for him. Of course Harry Redknapp is trying to get on the case, but I just can’t see Cole going to Sp*rs, it would be too much of a drop to go to a side who will never win the title.

In transfer news, I was crawling through the Lorient FC forums today to get some info on potential target Laurent Koscielny and found some very interesting information… here’s a snapshot in bullet point format:

  • We’ve scouted the player several times
  • We have spoken to Lorient about him in January
  • We had initially offered 5 million Euros which was rejected a month ago
  • Their director said that would sell for anything less than 15 million Euros
  • Their fans believe Koscielny is their best player
  • We came in with a second bid of 8 million Euros as well as the option to loan Francis Coquelin for a season
  • The club entered into negotiations and ending up rejecting the second bid
  • We came in with a final bid of 10 million Euros and the loan of Coquelin
  • This bid is said to be verbally accepted and could happen in the next few days
  • The forums also revealed that the consensus in France is that Mexes is joining us from Roma
  • The French centre back is said to be costing us about 10 million Euros too as he’s fallen down the pecking order at Roma

After finding out all of that, I really did feel like a detective – but I did feel more confident that we have a centre back or two on the radar and something could really happen in the next few days. Of course, these points were taken down by reading the Lorient FC forum, and although some did have sources, some didn’t – but I don’t see why they would be talking about this so much if there was nothing in it… and with Sol potentially off to Celtic and Gallas reportedly having agreed a 2 year contract worth £10m with Panathinaikos, both the aforementioned players should and could be very important and realistic signings.

For now my friends, adios – until tomorrow…

  • Arsefan101

    Really interesting stuff from the Lorient forums!! Interesting report and interesting potential signings!!

  • devday

    @ Arsefan101:

    On a separate note, news coming out of the Joe Cole camp is all about him signing for Sp*rs!!!

  • Goonerman

    As your goign away dev we should sign plenty of players, like you say it allways happens lol!
    id have to say joe cole will decide between 2 clubs not even 4 becuase it has been said that he really has no desire to leave london so surely it would have to between us and tottenham, but like you say i cant see them paying 90 to 100k a week for him becuase modric who is their best player is only on around 60k a week i think so that may make us sligth favourites but lets not forget Harry and joe are like lovers so that could have a part to play. to be honest he would be a great addition but he is not someone who will make or break our summer of signing, much higher on the agenda must be sorting out the whole defensive unit which im sure wnger is hard at work doing!

  • Goonerman

    sorry about the spelling that was done in a rush!

  • devday

    @ Goonerman:
    With Harry Redknapp very publicly keen on Joe Cole and their relationship in the past, the feeling around the transfer is that Sp*rs are ahead of the list. They are there with an offer and we haven’t heard a peep out of Arsenal. With Sp*rs he would be first choice, but down at Arsenal, would he be?

  • Yemi

    he would certainly be a first choice ahead of young theo in a 4-4-2 formation.

    ————– New GK————–

    Sagna — CB — Vermaleen — Clichy

    J.Cole — Song — Cesc — Arshavin

    ——–RVP — Chamakh ———–

  • devday

    @ Yemi:
    Do you really think we will go 4-4-2 or do you think he’d stay 4-3-3? You don’t have Nasri in your line up – and for me Nasri is one of our best players.

  • Yemi

    @ devday:
    And have a safe trip dev, My own first WC team is Nigeria (out of patriotism), spain second, Holland third, brazil fourth before england.

  • Yemi

    @ Yemi:

    Nasri is more of a central midfielder than a winger, We need that width in the team
    So it would be something like this

    ————– New GK————–

    Sagna/ebuoe — new CB/Djourou — Vermaleen/Nordviet — Clichy/Gibbs

    J.Cole/Theo — Song — Cesc/Nasri — Arshavin/Vela

    ——–RVP — Chamakh/B52 ———–

    We still got Rosisky, diaby and Rambo all centrally minded attacking midfielders. Not forgetting the fact that eboue can also play midfield. I think we should have tested eboue in the DM position, Something tells me he would do well there. He’s got pace and is strong and as a defender, his tacking ability should be good.

    Gallas, silvestre, senderos all out. Sol (a maybe)

  • Yemi

    @ devday:
    sorry, not @yemi but for dev

  • Arsefan101

    Yemi – no Rosicky, no Eduardo?

  • devday

    @ Yemi:
    I’d also prefer a 4-4-2 – I think for an attacking team, it bodes well. But Arsene seems content with the 4-4-3 and he’s been pushing it through the youth system too.

  • Francis

    @ Yemi

    i guess u are spoilt for choice….your formation will leave the middle of the park too weak…u need 2 holding midfielders to play the 4-3-3..thats why Diaby or Denilson feature for the most part with Song

    @ Yemi my team at the world cup is Ghana…followed by Holland

  • Yemi

    @ Francis:
    Rosisky is part of the excess midfielders we have. Edu is far from fit hence he is not in the line up(at least for now).
    As for the midfield, I have constantly said in this forum that we need a minimum of 3 players. The players i wanted were one DM, one CB and one CF.
    We got chamakh, We will likely get a CB but i fear wenger will stick with only song for the DM position with the option of fielding diaby, nasri, denilson, eastmond and rambo when song is unavailable therefore i would replace the DM for a GK both we need both. For me though, i don’t think we really need a GK, i think we should sell flappyhandski, retain alumina and draft manone and scenzcy(pardon my spelling) into the first team. If we have a good cover in DM and CB, whatever GK we field will be well protected

  • Francis

    @ Yemi

    I got you ….but rather than sell fabianski we could send him out on loan to gain more experience

  • Yemi

    @ Francis:
    i agree with you, but since flappy is 25, he might be desperate for 1st team action. But he has not taken the opportunities handed to him. The blunders against porto, b’ham really dented his image

  • parsi

    Well Philippe Senderos has gone and it looks like William Gallas is on his toes too.

    Its a shame really because I feel that both should have become Arsenal legends.

    The truth is the closest they ever came to becoming icons at the club was wearing the shirt numbers of former idols Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp.

    Big things were expected of Senderos and Gallas when both signed for Arsenal but neither really hit the heights expected of them.

    In Philippe’s case he is a confidence player and to be honest that confidence was continually beaten out of him either by being over-looked for first team action when in form or by Didier Drogba.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Senderos has nightmares about Drogba. He had plenty against him on the pitch.

    It’s funny that in this day and age we judge players so early in their careers. Back in the day players like Senderos were given a lot more time and more leeway when making mistakes.

    Look at Tony Adams in his early days. He wasn’t called a donkey for no reason.

    The difference is that Adams had the character and self-belief to overcome the criticism and become one of the biggest figure heads in Arsenal’s history. Senderos hasn’t got that.

    To me, Phillipe Senderos has got great ability and had his mental strength met that natural talent then we could have had a player who became even better than Tony Adams.

    Unfortunately Arsenal Football Club is too big for someone like Phillipe. Fulham will be a better level for him and I expect him to do well there.

    I’d like to add that people often forget that he took Cesc Fabregas under his wing and helped the Spaniard settle into London. I think he deserves a lot of credit for that.

    I wish Senderos well. In his case there will always be that question of ‘what could have been’.

    William Gallas is a different kettle of fish.

    When the Frenchman signed I was ecstatic to be honest and I truthfully believed that we got a better deal than Chelsea did in the Gallas-Cole swap deal. Especially when we received £5m too!

    Looking back at his time with us I’d have to say its been a bit of roller coaster ride for him. Despite this people will know that I love Gallas and rate him very highly. Always have and always will.

    I’ll admit though that I thought the move would have had more success. Especially on the trophy front.

    When he was announced as captain I thought at the time it was a good move. He was a winner and he could only lead Arsenal to silverware.

    It didn’t pan out that way.

    The captaincy was taken from him in controversial style. I don’t actually think he did a lot wrong. When criticising the squad he only said what a lot of us were thinking wasn’t he?

    Would there had been so much uproar had Cesc Fabregas said the same?

    I think regarding William Gallas he wasn’t really given a chance at Arsenal. He was never popular with Gooners but there are times when he didn’t really endear himself to many of us.

    Especially the Birmingham incident…….And surprise. I defended him then too!

    What went wrong with Gallas? He should have become a legend. He is a world-class defender and I’m gutted to see him go.

    The man should look back at his time with Arsenal and as in Senderos’ case think ‘what might have been’.

    Maybe if his attitude had been a little better there would be more Gooners out there, like me, who are disappointed with him leaving the club with no silverware and really as a bit of an outcast.

    It should have been a whole lot better for both.

    Lets hope that the next players who grace the prestigious numbers 6 and 10 fare better than their predecessors.

  • andrew

    I’m a Yank so I will be supporting the “Colonists” on Saturday. “Don’t Tread on Me” :-)

    My “second” team is also Holland. I love me some RVP and would love to see him have a great tournament, like my hero Dennis Bergkamp in the ’94 World Cup here in the US.