For the next 3 weeks I will be blogging from South Africa – destination 1 – Johannsburg. It’s very exciting. I have my pseudo match tickets, my South Africa currency (the Rand), I have my passport and about 20 jumpers – it’s going to be cold over there. I’ll try to ensure my blogging is half about my trip and half about what’s going on at Arsenal – as those who know me – know that I need my daily Arsenal dose!
Let’s look at the Arsenal Centre Defence Exodus – ACDE – which has started with Senderos and we think Gallas too (his deadline for signing his contract was the 31st May) and will continue with Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre – both who are now expected to leave for Celtic and PSG respectively. And based on these players and the other “releases”, check out this team of players:
Gallas – Senderos – Campbell – Silvestre
Belletti – Joe Cole – Ballack – Silvinho
Benjani – Petrov
There is a whole team of free transfers (bosmans) who could actually survive in the Premiership. For a mid-table team, for the likes of Fulham, Villa, Birmingham etc, any of these players could contribute to their team. For Arsenal, I think Joe Cole is one who could make a difference, and also, I wouldn’t mind adding Petrov in the mix. Will we sign any of them? I doubt it – as I’ve been tweeting about, I’m pretty sure that Joe Cole will end up at Sp*rs. I’ve had a few people talk to me about the signing of Ballack – to play alongside Cesc and Song – I really don’t think he’s an Arsenal type player. He’s the epitome of Chelsea’s era and I’d rather not – but from a pure footballing point of view, could he add something to our squad?
With four central defenders looking like they’re all on their way, we need to look to Arsene to bring in at least 2 as well as hoping that Djourou doesn’t get injured as well as keeping Harvard Nordtveit at the club next season. Yesterday I mentioned the potential signings of Koscielny and Mexes – nothing new on that front, but a very strong link to Hugo Lloris of Lyon – again – if it does happen, it will happen for £15m+ – he moved from Nice for £8m last summer.
I managed to catch some of Arsene Wenger on Sky Sports News and he was talking about the disappointment of Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri not going to the World Cup, saying:
“It’s disappointing but I hope they can transform that in the future of their career into even higher motivation, and come back with even more desire to show how good they are. That’s the only way we have in our job, and we forget many times that in this job you need to be strong mentally. There’s no big career without big disappointment, but it was a massive surprise, I must say. It was two massive disappointments for the players, of course, first. And for me, I must say it was hugely surprising on both occasions. I had contact with them after that and it is something that is very difficult to swallow, to be just out of the World Cup when you had a 90 per cent chance to be in.”
And personally, I still can’t understand the exclusion of both players – for me Nasri’s one is more of a shock considering his excellent form for Arsenal this season – looking at the French squad, you have to think that he’d get into that team. And if you are awake at 7am, you may want to tune in to SSN – apparently they have an exclusive interview with Arsene on the future of Cesc…
So, time to talk about the World Cup (well, my World Cup anyway) and I’m off later today to Johannesburg. I’ve got some of the WOA team (Bob + Nish) out in Cape Town and will be meeting them tomorrow morning. I have my pseudo tickets, which I’ll exchange at the airport. For those of you interesting, my game list is below – if you’re attending any of them, give me a shout via twitter, which will come straight to my UK and South African phone!
C1 v C2 – England vs USA (12th June, Rustenburg, 20.30)
E1 v E2 – Holland vs Denmark (14th June, Johannesburg, 13.30)
F3 v F4 – New Zealand vs Slovakia (15th June, Rustenburg, 13.30)
B1 v B3 – Argentina vs South Korea (17th June, Johannesburg, 20.30)
G1 v G3 – Brazil vs Ivory Coast (20th June, Johannesburg, 20.30)
B2 v B3 – Nigeria vs South Korea (22 June, Durban, 20.30)
Now as we all now, when I go away, we normally sign one or two players, so fingers crossed we’ll get two centrebacks and possibly a goalkeeper!
Fingers crossed! Wish me luck!