The season has now started, our players are back to the training ground, and those involved in the World Cup will be back next week. With the majority of our squad absent from the World Cup, the likes of Chamakh, Eduardo, Nasri, Arshavin, Walcott, Denilson, Vermaelen, Almunia and Fabianski will be back in training soon – a bit of a rarity, although I doubt we’ll see too many of them at Barnet on the 17th July. The youth team and reserves (well, there are no more reserves, but you know what I mean) are back in training (and have been for the last week) and they were joined by a certain Laurent Koscielny yesterday. The player has all but signed, and the fact he’s now started training is a big way of letting us know he’s signed without letting us know he’s signed.
Even though Francois Coquelin has joined Lorient FC already on loan and played a game – announced and match reported on the Lorient FC website, there has been no information on the official Arsenal site about it – so maybe we’ll get a double whammy tomorrow? Not to let us down, Ouest France has reported it in greater detail. For those French speaking fans out there, check out the news fresh off the press:
The article basically says we’ve reached a deal which could rise to 12 million euros, but is believed to start at approximately 8 million euros. Koscielny (pronounced “Cos She’ll Knee”…) has only one year in the top flight but he is very highly rated and Lorient didn’t want him to leave. He can still choose where he wants to go internationally, being both Polish and French.
The rumour mill is super high at the moment, with all sorts of goalkeepers and defenders being linked. The closest we’ve come to a goalkeeper is the potential signing of Mark Schwarzer, who at 37 and £2m is surely not the kind of signing we need – especially after is disastrous World Cup. Do we have to just trust in Arsene? Hmm, hopefully it’s a smokescreen and we’re actually after someone slightly better and slightly younger… yes we have Mannone and Szczesny in the waiting and of course, that’s the plan – fast track them into the first team and give them a mentor.
There is one interesting sub-plot going on behind the scenes and that is Arsene Wenger’s public admiration for the Japan player Honda. For those of you who haven’t read what he said about the Japanese international, here’s the quote from Arsene commentary on Eurosport:
“This Japanese team is based on a solid and collective defence in which everybody knows exactly what to do. When they get the ball they can give it to Honda – and the magic starts. When they get that genius Honda playing up front, he had shown what a top class player he is. For me he’s the best performer of the competition so far.”
Arsene often comments on players during his commentary, but of course, he can’t sign all of them, but I haven’t him laud that amount of praise on one individual… as soon as I read that, I thought, if Arsene rates him so highly, why not try and get him down at the Emirates? His agent said there has been no contact, although Milan are rumoured to be very interested.
“There are rumours abound but no one has contacted us or CSKA. In football you never know what can happen but right now not many clubs have great economic resources and I think that’s also true for Milan. He plays in a beautiful city for an important club, but obviously if there are offers from big European clubs it’s difficult to say no. At this time there are no bids and all in all he is happy at CSKA. We’ll see.”
After Arsene’s genius comment, many people have automatically linked him with us, but with CSKA currently holding his registration and likely to demand big money for the player – additionally, having only signed him in December – then it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
Finally, captain Cesc Fabregas was in the press today ahead of tomorrow’s Germany vs Spain game and took time to talk about the opposition:
”We have watched all of Germany’s games. When you are here, you don’t stop watching football and we know every team. They are a very strong side, probably the strongest side in the tournament at the moment. As a team they are very quick on the counter-attack but defend very well. I like (Bastian) Schweinsteiger. He is playing really well. He is having a great World Cup.”
If we only signed Schweinsteiger, it would be absolutely amazing, but how much would Bayern want for their talisman?
Only 11 days until the big “first game” against Barnet, it’s time to get excited…