Well as they say down in Westminster, 24hrs is a long time in Politics, and if football is a game of two halves, then the transfer window this year is subject to performances on the field in South Africa. Many football agents are crossing their fingers and hoping that their clients are able to double the projected transfer fees and ergo their commission by winning the golden boot etc. Realistically there will be certain factors that will cause many players to under perform. The most obvious being the altitude and of course the new Adidas ball. This ball is completely unpredictable in its flight and should lead to some embarrassing moments for goalkeepers. There are also risks for the clubs especially if their key players return injured. The injuries to Nani of Man U, Drogba of Chelsea are just the tip of the injury iceberg floating to Soweto quite soon. I shall keep my fingers crossed for van Persie, but I fear that his injury jinx will return and we will be without him for the start of the new season. Please may I be completely wrong on that one.
For what its worth, I hope that England win and that Joe Cole remains fit for reasons that will be obvious later. As for the other Gunners taking part, it would seem that Bendtner’s participation will worsen his groin injury and we could see him limping back to the Emirates in July for a prolonged spell of rest on full wages. The French squad are in complete disarray and when their coach is not organising the cosmic astral balance of his back four, he is trying to quench the gallic inferno of a player revolt over Titi Henry not being included in the first eleven of Les Bleus. Cesc Fabregas should play himself back to fitness whilst the on/off transfer saga rolls on and lets hope Carlos Vela can convince Arsene Wenger to keep him at the club. Arsene seems to be quite vocal on the official site at the moment and is emphasising the need to reinforce the defence, and about time too. I remain convinced that success begins at the back. So the stage is being set for new recruits, but how many?
The transfer activity at Arsenal is usually one of the least predictable things happening during a summer break, but this year, there are early signs that mean we as Arsenal fans can have more optimism than usual. The behaviour is for player contracts to be renewed or extended, then there are the disposals and creation of free agents from the squad, followed by the recruiting of replacements. The future of Sol Campbell remains at the time of writing uncertain, but the exit of Senderos and the refusal of a new contract for Gallas signals that a new Centre back is being considered. Laurent Koscielny of Lorient and possibly a Barcelona centre back along with Yaya Toure with cash for the Fabregas transfer appear to be the strongest rumours. A goalkeeper will be signed too, most bets suggest Schwarzer appears to be the target and Arsene has had a bid for £3million rejected by Fulham, but I guess that the lure of the Champions league will focus the player’s mind and sense will prevail.
So what of firm targets? Chamakh is already here before the June 11th deadline, and whilst our sources indicate that Joe Cole is almost a Gunner, the final signing may well depend upon the state of that player’s knee after the World cup. But again when all is said and finally done, the players joining Arsenal will be only be announced on Arse com, and late afternoon announcements on a Friday seem to be favourite over past years. There is no point slamming this blog and claiming that we make things up, we don’t… so end of! Over the years regular readers should agree with me that our sources get many more things right than a few other blogs that I could mention. What I am now convinced of is that next season’s squad will be stronger that last season especially if we can hang onto Fabregas. If we finished third, then the only way is up. It will be at the conclusion of the Emirates Cup before we really know the makeup of the final squad, Arsene very rarely buys in late August. He will also give extended periods of leave to those players involved in the World Cup.
I finally renewed my two season tickets at Arsenal because of my permanent love for the club, it was also helped by hearing the right statements of intent coming out of the Emirates. It now seems that we will concentrate on experience and the defence. Almost every Wenger team is naturally attacking but add to that the prospect of more clean sheets, and then the future will be ours. I will not make a prediction, but I believe that we will be there or there abouts come the run in next April and that is when the experienced buys this summer will bear fruit. The Champions League will remain a lottery with Mourhino at the Bernebeu, but I rate Arsenal to reach the semis, then who knows? The FA Cup is not an unrealistic prospect either, as our youth continue to mature. Pre-season will be their stamping ground as well as the ritual of the Carling Cup. I am really looking forward to the likes of Craig Eastmond, Luke Freeman, Francis Coquelin and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to make their reputations next season. Yes the future is bright, the future is Arsenal!