It looks like Sol Campbell is moving to Newcastle United, which isn’t really that surprising. Arsenal can’t really offer Sol guaranteed football every week and at Newcastle he’ll probably be a regular. It would be interesting to know what wages Newcastle are paying him though, considering they are reportedly tightening their belts and Sol notoriously seeks the higher pay-packet.
And that brings us to Laurent Koscielny. After spending somewhere in the region of Â£10 million for his services, it’s clear that Arsene’s 3 main central defenders will be Djourou, Vermaelen and Koscielny.
There’s been a lot of speculation from Arsenal blogs about whether the young Frenchman is good enough but Arsene and his back room staff are starting to get a reputation for unearthing top quality defenders from relative obscurity. We had Bacary Sagna in 2007, Vermaelen in 2009 and we now have Laurent Koscielny. People cite playing in Ligue 2 a couple of seasons ago as a reason why he isn’t good enough, but the guy is only 24 years old. Andrei Arshavin didn’t exactly light the world on fire in his earlier years but look at how good he is now.
And I suppose I have to talk about our captain, Cesc Fabregas.
In my younger days I would happily speculate about transfer rumours and stories but these days I’m not bothered until something actually happens. Anyone can say a deal has been done or that he’ll move next year but it’s all hearsay. I’ve read in some places that Arsenal and Barcelona have “agreed” that Cesc will stay one more year and will move to Barcelona next year. Well that story is pretty convenient isn’t it? He might well move next season but that doesn’t mean a deal has been struck now.
If I’m honest, I guess I just don’t care about the situation anymore. People ask me about Cesc leaving and I tell them I’m not bothered. It’s been dragged out so long I couldn’t care less about whether he stays or goes. Arsenal have clearly said that they don’t want to sell, and it’s obvious Barcelona won’t stump up the cash, so no amount of b*llocks from Barcelona coaches, staff or players about Cesc’s DNA will change the fact he won’t be leaving unless we’re offered at least Â£50 million.
If Cesc stays, then great. If he leaves, then good luck to him. He’s always given 110% when he’s worn an Arsenal shirt and has never disrespected the club like plonkers such as Hleb or Adebayor. The club always comes first and is far bigger than any player, and we’ve learnt that over the years. Players like Vieira, Henry and Bergkamp have left the ranks over the years but we’ve always coped and pretty well by all accounts. As many have already pointed out, Wilshire and Ramsey are promising youngsters who already look top drawer and could step into Cesc’s shoes.
I will remember the comments he made before the World Cup, when he talked about a discussion he had with Arsene Wenger:
â€œIt was probably the greatest conversation I have had with someone in my life.”
I would love to know why that was the case.
Finally we come to the goalkeeper situation. We’ve been heavily linked with Mark Schwarzer, which has surprised me really, because while I’ve always believed he was a decent goalkeeper, I doubt whether he’s good enough for Arsenal. I realise the ridiculousness of that statement when we’ve got goalkeepers such as Manual Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski on our books but Mark Schwarzer?
But it is an area that we seriously needs addressing. For the last 3/4 seasons, we’ve had a major handicap of having a poor goalkeeper. Last season, we were close to pulling off a remarkable sequence of wins towards the end of the campaign which would have given us a fighting chance of winning the title only for it to be completely ruined by Almunia’s comedy moment against Birmingham City at St Andrews. I know Almunia has made some mistakes in his time but I struggle to find one as ridiculous as that.
I just wish Arsene would spend Â£10/12 million on a top quality goalkeeper – because if you got 5/6 good seasons from him then it would be an excellent investment. Goalkeepers generally stay at a top club for a good number of seasons (Van Der Sar, Cech, Reina, etc.) so I don’t see why Arsene is so reluctant to splash out on a keeper.