Campbell / Koscielny / Fabregas / Goalkeeper

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 £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 £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:

“It 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 £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.

The Fairytale Is Over: Goodbye Eduardo, You Will Be Missed

Well after all the rumours, it has officially been announced that Eduardo da Silva has been sold to Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of around £6 million.

And what a truly sad end to his Arsenal career that is.

I am actually really upset. As many people have already mentioned, he was a humble person and didn’t deserve what happened to him. He struggled when he first arrived but by October of 2007 he had arrived.

This guy was the real deal.

I’ve never seen a guy who could finish with the coolness this guy did. I loved how this guy scored goals – it was if time stood still and he had all the time in the world. Once he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, there was only one outcome.

His finishing was immense. The two goals he scored against Everton were things of beauty. Watch them again, they were stunningly good goals. Then there was the other brace against Blackburn in the Carling Cup – extremely cool finishes. And of course, there was his awesome goal against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium, when he chested the ball down in the 6 yard box and lashed in a scissor kick.

I’m not exaggerating here, at that point he was the best finisher in the Premier League.

Look back on old match commentaries from the goals he scored – no-one had nothing but superlatives for him.

But then of course, there was that faithful night at St Andrews on Saturday February 23rd, 2008.

I will never forgive Martin Taylor for what he did, and I am still outraged as I was 2 years ago. Arsene Wenger said Taylor shouldn’t play football again and I agree. What a disgrace.

I was disgusted from the media for their comments, and even more furious at Taylor for his extremely reckless “tackle”. Quite frankly I can’t post online what I’d like to happen to this “footballer”.

And I suppose this just brings back all those horrible memories; the sense of grave injustice, the shocking injury to Eduardo and ultimately the end of his potentially great Arsenal career.

Because even after his brave and courageous recovery, he was never the same again.

He showed glimpses now and then on his return, scoring a brace against Cardiff City in the FA Cup, and that stunning volley he scored against Burnley at The Emirates.

But struggles with other injuries limited his playing time and disrupted his comeback, and Arsene Wenger’s new formation of 4-3-3 meant that the team no longer really could accommodate his style of play. And of course, the intensity and physicality of the Premier League is something that Eduardo has struggled to come to terms with, and who can blame him after everything he has been through?

So it is a sad end to Eduardo’s career at Arsenal, and I haven’t been so upset to see a player leave for a long, long time.

This gifted individual had taken us Arsenal fans through a real roller-coaster ride over the last 3 years, and I wish “Dudu” nothing but the best of luck at his new club. I can’t remember and Arsenal story as emotional as his, and I truly hope that he can re-ignite his career and do what he does best – scoring goals on a regular basis.