Friday, April 30, 2010

Leave Andrey Alone!!! (Sob Sob)

by Rachid

There hasn't been much football to sink our teeth into and as a result Arsenal fans worldwide have been scraping the barrel for Arsenal related content on the internet. As such, many were up in arms when they came across some comments about Arshavin wanting to play for Barcelona. According to claims by majority of the press, this is what Arshavin said:
 “Even playing just one season for Barcelona would make a pinnacle of my whole career,” the Arsenal midfielder said.
“Barca are the best team in the world and I enjoy their style of play so much,
“But after watching them against Arsenal in the Champions League quarter-finals the enjoyment has quickly turned into sorrow. They are so much better than anybody else at the moment.”
According to what I've read, these words came from an interview Arshavin did while in Russia. The first thing I thought when I saw this was "oh here we go again". Everyone's gonna get on his back about this just like they did with what he said in January (while the transfer window was open) about us needing new players, which was rehashed after the window closed to make it just seem like he's complaining idly. It's obvious that this whole nonsense came to being to not only try to unsettle the player but also to turn us against him. He's been pretty inconsistent this season and it makes him an easy target for the ire of Arsenal fans. It wouldn't be far fetched to think that the contents of the interview were changed during translation to create controversy. It doesn't seem to have crossed many Arsenal fans' minds though. Arsene Wenger, while not pleased with the whole issue, seems to be taking it with a pinch of salt though:
"Yes, I’m very disappointed [by this story] because he shows a completely different attitude [to me]. He wants to extend his contract with us and stay with us so the noise coming out of Russia is very difficult to explain. He looks to be very happy here.

"You should ask him where it comes from. Usually you have direct access to him, you can ask him where that comes from. I don’t forbid you to talk to him. But I take with a little bit of distance what comes back translated sometimes with the help of some agents who want to move the players.

"I think everybody has the freedom to speak but you want to make sure first of all that you respect your club. I just put a question mark on the things that come back translated.”
I think what Wenger's saying is that he's skeptical to believe that Arshavin really said this but at the same time he seems pretty annoyed at how often this is happening with him. He's known as a very frank individual and he should know better than to trust these journalists who look to create shitstorms from his comments.

There's a lot of vitriol directed at him from Arsenal fans on the internet too. Many are now criticising him for his on and off performances throughout the course of the season and some are even saying we should sell him to Barcelona. What most people are on his back about though is that he's lazy. People are making it seem as though he didn't contribute this season. He's scored 11 goals this season and had 9 assists. We couldn't possibly ask more of him when he got two significant injuries this season and also was being played in a position where his height (or lack thereof) put him at a major disadvantage. There's no need to single him out for criticism. There are far lazier people in this Arsenal team and if you're gonna talk about laziness, their names should be called first. Names such as Almunia, Denilson, Diaby and Sagna to some extent.

Apart from all that though, there's not much else happening with the club this week. Arsene Wenger revealed a little more of his transfer plans yesterday. He says we'll be signing a player before June 11th (when the World Cup kicks off). He says:
“We have a basic squad and I believe in the squad I have,” he said. “But if I can make an addition – two or three maximum – then we will do it.

“I will try to do what I want to do as quickly as possible but I am not the only decider. It doesn’t only depend on me.

“Ideally, you would want to do the job before the World Cup. It is difficult to give yourself the right timing.

“Certainly, we will announce one player before the World Cup. After that we will see.”
 It's obvious the player he's talking about here is Marouane Chamakh. I think the only reason we're so hush hush about it is that we can't announce anything about him coming here until his season with Bordeaux is over. What concerns me though is that he claims we are gonna make two signings, three tops. Most agree that our current squad needs a new goalkeeper, maybe two center backs, a defensive midfielder and a striker to get that improvement that will put us over the top and make us truly competitive with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona next season. If we're gonna sign only 3 players, at most, it leaves you a bit anxious about whether we're going into next season with the same depth issues we faced throughout this season.

A factor in Wenger's decision might be the new regulations set by the EFA though. It's now been made official that next season we're supposed to register 8 home grown players and 25 total for the Premiership. In seasons past that number was 30. It obviously means that our current Premiership first team squad of 30 players will have to be cut by 5.

At first I was a bit upset about what Wenger said about spending because this is something he says at the start of every transfer window - that he's looking to sign just two or three players maximum. Where it might be different this season however is that we need to trim the fat from our team. It means that he's probably looking to just make 3 additions maximum to the team and replace whoever else is leaving. It doesn't mean we're getting rid of 8 players and signing 3 in their place. It just means that Wenger now knows what areas of the team are lacking and he's probably gonna sell those players that are the weak links in the chain that's the Arsenal team. He's gonna sell them and probably replace them with like players but players who possess the qualities those other players didn't.

Also, the 25 registered player restriction doesn't necessarily mean we can only have 25 players in our squad. We can have as many as we like and if we have players who are underperforming or injured we can always deregister them and replace them with other players who are fit(ter) and performing better in training. We could always do this during the January transfer window.

A player that is a doubt to be in the team next season however is William Gallas.

Of Gallas Wenger says:
"There is a cut off point for Gallas. It doesn't depend only on me. Gallas can come and say 'Boss we will stop the talks because I signed somewhere and that's it'.

"I could set a deadline for us and that will certainly be before the end of May because we then have to look for someone else. We have more talks planned."
Many want Gallas to leave but I believe he's had very good performances when he's managed to stay fit this season. He and Vermaelen have forged a solid partnership at the heart of our defence. Many claim his constant bitching has been a blight on the team but ever since he was stripped of the captaincy he's been very professional and his game has turned around significantly. I'd rather not see him go but I'd like to see us sign another center back regardless of whether he's in the team next season.

What do you think? Let me know in a comment below. That's it for today. Dust!

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