August 6, 2012
I thought I was being pretty canny.
I thought I’ll head off to Italy for a few days while things are quiet, lumber Lakey with the arduous task of writing about essentially nothing in the meantime and come back with great fanfare to a wealth of stories and brand new discussion topics.
So where are we this morning? Still hoping for confirmation of the Cazorla deal, still awaiting news on Robin Van Persie’s future and apparently no further towards getting rid of any of the long list of players that we’ve all been saying we’d quite like to get rid of at some point this summer. Balls.
I mean I know that the close season does have a tendency to drag on but it’s really coming to something when you’re getting bored of a story ABOUT AN EXCITING NEW SIGNING. ‘Oh, what’s that? Santi Cazorla, one of the leading lights of a golden generation of Spanish midfield talent is set to sign for Arsenal is he? Still? Yawn o’clock.’
That deal should, I’m guessing, finally be confirmed at some point today. I hope so. I want to write some overexcited pieces about it and start getting all juiced up for the new season but I can’t do it yet because I’m too scared I’m going to jinx the deal somehow. (I love ridiculous superstition like that. Talk about overstating your own importance in the universe. Like the deal’s going to break down over Cazorla’s wage demands and Ivan Gazidis and Dick Law are going to turn up on my doorstep with baseball bats demanding to know what I was doing pontificating on his impact on our pressing game before the deal was confirmed on the official site.)
The Van Persie story meanwhile appears no closer to a resolution. Roberto Mancini was quoted today as apparently ruling City out of the race. He said:
Van Persie? No, I don’t think he will come here.
Which, coupled with the fact that Alex Ferguson missed United’s pre-season match with Valerenga yesterday has led certain journalists to conclude that Man U are about to seal the RVP deal. I think that might be jumping the gun.
Firstly I’d be very surprised if we sold to United. Surely if money was not a factor we’d prefer to sell him abroad if at all possible. If on the other hand we were only interested in selling to the highest bidder I’d be shocked if that were United. Mancini may have claimed to rule himself out but I don’t think that’s the end of things by any means. If they want Van Persie, and it appears that they do, they can definitely outbid Manchester United. In fact with the rivalry between those clubs I’m sure they’d make it their business to outbid United even if they weren’t especially keen on Robin. They could pay him £250,000 a week just to stand perfectly still outside Old Trafford on a plinth like one of those human statue fellas, City shirt on his back, middle figure raised aloft in the direction of the Stretford End.
What I’m saying is, frustratingly, I don’t think this one’s over yet. I would personally hate to see him go to Old Trafford. At this point I could just about accept losing another player to Man City but United would be a step too far. I still consider United to be more deserving of our rivalry and to see Robin line up alongside Wayne Rooney would make me feel physically sick.
The word is that he’s going to be on the plane today with the rest of the squad to our German training camp ahead of next weekend’s final pre-season friendly against FC Koln. As soon as the first training photos are released we’ll know for sure. And if he is there that would suggest not only that a transfer isn’t close but that the manager is absolutely serious about the prospect of holding him to his current deal. I’ve a feeling this is going to be a long week but at the end of it at least we’ve got a match to look forward to and our starting line-up should be absolutely fascinating.
I can’t think of a match in which I’ve had less idea or more interest in who would start. Will Cazorla be signed by then? If so will he play? Where will he play? Will Giroud or Podolski make it? Presumably they must but will that give us an indication of how we’ll use them this season? Will either of them get the central striker berth? Or will that privilege go to a certain you know who?
One game to go and our first XI for the new season is a complete mystery. Exciting. But also unsettling. While this summer has been a world apart from the disaster that was last year there’s still a similar level of uncertainty around the squad. It’s mainly positive uncertainty linked to the new signings but either way it feels like the big challenge for the start of the season will be how well we settle and how quickly the new team gels.
Right. With that in mind I’m off to Highbury House to check there’s enough ink in Santi Cazorla’s fountain pen and make sure he gets on that plane.
Thanks to Lakey for filling in so admirably as ever in my absence.
Have a good one!