Arsenal’s worst-kept secret is now public knowledge: Manuel Almunia is leaving on a free transfer. The official Arsenal FC website has revealed the news, and so the next question is: will there be many takers? I can’t imagine ‘the Spanish waiter’ (as some people call him) getting a Premier League club, and my guess is he’ll have to drop down a division if he stays in England or moves to one of Europe’s top leagues (Spain, Italy and Germany, in case you’re wondering).
The biggest mystery to me is why Lucasz Fabianski hasn’t joined Almunia on the Arsenal scrapheap, if his contract has also expired. Anyway, also leaving with our best wishes are Gavin Hoyte and George Brislen-Hall amongst others. Those two will get clubs easily enough, but might have to drop down two divisions. Striker Rhys Murphy, goalkeeper Sean McDermott, versatile defender/midfielder James Campbell and winger Jeffrey Monakana are also looking for a new club.
Meanwhile, talking of players on the move, Ryo Miyaichi could be returning to Bolton next season. The Bolton News are running with that story and who are we to disagree? Bolton should be a good bet for an immediate return to the Premier League and it will be good for Ryo to get experience of being top of the league, albeit in a lower division. Then again, if he’s been playing with injuries caused by Premier-League tackling, he can expect a lot worse in the Championship. Not that he’ll worry about that. You can’t question Ryo’s bravery, judging by what I’ve seen.
Much less likely to happen are two transfer moves involving Arsenal that are being reported in The Week. Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue could be on the way in, while Johan Djourou is on his way to Juventus apparently. Can’t see either deal happing, personally, but I’m getting sick of people undervaluing Djourou. He had a dodgy season, I won’t deny that, but he’s had a lot more solid games for Arsenal than Philippe Senderos did when he was with us and he’s far more versatile than Big Phil. I can’t see Djourou leaving this summer, but if he does go I’ll be disappointed as it’s always good to have utility players. Especially when your squad is as paper-thin as Arsenal’s!
Finally, the bookies have got us as 20/1 outsiders to sign free agent Didier Drogba. I’d love to see ‘The Scourge of Arsenal’ at Arsenal, but it’s not going to happen. The ex-Chelsea striker will be off to China to join former Gunner Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua