This time my Dragon software converted “Hello again Gooners” to “Hello again during this”, so if you see more typos you will know why!
When it comes to the name Santi Cazorla, I’m guilty of making a lot of mistakes myself! Arsene Wenger himself claimed he didn’t know who Santi is, when asked by a member of the media in the UK. However, when asked a similar question by the Asian media he replied that although a deal was “not close” he was “working on it”, allegedly. I’m never been one to doubt the existence of Santi, although I don’t necessarily expect him to drop down Arsenal’s chimney immediately.
This could end up being another transfer saga, but I think we will see movement on the Santi front by the end of the month. By then we will know if he is going to come to Arsenal or whether or not he will stay at Malaga. The Spanish club needs the money as their debts could result in relegation if not addressed on or before 31 July 2012. I cannot imagine Sheik Al Thani wasting his €150 million investment by allowing that to happen. That’s why the Guardian are claiming it’s a done deal, and the Sun says the deal will be complete before the weekend, while the Daily Mail has proclaimed: “Santi is coming to town”.
Let’s hope those media sources are correct as €20 million sounds cheap at the price for such a talented Spain international winger, especially as a buyout clause written into his contract is more than double the amount. His versatility and experience will be welcome at Arsenal and that kind of signing may convince Robin van Persie to stay at the Emirates Stadium. According to Sky Sports, Arsene Wenger has “re-irritated” his desire to keep the striker at Arsenal. An interesting slip of the tongue!
Meanwhile, Arsenal have been accused of a “disingenuous bid” for Hugo Lloris. All sorts of skulduggery may have gone on, according to Spurs, who are apparently accusing us of offering £16 million for the Lyon keeper. Of course, former Arsenal utility player Remi Garde is now Lyon boss and therefore has been implicated in this “scandal”. Spurs are genuinely chasing the France international goalkeeper, where is our interest is just to inflate the price. Or so the story goes. We expect developments on this story on Saturday, as Lyon’s chairman Jean Michel Aulas has claimed the decision about the player’s future will be made by then. Lloris didn’t exactly cover himself in glory during Euro 2012, so perhaps Arsenal should give him a wide berth.
Another player we won’t be signing is Loic Remy of Marseille. The 25-year-old France international looks to be heading to Newcastle United £15 million. The Magpies should get half that amount for the sale of Demba Ba to Rubin Kazan.
A lot less money than that has been received by Arsenal for the sale of Pedro Botelho to Atletico Paranaense. The Brazilian left back was loaned out to all and sundry in Spain for five years, but has now returned year to his home country without making an impact for Arsenal. Let’s hope a better fate awaits Joel Campbell.
Another player who could be on the way out, perhaps, is Emmanuel Frimpong. The popular Arsenal midfielder is in trouble again, due to something he wrote on his Twitter account. I don’t disagree with most Arsenal fans who love the fact that Frimpong wears his heart on his sleeve, but he will have to be careful in future on social networking sites. I only hope he’s learnt his lesson now.
Apart from Lauren Koscielny signing a new long-term deal, the other good news concerns our friendly performance against a Malaysia XI. Two goals in the final few minutes turned defeat to victory and the youngsters who performed should be very pleased with themselves. Thomas Eisfeld got the equaliser, which was good going considering the brevity of his cameo appearance. Chuks Aneke grabbed a deflected winner and it was “high-fives” all around, apart from in the case of Marouane Chamakh – who was largely disappointing, despite going close to scoring twice.
Abou Diaby played in fits and starts, yet the commentary team on ESPN were full of praise for the France international midfielder. Back in the studio, ESPN’s Steve Nicol more or less said the whole Arsenal team were suspect, apart from Mikel Arteta. I wonder if Nicol has met Arteta, as both spent a lot of time in Liverpool, Nicol playing for the red side without Spanish maestro on the blue side.
Anyway, Nicol’s praise of Arteta was far from shocking. However, I took issue with his criticism of Thomas Vermaelen and Lauren Koscielny, especially as the commentary team had revealed that this pair had made more last-ditch tackles than any other defenders in the Premier League. Those statistics speak for themselves and not in a negative way either.
To keep things on a positive note, I should mention the possibility of Thierry Henry returning to Arsenal as a coach. I suggest we get him to coach our strikers. He might even be able to get Chamakh scoring goals again!
That’s all for now, up the Gooners!