I’ll kick things off today with the news that another Arsenal target has bitten the dust – well, supposed target anyway – with Lyon agreeing a transfer fee with Real Madrid for Karim Benzema. That news follows on from Felipe Melo’s decision to sign an extension with Fiorentina and it means that in the space of two days, two of the biggest Arsenal-related transfer rumours of the summer have been quashed. Just who will be next, I wonder?
On a personal level I have to say I’m not too bothered about Madrid picking up Benzema and am mostly just happy that Manchester United didn’t sign him instead. He’s undoubtedly a good player and certainly has wonderful potential but the truth is our forward options are plentiful and we really don’t need him. In Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor, Eduardo and Nicklas Bendtner we have four strong options up top and even if Adebayor was to go we’ve got the likes of Andrey Arshavin and Carlos Vela who can fill in.
Moving on to news closer to home and there seems to be a lot of confusion about these comments made by William Gallas:
“I am at Arsenal, my contract is still valid for a year, so I am an Arsenal player. We have not talked about renewing the contract, but I am relaxed and looking forward to next season with Arsenal.”
The statement has been greeted by a number of different interpretations by various websites ranging from ‘William Gallas vows to walk away from Arsenal next summer unless he is allowed to leave now’ (Sun) to ‘Arsène Wenger faces difficult choice over Arsenal future of William Gallas’ (Guardian) to ‘Arsenal defender Gallas staying at Emirates’ (Soccernet).
Can you guess which headline I agree with? That’s right, the sensible one. Love it or hate it, I’m just that kind of guy.
Basically I don’t see Gallas’ situation as too much of a problem and I don’t think it’s overly important for him to sign a new deal. The truth is that at 31 we’re not going to get much money for him now and I’d rather get a strong season out of him next season and let him go on a free than see him go for £2 -3 million now and miss out on his quality and experience at the back. Ideally I’d like to see Gallas sign on for another year and by then I’d hope the likes of Johan Djourou and Thomas Vermaelen would be well-established in the team.
Some more positive news to speak about now and Aaron Ramsey has signed a new long-term deal at the club. I thought he performed very well when called upon last season and am excited about what he might bring in the next year or two. As such, it’s an excellent piece of news.
Those who like reading about finances and the Arsenal business will be interested to read this interview with CEO Ivan Gazidis. Once again he comes across as a really nice fellow who knows exactly what he’s doing and I particularly enjoyed this opening statement:
“I can say with confidence that provided we don’t do foolish things, this will be one of the leading clubs in the world this year, five years from now and 20 years from now. This is not some experiment to see how successful we can be over the next couple of years, and who knows where we will be after that. This is a good, sustainable business.”
Right on, Ivan, right on. Personally I completely echo his comments about the need to build for the future and the comparison in his vision with chumps like Florentino Perez at Real Madrid and the sugar daddies at various other Premiership clubs could not be more favourable. Keep up the good work, I say.
To finish of today I’m going to leave you with a bit of transfer speculation that, I must admit, has got me a little excited. According to FourFourTwo.com the manager of Werder Bremen, Thomas Schaaf, has indicated that we’re looking very likely to sign massive Brazilian centre-back Naldo. He was quoted to have said:
“Naldo is a great athlete and could do well at the right club. Unfortunately he doesn’t fit the direction we’re planning to move in any longer. We expect to move him for somewhere in the region of €10 million, and English side Arsenal is, as of now, the most likely destination.”
While I’ll admit that the source is not great (FourFourTwo.com have quoted from Sport.co.uk) it’s quite a promising little snippet. It remains to be seen whether more reliable sources like Soccernet, SkySports or The Guardian publish the comments but if they prove to be true then it’s a very exciting prospect, particularly considering I wrote this just under a month ago. Naldo is a strong defender and a player I personally like a lot and if he did sign for us I have to say I’d be delighted.
Here’s a collection of videos of what Naldo has offer.
Anyway, I’ll leave it there. Plenty to discuss, I’m sure.
Have your say on Benzema, Gallas, Ramsey, Gazidis or Naldo by leaving a comment.