Gilberto puts Drogba in his place
Gilberto Silva has hit back at Chelsea’s Ivorian striker Didier Drogba’s comments that Arsenal will not challenge for the title next season, suggesting that he should keep his mouth firmly shut.
“What I do know is last season Chelsea spent a fortune on new signings and still couldn’t beat Arsenal once in the league. They didn’t defend their title either, so I think Drogba is talking a little bit too much.”
Right on, Gilberto. I admire Drogba greatly as a player – I think he is almost the perfect forward – but there are a couple of things about him that really infuriate me; his tendency to hit the deck like a little girl when things aren’t going right and his big mouth. Hopefully these comments can provide the tonic for Gilberto and the rest of the Arsenal team to prove him wrong.
An obvious choice for captain
Gilberto also stressed that Arsenal need to recover quickly from the loss of captain Thierry Henry or they will struggle to avoid the type of hangover they suffered just after losing Patrick Vieira to Juventus.
“It’s true that replacing him will be no simple task. But we can’t go through the kind of spell as we did when Patrick Vieira went to Italy. He was the leader of the squad and it took us time to adapt to playing without him. We don’t want that again.”
Again, he’s absolutely right. Gilberto is not usually a big talker but you have to agree that when he does have something to say it’s worth listening to. There has been a lot of talk about who the captain for Arsenal should be next season but there is little doubt in my mind that it has to be the Brazilian. In this very difficult period for the club Gilberto’s calming influence is what Arsenal needs first and foremost. His recent comments suggest that he is personally ready to take up the responsibility as captain and will help the young players adapt to life after Henry. Good luck to him.
Malouda and Tevez set to join Arsenal’s rivals
One person who seems convinced that Drogba is worth listening to is Florent Malouda. The left-footed Lyon attacker will reportedly meet up with Drogba next week after the Ivorian convinced Malouda to join him at Chelsea. I previously mentioned that if Malouda moved to Chelsea I would cry and whilst I haven’t shed any tears I’m still very disappointed that the Frenchman will be playing against Arsenal next season rather than playing for them.
In other transfer news, previous Arsenal target Carlos Tevez looks set to join Manchester United despite complications surfacing over the ownership of the Argentine. Tevez, who is having a great Copa America tournament so far with Argentina, has made a promise to Alex Ferguson that he will definitely be playing for Manchester United next season.
“I have given my word to Mr Ferguson. They have told him I will be at Manchester United next season and once I make a promise I don’t go back on it.”
I have to say that I am most disappointed that Arsenal have missed out on both Malouda and Tevez and perhaps even more annoying is the fact that they have gone to the club’s main rivals – Chelsea and Manchester United respectively. Tevez was superb in the back end of last season and everything I’ve heard from him in the media suggests that he is not only a talented player but an intelligent and loyal person. The more I think about it the more I realise that Arsenal will miss out on a real gem when Tevez signs for Manchester United.
Fabregas to Madrid? Ha!
One of the more annoying transfer rumours of the summer has reared its ugly head again after stories have reported that Real Madrid are chasing Cesc Fabregas. I find it annoying that so many supporters have either lost patience with Fabregas or been scared by this speculation when just last week the Spaniard made the following comments:
“I’ll be back training with Arsenal. My team. I’m staying in London.”
How much clearer can you get? Unlike Henry, Fabregas has done the gutsy thing and publicly declared his loyalty to the club and it is frustrating to see him punished for it. You would think if Fabregas wanted to leave Arsenal he would either say nothing (like Henry) or say something like this:
“I won’t be back training with Arsenal. They’re not my team. I’m leaving London.”
Valencia want Flamini
One man who might be leaving the club for Spain is Frenchman Mathieu Flamini. The talented – and in my eyes underrated – midfielder is wanted by Valencia and the Spanish club’s sporting director Amedeo Carboni is desperately awaiting his decision on the matter.
“We have spoken to him and we want an answer soon as we must make plans for the coming season.”
Whilst Arsenal have never really found a use for the tough tackling midfielder it seems to me that Valencia hope that Flamini could eventually replace the likes of David Albelda as the side’s premier defensive midfielder. I’m a big fan of Flamini and I think Valenica’s style of play would bring out the best in the Frenchman. He’s always given 100% at Arsenal and – in my opinion – been undervalued by Wenger and if he did move to Valencia I think he will get the attention he deserves.
Finally today, the very popular Gunnerblog has released it’s end-of-season awards for 2007 and it’s definitely worth a read. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results are very similar to those my very own Arsenal FC Blog Season Review which you can also check out here.