Two big pieces of news to discuss today.
The first is that we will be joined in the Champions League next season by Tottenham.
Earlier today I posted an article with five reasons why I am happy it is Spurs, not Manchester City, in Europe next season. However, the result does have an immediate negative impact on us: lose against Fulham on Sunday and we open up the opportunity for Tottenham to steal third place.
With Fulham likely to field a reserve team with the UEFA Cup final to be played on Wednesday that is still unlikely to happen, yet it is a mark of just how poor our finish to the season has been that things are so tight.
The second big piece of news of the day is that Bordeaux and Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh has absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt confirmed that he will play for us next season. Speaking with reliable French paper L’Equipe he said:
“I am delighted to become part of the English football atmosphere. It is something amazing. Arsenal were not alone [in making an offer]. There were approaches from Liverpool, Tottenham and crazy offers from Russia that were much bigger than those from England, but I was focused on playing in the Premier League.
“Bordeaux offered me a contract extension that was almost impossible to refuse, financially – the figures were very close to those offered by Arsenal. I have always loved Arsenal’s football. I know I will have to adapt, but I have experience of playing the short passing game from working with Yoann Gourcuff.”
“I am counting down the days – 11 short days.”
Although it is hardly a surprise to hear the move confirmed it is extremely good news. Chamakh will give us another physical option up front to go with Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner, allowing out frontline to rotate as required as well as ensuring we never have to see Andrey Arshavin play alone up front again.
He’s not going to be a player that scores bucketloads of goals, Chamakh, but his pace and power from the right side of the front three will be a valuable asset to the team. Personally I don’t think he will start the season as first choice which could irk supporters wanting a David Villa, yet I believe his value to the team will become more prominent as the season progresses and van Persie and Co are allowed to stay fresh.
It should be noted that Chamakh captained Bordeaux in the Champions League quarter-finals, which suggests he could be a leader in a similar mould to Thomas Vermaelen. At 26 he is hardly a pup and it is good to see the manager add a player that will be ready to make his mark from day one.
It does prompt one uncomfortbale question to be asked though: does this spell the end for Eduardo?
Have your say on Tottenham’s qualification or Chamakh’s signing by leaving a comment.