The slow news week for Arsenal continues to roll on with team and transfer news more difficult to find than my TV remote control. I’ve been pretty unwell of late and spent all of yesterday in bed and most of today on the couch bored out of my brain so both are equally irritating.
With the lack of interesting Arsenal news going around I’m thankful the Australia v India test match began today. Normally test match cricket can be a bit hit-and-miss, especially when Australia are playing (they tend to destroy most other nations), but as I speak to you the Indians are putting in quite a decent effort thus far. Anyway, enough about that for now.
More and more little tidbits are coming from Arsene Wenger’s interview yesterday during the launch of Arsenal TV and the latest comments made by the Arsenal manager are about assessing potential signings. Wenger *shock, horror* revealed that he felt the best way to assess a potential player for his squad was to watch them play in person because he feels he is able to see a particular player’s true personality come out.
“There is no better study than to watch somebody play. When he goes on the football pitch he becomes who he really is. In normal life you can hide. That is why you should watch a player well so you can see behind his character because he delivers that with his performance.”
You would think that every manager who signs a player, wherever they are in the world, would see the player in the flesh first. But the modern game is such that I’m sure there are numerous players, even at the big clubs, who have been purchased based on their performances on video or via talent scout reports. Wenger himself famously purchased Fredrik Ljungberg after only seeing him play on television for Sweden against England and went on to provide some sort of explanation as to why managers may not have the luxury to see potential signings play in the flesh before bringing them in.
“It is sometimes a question of time. We need to make quick decisions because we are competing with the other clubs. Some you have to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without the time to get all the guarantees. You can go home at midnight and if you don’t make a decision by 5am then the guy has gone somewhere else.”
Diarra to Portsmouth?
One player who may be going somewhere else very soon is Lassana Diarra. The French midfielder has been linked with the likes of Newcastle, Tottenham and Lyon in the past week or so but the news is that he has held talks with Portsmouth and is likely to join them for around £5.5m.
A lot has been said about Diarra’s behaviour of late but I have say I’m a little bit impartial to the whole situation. If, as Diarra claims, he and Wenger had made an agreement when he signed with Arsenal that he would be playing a decent amount of first-team football then I feel he has every right to feel aggrieved. After all, he has only started four matches this season and that does not represent a decent amount.
That’s not to say that on form he has deserved to start. Indeed, Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini have clearly been the best central midfielders at the club this season and there has been no reason to break up their partnership. But if an agreement was made between Wenger and Diarra – and who is to say there wasn’t – then I think Diarra has every right to seek a transfer without facing excessive criticism from the supporters.
However, his desire to leave does suggest that he’s not the smartest of lads. On current form I’d suggest he is the third-choice central midfielder at the club and is only an injury away from a decent run in the starting team. But if all he wants is to be playing games then it’s possible that he may not possess the drive and determination to be a success at Arsenal anyway and a move to Portsmouth might be the best outcome for all parties involved.
Long story short; Diarra is not necessarily in the wrong, he just doesn’t seem to be the most ambitious player going around and it’s fair to say that Arsenal are not a club who should be content with having players in their squad who are not ambitious.
It’s definitely an interesting situation and always, I’d love to hear what everyone thinks about it.
Have your say on Wenger’s methods or Lassana Diarra by leaving a comment.