I’ll kick things off with Johan Djourou who spoke on Friday about the role he hopes to play at Arsenal this season. In his own words he said:
“I am ready now, I am ready to step up and I have shown that in the last year. Now I just need to stay fit and show the boss that I am ready to play in the team all season. That’s what I want to achieve this season because I really think that I have stepped up, I am strong and I can do the job in the centre of defence.”
Regular readers of the blog will know what a big fan of Djourou I am and I sincerely hope he gets the opportunity to play this season. He performed superbly alongside William Gallas early on last season and, as much as I like Kolo Toure, I thought the manager made a mistake when he pulled Djourou out of the side in favour of the Ivorian. It upset the balance in the defence and I believe contributed quite heavily to our defensive problems in the middle part of last season.
There are certainly indications that Djourou will play a bigger role at the club this season and may even start the season as one of the first-choice centre-backs. Leaving aside Philippe Senderos and Mikael Silvestre for the moment, we currently we have two left-sided central defenders (Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen) and two right-sided central defenders (Djourou and Kolo Toure) and it’s likely to be a direct competition between each pair to see who starts.
With Gallas only having a year left on his contract and extremely likely to move on at the end of this season I think Wenger’s idea will be to rotate Gallas, Vermaelen and Djourou regularly and use Toure sparingly with the intention of having Djourou and Vermaelen as the first-choice pairing for the 2010/11 season. As such – injuries aside – I think Djourou could get more playing time than any central defender in the squad this year and I’m extremely excited to see how he handles things.
Moving on and ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has spoken of how much he would like Kolo Toure to join his new club Manchester City. He commented:
“Kolo is a great friend of mine. He is a big player for Arsenal and a top defender. He has been playing in the Premier League for seven or eight years now so he knows this league really well. If the manager could get him, he can get exactly what this club wants and needs from him. I’m sure about that.”
You really have to hold your hands up in despair at the way Adebayor has handled his exit from Arsenal. While he’s undoubtedly correct – Toure would be a great buy for City – for him to start speaking about poaching our players after only being gone for one week it’s pretty pathetic. It just makes me think that everything he said about loving Arsenal, about loving the fans and the manager is a load of bollocks and that all he really cares about is himself. And these comments from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson just adds to that notion.
Alas, with John Terry stating his desire to stay at Chelsea I believe the chances that Toure might sign for City are reasonably high. They need defenders and Toure would go from around third or fourth-choice straight into the first team and get a hefty pay rise as well. He certainly won’t win anything next season but it does come down to how much football he wants to play and whether Wenger really sees him as the player he used to be a few seasons ago.
Changing the topic now and Carlos Vela scored the third goal in the Gold Cup Final with a trademark chip as Mexico trounced USA 5-0 (Video highlights here). He’s played a decent role for the Mexicans despite an early injury, scoring the winning penalty in the semi-final and now a lovely goal in the final and should return back to Arsenal training in a rather buoyant mood.
To finish things off today I just wanted to touch on the reaction on this blog to news of Lorik Cana signing for Sunderland. I thought I’d quote from Arseblogger who has put it exactly the same way that I feel:
“You have to laugh at the reaction of some people to the fact that Lorik Cana has signed for Sunderland. It seems most people’s knowledge of him is based on a 5′ YouTube clip of him fouling his way around the pitch like the love child of Robbie Savage and Joey Barton.
I will happily confess to knowing very little about him other than that video and the fact he’s been built up, in some quarters, as this mythical answer to all our midfield problems. But doesn’t the fact that he’s gone to Sunderland say something? Doesn’t the fact that no other big clubs were even linked with him say something? If there was the chance of him signing for Arsenal wouldn’t he have hung on before putting pen to paper at the Stadium of Light?
I doubt we were even interested, mostly because anyone with any knowledge of French football beyond a YouTube compilation reckons he’s a staggeringly average footballer who is no improvement on what we have already. I will trust people who watch the French league week in, week out and if they tell me he’s not good enough then I will believe them far more than any hysterical blog which now reckons that we’re practically heading for relegation because we haven’t signed the Albanian Terry Hurlock.
Honestly, people need to get a grip. Nobody’s denying we need a midfielder but Cana is not, and never has been, the answer.”
And that is that. Thanks for reading and have a splendid, stress-free week.
Have your say on Djourou, Adebayor, Toure, Vela or Cana by leaving a comment.