If you’ve been reading the blog this week you’ll know I’ve been a little bit grumpy. Grumpy with the loss to Fulham on the weekend. Grumpy with the fact that the signing that Arsene Wenger promised to make before the FC Twente game has not eventuated. Grumpy because my leg is still in plaster.
It’s clear that with the second leg of the Champions League qualifier being played tonight that the signing that we are all hoping for will not be happening just yet. A rumour has been going around that Liverpool are waiting to ensure they qualify for the Champions League before they let Xabi Alonso go.
There’s not much substance to it but you never know. Stranger things have happened.
Take Mikael Silvestre’s signing for example. The first sign of a rumour popped up about a potential move and almost immediately it was made official on the Arsenal website. So yes, stranger things have definitely happened.
What we now know for sure is that it will not be Udinese’s Gokhan Inler who makes the move to the Emirates. Indeed, the Swiss midfielder’s agent Dino Lamberti has revealed that while a move to Arsenal would be excellent, it would be too soon in the player’s development. In his own words:
“We have decided that Inler remains in Udinese. Any player would want to play for Arsenal, of course, but for Inler this may be perhaps a little early. Maybe a season too early.”
Bugger. I must admit I didn’t know too much about Inler – having only seen him play once at Euro 2008 – but everything that’s been said about the Swiss midfielder suggested he was just the kind of player we needed. The comments from his agent do suggest that Arsenal and Wenger put a great deal of effort into getting his signature and it is now certainly up to the manager to come up with an alternative solution.
From a player who will not be joining to the club to one who is leaving it and the manager has confirmed that Philippe Senderos has flown to Italy to complete a medical with AC Milan. Wenger also gave his reason for Senderos’ departure – indicating a congestion in the centre of the defence leading to a lack of opportunities for the big Swiss defender:
“Senderos has gone to Milan. He completes a medical today. The thinking is that he does not get games here and [this way he] gets top-level games somewhere. We have Kolo, Gallas, Djourou, Song and now Silvestre. We have congestion in there and we want him to play without losing him.”
As I said yesterday, I’m not too upset about Senderos moving out on loan. It will be good for him to get some experience and there is always the option for him to return to Arsenal after one year if Wenger so chooses. He’s absolutely right when he speaks about there being congestion at the back and I think there is enough quality in the names he mentions.
The other reason I see this as a good move is that it should give Djourou more game time. He’s yet to be given a decent run at the first team and I think Senderos’ move will open the door to this possibility occurring. Early season signs are good and hopefully Djourou can fulfill the wonderful potential that I believe he has.
Moving on to tonight’s Champions League second-leg tie now and every Arsenal fan in the world will be relieved to hear that Cesc Fabregas will be fit for the match against FC Twente. It won’t necessarily mean that he will start though, with the manager remaining tight-lipped about the role he might play:
“He is in the squad. Whether he starts or not I can not give you an answer now. From Saturday, we did not lose anybody. But we still have Rosicky and Diaby out.”
May I say ‘hallelujah’ on two counts. One, that Fabregas is back in the squad. Two, that we did not lose anybody from the weekend. It’s been about seven years since the Arsenal Football Club have got through a game of football without coming away with an injury. Maybe our luck is turning around?
It should be a fairly easy tie to put to bed. No side of Arsenal’s quality should lose after winning the away leg 2-0 and I don’t think it will happen. I’m sure the manager and the players will want to get the media and the fans off their back and I wouldn’t bet against the side bouncing back with a relatively strong performance. As long as Denilson and Emmanuel Eboue don’t start together in the middle. You’ve been warned, Arsene.
There’ll be a match report to follow tomorrow and in the meantime, if there’s any more signing news you’ll be the first to know.
Have your say on Inler, Senderos or FC Twente by leaving a comment.