Things are starting to get a little wobbly.
The official announcement of Mathieu Flamini’s departure to AC Milan has been followed by the growing rumours that Alexander Hleb is set to follow him out the door to sign for Milan’s bitter rivals Inter. Although there have been no concrete evidence of a move being made for Hleb by the Italian club the speculation is running rife that Belarussian has ‘confided in his colleagues’ that he wants to leave Arsenal.
In all honesty I really don’t know what to make of this. On one hand you have a pretty hopeless-looking situation involving lies about ice-cream and tapping up and the prospect of another Arsenal being able to earn a lot less at another club but on the other you have a player under contract who the manager says will not be leaving. It’s all very confusing.
The one thing that will favour a move to Inter Milan is the fact that Hleb has the opportunity to buy out the remaining two years of his contract under the newly-coined ‘Webster clause‘. Indeed, what Inter are likely to do should they genuinely want to sign Hleb is pay the money required to buy out his contract – a fraction of the €14m that he is valued at – and increase his wages in a similar way to a certain Frenchman. Harsh on Arsenal, but ultimately fair with regards to the rules.
Should Hleb leave then Arsenal are left without two of it’s first choice players from an almost-title-winning team. They will need to be replaced but at this stage I’m going to hold my tongue as to who I think should replace them, at least until after the final game of the season against Sunderland. The rest of you can run amok though, of course.
Nobody to somebody to nobody?
Turning to one of the players who will definitely be at the club next season and Emmanuel Adebayor has been told by the manager that he can still improve a further as a player and goalscorer, but only if he continues to put in the hard yards.
“I believe if Ade keeps his work ethic, there is still 20 per cent more to come from him. Does he want it enough – to get this extra 20 per cent out? Well that is where his future lies. If you lose that desire, you quickly become a nobody.”
As a nobody myself I sincerely hope he remains a somebody. But as the manager intimates, if he wants to be considered a top quality striker then he needs to keep bagging buckets of goals on a season-by-season basis. Thierry Henry was able to do it and although I don’t think Adebayor will ever be as good Frenchman, I still feel he has the ability to become a consistent goalscorer.
Although Adebayor is my favourite player I did get the feeling at times this season that he seemed to act a little too big for his own shoes, so perhaps that is what Wenger is getting at with these comments. Hopefully the big man will heed his advice.
Learning from Lehmann
From a goal scorer to a goal saver now and young Lukasz Fabianski has praised Jens Lehmann for his never-say-die attitude. The Polish goalkeeper praised the professionalism shown by the German on the training ground even despite him being out of favour at the club for most of the season.
“During the whole year he never gave up. Everyday he was [at the] training ground and that shows how you have to behave to be at the top of your game. I learnt a lot of things, really small details.”
When it comes to learning from someone like Lehmann you get the feeling that it’s like learning from your parents. You try to imitate the good traits and learn from the bad traits and if he can do that then the club will have quite the professional on their hands. If he does the opposite then they’re going to have a lazy player who can’t keep his mouth shut (sounds a bit like Lassana Diarra to me – heh heh).
Seriously though, Fabianski has had a reasonably good first season in his time at Arsenal. He performed well in the Carling Cup – even the 5-1 loss to Tottenham was not entirely his fault – and has done well in the last two games against Derby and Everton. Let’s hope he can pick up another clean sheet against Sunderland to finish the season on a high.
That’s that then. More tomorrow. Have a good one.
Update: Congratulations to Arseblogger for making it big. Click here to see what I mean. All the best mate, you’ve been a wonderful supporter of my blog over the past year and you deserve all the success you get.
What do you think?
Have your say on Hleb, Adebayor, Fabianski or Lehmann by leaving a comment.