Update: It seems that speculation surrounding Rodrigo Palacio’s move to Arsenal has been confirmed as being fake. Palacio’s agent Roberto Depetri has dismissed the rumours as being completely untrue:
“The truth is the information surprised me. There is nothing of anything. No intermediaries, or officials, have spoken with either me or Boca.”
So, just disregard the other stuff that is mentioned about Palacio later in the post. Back to the drawing board then…
Arsenal take care of Barnet
Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of updates over the past few days. I have been relaxing on the beaches of Byron Bay and I must say; the weather was fantastic. I planned on updating the blog from my laptop but the hotel I was staying at had no wireless internet access. In the end, it was actually quite refreshing to get away from all the false transfer rumours and dodgy stories about the demise of the Arsenal Football Club for a few days.
Indeed, when I arrived home I wasn’t overly surprised to see that not a lot had happened involving the club. Arsenal scored a comfortable 2-0 win over Barnet in their traditional season curtain-raiser but apart from that, there really hasn’t been much going on. Obviously, I missed the Barnet game, so I’m not really in a position to comment but according to reports from Gunnerblog – who attended the match – Arsenal put in a solid performance. You can see highlights of the match and a post-game interview with Arsene Wenger here.
Wenger wanted Henry to stay
News since the Barnet game has been limited to stories surrounding Reyes – surprise, surprise; he’s leaving – and some comments from Wenger indicating quite clearly that he did not force Thierry Henry out of Arsenal.
“Thierry Henry’s decision [was] down to him. It’s not my decision. He wanted to make the move. He’s nearly 30. Maybe he didn’t have the patience anymore to let the young team develop. You can understand that. It was a tough decision.”
It’s worth noting that these are the first comments that Wenger has made about the departure of Henry and they completely dismiss any claims that the Frenchman’s decision to leave was down to anyone else but himself. Indeed, I would suggest the recent divorce to his English wife of four years, Nicole Merry, may have been one the defining reasons for Henry’s departure.
Arsenal to sign Argentine striker?
Remarkably, it seems that Henry’s exit may have paved the way for Argentine international Rodrigo Palacio to join Arsenal. According to reports from Argentina the Boca Juniors striker is set to complete a £15million move to Arsenal. Palacio was apparently set to move to Barcelona but as the Catalan giants were able to lure their first-choice target Henry to the club the Argentine’s potential move to Spain fell apart.
Whilst I refuse to jump at the transfer rumours just yet, there’s no doubt that a potential move involving Palacio makes sense to me. Arsenal have lost Henry and Julio Baptista (who scored a cracking goal in Brazil’s 3-0 demolition of Argentina in final of the Copa America – where were those goals last season when Arsenal needed them!?) and have so far only brought in Croatian striker Eduardo da Silva. It could be argued that Baptista has already been replaced by the return of Nicolas Bendtner from his loan spell with Birmingham but the truth is that the Danish striker is still unproven at the top level.
Palacio could make it at Arsenal
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Palacio’s possible transfer to Arsenal from a personal perspective is that I have actually seen Palacio play live; twice during the 2006 Apertura Championship in Argentina. Boca lead the the Apertura for almost the entire season before losing their last three matches, including the league-final against Juan Sebastian Veron’s Estudiantes.
I saw the final two games of the season and the word from the locals before the match was that Palacio along with midfielder Fernando Gago – who has since joined Real Madrid – were Boca’s standout players. And whilst Boca played poorly and lost both matches I thought Palacio was impressive. He never got on the scoresheet but made plenty of chances for himself and the players around him and showed enough to me to suggest that he could make it at Arsenal.
If Palacio did sign for Arsenal it would all but confirm my suspicion that Wenger is moving towards an attacking 4-3-3 formation which would function without out-and-out wingers, something the club severely lacks at this point in time. Whilst I have been baying all summer for the signing of a quality winger the pieces of the puzzle that Wenger is attempting to complete point to his intent to play three versatile forwards as opposed to two out-and-out strikers and two wide players.
I have some friends whom I met during my stay in Buenos Aires and am awaiting any further information about Palacio-Arsenal situation from them. Stay tuned.
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