It’s been a rather busy week following the completion of Arsenal’s season. There’s been lots of talk about players going, potential transfers as well as the announcement of the squad’s for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and I have summarised it all for you today.
Campbell’s contract extension
The signs are good that Sol Campbell will be extending his contract with Arsenal. The player has spoken of his desire to play at the top level for the next two years while Robin van Persie has commented on his desire to see Campbell stick around next season, pointing to his character and attitude as two of the best attributes that he has brought to the club.
Gallas likely to go
In complete contrast to Campbell, it looks for all money like William Gallas will be heading for the exit door. According to Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood the Frenchman’s wage demands are simply too high and the club are not willing to improve his salary for a one-year extension.
There is a chance that Gallas may look around and realise that he’s simply not going to get the same money nor the same opportunity anywhere else in Europe and decide to stay But the likelihood is that he will sign a two or three-year deal in France or Italy and head off after the World Cup.
Wenger wants more defensive strength
Gallas’ likely exit will leave a defensive-shaped hole in the squad that simply must be filled. He had a terrific season before calf problems took over, responding well to the captaincy debacle and forming a decent partnership with new boy Thomas Vermaelen, so if he goes then quality will need to be brought in.
With Campbell set to stay, Vermaelen first-choice and Johan Djourou in much the same developmental stage he was in at the start of last season the only way the manager can “add more defensive strength” is to bring in an experienced player of a similar quality to Gallas to plug the hole. Any suggestions?
Cesc Fabregas happy at Arsenal
Contrary to a number of stories floating around that “Cesc has alerted Barcelona of his interest” or “Fabregas wants to join Barcelona before the World Cup”, our fabulous captain has stated his happiness at Arsenal and a desire to sort out a new contract with the club before the start of the World Cup. Those Arsenal supporters freaking out about the stories floating about need only to read his actual quotes to see what I mean:
“I want to make a decision about my future before the World Cup. It’s impossible to perform at a tournament such as the World Cup if you’re not fully focused on the sporting aspects of the game. It does not benefit anyone.
“If I ever leave Arsenal it will be to play for Barcelona. I would like to go, whether they want me or not is another matter. I am 23 years old and I have a long career in front of me. I’ve never hidden the fact that playing for Barcelona is a dream that I would like to fulfil.
“I’m very happy at Arsenal. I’m in no hurry to leave the club. Barcelona are still playing for the Liga title and I’m still an Arsenal player. It would be a lack of respect to discuss a transfer now. No candidates for the Barcelona presidency have approached me, so I don’t feel used.”
Literal translation: I am happy at Arsenal. I want to get my contract sorted so I can focus on winning the World Cup. I want to play for Barcelona one day but not for a while because I have a long career ahead of me.
Nothing we didn’t know already then.
Nasri, Djourou excluded from World Cup squads
Perhaps the most surprising news of the week was the exclusion of Samir Nasri from France’s provisional World Cup squad. Likewise, Johan Djourou was left out of a Swiss team he probably would be starting for had injuries not taken their toll this season while Sol Campbell also missed the cut for England.
The Arsenal players who were named in the provisional squads and are still in with a shot of going to the World Cup are:
Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Robin van Persie (Netherlands), Carlos Vela (Mexico), William Gallas (France), Gael Clichy (France). Bacary Sagna (France), Abou Diaby (France), Philippe Senderos (Switzerland), Emmanuel Eboue (Ivory Coast), Alex Song (Cameroon), Nicklas Bendtner (Denmark) and Theo Walcott (England).
Of the players named I’m only expecting Abou Diaby to drop out of the final squads, so it will be another good showing from the Arsenal players at the World Cup.