Those contracts being Pires, Henry and Cole, all of whom were in the news yesterday.
Pires, if one is to believe the Sun, has already agreed terms with Villareal, to the extent of signing a pre-season contract. Hmm, I think not. If he has done so it would appear Arsene is still in the dark about it, which would be unlikely. However, I also still think that if Bob won't accept a 1 year deal we'll probably be justified in carting him out. Maybe after the Juve performance he's shown he's got another 2 years in him, but I'm not convinced the club should give in to his demands. If he were to leave, the Beckham transfer, or someone of a similar like, would be even more likely as well- I think Arsene would bring in a reasonably experienced player if he were to let Bob go. To add an interesting twist, we could be, without getting too far ahead of onesself, playing villareal in a few weeks time...
TH has come out and said pretty much exactly what he's been saying for the last few months: I'm not going to make a decision before the end of the season, but I want my future settled before the world cup. There's no point now in trying to push him into signing before then: he knows what the club are offering, he knows we want him, and, I hope, he knows the potential of the squad. Cumulatively, I'm increasingly confident he'll stay, as long as the team shows some passion and desire on the run in. Also, I think he's right in that considering how intense things are likely to be in the run in, it's best to concentrate on football for now: contracts can be negotiated later.
Most interesting story by far though has to be the sudden resurgance of Chelsea's interest in Ash 'the Cash' Cole. Given as this is from Mr Matt ' I get all my stories off the internet' Hughes, I wouldn't be surprised if this was a load of rubbish. However, Cole has had an odd season, spending most of it on the treatment table, and not having a chance to re-endear himself to the club. Indeed I found his one year contract extension most odd. It hardly smacked of a player or club who saw themselves staying together in the long-term. Arsene's protestations have also been most feeble when questioned on Cole's future, usually restricted to the old 'he has a such and such contract left' defence. Now, I do think Ash has behaved like a spoilt brat over the last year or so, but then i also think the club were taking him for a ride with his previous salary. He should have never gone to meet Chelsea - a betrayal if I'm being frank - but the club shouldn't have quibbled about giving 70 grand a week to the best left-back in the world. Only more time will tell if relations between the directors and Ash can be healed. At the moment, if there's any truth in the story, £16m would be a very attractive amount of cash for the board. And with Flamini we know have the second best l-b in the world.
My hope is all three will be at the club in September, with lovely new contracts: Bobby a 1 year deal(but with a verbal agreement of a second) and TH and Ash on 20 year uber-tight, unbreakable deals. Ash's would have to have the proviso: no law suits for the next 5 years though. You'd think he was talking about a defence of the magna carta the way him and his lawyers have banged on the defence of his various 'rights'. Give it a rest Ash, eh? Go back to being the L-B we all know you can be. Although with Nigel Flam-terburn there now, I'd say you're going to have to earn your place back!
Oh, we're also playing today. Arsene has an even more ambitious plan than mine: win all our remaining games. Here's hoping! It's eminently possible, if a win at Old Trafford is pretty ambitious, and today's game should be in the bag. You never know with football though, and as East Lower has pointed out, no CL hangover please.
The team i predict Arsene will play:
Eboue kolo phil Flam
hleb gilb fab reyes
Although, some selection issues: would it be best to give players like Fab, Hleb and Reyes a rest before next Wednesday? Hence will Diaby, who hasn't played for a while, and Pires be involved? Qui sait? Arsene. Pourquoi? Arsene sait tout. A little French for you there.
Finally, a lovely piece on Arsene and David Rocastle, who's being remembered today at the match. Even with the dim memories I have of Rocky playing, I really remember liking him, and being quite miffed when we sold him to Leeds. I don't think Arsene is just being sentimental, I believe him.
So, as a final word of encouragement, let's go out and do Rocky proud.