Very interesting and admirably long interview with the chairman today on arsenal.com, in which P H-W talks about a pretty wide range of issues and paints a very positive picture of the club.
When asked about Arsene's contract situation, Hill-Wood said:
"We had a fairly lengthy conversation recently and that went very well. Hopefully, in the not too distant future we'll have something positive to say about it. I'm confident he'll stay."
Coupled with Arsene's comments after the game on Saturday, it's becoming clearer, dare I say it, that Arsene will renew. I should imagine a statement on his future could be made before the end of the autumn. As it stands, his un-renewed contract does not seem to be, contrary to media reports, destabilising the club. I should imagine that most of us want him to stay-on, but we may have to grant him a little patience (which sounds worryingly close to a Take That lyric).
Elsewhere, the chairman had this to say on the financial implications of the new stadium:
"The stadium has not held Arsenal back at all in terms of bringing in players. It's actually given us the opportunity to compete with the biggest clubs in the world. If we had stayed at Highbury that would have limited our resources and over the long term affected our ability to financially compete with the top sides. [...] It's going to generate a lot more money. Yes we have to pay the debt off, but don't forget the debt is a 25-year fixed-rate bond, so it's very manageable and that means the stadium can have nothing but a positive impact on developing the football team."
I think this point is worth remembering. We built the stadium as a means by which to become financially competitive. Yes, the debt incurred is rather large, but it's manageable. I'm pretty sure we haven't spent big (yet) because Arsene has chosen not to, rather than the option not being available to him. The Grove is the key to the club's long-term future - patience is required but the positive effects of the stadium should become increasingly apparent over the coming years.
I recommend you read the interview, because there's too much for me to fully go through here.
In other news, Julio Baptista's return to Madrid has been confirmed. The Beast then promptly scored 3 in 3 in the Copa America. Typical.
Jose Reyes will not be returning to the club. Arsene doesn't want an unhappy player to come back, and, regardless of his talent, that's the bottom line. Whether another left-winger will be purchased for the void created by his and Pires's departure remains to be seen.
A player who might be, unexpectedly, staying is Freddie, Arsene going as far as to say he's '90% sure' Freddie will be here next season. Now, most of us have a soft spot for Freddie, but if we were to receive a decent offer for him, I still maintain that now would be a good time for him to leave. He's a useful squad player, but he's clearly no longer the goal-getting force of old, and we need midfielders who can score.
Finally, Thierry Henry has left his wife. I very much doubt that this had anything to do with his decision to leave Arsenal, contrary to the reports in today's Sun. I would also suggest that this is a personal matter of Thierry's, so we should leave it to him and not start to cast dark aspersions on his personality. As Daft Punk might have it, he's 'Human after all'.