Saturday, April 01, 2006

A tale of three contracts; Villa Preview.

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
Adey TH

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.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree about Ashley Cole. He has been a bit of an idiot, but if the board hadnt messed him about and just paid him what he's worth, he wouldnt have had to go to Chelsea to make the club realise his true worth. How can the best left back in the world be on £27k a week. I hope he can sort his attitude out and be loyal to the club. After seeing what happened to Vieira the other day, does he really want to go to Real Madrid rather than stay with a club that has the potential to be the best(whether TH14 stays or not). I do think that Flamini being the 2nd best LB is a bit over the top(unless u were just joking). I definetly dont want him to leave though. If he can play that good at left back then he can obviously play defensive midfield as back up to Gilberto and maybe take his place in 2 or 3 years.

Goonerboy said...

Yeah, the Flam thing was a joke! I do think he's been awesome though - far, far better that was the abhorrence of playing Cygan there. I had my doubts about Flam because I always thought he was a bit average, but he's been superb of late. Not just in effort - which was always there - but performance as well. Players like him are always welcome at Arsenal imho.

Interesting thought about Flam replacing Gilbs. I think the long-term goal for Arsene is a Diaby-Fab central mid partnership, but Flam could force his way in.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I'm really sorry about Ash - he has been my favourite player for some time now and I'm gutted at the thought that we'll lose him. Given the way he has been undervalued by Arsenal, it's scarcely surprising he has taken to lashing out at the whole world in an orgy of self-destruction - egged on by the agent and lawyer of course. He feels he' been taken for granted; his pride has been hurt. I can't imagine he actually wants to go anywhere, least of all to Real - he must know what kind of life is in store for a black player there - but I have nasty suspicion Wenger isn't making much effort to keep him. Not with Clichy and excellent Flam and the promising young Traore all waiting in the wings. I don't normally buy into the stuff about the French players being favoured over the English at Arsenal, but sadly in this case Ash may have been right to feel no one gives a monkeys whether he stays. I hate the thought of all that talent being lost to us. Even more I hate the thought of Ash's brave, classy style being destroyed by Mourinho. Look at what's happened to Essien and Shaun WP: they're a shadow of their former selves.