Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pires, Henry, Campbell, and Cole: who will go?

At least one, if not two of the four players in the title will leave in the close season, I'm pretty sure of it.

Which players it will actually be is another matter.

After a season of speculation, I think everyone assumed it would be Th or Ash, but I'm now fairly certain that they'll both stay. How could Tel leave after Saturday? The post-match interview said it all: he's as much a gooner as any of us . The near delight he took in denying Spurs Europe was palpable, as he talked about having to endure the 'are you watching Arsenal' chants during Spurs game against Bolton. 'yes i was' I think was his answer, with 'And are you watching now?' his implied rebuttal. He can play in the CL with us next year. He is the centre-piece of an exciting new team, built around him. The team are moving to one of the best new stadiums in Europe. He has his great mentor, Arsene, near him. He could still leave, and I would respect his decision to do so, but i really think that if he recognises that this season was one of transition, he'll stay at the club and look to the future with the rest of us.

As for Ash, I really hope he stays. Ash is an old-school football playboy, revelling in his rapid social ascension. He's bling, and sometimes annoyingly so, but he is a great, great player, to my mind the best left-back in the world. Players as good as Ash, you have to forgive their dalliances. His liason with Chelsea was a mistake. He knows it, I'm sure, and I wish he'd stop pursuing these 'martyr of free-trade' cases which I'm sure his agent is pushing him toward. If he spoke publicly to the fans and admitted his mistake, the issue would not exist. I, and I'm sure many others would forgive him, and he could continue building toward the captain's armband that was surely destined for him. As it is, 50/50 he'll stay. If the club gets a sizeable bid, there's a real chance they'll accept; especially as their pride was wounded by the entire tapping up incident. Add to that Arsene's strident distaste of party boys, and Ash may have a foot out the door. As i said earlier, I hope not. Even in the mere two games since he's been fully back, it's been a joy to see him at LB. I almost feel bad for betraying the Flamster after his heroics, but if fit, Ash should start in Paris, if we're serious about victory. Overall, whilst I disagree with the level of wages played to current players, I think the club was taking him for a ride before the farrago broke. If they'd hadn't prevaricated over whether to pay him 60 not 55 k a week, none of this would be an issue, and I think that's a wage Ash deserves. On balance, I think there's a great chance he could still stay this summer. It depends on how much each party is willing to put behind them.

So, my bet as for the big name who will leave the club this summer lies with Sol or Bobby. Sol didn't so much burn his bridges as atomise Tower bridge with his defection against West Ham. It's been good to see him back in the team, but he isn't the player he was. A firm bid from the likes of Newcastle could see him skiddadle up North. Bobby, I hope stays. Unless we get a Beckham-esque, experienced winger figure in for next year, Bobby is definitely worth an extra year. He's not worth two though, which is why i can see Arsene's reluctance to offer him any more, and Bobby's contemplation to go elsewhere. There's a real chance he'll be in Spain next year i feel.

Ok, two last things. Firstly, congratulations to Alistair Cook and Marcus Trescothick on fine innings today for England. Secondly, commiserations to Boro on their defeat last night. They didn't deserve to be hammered like that after the excitement they've brought to the competition this year, and I still think they've done the premiership proud. Although, I Hope this is not a portent for either England or us next week...

On that bombshell of terror, adieu for now.


Anonymous said...

Good article. I agree with every piece of it.

Anonymous said...

This is a direct quote from Ashley Cole, reported by the BBC on Sunday:-

'Gunners defender Ashley Cole said the players all admired Henry and wanted him to stay at the club.
"We will handcuff Thierry to keep him here," joked the left-back.
"He is a great player and a great friend to all of us but we have to wait for him to make a decision so we will just leave him."

There have been several interviews with him recently, one in Champions League magazine, where he says he is really looking forward to playing at Ashburton Grove and his only concern is that we don't suffer from that new-stadium jinx that seems to affect many teams who move home. He said he will be happy when we get the first 3 points on the board.

Doesn't sound to me like he is planning an exit!

I put my money on Dennis Bergkamp being the big name player to leave this summer!

gazzap said...

yeah despite the early signs that Arsenal had negotiated a move to Madrid for ash (with possibly baptista coming the other way now he has his spanish citizenship), it seems ash has had a real change of heart. He is now saying, actually Arsenal I know I said I wanted out but I want to stay now on that lovely £60k a week.
I'd say this has a lot to do with his misses as well. They are settling down nicely and seem to be enjoying London.
but we cant be disappointed, he is a great left back.

As for Pires, wenger is effectivly saying to him, I want to see you hungry and fighting for a place in the team, not easing up on a 2 year holiday with us. If Pires wants the easy option out then we really dont want him. Its all about his attitude not his ability, which Wenger does not doubt.

Anonymous said...

I think Pires signed for Villarreal even before we played them in the second leg! Quotes from him - there's one on arseblog today - certainly suggest that deal is already tied up.

Sol: I don't mind him going at all, even though he'll probably just retire so we won't get any money, but we do we do need to replace him. Shame Chelsea would never let us have Gallas.

Yes, I'm sure Ash wants to stay, I think he always wanted to stay but the hot-headed idiot has had his pride hurt by us a few times. I hope he does stay, but if enough money was offered I wouldn't be surprised if Wenger decided to sell. Left back isn't, comparatively speaking, a position where we're lacking in cover.

Our priorities, I'd guess, are a left-sided centreback and a winger to replace not just Pires but Freddie as well - given the ever more numerous games when he's injured. There's a fantastic young Argentinian currently playing in Brazil, but the odds are Liverpool have already got their mits on him. On the right, of course, we could use Eboue as a winger once Lauren is back; and put Clichy on the left when Reyes is rested. Which would mean it might be sound economics to hang on to Ash after all ...

I suspect we'll also be looking for a top-class youngish striker, irrespective of Henry's decision. Torres? He seems never to have been especially excited by the demented overtures from the Totts. Waiting to see who got fourth spot and whether we'd come in for him too, I reckon. Hahaha. I like Torres a lot, and think he might bring out the best in Reyes. Not sure how Abe will develop. Still less Van P. He is - or rather was - excellent at slugging in goals from 20 yards but he's limited player, too selfish to have developed any other side to his game. Perhaps he'll realise he needs to become more creative, but there's obviously no guarantee that he can. No guarantee that Walcott will come good either, and certainly not by next season. I'd say, even if Henry stays, we might make an offer for Torres.

Anonymous said...

Boro didn't deserve to be hammered? Come on, they were rubbish, and Sevilla a pretty class act.

Goonerboy said...

Maybe in the context of the actual game they did - but for the excitement and enjoyment they've generated over the course of their cup run, I thought it was a bit harsh.

Fills you with hope about England in the future, eh?

Anonymous said...

If I could be bothered I'd put money on Russia now to reach the final in the next Euros. Hiddink is the most astonishing manager ever. PSV won the title yet again, despite, year on year, having had to sell their best players over the summer. Anyone who can get Korea to the semis, who can make those lumps of lard, Kewell and Viduka, play well enough to beat Uruguay, must be a genius. Feel sorry for tirelessly brilliant players like Gerrard and Ash who look to be doomed by the dismal cock-up; also for Gilbert or Hoyte, who soon should replace Neville at right back.

Goonerboy said...

Yeah, but Hiddink is foreign! National pride is at stake! We must have an English manager, regardless of how shite we do! 'tis the English way!

Anonymous said...

The Independent thinks Senderos will play on Wed, and L'equipe has a section on Flam's chance of making the France squad. Knowing Domenech it probably depends on his horoscope. Think I might check out all of ours as I'm feeling too ill to work already, and the stats aren't exactly reassuring:

Us: F 14; A 2
Them: F 22; A 4

Goonerboy said...

Senderos better bloody play on wednesday. The thought of Campbell vs. Ronaldinho is too much to bear.

Anonymous said...

Looked at the horoscope in er, Elle, while having my hair cut. Thierry's was: career preoccupations have been overwhelming you recently but on the 20th the world can breath a sigh of relief.
Which seems remarkably pertinent if less informative than we'd like. Freddie's, however - oh what a surprise - said: at present you're more interested in flirtation than work.
If that means he's going out clubbing-cum-screwing all Tuesday night, I suggest we play Pires instead. Couldn't remember anyone else's birthday unfortunately. Ronaldinho's and Jens's might have been nice to know.

Yes, the thought of Sol is a nightmare but Senderos can't be even half fit? He only started training yesterday, didn't he?

gazzap said...

rather a half fit senderos than a 'fully' fit campbell.

DB10 said...

Ash has got to stay, no question. I really hope the club & him can sort it out.

As for Campbell vs. Ronnie, I'd be hiding behind the sofa for most of the game cos it would be a horror show.

Up the gunners.

Anonymous said...

Grim interview with Ash on the radio this evening. Asked if his Arsenal team-mates' performance in the Champions League had enouraged him to get back quickly from injury, he said - really depressing non sequitor, this - 'well, I've got to be playing for Arsenal to get back into the England squad, haven't I?' He then talked about how the manager's support had sustained him - the manager being not Wenger but Sven. Finally when questioned about whether he was staying with us, he pointed out really grumpily that he'd got three years left on his contract. OK, maybe he was bad-tempered because he's sick of the subject, but he said absolutely nothing positve about us. No gratitude to Wenger, no enthusiasm about Arsenal's achievement(apart from mentioning that Flam had done well). Sure he wants to play on Wed - who wouldn't? - and clearly in terms of ability he'd be better than Flam. In terms of attitude, however, and the way it could cast a shadow over the team spirit, I'm not so sure. It pains me to say it because I'm a huge fan of Ash.

Gooner for 59 years said...

1st visit. Good articles