Friday, 13 August 2010

Schwarzer deal looks on, Vermaelen wants to be a winner and Walcott's breakthrough season?

Morning Gooners.

It appears that we could be in the process of acquiring ourselves a new goalkeeper. Mark Schwarzer looks to be the man in question and after his comments in the Australian Daily Telegraph, he looks keen to push a deal through.

He said:
"I need it to happen. I've had a couple of chats with Mark [Hughes]. It's delicately poised.
"Who wouldn't be keen to go to Arsenal? At this stage in my career it's an amazing opportunity to play at that level and one I really want to take.
"Only time will tell whether that happens or not.
"I have never sat out a game [to prove a point] and never would. But it needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.
"I'm not sure whether I'll play [for Fulham] on the weekend. I've got a few little injury problems but we'll have to wait and see how I pull up when I return to London."
"It's taken a long time and the season's very close. On one hand you understand them not wanting to disrupt too many things but I want things resolved as quickly as possible." 
It's reported that former Fulham boss Roy Hodgeson was prepared to facilitate the deal to Arsenal but that changed when he left and now Mark Hughes is keen to keep him.

I would imagine that Schwarzer's fitness concerns may disappear if he does sign for us prior to the Premier League's 5pm deadline for new players being registered with clubs prior to this weekend's fixtures.

Personally I think he would be an improvement on what we've got. And would be an excellent pro to learn from for Fabianski, Mannone and Szczensy.

You would imagine that Almunia would be heading for the exit door if the deal does happen. Schwarzer would come in with the knowledge that Arsene wanted him to be his number one and that would be hugely damaging for the Spaniard's confidence.

Almunia seems like a genuinely nice guy, who's done well following his promotion to number one, but hasn't performed in some big games for us and it is probably time for him to seek a fresh challenge.

Talking of new challenges, Thomas Vermaelen is keen for his team mates to focus all season long if they stand any chance of winning any silverware during this campaign.

"You have to look at all games which we lost, and each one had its own story. 
"In football, it is really difficult to perform at a high level in every game — and that is what we have to do every year. 
"We are one year older now, more experienced. 
"For myself, as an individual, I have learned a lot last year and I hope I can improve. 
"I feel the same pressure as I did last year, that is to be as good for the team as I can, to perform the best I can and to win some things. 
"The difference now is that everything is not new to me anymore, but sometimes the second season is more difficult than the first." 
Vermaelen had an excellent first campaign with us and proved that Arsene can pick a defender when he's got the cash to spend. Lets hope that Koscielny is just as good a buy as the Belgian international has been for us.

One man who certainly is a winner, well whenever he plays for England that is, is Theo Walcott who has equaled a 99-year-old record. Of the 12 England matches Theo has been capped for, the national side has emerged victorious in all of them.

The winger has also been talking about his targets for the forthcoming season. I would suggest this is the season where Theo Walcott has to make the breakthrough. There is no denying he has talent and athleticism, we just need him to be more consistent with it. 

He said: 
"It is a massive season for me. After the disappointment of the summer, I know what I have to do. 
"When something doesn't go well for you, just forget about it and move on to the next one. That is what I will do this season. 
"I need to play as many games as I can for Arsenal, week-in week-out and show everyone what I can do. 
"I am 21 now and it is time for me to push on. I am looking forward to the next step. 
"I have just had a very good pre-season, I am happy to be back playing football now and I want to show everybody what I can do this season."
I really hope for his sake and ours he does have a season where we all look back and say, the 2010/2011 season was then Theo Walcott became a world beater. I think we saw glimpses of it in the England game on Wednesday night. However days earlier he was anonymous against Legia Warsaw. Consistency is the key for Theo.

The 21-year-old talks about David Beckham helping him get over his World Cup snub as well today.

Elsewhere Ian Wright talks Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere in his Sun column.

The BBC have put together a film of the World Cup from a Premier League club's perspective. The Arsenal one, as you can imagine, is a good watch.

There is a bit of team news ahead of the weekend. I've updated the injury news panel to the right of the blog, but from Arsene's interview with Arsenal.com yesterday the highlights or low lights are: Denilson and Diaby face fitness tests, Bendtner, Song and Djourou are all out and the boss has yet to decide on what part if any Fabregas and Van Persie will play at Anfield.

Aaron Ramsey is making progress and could be seen again in an Arsenal shirt as soon as November.

Arsene Wenger will host his first press conference of the Premier League season later, which will then be streamed "as live" by Arsenal TV Online. Well worth the price of a subscription fee.

Finally for this morning, an interesting article has been written about the stadium naming rights and shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines. The company bosses believe it was a "fantastic bargain". I couldn't agree with him more. It was an excellent bit of business at the time for all concerned. However it doesn't look that brilliant now from an Arsenal perspective.

But we have got a fantastic new stadium and were able to put a lot of money down so that our mortgage repayments weren't astronomical.

Before you leave to get on with your day, you may care to read a post I wrote last night about Arsenal fans finding some perspective ahead of the new season.

You'll find me on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

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