Friday, 8 October 2010

Unrest in the goalkeeping department, Gooners heading on a USA pre-season tour?

Morning Gooners.

Despite there being a break in the Premier League schedule for international football, there is still plenty of Arsenal news around. I'm quite astonished really. To be honest I wake up each morning preying their is going to be something interesting to blog about and so far I and the rest of the Arsenal bloggers have been given Gunners related material to discuss and analyze.

The main talking point today is the comments made in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport by young goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

He's joined the bandwagon set off by Wojciech Szczesny in questioning Arsene Wenger's decision to keep faith with Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianksi.

He told the Italian newspaper, translated by the Daily Mirror:
"They brought Almunia back (to the starting XI) and then Fabianski started in the game at Chelsea (last weekend).
"I get annoyed when I don't play, it's not as if the other two do that well.
"But if I've signed a contract extension until 2014 it is because they must value me.
"Last year I played nine games and with me, Arsenal never lost.
"I don't get regular playing time at Arsenal. I would consider a six-month loan deal just to play."
These comments are a bit out of the blue to me. I was shocked a little when I read what he said because people at the club tell me he's not the sort of guy to give interviews to the media, preferring to sit out of the limelight and get on with his job quietly.

But I suppose in a way this might have been the right thing to do. He''s dropped down the pecking order since Szczesny said what he did about the situation at the club last month, losing out to the younger of our two Polish keepers for a place on the bench at Partizan Belgrade and Chelsea.

And he's not been allowed to push on since playing those eight games for the first team last season - five in the league and three in Europe. His development has been curtailed with Almunia and Fabianski coming back in front of him. And now Szczesny appears to have leapfrogged him as well.

I would suggest his development would have been progressed if he'd been sent out on loan in the second half of last season, but Szczesny bagged that opportunity with his loan move to Brentford. And we know a Premier League team needs three goalkeepers available as injuries and suspensions come along.

So he's in no man's land. Ideally not the best place to be if you want to progress your career. Hopefully Arsene will sit down with his keepers and discuss his plans for them. It would be no bad thing for Arsenal if Mannone was given the opportunity to go on loan. It would certainly give him some football, which he isn't getting at the moment.

Elsewhere this morning, there is talk in the Daily Telegraph Arsene Wenger could be persuaded to take his side on a money making pre-season tour of the USA, Middle East or Asia rather than their normal ritual of going to Austria for their pre-season training camp.

As Jeremy Wilson points out in his piece:
"The looming new Uefa regulations on 'financial fair-play' means that the future hierarchy of European clubs will be increasingly influenced by who is most successful at maximising every possible revenue stream." 
From what I understand, Arsene has never been keen on these tours, preferring to head to the peace and quiet of Austria to prepare for the season before heading back to London to play in the Emirates Cup.

With their not being an international tournament this summer, perhaps this is the ideal time and opportunity for the club to dip its toe in the market and see if it's for them.

There is a market out their available to be exploited, so it would be daft if we didn't at least try. And when there is little or no cost to the club - many of these tours are paid for by other interested parties i.e. football federations, airlines and the like - their is only lessons to be learnt from our experience.

And if we can add to our revenue stream as well, it would only be an advantage. But the decision as to whether we do sign up to do this has to be left, especially on the playing side to Arsene Wenger. There is no point us flying half way round the world if our preparations for the forthcoming season are compromised. Football has to come first. Commercial opportunities second.

From the Telegraph piece, a decision will be made at the next board meeting.

The other piece of news around concerns the fitness of Abou Diaby.He could miss France's game with Romania due to an ankle injury.

However the French coach Laurent Blanc is more confident the midfielder will play in their game with Luxembourg on Tuesday.

Obviously there is no Arsene Wenger press conference to look forward to later. So if you're still wanting to cure your Arsenal fix, head over to Arsenal TV Online tonight from 7pm (BST) for Friday Night Live, Spot Light and then the Fan's Forum. You'll find full details on who's appearing on what on the official site

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