Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Wilshere called, Pires returns, Schwarzer and Neuer on their futures, Fabianski to keep the gloves

Morning Gooners.

The international break has well and truly started with a host of Arsenal players packing their bags and heading off to play for their countries.

Jack Wilshere has been called up to play for the full England side by Fabio Capello. No more than he deserves really. I just hope the England management team do the same with him - expect him to play for both the under-21s and full side - as they did with Theo Walcott, especially now he is a regular for Arsenal.

The French quartet of Sagna, Clichy, Diaby and Nasri are also off for their national sides game with Romania.

Expect a full list of those not training at London Colney to appear on the official site imminently.

One person who is a London Colney by the invitation of Arsene Wenger is the legend which is Robert Pires. The 36-year-old is training at the club to regain his fitness ahead of a possible move to the French first division.

The midfielder has been training at the club's Hertfordshire base for the past seven days and plans to stay on for another week at least.

Arsene Wenger said of Pires:
"He is sparkling. He's happy on the ball and physically he is fine. He can be of service in Ligue 1 (the French top division)."
Could Pires make an Arsenal come back like Sol Campbell did? I'm not so sure. Wenger has always said playing midfield is a young man's game, so resigning him would go against what he's previously said.

But who knows. Seeing Pires in the red and white of Arsenal again would be something special.

One man keen on a move to Arsenal is Mark Schwarzer. It appears whenever he is away from Fulham's press team he's asked about his future and that was no different when he touched down in Australia to play for his national side yesterday.

He said:
"A lot can happen between now and January. What will be will be. If there's an opportunity in January then we'll explore it.
"This is the only time in my career I have ever tried to force an issue. I don't have time on my side. If you were a 30-year-old, you would walk away and say, 'Fair enough, I understand'.
"But I'm almost 38 and I want to fulfil an ambition. The sheer opportunity that was there – that was very flattering. But sometimes you've just got to grin and bear it and just get on with normal life again as much as possible. You just have to get your head down and work as hard as possible.
"It can affect your day-to-day life, and ultimately I am judged on how I perform week in, week out. If that performance drops, then no club is going to be interested in me. The bottom line is I've got to play well, wherever I am."
Another player Arsenal enquired about in the summer was Germany's number one keeper Manuel Neuer.

He's also been talking about his future and told Kicker:
"I am not comfortable with the current situation at Schalke. I hope we can turn the corner and get back on track.
"My contract runs until 2012. And I have always made it clear that I would play this season for Schalke. As for the future, we will see. I want to be playing in European competition next year."
One area Arsene Wenger has to sort out is the goalkeeping situation. At the moment it's all very well thinking about who we might sign in January but there is still plenty of football between now and the opening of the winter window.

Lukasz Fabianski has the gloves for now and he's had two reasonable games. I think it's up to him to prove to Wenger that he is capable of being our number one for the remainder of the season and a run of games will do him the world of good.

It will be interesting to see what happens when Manuel Almunia is fit again. Has his decision to carry on with the injury he received in the penalty incident against West Brom cost him the gloves? Only Arsene Wenger can make that decision. If Fabianski continues against Birmingham and plays without incident then you have to fear Almunia could be set for a spell on the sidelines.

"I think I can be pleased with my performance. I saved well, claimed crosses, and with my feet I played confidently. It is going in the right direction for me. I cannot be happy, though, with the result."
And you can't really argue with that. Arsene Wenger, provided Almunia is fit, faces a big decision come 3pm on October 16. I would expect Fabianski to get the nod even if the Spaniard is fit.

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