Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Almunia off - Wenger to make defensive signing decision - Wellington loan latest

Morning Gooners,

Well it's game day tomorrow and you'd expect there to be lots going on in preparation. This being the Carling Cup however, it means no press conference from the manager. He'll talk to Arsenal TV Online later in his only interview prior to the Ipswich match.

So what can I tell you?

Manuel Almunia has decided to leave the club according to the Daily Star and has told "friends" he'll be going to Turkey not Spain and it seems Galatasaray could be the club to pick him up.  A fee of around £1.5 million could make the deal happen.

Following the news that Thierry Henry was training at London Colney, there has been speculation he could resign on loan.

That was never Arsenal's intention. The manager is allowing Henry use of the facilities because he was such a good servant to the club.

And the chairman Peter Hill-Wood, has killed off speculation that there could be a deal for the Frenchman.

He said:
"We won't be signing him. 
"David Beckham was down with us last year and Arsene is very happy to have our old players come back in."
Whilst it would be nice to have someone of Henry's class in the team banging away chances, what kind of signal does that send out to the rest of the strikers in the team? To me it says you're not good enough so we're bringing in someone for two months who can do your job and then we're going to hand it back to you.

Having Henry around the training ground will do more than enough to help the players. He's not working with any of the first team strikers especially. He may have the odd conversation here and there with them. 

By all accounts his presence on Saturday morning caused a minor disturbance at the training ground where an under 18s match had taken place.

The manager is waiting to hear how bad Sebastien Squillaci is before deciding if he needs to sign a new player to offer cover in defence. I think that move needs to happen regardless of whether the Frenchman is injured. With the current situation, Squillaci and Vermaelen out, it shows you how short we are.

It was revealed yesterday how Squillaci finished the game on Saturday with a hamstring problem. So we are left with two fit central defenders who have first team experience in Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny.

Reserve team captain Ignasi Miquel is just 19 year-old and was only involved for the first time with the first team squad on Saturday against Leeds. He looks very slight in build and throwing him into the Premier League wouldn't be the ideal option. There is Kyle Bartley who is on a season long loan at Sheffield United. But he wouldn't benefit from being recalled (if that's even possible) to sit on the bench at Arsenal.

I think the manager needs to go out and sign someone who would add depth to our squad. I personally hope he doesn't fudge the issue and sign someone with only the short term in mind. We need to add someone who will help us win the league and who is able to play in the Champions League.

The early team news for tomorrow night's match is that the forementioned Ignasi Miquel will again be involved in the squad. He was left out of the Arsenal reserves side which was hammered 10-1 by Aston Villa last night.

Samir Nasri, Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny and Robin van Persie are all expected to be available again.

Elsewhere, there could be some news later as to which club our young Brazilian attacker Wellington Silva could be heading in Spain on loan.

He said on Twitter last night:
"Good night beautiful people, tomorrow I have some news for you and I'll know to which club I'm going. xx"
More news on that when it's announced.

Finally, the Guardian readers' have been busy with Photoshop and have given Samir Nasri the once over. Check out their efforts.

Follow Ashburton Grove 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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