Monday, 17 January 2011

Vermaelen confirms surgery - Oxlade-Chamberlain latest - Watcott has no regrets

Morning Gooners.

Finally it appears the waiting is now over and the work begins. Thomas Vermaelen has confirmed he would have surgery tomorrow to try and solve his Achilles problem - something this blog told you last Thursday.

After so long out a decision has been made to operate on the Belgium international.

Vermaelen said:
"According to the specialist who will operate on me it's a small tendon that runs next to the achilles tendon and is irritating it, and it needs to be taken out. It is a small tendon that doesn't do very much.
"Hopefully that will solve it. I'd like to be fit to play the European Championship qualifiers for Belgium in March, but really I'd prefer not to make predictions. I remain cautious."
The defender has targeted the Champions League tie with Barcelona for his comeback, but I'm pretty sure we can count him out of the home tie which is just four weeks away.

He added:
"My goal is to be fit against Barcelona but I know that after being out for so long that it may not be realistic.
"Having been out for so long, I don't like to give dates when I will be ready to play again. But you have to set yourself targets and goals.
"But the biggest thing is that I'm relieved that they have found the problem. That is the most important thing and now I can be positive about coming back into the team."
It must be a relief that the problem appears to have finally been diagnosed. Vermaelen hasn't been seen in an Arsenal shirt since the win at Blackburn Rovers in August - some four months and 21 days ago. There must be questions raised as to whether he'll be seen again this season after being out for so long.

He's done work in the gym and has tried to get back and start work on the practice pitches but this problem has caused him set backs in his recovery. And although there is still another four months of the season still to play, whether it will be the suggested two months I've been told he'll be out or longer will all depend on how he reacts to the treatment.

I personally think we should discount him playing for us again this season. If he comes back before the end of May that will be an unexpected bonus and the manager can say Vermaelen's return is "like a new signing". 

We now need the manager to quickly identify our target to replace Vermaelen and go out and buy him. I'm very much against a short term solution. I think we need someone who can be in the squad for the long term and if that means spending a bit of money then we should do it.

For too long we have been thinking about the future and not buying players because it may hamper the development of our youngsters. The time is now Arsene. We want to win a trophy and there is a huge possibility that we can this season and I'm not talking about just the Carling Cup.

If we buy the right guy now, I'm sure this group of players can push on and win a trophy. But to go forward without buying anyone would be a dereliction of duty on behalf of the manager.

I don't have a name of who we should go for or who we have got in mind. That kind of detail is kept firmly in the manager's head until he makes a decision. We saw at the press conference on Friday how he stonewalled every question put to him which involved a player's name. Hopefully that means he's doing something... Only time will tell.



Elsewhere, Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has spoken about the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain situation.

He said
"We would only let him go to a club that would nurture him and treat him properly.
"There is going to be no auction for Alex. We love him and want to make him a better player.
"If, down the line, there is a bid we will do the right thing for Alex and not just sell him to the highest bidder.
"There has been a lot of speculation about him but Alex is our player and is playing with a smile on his face.''
Could there be movement from Arsenal for his signature? Possibly. It wouldn't surprise me in the least. However I don't think there is a chance we''d send him back on loan to the south coast club if we did sign him. We didn't with Theo Walcott nor with Aaron Ramsey.

And talking of the Welshman, his national team boss Gary Speed will be having a meeting with Arsene Wenger to discuss his involvement with Wales in the Euro 2012 qualifiers in February.

And finally, Theo Walcott says he has no regrets about coming out publicly last weekend to admit he dived in order to win a penalty against Leeds United in the FA Cup third round.

Walcott said
"I've no regrets about what I said last week. I'm an honest player. 
"It was definitely a penalty today [against West Ham] and it was the right decision by the ref."
It will be interesting to see what sort of reaction he gets at Elland Road on Wednesday night.

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