Thursday, 26 May 2011

Vieira set to return? - Parker off? Hazard on? - Evra's a...

Morning Gooners.

Let's start straight away with news that Patrick Vieira has been linked with a return to the club in a coaching capacity. The Daily Mail are running the story. All I can say is yes please!

There has been talk in recent weeks that Vieira could be on his way back to north London to work with Wenger and at the moment it is pure speculation. When the Arsenal manager was asked about the possibility of adding to his coaching staff when he announced Pat Rice was to continue as his assistant, the Frenchman said he was "thinking about it".

In a subsequent press conference he told the broadcast media that he had no plans to add to his back room staff. But then he returned to saying he was "open-minded" to additions to his coaching team prior to the Fulham game.

I genuinely think there could be movement this summer in Wenger's backroom team. I believe one of the reasons Wenger gave Rice for him to continue his service with the club was that there was no one he thought could step into the former Arsenal captain's shoes as his assistant straight away.

Vieira could have returned to Arsenal when he left Inter Milan but Wenger passed on the option. I understand why he decided to make that decision. Going back to our past to try and solve our current problems would have fixed very little in the long term. But having Vieira return in a coaching capacity this summer would seem a good idea.

He has the respect of the players and the coaching staff. There was genuine sadness at the club when he left for Juventus and a return  would suit everyone concerned. I think he would add something to the mix in the current back room team that we're missing. Let's hope it happens.

There is speculation in the Daily Star that we've pulled out of the race to sign Scott Parker. This news comes a day after Alex Song was linked with a £15m move to Inter Milan.

It would come as no surprise if we were no longer interested in Parker's services. He doesn't fit the profile of a normal Wenger signing. But I'm told we are certainly looking at players who are older and more mature than those we have in our squad already. Parker is a player I like and I think would do a job for us. But I'm not sure he'd come to the Grove and be prepared to play second fiddle to Song. With Denilson's imminent departure likely we certainly need to add depth in the defensive midfield role within the squad. Last season we did not have enough pressure on Song to perform and maintain a high level of performance because he knew his name would be one of the first on the team sheet.

That cannot be allowed to happen next season. We saw against Manchester United how well he can play that role and he kept Wayne Rooney quiet all game. But against lesser teams he can amble around and not be as focused in his play. I don't think he developed last season in the way Arsene Wenger had hoped he would. In fact I think it was a season where Song's performances were at a standstill.

At the moment I feel the club is crying out for a player who can challenge Song for his role in the team. Competition for places in the starting 11 is key if we are to have a successful season. If Parker is not the man, I hope Arsene Wenger has identified who will be the player he signs who can play defensive midfield and someone Song can learn from.

The Star say instead of Parker we'll have Eden Hazard instead. Not exactly the same type of player but the young Belgium international is not someone I would turn down if the chance came up to sign him. However all the rumours are that he'll be staying in France for another season. Plus I can't see us paying  the £20m it would cost us for his signature.

Something which has annoyed me are the words spoken by the Manchester United left back Patrice Evra. He's opened his big and not so intelligent mouth after being asked about Samir Nasri's situation at Arsenal. The guy shows no class and is a complete idiot. Personally he's in the top five players that I hate along with John Terry.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust have called on all shareholders to withstand the offers of Alisher Usmanov and keep their stock in the club rather than sell to either the Uzbek or the American Stan Kroenke. Personally I believe the club is better owned by the fans than individuals. It's better for the good of all supporters rather than the few.

The Sun are astonished that Arsenal player Jack Wilshere will go on the club's pre-season tour of Asia after being withdrawn from the England squad for the Euro under-21's Championship in Denmark. Why shouldn't he go on tour? Madness.

Aaron Ramsey played 29 minutes in Wales' 3-1 defeat to Scotland. The midfielder was a second half substitute. I didn't see the game but from reports it appears he came through his stint uninjured.

Thierry Henry had some superstar supporters in the stands last night as the New York Red Bulls drew 2-2 with Colorado. Cesc Fabregas, who was looking bored, and the mega interested Robin van Persie were in the stands to cheer their former team mate on.

And finally, enjoy this.... 22 years on to the day.

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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