Saturday, 7 May 2011

Wilshere should think of the consequences | Wellington to Anderlecht?

Morning Gooners.

It was a momentous day at the club yesterday - one which will go down in history - as Stan Kroenke set out plans to become the sole owner of Arsenal Football Club. The American made the offer to the remaining shareholders of Arsenal Holdings PLC in a 64-page offer document after earlier in the week confirming the purchase of shares from the late Danny Fiszman and the holdings owned by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

At the moment there is little chance of him becoming the 100% owner of the club as Red and White Holdings owned by Alisher Usmanov are continuing to purchase shares in the club, picking up another five at £11,950 a pop on Wednesday. The Uzbek tycoon has already stated he won't be selling to the American and his recent purchases are hardly the sign of a man who has changed his mind.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust is urging all small shareholders not to sell. So hopefully it will mean Kroenke is unsuccessful at reaching the 90% he needs before he can compulsory purchase the remainder of the shares and take full control of the club. Shareholders have until May 27 to accept his offer.

Whilst Kroenke was releasing his offer document, at London Colney Arsene Wenger was speaking with the media ahead of Sunday's match with Stoke.

The Frenchman confirmed Aaron Ramsey would start on his first return to the ground where he had his leg broken by Ryan Shawcross 15 months ago. The Welshman will continue in the team as Cesc Fabregas has failed to overcome a thigh injury he picked up in training last Saturday.

The other early team news is that Samir Nasri is also out for between 10 and 14 days with a hamstring injury and Abou Diaby has failed to recover from a calf injury.

There will be late fitness tests for Gael Clichy (hamstring) and Johan Djourou (ankle) but Thomas Vermaelen is fit.

On the Belgium central defender, Wenger said had he realised Vermaelen would have been out for so long he would have tried to buy a player, but that it isn't easy buying someone during the January window who will be good enough to improve the quality of the squad without paying over the odds.


Ramsey's return to the Britannia will no doubt bring back some painful memories. But it's a test of character which Arsene Wenger believes the 20-year-old can come through.

"He is certainly mentally stronger. After what happened to him you have to be strong. I am very, very happy for him.
"He is a quiet, but strong character and I think there is no better maturing system than what happened to him - blocked at 18 suddenly, when you are just flying.
"Being knocked down and having to wait for a year, not knowing what really will happen… in fact, the real test is the first training. And he came through it."
Whilst there is no doubt that Ryan Shawcross is the man to blame for his horrific challenge which left Ramsey out of the game for a year, I'm sure all Gooners will recognise the role Glenn Whelan played being at the Welshman's side when he was in agony. He should be afforded a round of applause for the kindness he showed by all traveling Gooners tomorrow. 

Elsewhere there is a storm brewing over the inclusion of Jack Wilshere in the England under-21 side to play in the European Championships this summer.

Arsene Wenger has already tried to reason with Stuart Pearce but the Frenchman had no joy and Pearce picked the player. Now it appears the Frenchman will try and persuade Fabio Capello that it really isn't in England's best interests if Wilshere is exhausted before next season has already begun.

Wenger says the player will not be available for the national team in August and Arsenal fans may not see Wilshere until after September's international break, thus ruling him out of any involvement in two/three international matches. 

Something has got to give. England can't have it both ways. They either want Wilshere for the under-21s or the full national team and I believe Wenger is right to demand they choose. If they want him for both then I fully back the manager to make Wilshere unavailable for the senior side in August and September, even if that costs Arsenal because we've seen before jaded and tired players don't perform at their best.

Whilst I agree that Wenger is right not to stand in Wilshere's way, it's important the player realises the consequences of playing for the under-21s and not having a summer off.

Previously we've seen players like Gilberto come back late from their holidays after international tournaments and not get back into the side. Mathieu Flamini seized his opportunity to play and the Brazilian hardly got a look in. And if Wilshere isn't involved at the start of next season, maybe that's when other players in the squad will be given a chance to impress.

One of those players might be Henri Lansbury who the manager said he wouldn't be sending back out on loan straight away next season and would have a chance to impress.

Wenger admitted he had a number of players who would be frustrated by their lack of first team action this season, including Nicklas Bendtner.

He plans to meet all the squad once the season is over and talk with them about this season and next. This is - as it were - their annual performance review, something which happens every summer.

Wenger wants Bendtner to stay and fight for his place but I'm not sure the Dane has the patience to stick around and wait for his turn. Had he been fit at the start of the season instead of coming back from the World Cup with a groin injury, he may well have been ahead of Marouane Chamakh in the pecking order and had the chance to impress this season.

But as it is, he's made just three starts and 12 substitute appearances in the league and 14 starts and 16 as a sub in all competitions. Now depending what you read he's got offers to go to Bayern Munich or to Fulham

I think he'll be a huge player but at the moment our system of playing 4-2-3-1 doesn't suit him as van Persie is always going to be first choice for the striking role. That has meant Bendtner has been forced to play on the right, which doesn't suit his game.

The Daily Mail think we're after Everton central defender Phil Jagielka again. I know we were interested last summer and had bids rejected. 

The Daily Mirror believe Brazilian forward Wellington will be heading to Anderlecht next season after a disappointing loan spell in Spain.

And finally, ESPN have announced they will be broadcasting Arsenal's pre-season tour of Asia.





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