Sunday, 17 July 2011

Wenger to offer Fabregas/Nasri bumper deals to stay? - Eboue exit route open?

Morning Gooners.

I had hoped that yesterday's match would provide us with plenty of talking points from all the wonderfully crafted goals we scored but I'm disappointed to report that instead of an all action thriller, the game was a tedious 1-1 draw.

Of course we're only in the second competitive match of pre-season and it's not all about results. But when Arsenal have 18 shots, you'd hope for a better conversion rate from all those chances we created.

Instead we got a scrappy equalising first half goal scored by Carlos Vela after good work by Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie. The manager mixed the teams up yesterday and I think it's fair to say the balance of the 11 who played the first 45 minutes wasn't quite right. Defensively we weren't anywhere near where we need to be if we're going to be challenging for the title. And if I gave you the chance to guess how our Chinese opposition scored their goal, you wouldn't need too many chances to get the answer right... yes, a set piece.

Hopefully from watching that woeful display the manager won't brush our defensive weaknesses under the carpet. We know last season we came short because of our inability to deal with chances created from a dead ball situation. The return of Thomas Vermaelen may go some way to solving that, but we can't pin all our hopes on him to rescue the situation. As a group of players, their defensive work ethic is not right and that's
something which has to change.

The first half saw also that if we're going to go into the season with just Emmanuel Frimpong as back up to Alex Song we will be inadequately able to cope with an injury to the Cameroon international. The first 45 minutes proved to be that Frimpong is too raw to deal with the pressures of Premier League games at the moment. I have no doubt he'll blossom into a fine player, but we are in desperate need for not just back up but a player who will fight Song for that role.

The tempo the game was played at in the second half was better and allowed us to be more creative. However for all the chances, we weren't able to find the back of the net. Marouane Chamakh seems scared of taking a shot himself and although his link up play is good and work rate impressive, I was left wondering if allowing Nicklas Bendtner to leave is all that wise given it is African Nations Cup season.

The touring party will soon return to London and you'd hope that the manager will be able to follow up interest in some of the players he's been monitoring. For me, I believe it's key we sign a goalkeeper, central defender, left back, defensive midfielder and striker before the window closes.

Then there is the issue over Samir Nasri. Will he be an Arsenal player still on September 1st? Only if he signs a new contract. With Roberto Mancini speaking about singing the player by the end of the month, you would assume Manchester City aren't far away from submitting a formal bid for the player. We'd be mad to turn an offer in the region of £20m for a player who is in the final 12 months of his deal and has no apparent intention of signing a new one.

The Sunday Mirror say we're preparing a new package for Nasri but it really does feel like his Arsenal career is drawing to a close. Wenger is right that Mancini's comments about a player under contract with another club are disrespectful. But unless we're going to be making an official complaint to the Premier League or FA, there is really no point in him talking about them.

It also feels like we're reaching a conclusion with the future of Cesc Fabregas for the coming season. It was reported he'd resumed pre-season training at London Colney on Tuesday and you'd have to think that if he's not  involved next weekend in Germany we'll be preparing for the season without him. Johan Cruff has said that Barca should meet our asking price. Whilst the Sunday People say we're prepared to offer our captain a contract extension until 2017 with a bumper salary.

I really can't see Cesc signing a new deal. I don't believe it's about money for him. Yes, he could earn lots more at Arsenal and wouldn't be forced to take a pay cut - which is something it appears he'll have to do at Barcelona. But I think he wants to be in a team which consistently wins trophies. Something we appear to be incapable of doing at the moment.

There isn't one piece of transfer tittle tattle linking us to a player joining the club today. However the Sunday People say Galatasaray are interested in signing Emmanuel Eboue.

There are two articles related to Arsenal which are worth spending a few minutes reading. Patrick Collins writing in the Mail on Sunday says for all his faults, Arsene Wenger is the best man to lead Arsenal. Whilst in The Observer, Paul Wilson says Arsenal would have won more trophies had we had a more continental style of refereeing in the English game.

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