Friday, 5 August 2011

Vermaelen reveals Cesc's true feelings -Kroenke at Members Day -CL draw

Morning Gooners.

Members Day at the Grove yesterday again proved to be a hit with all those attending. The rain didn't dampen the spirits of the thousands who turned out to watch the Arsenal squad train. It was an interesting exercise for those wanting a bit more insight into the dynamics of how this squad clicks.

Cesc Fabregas was there as expected. Despite all the doom and gloom media reports, he seemed in good spirits. He had a bit of banter going on with Nicklas Bendtner prior to their running exercises. And joked and laughed with Tomas Rosicky when they were working with the ball.

The squad picture wasn't taken due to the bad weather. But individual shots and TV sequences recorded were though.

Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere were also there. The Frenchman entered the pitch at the start of the session and then promptly returned to the dressing room because of a minor ankle injury. Wilshere wasn't  involved with training either as he recovers from his own ankle problem picked up at the Emirates Cup. Walcott continued his rehabilitation with some running exercises in front of the Clock End alongside fitness coach Tony Colbert.

After a summer when Nicklas Bendtner was given permission to seek a move away from the club, it was interesting to see him join up with his team mates for this session. He looked in good form, which is more than  can be said of Marouane Chamakh. I really like the Moroccan international and he made a sensational start to his Arsenal career. But he is seriously missing something at the moment. I only hope he can rediscover what that missing ingredient is sooner rather than later.

And with Gael Clichy saying no one tackles during training at the club, we watched as first Carl Jenkinson and then Aaron Ramsey were on the wrong side of tackles. Neither appeared seriously injured although the Welsh captain did limp out of training.

Following training many of the players took part in Q&A sessions with fans. An interesting admission was made by Thomas Vermaelen when asked whether Cesc Fabregas should be allowed to leave the club if he doesn't want to play for us anymore.

He said:
"You don't know what his real opinion is because you read things in the papers and maybe it's not right so I think he's always determined, he loves Arsenal and I think he's always determined to play for Arsenal."
Which is good to hear. I think we can be led in many different directions by stories fed to the media from player's agents when it's not exactly what their client believes or feel themselves. Vermaelen could have dodged the question but he gave an answer which is probably closer to the truth than we've heard from anyone in the recent past and backs up what Arsene Wenger has been saying about our captain having two great loves, for us and Barcelona.

For me, the question has always been how much do Barcelona want Cecs Fabregas because they clearly don't want him as much as Arsenal do. They won't pay our asking price for him, they want him to help them pay his transfer fee and then they want him to take a pay cut to join them. Had the Spaniards met the club's valuation, Cesc wouldn't be an Arsenal player.

Stan Kroenke attended an Arsenal board meeting yesterday which coincided with Members Day and you'd have to assume player acquisition and selling was discussed. Are the club prepared to let Samir Nasri leave for free next summer or will they take Manchester City's £20m+ for him now? If I were in charge, I wouldn't hesitate for a  second and accept the cash. We simply do not have the resources not to accept a bid of that size for a player who does not want to commit to the club.

However what we really need to do in my opinion is go out and buy the quality players we so desperately need to improve our squad. We can't be hampered by the future's of Cesc and Nasri. And if it takes an extra £-m to bring in our target, I believe the manager should do it. There can be no delays because Ivan Gazidis has said the money is there. So what are we waiting for?

We cannot afford to have a bad start to the season and see the same mistakes being made again. Because patience with this Arsenal team is already wearing thin, as the booing of the team after a pre-season friendly which the team only drew proves.

I want Arsene Wenger to give himself the best possible chance of success this season. And to do that he needs to spend some money in the transfer market because it is clear that we don't have the experience we need in the players who are already at the club. The profile of the players we were expected to sign was supposed to have changed. At present the two players we've brought in fall into the exact same brackets as those who have joined in previous seasons: Jenkinson (young and raw) and Gervinho (French League and African).

The manager has identified and bid for Phil Jagielka but that doesn't seem to be a goer anymore because he doesn't want to pay over the odds for a player who is going to be 30 next August. If we've set Jagielka up as our first choice, we should go out and sign him. Those extra millions will pay for themselves if we win a trophy.

Elsewhere, Samir Nasri and Bacray Sagna have been called up for France for their game next week against Chile. However France coach Laurent Blanc is concerned by Nasri's state of mind.

He said:
"When you change clubs or you want to change a club, it can be destabilising.
"As I say to Samir, when you have the choice, from what I’ve read about and from what I know, between Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United or Inter Milan, there are worse situations to be in.
"It can be destabilising because you want to know what club you’ll be in, so you can look ahead to the future."
Kyle Bartley, a day after signing a contract extension with Arsenal, has joined Rangers on loan for the season. A good move to continue his development, however I would have liked to have seen him play in the Premier League because we'd have been able to see whether he could have competed against the top teams.

Later this morning is the Champions League draw (from 11am) and we'll discover who we'll face in the two-legged qualifier which is due on August 16/17 and August 23/24. We could be picked to play: FC Twente, Rubin Kazan, FC Zurich, Udinese or Odense.

And finally, congratulations to Emmanuel Frimpong who has been promoted to the first team squad. Henri Lansbury has not and according to The Guardian has failed to agree terms on a contract extension with the club.

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