Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Scrap internationals! -Wenger makes contact over German international -Chelsea snare Gunners target?

Morning Gooners.

We're hitting the choppy waters of the international break and who better but to step in and steady the ship but our manager Arsene Wenger.

I don't think the Frenchman is a huge fan of international football - that's the impression I get. I would also include myself in the same category of "couldn't care less about the European Championship or the World Cup" because Arsenal is where I get my football fix from.

But the great man has been thinking and has shared his pearls of wisdom with the official Arsenal magazine about what FIFA and UEFA should do to change the way they organise international football for the good of all.

Personally I would scrap it. Extreme view I know, but at least no Arsenal player would go away to play for his country and come back injured. And after all it is us as Arsenal fans who pay the players wages. Why don't they make international football an amateurs only game? That would work. Or limit it to players who have retired from playing professional football.

Anyway, what does Arsene Wenger think?

He said:

"Yes we need a major overhaul. I would propose that we had the smaller teams playing against each other in qualification, with the best ones going through to the European Championships, and that the bigger teams then have the opportunity to be qualified directly.  
"Of course I have not studied the problems deeply, so I do not say I have the key for the solution, but there is definitely something there that is not right, and I’m sure that the format as it is now has no future. I think there will be more and more disinterest from people."

Personally I have always thought the international calendar needs working on. How can it be right that days before the Premier League starts there is a round of international friendlies which take place. Then less than a month into the season another break at the start of September for more FIFA/UEFA inspired fixtures.

Then there is another month before the October break and four/five weeks later we stop again for some more fixtures in November. Then there is the African Cup of Nations. A great competition but bang in the middle of the Premier League season. And this year we could be without Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh and Emmanuel Frimpong for up to six weeks.

I know the ACN is moving but that doesn't help when two tournaments are going to be played back to back. It's hardly going to help the clubs or give the players enough rest.

In some way breaking up the season for international football helps. We were able to put a lid on our bad form in August because the break in September came at exactly the right time. But what happens when you stop for international football when you're on a run like we are on at present?

Hopefully we'll continue where we left off, says the manager.

He said:

"It [the international break] is certainly not a joy for me but hopefully it is not a pain because I hope the players will come back in good spirits. But it could be a pain if we lose some players through injury.  
"I don't believe [it will upset our rhythm]. It's always a challenge to get the focus back quickly when players come from international games but let's hope we can sort that out."

We've got 16 members of the first team squad on duty for their countries. Most of the matches are on Friday and Tuesday, so it should give the manager a couple of days to work with them prior to the lunchtime kick off at Carrow Road on Saturday week.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they all come back fit, healthy and in form. I think that's the best you can hope for.

Elsewhere there is some transfer speculation to keep us going.

In the Daily Mail, they report that whilst chief scout Steve Rowley watched Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze against Olympiakos last Tuesday, he was also monitoring the progress of team mate Kevin Grosskreutz.

The attacking midfielder is also on our radar, although the 23-year-old German international is under contract with Dortmund until 2014.

However Grosskreutz has said:
"If I do ever leave Dortmund, I would like to go to the Premier League in England, and my favourite club there is Arsenal."
A classic come and get me plea?

Meanwhile the Independent report we're after another German, this time Borussia Mönchengladbach's Marco Reus.

The 22-year-old attacking midfielder scored 11 goals last season.

Mönchengladbach coach Lucien Favre said:
"Jens Lehmann has advised Wenger and after that Arsène contacted me. I told him Reus is a very good player, I cannot lie. But I do not want to lose him."
It's interesting that with the attacking midfield options we have, Wenger is looking to strengthen in this area. But I suppose he's looking beyond this season when we could see Tomas Rosicky move on in the summer when his contact runs out and Yossi Benayoun's one year loan deal comes to an end.

I would expect a move for these sorts of players to happen in January when the price is likely to be lower than after the European Championships.

Also in the Daily Mail is news that was kinda expected. Chelsea are set to move for Gary Cahill in the January transfer window. The newspaper suggest that Bolton will have to accept a knock down £8m for the player because he is out of contract next summer.

I think Cahill's ship has sailed past Arsenal. I think there is very little chance of us moving for him considering we now have Thomas Vermaelen back fully fit, Laurent Koscielny has come on leaps and bounds and Per Mertesacker has settled in well. And on top of that we have Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci who don't look like they'll get much playing time this season.

Had we met Bolton's expectations over a fee for Cahill last summer he would be an Arsenal player now and perhaps he wouldn't have had the awful start to the season that he's endured.

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