Thursday, 15 December 2011

Theo upsets Robin -PHW on RVP's contract -Precocious young talent quits Gunners

Morning Gooners.

It's Thursday, so it must be Spursday... soon to be known as Mancday. While we can laugh at our north London neighbours and the two Manchester clubs, Arsene Wenger and his team are waiting to discover who we will play in the knock out stages of the Champions League. The draw takes place tomorrow at 11am in Nyon, prior to the manager's press conference at London Colney.

As I said previously, of the teams we can face: Napoli, CSKA, Basel, Lyon, Leverkusen, Zenit or Milan, I would prefer we avoided the Italian and Russian teams but to be honest I don't mind who we get. We all know the great European names we faces en route to the 2006 final and I certainly wouldn't mind history repeating itself in that regard, apart from us winning in the final.

Before the next European tie we've got the small matter of the Premier League to be getting on with, not to mention the FA Cup which starts in January with a third round match with Leeds. With Manchester City up on Sunday, I can imagine the mood around the camp is good, especially considering we won against Everton whilst  perhaps not playing the best football we have all season.

It's interesting to hear that there is a stark contrast to the mood since the start of the season at the training ground and within the team. I'm told Robin van Persie has brought this group of players together and the bonding sessions - such as the table tennis competitions being held at Colney and the meals out during the week - have brought together that unity. I think it's only Theo Walcott who has thrown a spanner in the works by upsetting Robin because he can beat him at table tennis. RVP doesn't like that - but I hear he takes his defeats in good grace!

With Cesc Fabregas returning to Colney ten days ago to see his former team mates, he must have noticed the difference. Everything is moving on without him at the club and the atmosphere is certainly different than when he was captain.

Which is why we should be doing everything to ensure RVP renews his contract with us. Peter Hill-Wood gives an update on the progress the club has made to the Daily Star.

He said:

"I think Robin wants to stay, he seems very happy. 
"Nothing has been discussed, though it is obvious we want him to stay. He doesn’t want to talk about a contract now and that’s fine with us."
If Robin doesn't want to discuss a new deal at the moment there is very little the club can do. I'm sure Ivan Gazidis has Dick Law on permanent standby ready to swoop into action and place our offer on the table in front of Robin and his agent Darren Dein.

However as we're not going to be sitting down with them any time soon, the club have to make some statements of intent in the transfer window to ensure that Robin knows we're not standing still having lost our two most creative players last summer.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we really need to sell or leave out current members of the first team squad if we're to register any non English players or those 21 or older in our Premier League squad.

Lukas Podolski has been the name mentioned in the media and he turns up again in the Daily Express this morning. Is this rumour all smoke or is there any substance to it? I don't think anyone can be sure on December 15. Give it a month and we'll know for sure.

A name which popped up on Newsnow yesterday was that of Tomas Rosicky. I'm under the impression that his contract runs out next summer. And it appears there is interest in him from Wolfsburg if the quotes of their manager Felix Magath have any substance. Personally I'd like to keep as many of our most experienced squad players together until the summer and then make a decision on their future. I love Rosicky as a player and man and still think he can offer us something, so I hope he stays until the end of the season at least.

Disappointing news from the FA Youth Cup last night, with the under-18's going out of the competition. There is a full report on Arsenal Reserves and Youth. Perhaps even more disappointing is the news that the precocious young talent Alban Bunjaku has decided to quit the club. No doubt we'll hear more about the reasons why the midfielder has decided to leave in the coming days.

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