Tuesday, 31 July 2012

D-Day for Cazorla -van P€r$i€'s £70m Juventus offer -Szczesny's insight into Bould's methods

Morning Gooners

Well according to the media, it's D-Day for Malaga. They've got to pay up on their debts if they wish to play in La Liga next season by the end of the day. And that impending deadline could have some implication on our ability or not to sign Santi Cazorla.

We missed out on him last summer, but it appears Arsene Wenger is desperate to sign the Spain international second time around and could get him for £16m.

Sky Sports are reporting Cazorla and his agent Amadeo Rengel planned to tell the Spanish club the player's desire to sign for Arsenal yesterday. And the Daily Mirror believe the deal could be completed before the week is out saying Arsene Wenger is "confident" of getting his man.

It doesn't appear Cazorla's signing has any implication on the future of Robin van P€r$i€ and the club's obsession with balancing its books.

And the Dutchman could be set to join Juventus if the Italian club's package of a five-year deal worth £190,000 a week after tax takes his fancy. The Daily Mirror also report the Turin-based outfit are also preparing to offer Arsenal the £20m fee they've demanded for the club captain. The total package according to the Daily Mirror will cost the Italians £70m.

All in all, if van P€r$i€ chose to move to Italy I would certainly be happier than if he decided to sign for one of our domestic rivals.

Wojeciech Szczesny has been speaking about the Premier League's top scorer last season.

He said:
"It will be disappointing if he leaves because Robin is our captain and he’s our leader.  
"I’m very happy to have him at the club. He’s still an Arsenal player and we support him all the way."
"It was a bit different last year because we all knew Samir (Nasri) and Cesc (Fabregas) would be leaving but now we believe in the squad more.  
"We’re more confident that the players we have are good enough to play for this club and challenge for trophies."
It is good to hear there is belief in the camp about the club's ambition, despite what van P€r$i€ said in his statement. The signings of Podolski and Giroud are good for the club. They will help with the goal scoring burden and you would hope that with a season under his belt, Gervinho can be more ruthless in front of goal and become the player Wenger signed from Lille.

Theo Walcott is another forward player who you would like to see put the ball in the back of the net. Hopefully his contract situation can be resolved sooner rather than later. It's all gone very quiet and despite having less than a year left on his deal, there isn't any noise about other club's knocking at our door asking about signing him that you might expect of a player who should be in demand.

For me, I don't think this club's problem under Arsene Wenger has ever been sticking the ball in the back of the net. It's been preventing it from ending up in our own. Last season saw the worst goal conceded record set since the Frenchman joined the club.

This season that is one area I would like to see targeted and it appears that Steve Bould has been asked to help prevent another 49 league goals from being conceded.

His promotion to assistant manager has been welcomed by all. It must have something to do with the fact he was involved in the famous back five of the George Graham era. But I think he's got a huge problem on his hands when it comes to trying to turn around Arsenal's defensive woes. Personally I believe a solution won't come quickly and if we see just a small improvement this coming season I will class that as a success.

Changing the culture of a team is a tough ask of a man who isn't the manager and in his first full season in the Premier League. Bould could be an outstanding coach - all the players are raving about him - but turning round an oil tanker takes time and I doubt that six weeks of pre-season training is enough time to solve all of the team's defensive issues.

What hopefully all this work on the training pitches will do is set in motion a process which can be worked on and added to over the forthcoming season.

Of the work the team have been doing Szczesny has told the official website the type of drills they've been going through.

He said:
"We’ve done a lot of [defensive] shape work in training, work on when we lose the ball and a lot of defending on crosses. 
"It’s all very sharp as well. Steve likes to shout at players and keep them on their toes - so it’s looking positive."
And I think at this stage it's all we can ask for. Three of our best defenders have been working on their fitness at London Colney so they've yet to work with Steve Bould. These next three weeks before the start of the season could therefore be vital in bringing the likes of Koscielny and Mertesacker up to speed with what the other players have been working on during the Asia tour.

And finally the Daily Mail report Bolton are close to agreeing a loan move for Benik Afobe.

That's it for today. I'll be back tomorrow with more.

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