Saturday, 18 August 2012

Song to join Barcelona on Sunday -Wenger's AOC revelation -Walcott's contract talks

Morning Gooners.

The new season has arrived and I feel like a kid before Christmas. I'm just too excited. I don't care that Robin van P€r$i€ has left. It's not about who is not at the club when you kick off, it's  about those that are on the field. Only they can make the difference.

And while we've sold a world class player in the final year of his contract for £22.5m, the fact that Wenger knew van P€r$i€ wasn't going to renew just made the manager more proactive in the transfer market. The signings of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla are superb and have got me really excited.

We know van P€r$i€ would find it hard to replicate the season he's just had ever again. But those three signings have given me real hope that we can move forward this term and challenge for honours.

While the manager's press conference yesterday was dominated by talk about a player who had left the club - van P€r$i€ and another who is standing by the exit door - Song and preparing to join Barcelona on Sunday, I think the most interesting thing the manager said regarded Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Wenger revealed that his pre-season experiment would continue and that Alex would play more centrally this season. This to my mind is why we are prepared to let Song leave the club when he has three years remaining on his contract.

I'm guessing but I think the manager will want to play with Arteta/Coquelin/Frimpong at the base of his midfield, alongside Oxlade-Chamberlain/Ramsey/Wilshere with Cazorla/Diaby/Rosicky playing behind the central striker.

Of course that won't happen straight away against Sunderland today as The Ox is injured, along with Laurent Koscielny who will also sit out the game with a calf injury.

I expect the team today to be:
Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.

There could be a couple of changes. Song might play, but I'd imagine it would be doubtful if he is leaving the club. Diaby might start for Ramsey or Cazorla. And with Theo Walcott having been released from England duty through injury, Gervinho could come in for him.

And there is talk in the Daily Mirror the England man will sit down with the manager this week to discuss a new deal. The club are set to offer him £70k a week. By all accounts Walcott wants £100k a week.

If Song does leave, The Guardian say Nuri Sahin is lined up to joined, having snubbed the advances of Liverpool.

Elsewhere the Daily Mail have an interview with Wojciech Szczesny.

That's it for today. Football is back at 3pm and I can't wait. See you at the Grove.

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