Friday, 9 November 2012

Wenger's plea ignored -Europe's top scorer scouted -Sagna targeted by Italian giants

Morning Gooners.

Arsene Wenger held his pre-match press conference yesterday ahead of tomorrow's London derby with Fulham tomorrow and the team news appears to be as it was prior to the Schalke game, with a couple of exceptions.

Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will have fitness tests in the 24 hours leading up to the game to determine whether they can have any involvement in Saturday's 3pm kick off against Martin Jol's side. You would hope that one, if not both, would come through those tests as we're going to be without Jack Wilshere through suspension.

After three games it's probably a good time to give Jack a break, even if it is enforced. He's looked shattered each time he's left the pitch and his mistimed tackle against Patrice Eva could have been down to fatigue. Not that he's really going to get that much of a rest as he'll be joining up with England on Monday ahead of their friendly with Sweden.

Despite Arsene Wenger's plea that Jack not be selected for his national side, Roy Hodgson wants him to join up with the rest of his squad so that he can build up a working relationship with the player. Wenger clearly isn't happy with this but believes he's reached a compromise with Hodgson over Wilshere.

He said:
"You know what I think [about Wilshere], that it is early for him.  
"I had Roy Hodgson on the phone, we found a good understanding and a good compromise. What helps is that he is not playing over the weekend because he is suspended, of course. 
"He will have a little breather. Roy wants him in the group to connect the game with the players."
We can only hope that Jack isn't played for 90 minutes. That would be madness. But Jack clearly wants to play for his country, you can see the way he talks about England it's a huge honour for him to wear his country's shirt, even if as Arsenal fans we'd rather wrap him up in cotton wool after so few games into his comeback from an injuries which have left him sidelined for more than a year.

Also called-up for England is Carl Jenkinson who could make his England debut if he receives clearance from FIFA in time. He's already represented Finland at under-21 level, so has to be given clearance by the sport's governing body to switch.

Wenger believes Jenkinson's call up is great for the player and he's also happy that Roy Hodgson has seen the full-backs potential.

It will be interesting to see how much football Jenkinson will get for Arsenal for the remainder of the season now that Bacary Sagna is fit. Also with Sagna entering the last 18 months of his contract, there is bound to be speculation that he could be on his way, with the Daily Mirror reporting that Inter Milan and Paris Saint Germain both interested in the 29-year-old.

On Sagna, the Daily Mail is reporting he wants a rise on his current £60k a week deal to sign a contract extension. I wouldn't begrudge him more. He's certainly one, if not the best right back in Europe and has been a consistent performer for us.

This weekend there's still no Abou Diaby either this weekend, Tomas Rosicky is still out and both Kieran Gibbs and Gervinho won't be back for tomorrow's game. However Wojciech Szczesny may be in the squad if he comes through an under-21s game.

Elsewhere, the manager has reiterated his desire to keep Theo Walcott at the club.

Wenger said:
"My desire is to keep Theo. We do what’s needed to keep him and hopefully [as] I told you many times, we can sort this situation out very soon.  
"Very soon is before the end of December - one way or another, that is for sure. 
"I don’t want to go into any details but you can believe me [that] we do the maximum we can to keep our best players."
Hopefully the club can reach a compromise with Theo. But time is running out ahead of the manager's self imposed deadline of December 31st.

But with us scouting Europe's leading goal scorer Charlie Austin according to the Daily Mail, perhaps the manager is searching for another way for us to add goals to our game. Wenger has been talking about our different attacking options, but I'm really not sure Austin could be one of them in the future.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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