Thursday, 28 February 2013

Bergkamp's statue -Cazorla's desire -Wage structure smashed for Jovetic, Capoue and Götze?

Morning Gooners.

The cat is well and truly out of the bag and Arsenal's secret plan to unveil a statue of club legend Dennis Bergkamp has been confirmed. The Dutchman's statue will be the fourth introduced to the podium level at the Grove, joining Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and Theirry Henry.

Personally I think it's a great move by the club, but it also begs the question about what else the board has up its collective sleeve. Which other former players might have a statue being cast of them? There are certainly lots of other legends of the club who haven't yet been cast in bronze.

News of the Bergkamp statue was leaked on to Twitter with pictures in the timeline of Chippingvon - a friend of the blog. It shows the Dutchman in midair taking the ball during a game with Newcastle.

Arsenal confirmed the Bergkamp statue plan on the official site last night.

The iceman said:
"First of all, I am honoured that this is going to happen. It makes me very proud. Everyone knows that I love Arsenal and that I had a fantastic time at the Club. 
"For me and my family it was an important period in our lives. Next to that the people were great, the team was amazing and we had a lot of success over the years."
The club say the statue will be unveiled prior to the start of next season.

Elsewhere, Santi Cazorla has been looking ahead to this Sunday's north London derby, a game we cannot fail to take points in. It's easy to forget with the disappointments in both the cup competitions recently that the club is in a good run of form in the league, with a five match unbeaten run.

The Spaniard said:
"To beat them and get into the top four and the Champions League, which is our aim for the season, is essential. We know how important it is and I hope we can rise to the challenge. 
"Like everyone else, I’m really looking forward to the match against Tottenham and I hope we can achieve our goal of fighting for a Champions League spot. It’s going to be a really difficult game but a great match to watch."
While it's disappointing we're left fighting for just a place in the top four at this stage of the season, there can be no temptation to take our eyes off the goal of finishing as high as we can. Mathematically we can still finish as high as second and if we continue on our good run and results go our way, that could happen.

With Chelsea appearing to be in internal meltdown, we have to seize this opportunity. The players we have are good enough to finish in the top four and it is vital for our ambitions to challenge for major honours next season that we have Champions League football we can tempt the best players in Europe with to join us.

And on that point, the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph are both running similar stories regarding plans for changing our wage structure next season. It's being reported that we want to push the ceiling of the wage bill to £140k a week. Currently it's around £100k, which is what Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski are on.

This will, according to reports, help us attract some of Europe's elite players. Names we've been linked with include: the Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic, Toulouse’s Étienne Capoue and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Götze

Clearly something needs to change at the club for us to be able to compete for trophies. If that means playing better players more than or squad players then so be it. At the moment we're wasting around £24m a season on players the manager doesn't have any plans to use.

Now there will always be wastage in terms of wages handed out to players. But Arsenal have to be more efficient in the way we pay our players and not offer contract above the market rate, so that if a player falls out of favour after his first season, we're not left paying him wages he wouldn't get elsewhere for a further two seasons.

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

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