Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Revealed: What outcast Arshavin asked Wenger -£15m Begovic to sign?

Morning Gooners.

I have to admit to being slightly shocked when I read the Evening Standard story about Andrey Arshavin considering his retirement this summer aged just 32.

That is no age to be quitting football and surely there is still life in his legs yet? But having made just two starts and nine substitute appearances this season, maybe his heart's just not in it anymore.

People will blame Arsene Wenger for buying Arshavin for £15m and not using him to his full potential. That might have some merit, but I believe the only person who can take responsibility for his own failings is Arshavin himself.

If he worked a bit harder in training - he asked Wenger once if it were possible to cut the club's training sessions down from their standard 90 minutes - or on the pitch where he would routinely fail to track back and assist Gael Clichy at left back, he would have enjoyed a longer run in the team.

As it is, Wenger dropped him in favour of players who are prepared to work hard for the team. After all, football is a team game and while there is a place for individuals with outstanding talent in every side, there should be no place for a player who won't work hard for his team mates.

This story could of course be a ruse designed to stir up interest in a player who was outstanding at Euro 2008 and gave us the impetus upon signing to finish in the top four with some excellent performances that included six goals.

So while I'm saddened by Arshavin's possible retirement, he can only blame himself if he has no appetite for the game. 

Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph link us with a £15m move for Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. They report we made an enquiry about the players availability in January but were knocked back because they weren't prepared to sell him during the season.

However after Tony Pulis signed Jack Buckland from Birmingham City during the winter transfer window, Stoke are now prepared to sell their shot stopper in the summer and are hoping for a bidding war for the 25-year-old's services.

It seems our goalkeeping situation next season is completely up in the air. I'd personally stick with Wojeciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski but bring in an experienced keeper as competition for the Polish internationals.

Begovic might be an option. But I'd prefer someone older, unless Arsene Wenger believes the Bosnian international is going to be our first choice for years to come.

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

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