At this phase of the pre-season, teams are normally settled in terms of the squad personnel. However, the same cannot be said of Arsenal Football Club. As the team prepares travel to Germany, Arsene Wenger confirmed that Cesc Fabregas will not be part of the travelling side.
As much as we like to speculate on what that means, I believe it boils down to 2 things. One, he is really nursing that hamstring injury which he has had since May. How the injury managed to get worse or never recover during the off season is beyond me. Two, a transfer is being negotiated and it makes no sense to bring him along for the friendly. That point I can understand, seeing that the team will need to learn how to cope without him and might as well start practising that.
That being said, we’ve been told all summer that Barcelona only has a budget of 40 million for new transfer. Having already spent 26 million of that budget on Alexis Sanchez, they are now left with only 14 million. That will not be the amount in which Arsenal will be willing to sell their best asset. Even with the money that the Spanish and European champions recoup from the sale of Bojan to AS Roma, which is likely to be around 12 million, it still leaves them with 26 million to purchase Fabregas. With that in mind, there is really no logic to the idea that a deal is being cut for our mercurial midfielder when our asking price is 40 million. I suspect we’ll know more before the Emirates Cup kicks off.
On a much smaller scale, a similar situation is happening to another Arsenal player. Nicklas Bendtner being the case in point. Also left out of the flight schedule to play Cologne, the Danish international is staring at the exit door. Sporting Lisbon, Benfica, Bayern Munich, Hamburg and Everton has been touted as the possible destination. I’ve already had my say on him previously and there’s nothing much to add at this point. He needs games and is only likely to be playing wide right if he stays at Arsenal, that is surely something that does not suit him at all.
The Everton link if of course being one that also involves Phil Jagielka going the opposite direction. A 10 million bid was supposedly placed and duly rejected. Whether Bendtner was actually used as part of the deal remains unknown. If true though, I don’t understand David Moyes’ rejection. From what was obvious last season, they need a striker and Bendtner actually fits that bill, especially with the crossing ability of Leighton Baines. Now, on Jagielka, Everton are holding out for 20 million. An amount that I detest because while Jagielka may be good but he’s not worth that much. Both sides will have to meet at the middle, in terms of their valuation for this transfer to go through.
I know I have not mention Emmanuel Eboue, who is also not on the plane to Germany. Galatasary are rumoured to be the club interested to secure his services but there’s nothing concrete on that front yet. Having already missed out on the Asia Tour, the Ivorian may have already played his last game in the red and white. Improved after the fame booing incident, he did well to recover from that. But as we’ve seen towards the end of last season, he has become a liability. Something which is not suppose to happen to someone of his experience.
The good thing about tomorrow’s game is that, we’ll finally see Gervinho play his first game for Arsenal. If you’ve read any of my previous post, you would know that I don’t hold any special fondness towards this signing. I’d rather wait and see on this one. Where he would play and what kind of advantage does he brings to the squad. Still, I’ll be jumping for joy if/when I’m proven wrong.
One player who will return and is not a stranger to us, is Lukasz Fabianski. The Polish goalkeeper will get his first taste of the pre-season and I believe will get at least a 45 minutes run-out. Interestingly, Wojciech Szczesny has managed to stay fit throughout this pre-season and have played all matches thus far. To be fair, so has Vito Mannone. Yet, it is no big secret that the No. 1 spot is a tussle between the two Poles. May the best man win.
Remember, at this point of the season, the result is hardly the most important yardstick. Fitness level are the more important aspects to get right. Here’s to an injury free match. Enjoy it and thanks for reading.