European Championship takes a break. Well, till tomorrow any ways when the semi finals starts off with Portugal taking on Spain. Gives us all a little breather and just a little more time think about Arsenal. Now that most of the squads have left the the championship and head home, the transfer dealings as well as the rumours will bound to pick up.
After the ogling of Andrea Pirlo’s performance in the quarter finals and the media asking for the English version of him, they have found the right candidate for that. Or so they thought. Jack Wilshere inadvertently gets mentioned and it’s not something which sits right with me. If they are talking about Wilshere being the main man just as Pirlo is for Italy, then they may be correct. If they are talking about the game style/characteristics, then they (‘Arry) couldn’t be more wrong.
Pirlo is a player who defines the deep-lying playmaking role. Searching passes down the channel or through balls for the forwards is his hallmark. He’s not particularly the most mobile player. When I say that, I don’t mean that he can’t run. There’s the occasional burst of pace but he tends to dictate play from static positions. Again I repeat, not a dig at a player I admired wholeheartedly.
As for Wilshere, he’s a different type of player. In terms of seeing the play and playing the pass, there’s really nothing much to differentiate between the two. However, Wilshere possesses other attributes which could potentially make him one of the best all round midfielder on the planet. I asked the question on twitter whether he can be liken to any of the Spain’s midfield trio of Alonso, Iniesta and Xavi. Most went for Iniesta and that’s a player I have a lot of time for. But, I can see Wilshere being a combination of all three.
When you think about it, it’s sad that its been more than a year since we last saw him play a competitive match. His progression has been halted and there’s no guarantee that he can come back immediately and perform at the level he was at prior to the injuries. Which is a shame because of what I believe he could achieve. He has the ability to to get past players in tight situations, something which Iniesta has and to a certain extent, Diaby too.
He has the ability to find that raking pass that Alonso is famed for (you’ll remember that pass to Bendtner against Ipswich). He can also do the screening like Alonso, the kind where he doesn’t always have to dive into challenges and it’s more about positioning and reading of the game. What about Xavi you asked? Well, Wilshere is more than capable of linking up with players, receive, pass and moving into position in the same motion.
More than most, for the first time in a very long time, there is a player in the current Arsenal squad whom I want to stay with us forever. Whom I want to see grow up to be the next captain of the side for years. The last time I had this feeling was when Ashley Cole was the best left back in the world playing for the right badge. At this point, it’s hard to tell whether Wilshere will/could be enticed with a move away, either for money or otherwise. I’m sure we once used to think that Cole hold us in a special place in his heart too.
At a time where we are not sure when Wilshere will return and the continued uncertainty over Robin van Persie’s contract, it is good to see the club being proactive and look to secure reinforcement/replacement (delete as applicable) and not repeat the same mistake as last season. There’s still a lot of departing players who are yet to leave. So far, only Manuel Almunia has been released while no transfer confirmation are available for the likes of Vela, Bendtner, Denilson etc.
Judging the latest update for today (see @mattspiro and @jamiedalton82 on twitter), it seems there’s a hitch with the Yann M’Vila transfer from Rennes as Olivier Giroud is in London for a medical. Player’s temperament comes into question and thus reducing Arsene Wenger’s interest in him. Stroppy and short-fused was the description used by Jamie. Of course these are just opinions from 2 people and its up to you whether you want to believe or not.
For me, that’s exactly the type of character we don’t need in our squad right now. As we can see from last season, there’s a good spirit and camaraderie in the squad. That should never ever be jeopardised regardless of the quality that it brings in. If Messi was an arrogant individual who shows and acts like the others are not worthy to play with him, then I wouldn’t want him near our team either. It’s a team game and nobody can do it alone in this particular sport. Team unity and bond is what will get us through tough games. When we’re on song, the easy games are there but it is those tough ones when we struggle which makes or break a season.
Time will tell whether M’Vila was a banana skin that we’ve managed to sidestep. Or was it just a major smokescreen from Wenger after all.