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Respectful to the bitter end

Another week and the start of football draws closer just a little bit more. Just 11 days until the start of the Premier League fixtures once again. There’s the Charity Shield this weekend but I’m sure none of you care about that. Unless if you’re a Manchester City or Chelsea fan, then I wish for you to have a spectacular match ending with 6 all and going into penalties. Penalties that are tied at 165 – 165 when you realised it’s Tuesday 14th of August. That sounds like fun.

Back to the things of more important (to me, not you City or Chelsea fans), The Arsenal travels out to Germany today. A training camp there to fill in the period where the team was supposed to be in Nigeria for another pre season tour. That didn’t happen and the team had to settle for this. Arsene Wenger intimidated earlier that he was looking to set up one more match to build up the players’ fitness. Whether we managed to find a team to play behind close doors on such short notice or whether it will be against our own junior side, is still very much up in the air.

Goes without saying that the most interesting part of it all (for now) is who’s name are going to be on the flight list. This one tells us that Robin van Persie is on the trip. It also said that we have special permission from Malaga to bring Santi Cazorla along for the trip, even though his transfer has yet to be finalised. 2 out of 3 of the wantaways are not following the team though. The only one whom we managed to get on the plane is Andrey Arshavin, probably because only size S beds are left.

It’s strange that we’re bringing along a player whom we have not confirmed to have signed, yet. On one hand, it’s pleasing to see the management being so proactive. They probably know there’s only a few minor details to sort out or just a matter of the date haven’t come yet to announce it. In any case, Cazorla being there will help with his integration to the team and work on his fitness. On the other hand, as we’ve seen last season, any transfer that are not completed still has a chance to be ruined. Medical done? Signing soon? Remember Park Chu Young?

I do think fans are a little paranoid these days. Just like most of you, I also would like to see transfers being completed immediately. However, there must be a lot of things to be done for a transfer to go through. I’m sure there are lots of papers to push through and what not. Fans just need to be patient and wait for it. Yes, just like you, I’m also afraid that the transfer might collapse at the final hurdle, even if Enzo Maresca and Manuel Almunia seemed to think it’s confirmed. Until that happens, I’d rather be concentrating on how well Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud is adapting to the squad and looking forward to see them against Cologne.

Speaking of Almunia, I doubt we’ll ever find another more respectful professional. Not from this point forward anyway. Cast aside and marked as a hopeless keeper by fans and journalist alike, Almunia still doesn’t have a bad thing to say about us. Makes a mockery of the attitude which the current club captain has presided over matters in the last month or so. I do feel a lot of pity for Almunia, being called upon to perform a role which he is not suited for. Whatever his qualities as a keeper are, they are not good enough for a club hoping to challenge for honours like we do.

During my time away, one transfer did happen. That of Benik Afobe going on loan to Bolton for the entire season. Just as the loan deal was announced, a story also surfaced about us making a bid for M’Baye Niang. Somehow, I get a feeling that those 2 stories are interlinked. I don’t think the management is too convinced with Afobe’s talents, which is why another young striker of roughly the same age is being considered. If the transfer does go through, it will be a straight fight between these two and Joel Campbell for the one spot next season. Just a gut feeling but I’ll be favouring the newest of the new boys.

On the final matter of the day, it involves the other big shareholder at Arsenal. Alisher Usmanov has taken another dig at the board, this time through Forbes. I don’t think it’s healthy for the two big boys to continue their bickering in public for everyone to see. Everyone are aware that him and Stan Kroenke (or the board, if you will) do not see eye to eye. Every day that passes by without the both of them sitting down and talking things out, is bad for us. I’m no fan of Usmanov and I don’t want his money or influence in all things Arsenal. I just want him to keep his mouth shut and let the current management do their job.

That’s about it, enjoy your Tuesday and hopefully sometime today, we’ll have a selection of pictures of Arsenal players and officials boarding the plane. That should give us the chance to over-analyse things.