Fab, Theo and Brazil nuts

Remember how Wenger stated he’d like to get his transfers sorted before the World Cup began?

He’ll be lucky.

Most high-calibre players are content to wait until the tournament ends before thinking about what happens next – even if their agents are busy doing stuff in the background.

So when the tournament kicks off a week tomorrow, transfer deals involving players taking part in it will surely be off bounds.

We’ve got a week to go yet though – so expect a few more twists and turns, especially regarding Fabregas. Yesterday’s rebuttal of Barcelona’s €40m offer was very well crafted by the club. They spoke of “immediately and resolutely” turning it down and I must say, I did enjoy the last line.

“To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word.”

So Arsenal are reminding Barcelona that, even though the player’s desire to leave makes a deal likely (or at least possible), Arsenal have a big say in things. And they’re also asking Barcelona to do things by the book – which of course, they haven’t and won’t.

But really, the bottom line is that any deal must be on Arsenal’s terms, and €40m doesn’t touch the sides. In a world where Villa have priced Milner at £30m, how can Fabregas only be worth £3m more?

And besides, any negotiator worth his salt will turn down an opening offer, because an opening offer is never a final one.

There was some more rumours yesterday of a deal with Chelski’s out-of-contract Joe Cole. I have no idea if there’s anything in the story or not – but what’s interesting for me is the profile of the player. He’s in his late twenties and very experienced. If he is indeed the kind of player Wenger is looking for then it’s a good sign, because we’ve got promising young players coming out our ears and they cannot do it alone. What we lack are players who have been there, done that and know what it takes.

Which I suppose segues nicely onto Walcott. His omission from the World Cup squad was the cherry on top of the icing of a bad-season cake [must do better – ed] but it’s not that baffling. Thinking back over the season, I can only think of two occasions when he took a game by the scruff of the neck – in the second half against Burnley at home, and in the last third of the Barcelona game when we ended up drawing 2-2.

Nevertheless, it’s no time to panic. He’s only 21 and started a mere 15 games last season. On top of that, he has the overwhelming goodwill of the Arsenal fans in his favour.

And finally…

I spent some time in Sao Paulo last week (took a wrong turn out of Norwich) and on my first day there, walking past a newspaper stall, I was slightly perturbed to see a gaggle of shifty-looking men congregating next to it, exchanging things furtively. There must have been eight of them in all.

Being in a new city – and one with a bit of a reputation for containing ruffians at that – I immediately assumed they were dealing in illegal substances. But as I walked past I peered closer and saw that the illegal substances in question were in fact…. Panini stickers.

That night, I mentioned this to a local and was told this was normal behaviour in a World Cup year. Apparently, in the years when Brazil win the World Cup, Brazilians go absolutely bananas for memorabilia, and completed Panini World Cup albums have a particularly high value in such an eventuality. So the shifty gents by the newspaper stall were simply sniffing out a business opportunity.

Isn’t football great?

8 thoughts on “Fab, Theo and Brazil nuts

  1. Playing for the under-21s last summer has not been good for Walcott. Wenger said he needed a rest, and while I realise that Walcott might have caused other problems for himself by refusing to go, had he been less enthusiatic about it Wenger’s arguments might have won through. Walcott’s season since then has been riddled with injuries and lack of form. Maybe he should have heeded Wenger’s words last summer. Wenger is his club manager, the person who works with him day-to-day and effectively the person who pays his wages after all.

    I also struggle to understand why he is still being played on the wing. It’s not his natural position and he is clearly struggling to master it. His best moments for Arsenal that I can recall are all when he has moved in-field to where you would expect a striker to be. It really annoys me that Wenger so often plays players out of position; he needs to buy some proper wingers and play our central players in central positions.

  2. It’d be interesting to see him played in that position more often – but the competition for places is even greater there than it is on the wing. Who would he replace?

  3. Being Brazilian I must say that Panini stickers are HUGE in Brasil. Not only in WC years but every year before the National Championship starts.

    Regarding Theo. This will be good for him hopefully. Disrespect is the biggest motivator and if he takes this snub as motivation to improve we can reap the benefits.

  4. If Walcott moved to a central striking role he would have to be part of a strike pair, probably in a 4-4-2 formation (although I have heard other people suggesting a midfield, but that’s another discussion!).

    To be honest, I don’t really know enough about Chamakh to know how he will fit in. I’m assuming he would partner Van Persie up front – is that our first-choice strikeforce next season, with Arshavin playing wide (i.e. out of position)? If so, Walcott needs to force his way into the team either when Chamakh or VP are injured (which shouldn’t take too long to happen!) or if Wenger wants to try something different.

    Initially, Walcott should be used as an impact sub, replacing one of the starting strikers for the last 15-20 minutes to get back into being a striker and to show Wenger what he can do. If he lives up to his earlier promise he will eventually start matches, keeping others out of the team; if not he will be a squad player. But it is in his hands.

    I belive we need 4 strikers of 1st team standard to get us through a season; we have Chamakh, VP, Theo, Bendtner and Arshavin – that’s 5 but some can play wide or deeper, so that may be about right. I consider Vela to be a winger not a striker and, sadly, I don’t see much of a future for Eduado at the club; he hasn’t been the same player since the injury and Wenger always seemed reluctant to play him before the injury.

    Of course, Wenger may be planning a front 3 of VP (right), Chamakh (centre) and Arshavin (left), with Bendtner, Vela and Theo as understudies.

  5. I meant “I have heard other people suggesting a midfield DIAMOND,”.

    That’s what happens when you read your postings back and edit them before submitting!

  6. I wasn’t aware that ANY turn out of Norwich could be wrong.

    “Isn’t football great”? This season, it sure was interesting… but as for “great,” ask me again next May.

  7. Wengers saying he wants transfers sorted before WC is bull***** -He knew when he said it that this was never going to be possible.

    -But so many arsenal fans was beeing critical at the time (with another embarresing season having just finished) so spin doc Wenger trhew us a bone……….

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