The sun is blazing, it’s looking good for temperatures of around 25c, it’s the last game of the season, neither team has squat to play for but there is the small matter of a Wenger love-in and of course, there’s a bit of pride to play for too.
The vast majority of our multinational squad will have one eye on their sun loungers, but to say there’s no football for any of our players this summer is perhaps not strictly true. There’s the Euro 2009 – the Uefa European U21 Championship in Sweden next month. There was some talk of Theo Walcott being asked to play in it and for all I know we may have other players doing the same.
There’s also the ill-timed Confederations Cup, right at the end of June, in South Africa. Other than a useful organisational warm-up for the World Cup, what is that point of that? Spain and Brazil are in it, so I guess Wenger will be fighting a rearguard action to prevent Fabregas or Denilson being called into action for that. The former I imagine is more likely than the latter.
But by and large, this is it for football this season – I can concentrate on the Lions tour, the Ashes and my family. Perhaps I won’t get away with doing it in that order but you get my gist.
What do I expect from today? The bond between the players and the fans, and to a lesser degree between the fans and Wenger, has been strained this year, so I’m hoping today will go some way to redressing that balance and setting us up for a settled summer.
Then the serious monkey business can begin.
In other news, there is the interesting story about Arshavin wanting to renegotiate his contract for tax reasons. Naturally we can all ignore the ‘Arsenal players in pay mutiny’ stories that will be and have already been subsequently made up, but it does raise several points if true.
1) That, as I mentioned a while ago, the forthcoming 50% tax rate in Britain has probably got football agents extremely excited. It might seem unpalatable to us, but a small income drop brings out the worst in footballers and their agents. I’m sure they will all try their luck on behalf of their clients when it does come in. Whether they’ll have any joy is a different matter, but it’s quite possible that the new tax bracket could tip the balance, when it comes to wages, away from England to Spain. As I understand it, they have a loophole in Spain whereby footballers are deemed ‘entertainers’ and are subject to much lower tax as a result.
2) Even if this Arshavin quote is not true, I’ve thought for some time that he talks a little too much to the press. Certainly much more than other Arsenal players do.
Right, anyway – that’s me done.
Three months without Arsenal – not looking forward to that already.