Happy New Year from a disappointingly snowless north London. Iâ€™ve just about managed to contain the onset of the black dog brought on by having to return to work. Holidays are fun, but the first day back at the grindstone should come with a health warning.
So whatâ€™s going on? Quite a lot as it goes: Borussia Dortmund have called a press conference, and the rumour is old Jens will sign for them this month. Not a shock really â€“ weâ€™ve got the 22-year-old Woo-kash Fabianski to warm the bench, and young though he is, he strikes me as a decent sort, with gloves and boots and everything.
Strangely, Jens may yet appear in the cup at Burnley, so clearly either a deal is not finalised or Wenger is playing games.
It would be a shame if the Arsenal fans did not get the chance to bid Lehmann farewell, as heâ€™s been an Arsenal favourite and a proper lovable lunatic. There are increasingly few lovable lunatics in the league, if you ask me. He has been lovable partly because heâ€™s a very good keeper â€“ and partly because all other fans absolutely hate him. I know a Spuds fan who practically froths at the mouth at the mere mention of Jens Lehmann, so job done Jens â€“ if you are off, then viel GlÃ¼ck and all that; Iâ€™ll remember you for your penalty save against Villarreal and not your comedy errors or your daft badgering of the opposition, if thatâ€™s any consolation.
Of course, he may not even leave â€“ but it saves me a eulogy to write it now.
Leaving aside all the blogs and sites that use triple explanation marks (Ronaldinho for Arsenal!!! Council tax halved!!!), as far as I can ascertain Wenger is keeping his cards suitably close to his Alsatian breast as regards any other transfer window movement. He says we donâ€™t need anyone, as does Gallas, but I imagine much depends on who leaves. If Lehmann goes, do we need cover there? What about Diarra? Who will be the player to announce he’s unhappy on the eve of a big game if he’s gone? Every side needs one.
What about Luka Modric? Everyoneâ€™s after him, and Eduardo could not be more effusive by describing him as â€œa fine playerâ€ and adding, â€œI donâ€™t think thereâ€™s another player of his generation like himâ€. Rich praise indeed. Seriously though: if itâ€™s a financial bunfight for his signature then it ainâ€™t gonna happen.
First up though it’s a proper old-fashioned cup tie at Burnley. What would you rather: a tame European night against a middling side like Prague, or a blood-and-thunder game like this? I know what I’d prefer. The cup may be more lop-sided than ever and genuine upsets fewer and further between, but I do still love a good third round tie…
Happy Friday, brethren.