United Bid, Koscielny Signs And General Round-Up
All the news this morning is of Arsenal having rejected initial offers for Van Persie from City, United and Juventus.
Surprisingly, Sir Alex Ferguson admitted openly in a press conference that United had bid for the Dutchman, even though it was a rather clumsy attempt to lay the blame for the offer being publicized at Arsenal’s door. Ferguson is well aware the Reds don’t stand a chance of putting together a financial package to match their not-so-poor neighbours – the statement seemed like a desperate plea to the player more than an acknowledgement to the media and is not dissimilar to United’s tactics last year when Patrice Evra pleaded with Samir Nasri to join United. We all know how that went.
Of course, Arsenal have fuelled speculation by leaving the announcement of the touring squad until the eleventh hour. A report in The Guardian suggests Van Persie will be left at home. Many Arsenal bloggers and Tweeters feel the Dutch striker should be forced to tour with the team. I do not agree. Besides the possibility of creating a disharmonious atmosphere, there is also the danger of injury – any kind of knock picked up now would ruin Arsenal’s chances of getting value for their star striker.
On a positive note, the same Guardian report suggests Laurent Koscielny has signed a deal extension tying him to the club until 2017. If true, it sorts out our first choice defensive partnership for at least the next three years, with Vermaelen committed to the club until 2015. Title challenges are built on stability at the back and with a settled back four and a young keeper, Arsenal will benefit from improved understanding in defense in the coming years. Now if we can only the dreaded injuries.
In other news, Abu Dhabi-based Sport360 claim UAE league champions Al Ain are in talks to sign Arsenal’s Park Chu-Young. I am sure one day soon someone will detail exactly what went on with the South Korean’s transfer from Monaco. It will make interesting reading but for now, his chances of playing for Arsenal seem remote and a deal away from the Emirates would free up another striker slot for the Gunners.
Elsewhere, Team GB got a thorough schooling from Brazil in their Olympic warm-up game at Middlesbrough last night. With a plethora of talented youngsters at their disposal, the Brazilians totally outclassed their hosts and the two goal margin flattered the British team. The visitors had a number of players on show who are linked with moves to the Premier League – Neymar, Lucas Moura, Oscar and Ganso chiefly among them.
From an Arsenal perspective, Aaron Ramsey got a run-out in the second half and looked as ineffectual as the rest of his team-mates. It would be harsh to be too critical of the Welshman’s performance in a disjointed team but Aaron still looks a shadow of the player that dazzled with his passing pre-Shawcross. He will need more playing time to rediscover his best but Arsenal desperately need reinforcements in that attacking midfield position if we are to begin our 2012-13 campaign with conviction.
One of the targets for that role is Paulo Ganso, who also made an appearance as a second half sub. His limited game time made it hard to judge how he might fit in at Arsenal although he does seem to possess a good touch and there was a particularly accurate through ball to Lucas which set up a goal-scoring opportunity for the winger.
Besides Neymar, the most impressive Brazilian performer was Lucas Moura. The 19-year old winger looked a threat every time he picked up the ball. It’s no wonder United are pursuing him with so much determination. Chelsea-target Oscar looked lively as well. The Premier League will certainly benefit from their quality if these new generation of Brazilians were to seal transfers to the EPL. Hopefully at Arsenal, we will acquire our own share by snapping up one of these talented youngsters.