Cazorla Rumours Grow As Arsenal Chill Out On Tour
The Week reports that a bidding war is imminent between Juventus and Manchester City for the services of Van Persie. The Italian club are said to be ready to offer wages of £200k p/w as they seek to build upon their title-winning efforts of last season. On the other hand, Mancini is displeased that City have fallen behind in the race – apparently the £115m combined strike-force of Aguero, Dzeko, Tevez and Adebayor is just not strong enough for his liking.
It’s a welcome change from the way Cesc Fabregas engineered his cut-price move to Barcelona. If Luka Modric is worth £40m, Fabregas should have netted the Gunners double of that. But the Spaniard’s desire to move back to his boyhood club cost Arsenal dearly. This time around, the Gunners seem keen to auction the player to the highest bidder. In that sense, Van Persie’s ambitions i.e. securing the best financial deal for himself, will work positively in Arsenal’s favour.
The rumour mill is also in overdrive, Arsenal’s interest in Santi Cazorla is reportedly being reciprocated by the player. The Gunners are poised to make a bid of just over £15m for the Spanish winger and it’s expected to be enough to land the player from cash-strapped Malaga – this according to the Guardian.
More interesting than the link to Cazorla is the state of affairs at Malaga. Another plaything of a rich oil baron, the Spanish club are in some difficulty at present as they stare at the possibility of relegation over unpaid wages and taxes. Their Qatari owner may still bail them out but the uncertainty surrounding the club will most likely result in the departure of their star player.
It’s another lesson for those Arsenal fans clamouring for reckless investment in the club. For every Sheikh Mansour, there is an Al-Thani and Al-Fahim (Portsmouth, remember?). Irresponsible influx of money can only be sustained for so long – when the dust settles, the ‘lucky’ club is usually left to pick up the pieces. As Arsene said in the pre-season press conference, if football clubs have to maintain their long-term health they have to run themselves like any other business i.e. profitably.
Over in Malaysia, the squad has been busy. From chilling in the pool to participating in a soccer clinic, the players seem to be alternating between tourists and ambassadors of the club. Besides the obvious financial benefits, I think it’s the opportunity for the team to bond and enrich their experience that ultimately convinced Arsene Wenger to undertake the Far East tour last year. It helps as well that the players are away from the uncertainty over Van Persie’s future.
As with most pre-season games, there will be many points of interest for fans in today’s game. With a paucity of options up front, will Marouane Chamakh play as the lone striker? Or maybe Gervinho will start along side the Moroccan as the second striker? Is Santi Cazorla being eyed as a replacement for Theo Walcott or is this the season Arsene Wenger finally gives the Englishman a chance to play through the middle? Can Benik Afobe impress sufficiently to warrant a first team place and is Thomas Eisfeld the answer to Arsenal’s attacking midfield problem?
Maybe none of these experiments will be sustained once the competitive season starts but it provides the manager food for thought and gives the fans something meaningful to deliberate and debate. Remember, Arsene converted Van Persie into an out-and-out striker after Adebayor’s departure. Perhaps this is another opportunity for Wenger to transform a player with potential into a world-beater?
Enjoy the game. Back tomorrow.