Kos Extends, Poldi Numberless, Arsene Coy, Mikel At The Double, Theo Artistic
A couple of days ago, the club announced Laurent Koscielny’s contract extension. The new deal ties the French defender to the Gunners until 2017. With Vermaelen having renewed last year as well, we now have our first choice central defensive partnership tied down until 2015 at the least.
It’s an excellent piece of business but it highlights once again the old adage that it takes two to tango. Arsenal offering a player an improved deal has to be matched by that player’s willingness to stay. In criticising the board and manager for allowing the contracts of Nasri and Van Persie to run down into the final year, the media and a section of fans refuse to acknowledge the obvious – that both players adroitly avoided signing a new deal as they sought to reap the benefit of a good season with a lucrative contract elsewhere. Ambition of the self-serving kind.
Speaking of ambition, our new German recruit Lukas Podolski has shown some of his own. As Arsenal assigned numerals to squad jerseys, the ex-Koln man has stayed numberless for the time-being. No doubt he’s waiting for the coveted 10 to be vacated by Van Persie. Or perhaps this is Arsenal Football Club’s reply to Robin’s Fourth of July statement – the club’s own declaration of ambition in looking towards the future with players more committed to the club’s cause. We’ve moved on Robin.
On the road, the Arsenal train chugged into China yesterday. And after a few hours of rest, both players and manager were busy once more with press conferences and gala dinners. When the inevitable Cazorla question popped up during the welcome presser, Arsene admitted he ‘liked’ the player.
It’s certainly a step forward from the manager’s assertion a day before that he didn’t know the player – and it’s probably as far as Wenger will go until a formal deal is completed. But his candidness in media briefings definitely show Arsenal’s interest in the talented Spaniard. Hopefully a deal can be concluded to bring the winger to the Emirates soon and this story ends more happily for the Gunners than our pursuit of Mata last summer.
The other positive was Le Boss’ assertion that more players will be coming in. One of them will surely be an experienced goalkeeper. As much as I like Wojciech Szczesny and he’s rightly confirmed as Arsenal’s number 1, the Pole did concede a record number of goals last season. While Arsenal’s defending was a collective failing, Wojciech needs genuine competition in goal – neither Fabianski nor Mannone give much confidence in that respect.
Mikel Arteta spoke of his desire to improve his goal tally this season, hoping to get into double digits this time around. Considering he played deeper in midfield, Arteta scored some crucial goals last season – the one against City was priceless in the end. Perhaps the Lego-haired Spaniard will play as an attacking midfielder this year? A few readers of this blog have suggested it in the past and maybe that’s the reason the M’Vila rumours keep swirling around. Wherever he plays, Arteta will be crucial to Arsenal success this season as he was to our most recent campaign.
Finally, at the charity dinner shared with City players Theo Walcott took on Vincent Company in a drawing contest. The Belgian defender drew a house but it must have been made of straw as Theo blew it away with a depiction of love for football and Arsenal. It’s not the kind of thing you expect from a player about to leave the club so I take that as an indication that contract talks are progressing well. Maybe I am clutching at straws but I feel Theo knows Arsenal provide him the best environment and support as a footballer. Hopefully, a picture paints a thousand words.