Gnabry Signs, Arsene Cautions, Henry Positive And Transfer Talk
First off, many thanks to all Nigerian readers who commented on yesterday’s post. You provided an overwhelming and unanimous endorsement of the visit of Arsenal players to Lagos. With the kind of fanatic support Nigerians display for the club, a pre-season tour is only a matter of time.
In club news, young Serge Gnabry has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal. The 17-year old has enjoyed a fantastic first season with Arsenal’s U-18 and Reserve sides, scoring 8 times in 14 appearances. The German is highly rated and while we should be cautious about building him up too much, there is enough potential to suggest he could develop into one helluva footballer.
Like other young players at Arsenal, Serge will also benefit from the club’s participation in the newly established Under-21 Premier League and the NextGen series. The fixture list for both competitions is out now, Arsenal starting their domestic campaign in the U-21s against Bolton on 20th August while the first game of the Champions League-styled NextGen Series is against Marseille on 29th August.
Both competitions are a step up from the previous U-18 and Reserve leagues and will provide an opportunity for the likes of Gnabry to impress. For a manager like Arsene Wenger who isn’t afraid of playing young talent at the highest level, it’s a chance to evaluate their performances at a more competitive level than has been possible in previous seasons.
Speaking of the manager, Arsene has been urging football clubs to be more responsible in their spending. Le Boss feels clubs like PSG, Man City and Chelsea are causing problems for other European clubs trying to compete against their spending power. He also alluded to difficulties in retaining top players due to inflated wages being paid by these nouveau riche clubs – surely a reference to the Van Persie situation.
It’s difficult to make a logical argument against these statements. Common sense dictates that football clubs, like any other business, should spend within their means. And not because of restrictions imposed by UEFA (FFP) but because that’s the only way to ensure long-term success. As a fan, it’s a matter of pride for me that Arsenal FC do things the right way off the pitch. With more work on the footballing issues facing us, Arsenal can challenge for silverware without resorting to hara-kiri.
Thierry Henry feels Arsenal will cope without Robin van Persie. TH14 spoke about how the club dealt with his own departure back in 2007. The legend also looked forward to the early return of Jack Wilshere, who in his opinion is crucial to Arsenal’s resurgence. There’s no denying Wilshere has been sorely missed. But let’s keep realistic expectations from his performances when he does return considering the length of time he’s been out of football.
In transfer news, the Wanyama stories are doing the rounds once more with both Arsenal and Manchester United still believed to be keeping tabs on the Celtic player. Rumours of M’Baye Niang’s transfer seem to have died out completely in the past week. Which could be good news for Arsenal – perhaps the club are working behind the scenes, away from the glare of City’s attentions.
There’s still no positive development on the Cazorla saga although one or two reports this morning claim Arsenal have agreed a £18m fee with Malaga. The Spaniard is expected to arrive in London tomorrow to complete a medical. But with rumours of Chelsea showing last-minute interest, we should remain cautiously optimistic until an official announcement is forthcoming. It’s an agonising wait though so if you’re around the Emirates tomorrow and spot Santi sauntering in, do let us know.
Until tomorrow. Stay positive.