Cazorla Pending, Almunia Bullish, Mirallas Linked, Germany Beckons
There isn’t much that is newsworthy in respect to Arsenalat the moment, Santi Cazorla’s signing yet to be acknowledged or announced officially although there are enough confirmed reports here and there to suspect it’s only a matter of time before the midfielder appears on Arsenal.com wearing red & white.
While we await Santi’s first interview as an Arsenal player, another Spaniard has spoken about our chances this season. Manuel Almunia, now of Watford, believes the Gunners have suffered over the past few seasons with a constantly changing team and losing their best players. However he feels signings made this summer will strengthen the squad.
One of these years, everything has to come together and be perfect, and now is the time for Arsenal. They’ve signed some good players this year, Santi Cazorla is fantastic.
It’s nice to hear positivity from ex-players especially from someone as maligned as Almunia. He wasn’t one of Arsenal’s best keepers but he certainly wasn’t the worst either. And that performance against Barcelona in the Champions League a couple of seasons ago showed there was a fantastic goalkeeper underneath the shroud of inconsistency that seemed to follow him throughout his Arsenal career. The fact that he’s been professional and dignified throughout last season when Szczesny has established himself as the number one is a credit to the former Gunner. All the very best at Watford, Manuel.
In other news, Arsenal are being linked to another bargain-buy. This time it’s Kevin Mirallas of Belgium and Olympiacos we are interested in, apparently. Mirallas was top scorer and player of the season in the Greek league and his £6m price tag makes him ideal for Arsenal, according to the Daily Fail. It seems highly unlikely although with Ju Young Park expected to depart soon, we will need strikers on the bench so there may be something to the story after all.
This is assuming Robin van Persie is sold of course. The latest on the Dutchman is that Roberto Mancini has acknowledged Van Persie will not be moving to the Etihad. This seems to put Manchester United in pole position and it is also RvP’s preferred destination, according to the papers. I suspect though that Arsene Wenger would rather keep Robin for another season and lose out on £15m rather than help strengthen the Red Devils.
Arsenal leave for Germany tomorrow in preparation for the friendly against Koln on Sunday. Van Persie is likely to travel with the team, a squad likely to be named today. Unless a deal is close to being agreed, his exclusion would be an announcement by Arsenal that they don’t intend to hang onto the striker and that could prove harmful to any ongoing negotiations.
It’s a shame there aren’t one or two more friendlies this pre-season. As yet, we haven’t had a chance to see Podolski and Giroud playing with the likes of Song, Arteta and Walcott. More importantly, a few more games would have been beneficial for the new pair to strike an understanding with teammates. It’s vital for Arsenal to get off to a better start than we did last season and a couple more pre-season games would have helped you feel.
The same fixture last year saw two new Arsenal players score goals for and against us. Gervinho bagged a brace while Carl Jenkinson scored a spectacular own goal. Similar to last summer, Gervinho has again dazzled in pre-season this year. Hopefully the Ivorian will extend that good run of form into the Premier League and help Arsenal off to a good start this time around.