Cazorla On Board As Arsenal Jet Off To Germany
So Arsenal are in Germany for a training camp before Sunday’s tie with FC Koln, Lukas Podolski marking a quick return to his former club with his new teammates. Of course we still don’t know officially which players are travelling, Arsenal.com failing to announce the squad list at the time of writing.
One player that was definitely on the plane was Lukas’ German compatriot Serge Gnabry, as evidenced by this tweet:
On the plane with poldi http://t.co/vlpktzIt—
Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) August 06, 2012
The 17-year old is enjoying a wonderful time at present, having ended an impressive first season in the Under-18s and Reserves by signing his first professional contract. While being German has something to do with it, Arsene Wenger’s inclusion of the youngster for the final friendly before the season kicks off is an indication of how highly Gnabry is rated at the club. Hopefully we’ll see a bit of him in the Capital One and FA Cup competitions this season – perhaps even more if he can continue the remarkable pace of development we’ve seen so far.
BBC’s David Ornstein reports that Santi Cazorla has passed a medical, his 19th by last count, and joined the Gunners in Germany. The paperwork has not been finalised as yet, hence the official announcement is not forthcoming at this point. Surely it can’t be too long now surely, what with cameras chasing Arsenal’s training sessions in Germania.
Robin van Persie is also reported to be with the squad. It was expected even if the Dutchman is to be sold later in the summer. With the season opener fast approaching and the striker’s future still very much in the balance, Arsene Wenger will want to keep the league’s top scorer in good shape to utilize his services if required. It also sends a message to clubs chasing Van Persie that Arsenal are prepared to hang on to him if the asking price isn’t met.
It will be interesting to see Van Persie’s body language when he takes the field against Koln. Plenty of rumours are still circulating that Robin may make a u-turn and decide to sign an extension after all. With Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski on the field, will the Dutchman feel Arsenal are competitive enough for him to stay? Or was it always all about the money, money, money after all?
Elsewhere, Wojciech Szczesny has been speaking to Arsenal.com once more. His latest comments relate to his red card in Poland’s Euro 2012 opener against Greece.
It was obviously quite tough getting sent off in the first game and then being left out for the third match, but the experience of being there was different, something I have never had before.
By nature, goalkeepers have to be a more resilient breed. A mistake by an outfield player evades the spotlight over 90 minutes of football whereas the man in goal is firmly in focus for every error made. In that respect, Szczesny definitely has the mental attributes to become a world-class shot-stopper – the ability to leave things behind and keep looking positively forward.
Obviously the sending off is [part of] a learning curve for me and hopefully that will never happen again. But it has made me more mature.
The fact Wojciech quit Twitter to concentrate on football is further proof of this growing maturity. However only mental fortitude and maturity doth not a keeper make, there are other qualities required as well. Good judgement is perhaps top of that list, and impressive as Wojciech has been he’s still prone to making too many errors of judgement over the course of a season.
No doubt he will get better over time but Wojciech himself would benefit with some genuine competition for that starting place in goal – something neither Fabianski nor Mannone are able to provide at this moment. For Arsenal, an injury, suspension or loss of form for Szczesny would cause flutters at the back and erode confidence in our defending once more. If Cazorla’s been wrapped up in red & white already, then an experienced goalkeeper should come next on Arsenal’s extensive summer shopping list.