Happy Monday one and all. The clocks going forward an hour was exactly what I needed after a weekend of extreme boozing. Still, there is plenty to be joyous about in the world of Arsenal at the moment. Even stronger hints about Podolski have emerged from the club over the weekend. Wenger has again gone on record talking about the German front man.
“Nothing is done. No, he has not had a medical,”
“I don't master the timing [of any announcement] because that does not just rely on us. It could happen soon, it could happen later, I don't know.
“It is always a concern [that someone else could come in for him]. The speed in which you do things is important, but at the end of the day it is always the player who makes the decision.
“It is about how much they want to join you.”
I'm always concerned when Arsene brings up the conversation around desire. He could mean three things here.
1) Lukas is waiting to see where we finish before he commits
2) Lukas is waiting on Chelsea to see if they'll come in with a mega bucks deal for him
3) Lukas is waiting to see if they'll offer him more than £25k a week
I hope it's not number three. Arteta joined us on a lower pay deal than he had at Everton. We could have scuppered that move over a lack of ambition with salary when it comes to a top player. That said, his desire and mental belief was strong. So he came along. Smashed it. Now he's contender for player of the year if we're banning Robin from the award.
I think we'll land the German. He'll look around the league and see that if any team is in need of a versatile front man with pace and power, it's us and QPR. If we make third, he doesn't even have to worry about pre-qualification. Also, you have to love the fact that his team were totally spanked by Dortmund last night in a thrilling 6-1 defeat. Apparently the star man for Dortmund was Kagawa... a player we've previously been linked with who seems to look the business. He's scored 12 goals and bagged 6 assists this season, he's Japanese and he's top quality... though there have been question marks over his ability to stay fit. I'd be surprised if Wenger hasn't been scouting him on some level.
A grotty bit of news also popped up on the main website. A 29 year old man was arrested on suspicion of racially abusing Tiote at the Newcastle game. Honestly... really? Arsenal fans? In the multi cultural metropolis of North London? Surely not racist remarks? Mind you, I've experienced first hand some of the muppetry that can go on amongst some sections of the support... so maybe not that shocking. I'm guessing if he's been flagged, it's because someone near him has grassed him up. Good. There's not place for that type of nonsense at Arsenal.
Mr Gibbs has been talking about the renewed belief at the club and our ability to see out games.
“We just have this belief at the minute that we are not going to lose a game. We were down against Spurs and Newcastle but we don't give up now. We have a resilience now that we are not going to lose games. We need to keep that.
I think the resilience of first 11 has never been in doubt this season, the trouble is, we've rarely been able to field a stable 11. Now we've slipped into a bit of a groove with the back 5 we've started to build out results. At the moment, with very few injuries we have a very strong team and some great options from the bench. All we need to do is sprinkle the squad with a bit of magic in the summer and bring in a few high caliber squad players and we're away.
Wenger seems determined not to get carried away with the form we've been showing. I've been personally determined to get massively carried away for a similar reason. Wenger doesn't want fans to be disappointed if we drop a place. I don't want to miss the opportunity to sing when we're winning in case we drop a place. He also took time out for the second day running to highlight another error he made in January.
'We had a blip in January, just after Christmas… but if you look at the circumstances of the blip it was down to the fact we had no full backs'
Well, kind of... we did know that we didn't have full backs before the transfer window opened and there were short term options available on both the right and the left but we didn't move for them. Luckily, we hopefully won't have to revisit that as being the turning point in a terrible season. I think we'll certainly be able to look back at it and wonder if we'd be challenging at the top of the league had we made a bold move at that point. Fulham and Swansea should have been wins and with a stronger side, could we have taken points from United? It's all ifs and buts...
Finally, Kenny Dalglish reckons he'd swap two cups for 4th place. Kenny, don't talk nonsense. Here are a few post ninties realities for you.
1) Buying any English talent that moves is not going to make you a contender
2) If a player says something racist to another player, it's not wise to mock up tee shirts celebrating that player
3) The Champions League is worth £45million a year. It's the reason players join your club. It's what makes you appealing to sponsors. It's the life blood of any top side. Like it or lump it, it's the pinnacle of football these days. The FA Cup is worth £1.8million, the Carling Cup is worth £1million. Your overlords certainly won't agree with you over valuation of the Cups.
Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't like to win some trophies but not at the expense of the clubs future. Give me an FA Cup and 4th... fine. But I'm not taking Champions League wilderness for 5 years for the sake of a cup. That really is the extent of missing out for us. It's doubtful we'd be able to self sustain our way out of that potential mess. It'll be interesting to see how Chelsea deal with it. When will Abramovich get bored of pumping money into a club no one cares about? When, as billionaire, do you start questioning what the hell you're doing making muppets like John Terry rich beyond comprehension?
Soon hopefully... pull the plug Roman... I'll buy you a beer if you do, then we'll laugh, oh how we'll laugh.
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The below video is how I see the conversation panning out after I meet with him.