Well good morning and welcome to the last post of 2012. Hey, you know that's a lie. I'll be writing a second one later today so you have something to digest tomorrow morning... if any of you are up for it of course!
So, what have we for you this morning?
Loads of exciting stuff. This window sounds like it'll have at least one purchase attached to it... who that will be is a mystery.
First up, the stories that make little sense. The Mirror has us linked with Leighton Baines for £10million. How can anyone think we're going to sign up one of the best left backs in the country after we've just nailed Gibbs down to an expensive long term deal?
I think Baines is a very solid player, but bringing someone in to kill the career of a Wenger love child is a definite no...
A player I think looks entirely a possibility is the Southampton teenage left back Luke Shaw. He's burst onto the Premiership scene this year amassing 10 starts. Pretty good going for one so young. He's a talented prospect, and his English, which totally fits in with Arsene Wenger's new, more racist strategy of recruitment. My hope is that this guy is actually really good... because as much as I admire Gibbs going forward, I think he's a bit of a nightmare at the back and I think he's an injury disaster waiting to happen. Signing someone young and hungry that is capable of challenging is exactly what he needs.
In other news, things are hotting up on the Theo Walcott front. Three things are swaying me into thinking he'll sign a deal. 1) All the rumblings are about the position over the monetary value of the deal (and there are no front runners making noise) 2) He's a clever lad, I don't think he has the sort of family around him that would sacrifice his football career for a big contract... ala, Nasri / Adebayor 3) His bestest mate in the whole work, Claus Lundekvam has come out and said he thinks he'll stay on.
Think about it. Theo's whole life is in London or further south. Name me a club that would have a requirement for him in a central striking role? I'm struggling. Chelsea, United and City are totally stocked there. Spurs is a no go. Newcastle and Liverpool are no goes... He's in the best place to develop. If he stays, he'll get his £100k a week and he'll no doubt get a signing on bonus as well. It's win, win... plus he'll have senior role in a squad that suits his xenophobic nature.
I might have the totally wrong... but fingers crossed.
In other news. Wilfried Zaha had a nice piece in the Daily Mail yesterday. I'm not sure how I'd feel about his whoring if I were a Palace fan, but football is football... you can't expect to keep your best players when you're in the Championship. According to the article, he's a very down to earth type of chap. His brother recounts the time he refused to go to the swimming bar with his family in case he was tired for training the next day. He's dedicated. No one turns down swimming otherwise. He's also from an Ivorian background... I know, there was me thinking Zaha was a traditional Victorian name. Don't worry though people... he's still very much English... he fits the strategy.
If Theo moves into the middle, it makes perfect sense to bring in tricky wideman. I'm concerned that his stats are pretty weak. He's playing for a top Championship side and he's managed 5 goals and 3 assists in 25 appearances. Still, Adebayor had pretty poor tallies before he moved over. If players are physically able with good technique, we'll probably be able to coach him into the player he needs to be.
Talk of Nani coming to the home of football is well and truly off. Ferguson described him as an 'incredible talent' and Wenger doubted the need of United to sell one of their stars. Interesting that the Portuguese only has 18 months left on his deal. Not often United get into those situations. I think it was slight fantasy to think we'd ever land him. Even if he was available for £20million, I highly doubt we'd have bid...
The Daily Hill-wood reported that we're interested in signing Cabaye this January. Well, that's gone to the wall with the news the French midfielder, is in fact, French. We don't like those sorts anymore, so we'll be turning our attention elsewhere. Jokes aside, he's out until February. Chek Tiote is a bit of a beast as well, I'm just not sure he's worth £20million for what he does... which, in a nutshell, is bulldoze people and have really long range shots.
There are still other options available. I'd love for us to move for Fellaini, even if it was to just upset the Everton apple cart. A cheeky £25million bid would turn his head and it would make the poor half of Merseyside seriously think about what they want out of this season. The big Belgian is without doubt the best player outside of the top four. Well, bar Luis Suarez...
Another player we could rekindle our interest in this window is Capoue. The Toulouse midfielder is another midfield general with under 21 pedigree. He's a bit of a terrier and I've no doubt we could pick him up for a relatively low fee. Then there's the old classic, M'Vila. Sure he's had a few incidents, but who doesn't like slapping teenagers who disrespect you? Sometimes, shipping people with discipline problems off to other countries works out well... Australia did ok, right?
The race for Demba Ba looks like it's over before it's begun. Chelsea are going to take the plunge which is a real shame. Wenger has ruled himself out because he's too similar to Giroud...
'He is a similar type to Giroud and you will see Giroud develop into that kind of player"
I'm not quite sure I'd agree with that? I mean, Giroud has his talents, but he doesn't have the pace or mobility Ba boasts. I do hope the manager has other ideas with regards to strikers. I think we'll be making a mistake just to stick with the two. If Demba Ba is the player we hope Giroud will be, is there any harm in having two that can bang in goals? We'll always have injuries... and Theo will certainly pick them up. For me, £7.5m and a bolstered front line is too good a deal to miss out on... but you know how Wenger hates competition right?
The final Arsenal story is about Brian Marwood coming in as a Director of football. Mainly to solve our problem signing players. Now, I'm not sure of the history, but according to Geoff, Brian Marwood hates Arsenal...
'Since he left Arsenal, every opportunity he's had to talk about Arsenal, he's slagged us off'
I'm pretty sure Mancini fell out with him because he missed out on a load of deals? I like the fact he's an ex-footballer with experience in the board room, I just wonder whether we should be picking up someone who has been marginalised at City?
Onto QPR. Harry Redknapp is finally being exposed for what he is... a not so very talented manager. He's looking for money to sort out the issues he's inherited at his new club, which I find hilarious. Any manager worth their salt should be able to turn a team of talented players round. He's started on a baseline of literally zero and he's had hardly any impact. QPR were a shambles yesterday. If he can't get the basics right, like shape, formation and effort... why would anyone give him money?
Highlight of the year?
I have two...
5-2 x 2 against Spurs!
Yep, we're beating them 10-4 on aggregate at home this year, which amongst the nonsense we're dealing with elsewhere is an absolutely beautiful way to end the season! I was there for both, I'm sure I'll be talking about both games in years to come... Here's my mates tattoo to commemorate the result in ink forever.
Anyway, a lovely way to see out the year!
Happy New Year everyone, thanks for swinging by every day... make sure you do next year as well!