Well hello everyone. It’s Wednesday and the week is literally flying by. Colchester treated me with total respect yesterday, but today I’m back in London.
London, thanks for having me.
So what’s new? Well, not a lot. There’s so little to talk about when things are going well. I mean, a post about us doing well could be on the cards. But this is Le Grove. Not Arsenal.com. So let’s roll with the sad story that Andrey Arshavin is apparently hanging his boots up at the tender age of 32 years old.
The Evening Standard has reported that he’s so fed up with this season, he’s willing to pack it all in. Apparently this story has been denied in some Russian papers today, but the fact still remains… the demise of Andrey Arshavin has been a sad one. Diaby is a wasted talent because he’s broken, he never had the chance to make it big. Andrey had all the ingredients to be one of the greatest Arsenal imports of Arsene’s tenure.
He had tight control, an unexpected burst of pace, he could finish, he could see a pass no one else could, he could conjure something out of nothing… but his biggest attribute was one you can’t learn. He had the magic. Truly, out of all the players I’ve seen over the years, I can honestly say he’s been one of my favourites to watch.
Some people have to work hard at being talented. Others are just talented. The shame of Andrey is that I don’t believe he had to work hard at his gift. It was so easy for him. Everything was run of the mill. Even at his best for Arsenal, he still hacked people off because he seemed lazy. In the 2010 season, he managed to bag 18 assists and 10 goals. An incredible return. Yet Arsenal fans couldn’t stand his laziness even though he was producing at the highest level with ease.
It was that application that has been the problem for Arsene. Now you can track effort with technology, it’s easy to see how much a player is giving in training. His weight issues haven’t gone unnoticed. I think when he’s played this season, he’s looked like a player who doesn’t have the trust of the club.
I think the manager should have done more to tease out his potential. A starting point might have been to give him a more central role. We’ve seen what playing players in their correct positions can do for confidence and performance. I’m not sure Wenger deals well with big personalities particularly well. Brian Clough was a man with a knack for taking spiky personalities and turning them into something special. Ferguson has always done well against the egos… Wenger tends to buy players he thinks he can control. If they’re not the poster child of goodness, he tends to struggle to motivate. I don’t know whether it’s just that Andrey was the wrong sort of player… or Wenger just struggles with egotists. Whatever way you look at it… we’ve not made the most of a great talent.
Anyway, he’ll retire rich, healthy and probably turn into a Maradona like beast of a man over the next few years.
In goalkeeper news, we’ve been linked with Asmir Begovic. He’s leaving this summer, that much is clear. Stoke bought Jack Butland. They’re clearly thinking about moving their number one on. Hopefully that’ll involve Arsenal. The price being quoted is £15m. For me, that’s a great deal. He’s experienced at two Premier League clubs now. He’s huge, he’s played the Stoke way so dealing with high balls into the box will be easy for him. He makes incredible saves and he’s the type of keeper that saves you points on a regular basis. £15m is a snip for a keeper who is of an age where he can give you 10 years.
Other keepers that are supposedly in the melting pot are the two Spanish names. Victor Valdes is leaving Barca, this much is known to be true. He’s a good keeper, I’m not sure he’d be that great outside of Barca. He is prone to calamity keeping. He makes great saves and he’s matured, I’m just not sure for the outlay he’d be worth it. Casilas of Madrid is also rumoured to be on the way out. He’d be a dream purchase, but you’d have to think he’d be a bit beyond us price wise and really… club size wise. The rumour that won’t go away is Pepe Reina. Could we resurrect his career? When he’s on form, he’s one of the best in the business. His head has gone at Liverpool. Can he get it back elsewhere? Possibly… I just hope the keeper decision isn’t based on price. It should be based on long term ROI. Paying a little more now will benefit in the future.
Who would you next keeper be?
If you say Fabianski… I’ll show you the door.
Have a great day!
P.S. I watched Dortmund vs Malaga last night. I want ALL the players. The Dortmund striker, Isco, Goetze, Reus… the lot. What a fantastic match that was. Technical magic all over the park. A real eye opener. Loved every minute.