Arsenal: Latest Updates on the Asia Tour and Potential Player Departures
On a personal note, the weekend hasn’t gone down well for me, with my trusty companion, Le BlackBerry Bold 5, giving me more drama than Ashley Young in the opposition’s penalty box. With a few tweaks here and there, my trusty sidekick could get back to its optimal state but the same can’t be said about Arsenal Football Club.
With the first fixture of the much-anticipated Asia tour just in three days time, Arsenal was faced with the ominous task of announcing its squad list for the Asian preseason campaign. The wait is certainly over as Arsenal has announced a 24-man squad that will take part in the tour. The squad has a mix of youthful exuberance and a few experienced old hags leading the line.
Gooners are not entirely concerned about the players that made list because it contains a core part of the squad that helped the team surge into a third place finish last season. The squad list has a continually improving Polish goalie that had 13 clean sheets last season, a great Belgian defender and potential captain in the making, England’s own version of Usain Bolt, a Cameroonian gem that assists when he wants and so much more.
The major concerns are about the players that didn’t make that list. Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna, Lukas Podolski and Tomas Rosicky are expected to travel to Nigeria next week, so their omissions from the list are understandable. However, the omission of Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud is quite puzzling as Theo Walcott and the Ox (who are in the list) also left the European Championships at exactly the same time. Koscielny is set to sign a new deal in the coming days and that news has been one of Arsenal’s bright sparks this summer.
The biggest name to miss out on this list is undoubtedly Robin van Persie. The Flying Dutchman has been on the spotlight all summer long following his statement signalling his intention to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Juventus had initially mocked the club with a paltry £8m bid but he is fiercely linked with moves to both Manchester outfits.
Much to the rage of Arsenal fans, Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that Manchester United has made a bid for the striker (via ESPN Star). Every Arsenal fan has more or less braced his/herself for life without the captain but selling him to Manchester United will be considered as an act of betrayal. In such circumstances, many would prefer van Persie to go for the greens of Manchester City.
BBC Sport has reported that Arsenal has dismissed Manchester United’s £13m bid for their talisman, Robin van Persie. Arsene Wenger has reiterated his desire to keep his captain at the club (via Arsenal.com):
“For me, Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world, if not the best, and my desire is to keep him at the Club. As for the rest I will do what is in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club. That, at the moment, is where we are. There is not a lot more to say than that.”
According to ESPN Star, Arsenal’s former boss, George Graham, doesn’t believe that the club has what it takes to keep van Persie. Graham is a highly respected figure in North London, as he led the Gunners to two league titles, one FA Cup and one League cup from 1986 to 1995. He stated that Arsenal has to sell van Persie and move on, because they can’t compete financially with their richer rivals in world football.
This van Persie saga has dragged on for quite sometime and it’s getting tiring as each day passes by with his future still shrouded in mystery. A few months ago, I gave five genuine reasons why van Persie shouldn’t be begrudged if he leaves Arsenal but I had hope that he was going to be snapped by the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Arsene Wenger hinted that player departures will determine who he was going to buy and he had some sweet words to say about
van Persie’s replacement Olivier Giroud (via Arsenal.com). With van Persie out of the Asia tour, I was longing to see Giroud strut his stuff in the Far East but I guess that I’ll have to wait a little longer.
The Daily Star reports that Arsenal has set a hefty£30m price tag on van Persie and I have a hunch that he’ll remain at the club if the club takes a stand on that tag. It’s high time I pull the plug on writing about van Persie for the time being.
Besides van Persie, there are other Gunners edging closer to the exit door as well. Park Chu-Young endured a torrid campaign last season as he was relegated to the bench more times than the amount of shots on target van Persie had last season. Despite rotting in Arsenal’s bench for a considerable chunk of the concluded campiagn, Park kept banging in the goals for Korea and he was at it again in the 3-0 thumping of Senegal’s Under-23s in an Olympics warm up game.
According to Arseblog News, Park has been linked with a move to Al-Ain and he could stand a chance of earning big bucks in that side of the world. Recent transfer shenanigans has made us know that the color of ambition is green, and I won’t mind if Park releases his own statement declaring how Arsenal couldn’t match his ambitions as well.
Elsewhere, Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh have also been linked with moves to Zenit and Besiktas respectively. A Different League published that Besiktas are gearing a £4m bid for Chamakh while the Sports Campus reports that Zenit boss, Lucciano Spaghetti…Spaletti has reaffirmed his desire to sign Arshavin.
The potential sales of the aforementioned players will reduce Arsenal’s wage bill drastically and I hope these deals come through sooner than later with the exception of Robin van Persie to Manchester United though.
Time to take my sick BlackBerry to a phone doctor.
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