Team GB out, Van Persie Considers U-Turn and Some Transfer Speculation
A Jaguar can never change its spots. There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and England losing in a penalty shoot-out. I had high hopes for Team Great Britain as Stuart Pearce assembled a nice contingent of Britain’s finest with a nice balance of youth and experience in the form of the Welsh duo of Hugh Giggs Hefner and Bellamy the Hobbit.
Jack Butland was heralded as the next best thing after Joe Hart and he was even on the plane to Poland and Ukraine. When he was faced with a shot for Sunderland’s Ji Dong-Won, he mistimed the flight of the ball and Korea Republic was one goal to the good. The commentator quotes on Ji’s belter was somewhat awkward, “Ji bites the nails that feed him”…like seriously?
The Colombian referee invoked the spirit of Howard Webb and Team Great Britain probably wore red jerseys, white shorts and black stockings in his mind as he awarded two penalties in quick succession. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey drilled his first penalty in but his second drilled attempt was saved by Lee Bum-Young.
After a stalemate that lasted for 120 minutes, England…Team Great Britain was braced for the scourge of a penalty shoot-out, a feat that doesn’t bring fond memories in this part of the world.
Tom Cleverley, Craig Dawson, Aaron Ramsey and Hugh Giggs Hefner dispatched their spot kicks and their Korean counterparts obliged as well. At 4-4, Chelsea’s Danny Sturridge took the long walk to the spot but his effort was saved by Korea’s goalie. The Asians booked a semi-final berth with the shoot-out win but it was a familiar feeling as Sturridge rebuffed all attempts from his teammates to console him.
Pearce ran out of superlatives for his team but he pointed a finger at that bitch called fatigue. The Olympic Games only permitted teams to submit a squad list of 18 players and it wasn’t an easy feat maintaining optimum fitness levels at such a small time frame.
With Team GB’s exit, Ramsey will take the nearest bus to London Colney to join his teammates but I have a hunch that Wenger would give him an extended break to recuperate from a grueling Olympic campaign.
At Arsenal, the fans are in buoyant mood as thoughts of van Persie’s shenanigans are slowly fading with the wind. However, there’s some light at the end of the Theo Walcott tunnel, as the pacey winger has hinted at signing a new long-term contract.
Sticking with contracts, reports are surfacing that the want-away Flying Dutchman is set to make a dramatic u-turn and sign a new contract to keep him at the club. It has been stated that van Persie has been “impressed” by Arsenal’s moves in the transfer market, as the club is closing in on moves for Santi Cazorla and Nuri Sahin.
Van Persie is expected to travel with the team to the training camp in Deutschland, as the Gunners prepare to play their final pre-season fixture against FC Cologne in the Rhein-Energie Stadion.
Van Persie released that statement to put himself out as an open duck for Europe’s predators but it was a move that put him in a tight corner as Juventus, Man Utd and Man City haven’t flexed their financial muscles enough to seal the deal.
The lack of action from these clubs are coming round to the idea of staying as van Persie can now see Arsenal building a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title next season.
It will take more than kissing the badge to bring me and many Gooners out there to love van Persie, but as long as he can do “his job” on the pitch, I’ll have no problems with him. Van Persie has notched up close to 130 goals for Arsenal and it’s really shocking to know that he scored half of that amount in just one and a half seasons.
Sentiments aside, van Persie is one of the most feared strikers in Europe and his experience in the Premier League will be vastly needed to ease Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud into the team. His exit would coincide with a huge wave of expectation on Giroud and Podolski’s shoulders and such burden might be to large to bear.
The ball still remains in van Persie’s court but if Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez can perform dramatic u-turns….then why can’t van Persie do it?
Elsewhere, there have been some transfer speculation dominating the Arsenal world.
On potential arrivals, it has been reported that Man Utd have placed Nuri Sahin on their radar as well, testing Arsenal’s resolve. History tells us how Arsenal buckles when faced with opposition for a player and I truly hope that they win the battle to secure Sahin’s loan spell.
The Turkish central midfielder has an eagle-eyed vision and he’s very adept on the tackle as well. He can also deputize as an emergency left back should the need arise. Arsenal was faced with a precarious situation as all full backs faced spells on the sidelines.
Arsenal has also been linked with a move for Ajax’s full back Gregory van der Wiel. With Sagna still nursing his leg fracture, Carl Jenkinson hasn’t been too impressive in the pre-season and a new right back MAY be needed. Van der Wiel is a decent right back with a good cross and some reserves of pace.
Barcelona has already placed Ibrahim Afellay on their loan list, and Arsenal has been constantly linked with the winger all summer long. With Santi Cazorla’s move imminent, Afellay’s services won’t be needed at Arsenal, unless Arsene Wenger thinks otherwise.
On potential departures, Barcelona is attempting to launch a £15m bid for Alex Song. The Cameroonian’s deal expires in two years time and he can start his own van Persie-esque saga if Arsenal doesn’t sort out his contract situation on time.
Song has really matured from that unearthed gem from Bastia in 2006 to a world class holding midfielder that can command a starting berth in any team in Europe.
Wigan is also gearing themselves up for loan bid for Ryo Miyaichi. The youngster didn’t make the Japanese Olympic squad but he’s tipped to have a bright future at the Emirates.
I guess this has made up for the two days of blogging inactivity. Sorry about that.
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