Koscielny signs + Cesc faces RVP in the final

Hello all.  I’ve just got back from Durban and watching Spain’s slightly underwhelming victory over Germany.  What a stadium though.

In the two days I’ve spent on the N3 motorway, a fair amount has happened.  It’s been a particularly good couple of days for Robin van Persie – not only has he played a pivotal role in the Dutch national side reaching the World Cup Final, but he also be about to inherit God’s squad number, as Arsenal.com have revealed he’s due a change from the number 11 shirt he’s worn since arriving.  To be clear, God is Dennis Bergkamp – William Gallas is merely an earthly conduit of the hallowed 10 shirt.

I was obviously disappointed not to see Cesc got on last night – but he still has a few days left to oust Pedro and earn a start against Van Persie’s Holland in the World Cup Final.  Two Arsenal players in the Final makes it a big day for Arsenal fans.  Whether they’ll both be at the club come the start of the season remains to be seen, but Barca are looking increasingly unlikely to find the extra millions required to prise Fabregas away.

One player who will be here for the forthcoming year is Laurent Koscielny.  The centre-back has signed a long-term contract for a familiarly undisclosed fee.  It’s a signing almost as unsurprising as Marouane Chamakh’s arrival – we’ve known this was coming for some time.

Koscielny will wear the number six shirt, and arrives having previously been voted Best Player in Ligue 2 for the 2008/2009 season by his fellow professionals – an honour once also received by one Pascal Cygan. Hopefully his Arsenal career is more successful than that of the unfortunate Cygan.

Worryingly, he cites his weakness as “physical strength” – we’d better get him on the creatine and bulking up right away.

With Arsene suggesting the search for defenders will not end here, it’s unclear if Koscielny is a starter or not.  Regardless, Sol Campbell looks to be on his way, with the latest speculation suggesting he’s in talks with Sunderland.

Arsene Wenger has been forced to deny giving an interview to a Kenyan newspaper in which he all-but-confirmed Manuel Almunia would be losing his spot as number 1.

Sky have released their schedule, and as Goodplaya points out, seven out of our first eight away games will be on British tv.  They’re obviously hedging their bets that they’ll catch an upset.  It’s a decent shout.

Only a few days left of my trip now.  I’ve loved every minute, but I’m ready to immerse myself back in to the helter-skelter of English football once more.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.