Archive for June, 2006

Mexican Carlos Salcido set to sign…?

316 comments June 30th, 2006

26 six year old defender Carlos Salcido seems set to sign for Arsenal, and a deal could be announced as early as next week. We learned last week that Salcido was wanted by a European club, and now reports in the Mexican media have shown his destination to be the Emirates Stadium.

Salcido, who operates on the left-side of a back three, and is capable of playing at centre-half or full-back in a four-four two, currently plays for Chivas de Guadalajara, from whom we signed Carlos Vela, where has has won 30 caps for his country. It is unclear yet if he is veiwed as a potential replacement for Ashley Cole or Sol Campbell. Though he is only 5’10”, it is worth remembering that Kolo Toure is no taller, so he shouldn’t have too many problems playing at centre-back.

Salcido came to prominence in 2005, scoring this remarkable goal against Argentina in the Confederations Cup. Indeed, the defender himself confirms that this is when Arsenal’s interest began:

“The reality is that I know that Arsenal were … a team which during the Confederations Cup wanted to look at the possibilities of me going to them, but they waited to watch the World Cup and see what happened with me.”

Now the Gunners have made their move, and Salcido can barely contain his excitement. He is described as “full of satisfaction” as he says:

“I’m waiting to see what happens … I’ve already looked at taking an extensive English course. Now I’m dreaming more than ever. Why? Because I have been tested in many situations. I have played against big players, and big teams, and thanks to God I have had the opportunity to live, play and enjoy it. My biggest goal was to play in the World Cup, but it has always been my dream to go abroad … I know that Arsenal are a great team, I know that they play in the superior tournaments, and I would be very pleased to go to them.”

The Guadalajara management has confirmed it will announce Salcido’s transfer next week, and all signs point to Arsenal as buyers. But what would he bring to the squad? Well, place, intelligence, and some wonderful skill.

The fee is reported as being around â?¬4m, which for an international defender of his class would be a real steal. I don’t know how many of you caught Mexico’s game against Argentina, but he and another defender, Osorio, were both outstanding.

With one left-sided Spanish speaker possibly on the way in, there have been suggestions that Jose Reyes will be on the way out. Yet again, I’d advise you to take these Madrid stories with a whole bucket of salt.

Meanwhile, Yaya Toure has again reaffirmed his desire to leave Greece. Expect plenty of stories about us signing him. Whether or not there’s any truth in it is another matter entirely.

Still, possibly exciting stuff about Salcido, eh?

Cesc Fabregas: The Future

106 comments June 30th, 2006

As the final whistle blew on France’s 3-1 victory over Spain, a tearful Cesc Fabregas sunk to his knees. In spite of a metronomic performance at the heart of Spain’s midfield, his side had lost, and his World Cup was over. Beaten and exhausted, the emotion of the moment was too much for the teenager, and he had to be comforted by striker Raul.

But Fabregas should not feel anything but pride in his performances in this tournament. After coming on to create two goals in the comeback against Tunisia, he quite simply forced his way into the Spanish line-up. For a player still well short of his twentieth birthday, this in itself was a major achievement. But going on to look not one inch out of place is what truly confirmed his status as an international class midfielder.

Cesc is now in the unenviable position of carrying the hopes of hordes of fans both at International and club level. For both, he represents not only the present, but the phenomenally promising future. If he continues to improve at the rate he’s going, it is no exaggeration to say he could well become the best midfielder in the world.

In the Arsenal side, he has become the hub of the team. It is almost unbelievable to think that at Christmas last year, there were calls from fans to leave him out of the side. His form had not matched that of 04/05, and tired legs were contributing to some whole-hearted but sub-standard performances.

In the second half of the season, however, he was outstanding. The addition of Abou Diaby as cover, combined with the improved form of Gilberto Silva, meant that Fabregas once again had the time and space to be the metronomic passing machine he had shown signs of becoming. This run of form peaked with his masterful display in Madrid, making Zidane look ordinary as Arsenal ran out 1-0 winners. It was displays like this which made his promotion to the Spanish squad an inevitability.

Whilst the experience he’s gained at the World Cup will be invaluable, it may have done Arsenal more harm than good. For every time Cesc stars on the World stage, another envious glance is cast our way from the looming menaces of Barcelona and Madrid. For years now they’ve been trying to steal our players, and we’ve seen the likes of Nicholas Anelka, Marc Overmars, and Emmanuel Petit head in their direction. Fabregas is no different. Indeed, this summer we have seen Real Presidential Candidate Ramon Calderon claim, “If we win I am sure he will come“. Cesc, fortunately, is not so sure:

“I can’t do anything about it [the speculation], obviously my name came out every day and they involved me [in the elections campaign]. However, I was only thinking about the World Cup. I am an Arsenal player right now and I am very happy and at ease there. I don’t need anything else.”

However, it won’t be long before Arsenal start recieving serious offers from the Spanish giants. When those fees start hitting £20m and upwards, whether or not Cesc wants to stay will be compromised by the size of the sum. I think we’ve always known that he would go back and play in Spain at some stage. But each time his brilliance is globally exposed, the chances of that happening sooner rather than later increase.

So enjoy him while you can. There’s no doubt the boy loves Arsenal to bits, and to have such a thoroughbred footballer plying his trade at our new stadium is a real delight. Like I said, if he keeps improving at this rate he will be one of the best players in the world, no doubt. If he ever moves on, it will be amicable between he and the club: I can’t ever see him trying to engineer a move away in the manner of, say, Patrick Vieira. It’s quite possible he could even captain the side one day, so strong is his personality.

You may have guessed that when there isn’t much news about, I take to eulogising about a chosen Arsenal player. Tomorrow, Mart Poom.

Remember how Newsnight claimed that David Dein had overseen some shenanigans with Beveren? And that he had also been spotted dancing with witches on the moors, drenched in the blood of a thousand kittens? Well, surprise surprise, it was all bollocks. Still, they got Dein voted off the FA board, which was what it was about all along.

Lot’s of rumours about Sol being on his way to Portsmouth. I know it’s in one of the morning’s papers, I just don’t know which. It wouldn’t surprise me: Adams is there, and they’ve got a ton of money to burn/use to feed Campbell.

And finally: in this world of internet blogging, sites pop up all the time, and often they’re genuinely rubbish. However, The Cannon is not. Have a look.

The temptation to make up news is enormous.

7 comments June 29th, 2006

I promise that’s not what happened with the supposed “third kit“. But the fact remains: with the World Cup on a two day hiatus and Arsene busy writing an amusingly bad blog, Arsenal news is thin on the ground.

Though I suppose to a certain extent that depends on what you call “news“. Is it, for example, news that the Emirates Stadium is “almost ready“? Not really. “The Emirates Stadium is ready” would be a hell of a headline. “Almost ready” is a comparatively damp squib.

Edelman rubs salt into the wound by stating, “We will be naming parts of the stadium but we will not be releasing that for a bit yet“. Thanks Keith. Ridiculous. It’s almost like the Emirates Stadium has been built with no consideration for what I’m going to write about. More pics of our amazing new ground can be found here.

Meanwhile, Tony Adams has joined Pompey’s Russian Revolution as Harry Redknapp’s assistant and potential successor. Adams, who had previously been at several placements with Dutch clubs, has said of Redknapp: “Harry’s a guy I respect and one I’d love to work with. He obviously thinks a lot of me to approach me and I’ve got a lot of admiration for him.” Personally, I’m not sold on Adams as a coach. When, during Euro 2004, he advocated dropping Wayne Rooney in some bizarre attempt to be different, you couldn’t help but wonder what on earth he was on about. Still, Wycombe was probably not a fair reflection of his abilities as a manager – with little resources and an incredibly young squad, he was always going to struggle.

Who knows, maybe he’ll manage Arsenal one day. Maybe Jurgen Klinsmann will, if Jens’ comments are anything to go by. What a turn up for the books that would be.

Gunners in Germany: Part 6

8 comments June 28th, 2006

As Switzerland vs. Ukraine kicked off, I have to admit I was rather excited. I had enjoyed both sides’ performances up until that point, and I was getting a rare glimpse of Johan Djourou up against Chelsea’s new £30m striker Andriy Shevchenko. After 33 minutes, Djourou was withdrawn due to problems with his abdominal muscles (the BBC commentators having the temerity to suggest it was due to “nerves“), and my interest waned. Over the next 90 or so minutes my interested plummeted, died, and was cremated, as the poorest game of this World Cup ebbed out onto the pitch. Unfortunately, the Swiss penalties were almost as poor as their performance, and it was the Ukraine who slithered through into the next round.

I haven’t seen that much of him, but I have no idea why everyone thinks Emerson is so good. Although he played in Brazil’s unconvincing wins over Croatia and Australia, Gilberto Silva was very impressive in the 4-1 demolition of Japan. Against Ghana, he replaced the injured Emerson at half-time, and helped turn the tide in what had been until that point a very even game. Though not the greatest of technicians, Gilberto provides a better link between the defence and the midfield, and is more aerially proficient than the Juve man. Although he was dreadful in the first half of last season, as our form improved so did Silva’s, and I happen to believe we probably only need to buy somebody to stand in for him, not replace him.

Congratulations to Ronaldo, who became the highest goalscorer in World Cup history, reconfirming his status as a big game player. Ronaldo is said to be delighted with the record, and has announced that his next ambition is to become the first footballer visible from space.

The evening brought what was on paper the tie of the round: France vs. Spain. There was so much background to this game: Thierry Henry‘s chance for revenge on Luis Aragones, Patrick Vieira getting another go against his heir Cesc Fabregas, and potentially Zinedine Zidane’s farewell to the game. The old guard of France faced off against the effervescently youthful Spanish, and it was the latter that took the lead through a David Villa penalty.

However, just before half-time, reputed Arsenal-target and pin-up-in-waiting Franck Ribery rounded Iker Casillas to equalise. Both sides appeared to be playing for extra time until when in the 83rd minute Patrick Vieira nodded in his second goal of the tournament. With Spain searching for an equaliser, Cesc was left in the quarter-back role looking for that vital pass. Fantastically composed up until that point, Fabregas was isolated and dispossessed, with Zinedine Zidane breaking away to score a third and set up a mouth-watering Quarter Final against Brazil.

The occasion was slightly marred for us Arsenal fans by Thierry Henry’s Rivaldo-like dive. Whilst it’s clear there’s unfinished business between Titi and Puyol, as captain of our club he doesn’t need to be doing anything as distastefully dramatic as that.

I suppose he would say he now has revenge over Aragones & co. The Spanish coach complained after the game that, “Football is unfair sometimes“. Luckily for Thierry, it seems that the fates are not.

For those of you who hate the new kit: I present the (fake?) third shirt.

710 comments June 27th, 2006

A monstrosity of Inter Milan proportions and guise.

Whilst the normal protocol amongst Nike is to give newer kits priority, Arsenal will be keeping the yellow shirt as the first choice away kit to make up for the fact that they’ve changed the home shirt for the last three seasons running, leaving us with the three options below:

I’m sure the blue and black effort will spark a variety of opinions. Personally, I’ve always been somewhat funny about us playing in blue. It reminds me a little too much of Chelsea. Or, in this case, Inter. Saying that, the template for the kit is actually based on the new Barcelona shirt.

It’s fine, and we won’t wear it very often, but it just isn’t very “Arsenal“. Someone sent me this kit via the contact section the other day, and I actually assumed it was a wind-up. Apologies to whoever that was.

Update: Looks like my suspicions were right.  Fake it is.  Thank God. 

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