Archive for June 10th, 2010

Club speaks out on Cesc, Cole & Schwarzer

Add comment June 10th, 2010

Arsenal had followed their rejection of Barcelona’s bid for Cesc with a steadfast, silent stare.  Until this morning, when an Arsene Wenger press conference and Peter Hill-Wood chat with his mates at The Star has prompted a flurry of transfer stories.

First, on Cesc, both Arsene and the chairman have been adamant that the captain is going nowhere.  The manager said:

“We want to keep our best players, that is my huge determination. I have built this team for years, from 16-17 years of age with most of the players, and we want to continue to work with them because we feel they are very close and the team has many strengths in many ways.”

Which to me says that he feels, with just one year remaining on his contract and no guarantee of a renewal, that he wants every resource available – Cesc included – to have another crack at the Premier League title.  Barcelona will continue to tap away (pun intended), but it will take one of two things to see Cesc leave: a remarkably big bid, or a strop from the player.  Increasingly it seems like Fabregas may be staying – for a year at least.

After he was released by Chelsea, the press seem to be pretty split on where Joe Cole will end up.  Some are convinced it’s Spurs, others United – and several still Arsenal.  The truth, I suspect, is that no-one has a clue – not even that bald bloke who turns up on Sky’s Sunday Supplement, calling all the Chelsea players by their first name in a garish attempt at affecting intimacy.  Even Arsenal seem a bit confused themselves, with Peter Hill-Wood saying that “his name never came up at all”, whilst Arsene Wenger openly states his admiration for the player:

“I like him (Joe Cole) as a player because when he played against us he always did a lot of damage.  He can create impact through his creative play. He can dribble, he can pass, he can score goals.”

Wait and see on this one.  Cole has always played in London, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

One player we’ve definitely been after is Fulham’s Australian goalie Mark Schwarzer.  It’s good news on two fronts: 1) Arsene recognises we need a keeper, 2) he’s proactively pursuing it.  Some fans seem a bit unimpressed by the potential arrival of Schwarzer, but I’m a big fan.  After the disastrous performance of Lukasz Fabianski at Blackburn, I said:

“There’s a reason goalkeepers don’t peak until their mid-thirties. There’s a reason United pick the ageing Van der Sar over promising Ben Foster. It’s a position where experience is key, and vulnerability all too debilitating. Arsene would be wise to look at getting a year or two from someone like Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer. The frustrating thing is we know he’d probably rather discover some francophonic unknown.”

It’s good to know Arsene reads the blog.  Anyway, as things stand, Fulham have told us Schwarzer is not available for sale, and with a year remaining on his deal we have to respect that.  However, if they can find a suitable replacement, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were suddenly keen to sell and turn a profit on a 37-year old Bosman signing.

One player who has moved in the opposite direction is Philippe Senderos.  Although he had an occasionally torrid time at Arsenal, he’s still very young for a centre-back, and if Roy Hodgson stays at Fulham will be working with a manager far better suited to make the most of his potential.  Good luck to him.

Bye for now.

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