Morning to you all, as we look back on yet another hectic day in the world of Arsenal Football Club. Late in the afternoon yesterday, news broke of Theo Walcott being open to sign a new deal after a one on one discussion with Arsène, on certain circumstances
The story published by the BBC states that Walcott and Wenger had an “amicable” sit-down today, and a mutual agreement seems to have been made. Walcott will remain a Gunner going into this season, and will either have the option to extend on a one year deal and be forced to impress for a raise in wages. Seems reasonable to me, if it satisfies Wenger in knowing he won’t be losing a player he’s nurtured into a potential world beater, and Walcott knows that if he plays well, he will be paid what he values of himself.
I’m glad that this has been handled quickly, and most importantly, internally, without too much fuss. I can’t say everyone agrees on the tactics of Silent Stan and the crew, but I just think they try to do what’s best for the club and their cheque books, which is a two-sided coin. On one hand, a repeat of the Fabregas saga simply isn’t the kind of negative attention grabber you want looming over your head as you scramble to sign players on at the bitter end of the transfer window. On the other side however, with silence comes frustration, something every Arsenal fan has had to become accustomed to at some point. I’m sure we’d all have been happier in the end if Arsène, Ivan Gazidis or even Peter Hill-Wood had just come out and said on the 1st of July, something to the effect of “We are selling Cesc Fabregas.” Sure, it would have stung, but much like ripping off a band aid, you’ll be glad you did it instead of wincing in pain as each hair on your skin was tortuously pulled out one by one. Not only does it shed light to the situation, it tells the supporters the truth, and nothing else. Long drawn out sagas always seem to end badly for Arsenal, so it’s a good thing we’ve put the top on this fairly quickly. Both types of approaches to dealings have their pitfalls, but we’ve been unlucky enough to have come up against them both in such a short space of time. Enough is enough really, and you have to wonder how differently things would have been had we kept David Dein, the better half of the Dein family.
Anyway, let’s move on to Olivier Giroud, who seems to be gathering his fair share of criticism of late. I can’t help but admit that he’s definitely grown on me since the Stoke match. It’s probably because he spent the entire match bossing around Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth like marionettes, but still, he’s got that bit of grit between his teeth that makes me proud to have him in an Arsenal shirt. He’s not afraid to come out and show everyone what he’s made of, and that shines through in his recent quotes on the Arsenal website.
“I’m aware of the journey I’ve taken to get here and I’m proud of that.”
“These experiences have made me who I am – I fought hard to become a footballer. I grew up everywhere I went, I took away something that made me grow up, I learned things and little by little I got better from my experiences. Now I hope I am able to express myself in the Premier League.”
“I’m aware of how lucky I am to be at Arsenal, so I will fully enjoy it and remember where I’ve come from”
The best quote I’ve seen from him however, comes as a dig at Robin van Payday and his time at our club.
“In our way, we are two different players. He spent eight years here and had a very good season last year; I need a little adjustment time but I hope to make my mark as quickly as possible. And I hope to score a lot of goals.”
Just from one full match, you can tell Olivier has something special to him, he’s more than a target man like Peter Crouch or Andy Carroll. He can pick a pass, go for an audacious finish, and literally run though the opposition. We’ve got a special player on our hands, but don’t get your hopes too high, he’s brand new.
One thing that the club seem quietly confident about is the Champion’s League, Arsène in particular. It helps that we secured automatic promotion this year, instead of fighting a tough side just to get in, but it’s been quiet on all fronts leading up the group stage draw, happening today. You can find a quick breakdown of our respective best and worse case scenarios here.
In the “Youth Champion’s League” of sorts, the Arsenal U19 team dismantled Marseille yesterday, and could have scored more in a 3-0 victory in the NextGen tournament. The two scorers in the match were captain Nico Yennaris and 16-year-old striker Chuba Akpom, with a double to secure the Gunners’ victory. Having scored the winner in the 83rd minute, he finished off Marseille’s weaker team with time to spare in a comfortable victory. It just goes to show how strong our youth crop is at the moment, when we have some of the better reserve players on loan as it stands, they’re still able to brush aside opposition from other strong teams in foreign countries who vary in style, size and the like. With talk of many of these players featuring in the senior side this season at some point, you can’t help but be excited for our young guns as they climb the rungs of our system until they reach the top. With players like Benik Afobe, Chuks Aneke, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Ignasi Miquel, Serge Gnabry and Nico Yennaris all looking to cement their place in the starting lineup over the coming seasons, things are looking up for our future team, and the one we have right now. Competition always brings the best out of at least one player fighting for a spot, so why not inject some youth into places where we’re looking light? It’s worked with Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny, and it can and will work again.
In the coming days there will be more and more exciting news to discuss, but for now that’s about all that’s happened over the past 24 hours. Enjoy your morning, and make sure you’re at least in front of a TV showing Sky Sports News for the inevitable drama that is deadline day.