Clichy and Adebayor goings and comings, Almunia will be England ‘Keeper
International break offers journalists a chance to get creative. With little happening on the pitch, stories start popping up regarding issue off of it. As always, key players leaving a team make for good headlines. Even Arsene Wenger was recently reported as leaving the club in the summer after former gunner Freddie Ljungberg suggested to the media that it could happen. I think we can all rest assured that he will retire from club football as Arsenal manager. Ivan Gadzidis has offered his the right to stay for life, and I for one second that motion. But he’s not the only key ingredient at Arsenal and the others are less guaranteed to stay.
Today, The Daily Star reports that AC Milan are lining up yet another swoop for an Arsenal player. This time it’s Gael Clichy. Depite recently committing his future to Arsenal until 2012, according to the article, AC Milan will offer roughly €15 million to secure his services. Milan obviously already have Flamini and Senderos, the former leaving Arsenal on a free, and the latter by loan. Apparently, their glowing recommendation for Clichy helped inspire Milan’s interest. Allow me to say “F*ck you very much” to our former players.
Regardless of the story, it seems highly unlikely that Arsenal would sell Clichy this summer. I have said before that Kieran Gibbs looks like he could be a top left-back, but the last thing Arsenal need next season is the integration of yet another young player thrust into the action before he’s ready. While it would be refreshing to actually get money from Milan in exchange for one of our more influential players, I would much rather see Clichy stay. In response to questions about Milan’s interest Clichy responded with the usual cliches (from clichy…clever),
“I was not aware of Milan’s interest, and I am very happy at Arsenal, but it is true to say that Milan are a fantastic, big club. I am delighted to know that a club of their calibre is following me.”
Blah, blah, blah. Even if the article has any veracity, which I am inclined to doubt, I still don’t think it’s something that should concern us, and certainly not at this critical point in the season. Thursday’s story from the Sport, however, should concern us deeply. Yesterday I went out on a limb and obliquely suggested that something was amiss with Adebayor and his relationship with the Arsenal. I made this outrageous claim based on the fact that his return from injury has been shrouded in mystery and it seemed unusual for an injured player to be called up by his national team when his club manager has said that his return after the international break was limited to a mere possibility. So it was unsurprising but entirely disheartening to see the following headline from thursday’s edition:
ADEBAYOR SET FOR TOGO RETURN
Before I even start down this path, remember that the article has yet to be confirmed. Arsenal have said nothing regarding Adebayor and the Togolese striker has yet to be quoted from what I can find. However, an unnamed Togo official apparently had this to say,
“Adebayor hasn’t joined up with us for nothing. He will play in his role as captain as he always has, as this is a huge match for Togo.”
He doesn’t leave a lot of room for ambiguity or interpretation. If this quote is accurate, the Adebayor will play for Togo. What can I say? It’s sad, it’s shocking and it’s totally what I expected and laid out as a possibility in yesterday’s blog. He shouldn’t be playing plain and simple. This guy quit his national team over money issues just a few months back and now he’s risking his club status by playing for them before recovering sufficiently from an injury that’s kept him out since February. It’s really unacceptable.
I am in agony waiting to see how Wenger will respond to this circumstance. He doesn’t deal well with his players leaving for international duty on the best of terms, I can’t imagine what he will think of this development. As I suggested yesterday, it could really be the end of Adebayor at Arsenal. Personally, I’m sad to say it, but I know other supporters won’t share my sympathies. I can tell you this; if Adebayor plays for Togo and then fails to be a contributor for Arsenal during the final stretch of the season, he will leave the Emirates in the summer as public enemy number one.
In lighter news, Manuel Almunia is back in the news angling for a position as England ‘keeper. I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate watching all of his teammates leaving for international duty while having no place to play himself. I won’t bore you with the quotes about applying for passports and feeling like he belongs in England because we’ve heard them all before. The fact is that Almunia has matured into a solid ‘keeper and part-time captain and I’m sure he would be in the mix for an England call-up if he were eligible. That’s due mostly to the sad state of the goalkeeping position on the international level, but it would still be a wonderful honor for him. In the mean time, if he’s bored this week, I understand that Arseblog is looking for a keeper, so he might want to inquire about that.
As Mikael Silvestre comes fit, it has reignited anger in the blogosphere for Wenger’s seemingly bizarre summer purchase. But I think the answer to this one is pretty simple. Silvestre is a veteran player who has won trophies on the club and international level and Arsenal currently employ three French defenders, two of whom are still rather young. With Gallas’ reputation taking on water in the summer and a team full of youngsters being asked to mature quickly, I’m sure that Wenger believed Silvestre could be a capable fill-in on the pitch, but a valuable support to the players in the dressing room. A crafty veteran with a winning attitude is often a good influence on a young team. You see acquisitions like that all the time in American sports and it usually serves the young players well. I don’t know if he has had any impact on the team off the pitch this season, but clearly he has been nearly useless on it. In any case, I doubt that we’ll see much of him during the remainder of our season.
Finally, Phil Brown has been given an extension on his creative writing project. He now has twelve extra days to fabricate a believable story about Cesc and spit-gate. Since nothing will ever come of this story, it seems unnecessary to cover it again in this space. I look forward to the FA’s rebuke of Brown’s accusation.
Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have some reaction to Adebayor’s decision to player for Togo, or better yet, we’ll have some news refuting today’s story.