International Business As Usual

Injuries suddenly mounting again, transfer speculation marches on

While we were all busy celebrating our impending return to something known as “full fitness,” we should have realized that the international break was looming to steal that possibility away. Van Persie will indeed miss Holland’s match today and Nicklas Bendtner looks set to do the same for Denmark. Now we can add Abou Diaby to the injury list. I’ll give you a minute to re-read that last sentance in case you can’t believe what you just saw. Yes, Abou “balsa wood” Diaby is injured. This time it’s a hip injury and it will see him miss the chance to start for France in a pivotal home qualifier against Lithuania. I really hate to see him out of action again because he has such tremendous talent and all that seems to be missing is the consistency that comes with regular appearances. But, alas, he who is made of balsa wood shall not remain healthy for long.

So if you’re keeping score at home:

  • Fabregas, Adebayor, Eduardo in
  • Van Persie, Bendtner, Walcott, Diaby out

Once again, we’re actually getting further from “full fitness.” Now, we have no idea about the extent of these injuries barring Walcott’s. However, we must be due some good fortune so maybe they will all turn out to be minor. We should know soon enough, but in the mean time, we must get back to preying for the healthy return of our remaining international players.

Meanwhile, speculation continues regarding Cesc and Van Persie’s future. While many Arsenal fans would be more than eager to see Adebayor leave in the summer for a rumored €35 million, I don’t think anyone wants to see Cesc or Van Persie leave the Emirates. Van Persie continues to insist that it’s the team’s ambition, and not its money, that will determine his future. That sounds impressive, but hardly believable in today’s world of sport as business. Van Persie may be telling the truth and waiting to see if we finish fourth before inking a new deal. He may take a cue from what Cesc and Adebayor do in the summer.

There is a real dutch contingent building up in Madrid and it frightens me to think that they might approach him. With a new president at Real, there will be big promises about summer signings and Van Persie certainly qualifies. Ruud Van Horsey-face is almost finished but add him to Huntelaar, Sneijder, Robben and Van der Vaart and that team starts to look like the Netherlands-south. Having said that, it’s pretty congested at Van Persie’s position and the dutch players don’t seem to be playing very nicely with one another lately.

Frankly, I’m going to allow myself to take Van Persie at his word. He’s a fiery competitor and he has a right to want his career to continue with a team that challenges for important titles. Assuming that Arsenal can hold on to a Champions League spot this season, I think Van Persie will re-sign with the Gunners, but we could be in for nervous moments before it happens.

On the topic of Fabregas’ future, Ivan Gazidis weighed in today. He hasn’t been at Arsenal long, but I think his contributions so far have been solid. There’s no questioning the dexterity with which he handled the Arshavin transfer saga. Today, he said this regarding Cesc’s future with the club and recent reports that he might leave,

“I can’t marry the stories that I read with the reality, which is that Cesc is extremely happy at Arsenal and totally committed to the club, and that’s every message that Arsene Wenger or I have ever received from him or his representatives. I am very confident that Cesc is committed to the club. You never relax about any situation but we are very confident that this team will stay together, progress together and achieve success together. The young players that we have and the manager we have believe we are doing something very special here.”

Sounds good to me. Gazidis will have to get use to reading things in the papers that have little connection to reality, but it’s nice to hear that his exposure to Cesc and Cesc’s management leave him feeling confident. Even more than Van Persie, Cesc is the key to this team’s future. There are a lot of good pieces in place, but he has the qualities that can lift a team to that next level.

There are certain times that I feel very lucky to support Arsenal as opposed to certain other clubs. Newcastle are a big club and yet they cannot seem to handle their affairs with anything short of comedic incompetence. Bringing in Shearer at a critical junction in a relegation battle screams desperation. Sadly, I now think that they might well be done with Premier League football for a long time. It certainly helps remind us all what a luxury it is to have such stability at our football club. (Let’s hope that I haven’t just put my foot in my mouth considering the battle shaping up between Kroenke and Usmanov.)

Finally, this last bit is for the American football fans out there. If you don’t have Fox Soccer Channel yet, you’ll need to get it. (And why the heck don’t you have it yet. You should have FSC, Setanta, and GOL Premium. No compromises.) ESPN has shockingly lost their rights to broacast the Champions League to FSC. I think it’s a sad development for football. Seeing top-flight European football on ESPN helped grow the sport’s popularity. FSC has far fewer subscribers and it once again sends the sport back into obscurity for millions of Americans. Oh, well. Won’t stop me from throwing things at the television screen when we draw AC Milan as our qualifying opponent for next season. Curse this new open draw.

Have fun watching the games but don’t forget to prey to whatever you worship for the safe return of our players and negative scans for Van Persie, Bendtner, and Diaby.

About Yankee Gunner

Loyal Arsenal Supporter, Obscure Television Personality
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