Since the season ended things have been a little quiet on the Arsenal front, but slowly that is starting to change as the return to pre-season draws closer by the day. The Premier League fixtures were released last week, and Arsenal's new kit for 2011/12 went on sale the week before that. There is still talk of exits for up to eight different Arsenal players, as well as numerous players being linked with a move to Arsenal.
The only actual transfer so far has been the acquisition of 19 year old right back Carl Jenkinson from Charlton Athletic, but there is a distinct possibility of the arrival of two more players this week. Arseblog News has today run a story where Arsenal are said to have inquired about the availability of Queens Park Rangers star player Adel Taarabt. He was the Championship player of the season last season, and he will be plying his trade with QPR in the Premier League this season unless he is sold.
I'm sure QPR will do all they can to keep him, as it would make no sense to sell their best player after getting promoted to the Premier League. I have seen him play a couple of times and he is certainly a very talented player, but whether he would be good enough to play for Arsenal or not is another question. I'm sure Arsene Wenger has spread his net as far as possible, and Taarabt is only one of many players he is considering for Arsenal.
The rumours about the possible arrivals of Gary Cahill, Christopher Samba, Joey Barton and Jermaine Defoe still abound, but I can only see Arsenal signing either Cahill or Samba. I would be very surprised if Wenger had a real interest in Barton or Defoe, but you never know what will happen when it comes to football transfers. I cannot see how either player could improve the current Arsenal squad, and in my opinion the money Arsenal have could be spent better elsewhere.
If the rumours in the Daily Mirror are to be believed Arsenal will make their first major signing of the transfer window in the next couple of days with the arrival of Gervinho from French double winners Lille. He's a player who could possibly do quite well in the Premier League, but personally I would prefer to see Arsenal move for his team mate Eden Hazard. Both players are capable of playing in a wide role and Gervinho can probably slot in as a striker too if needed.
With the return to pre-season training approaching rapidly I expect Arsenal to start adding the players they need to their squad very soon. In only 23 days time Arsenal their first friendly, as they play against a Malaysia XI in Malaysia. It's a change from their usual routine of training in Austria, but they are aware of the need to make an appearance in Asia to appease their large support in that part of the world.
Only three days after that game Arsenal will play a game in China before returning returning to Europe to play Cologne. After that game it's the Emirates Cup and then a trip to Benfica a week before the Premier League campaign starts. Arsenal will have five games in August as they play Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Manchester United in the league, and they have the two legs of their Champions League qualifier sandwiched between those games.
The trip to Newcastle is a good chance for Arsenal to lay the ghost of last season's 4-4 draw to rest. That game was probably the one which started their decline last season, and a commanding performance and win on the day would be a great boost for morale. Arsenal have not lost an opening day Premier League fixture in 10 years, and hopefully they can extend that by another year against Newcastle.
The games against Liverpool and United will be early indicators of Arsenal's title chances, and with their two Champions League qualifying games in between those two games it will make things hard for Arsenal. After the United game there is the first international break of the season before Arsenal play at home to Swansea, and I'm hoping to make a trip to London for that game myself. The TV games haven't been picked yet, but once they are announced I'll be looking to book my flights and hotel with the match ticket to come as soon as they're available to Red members.
It would appear Cesc Fabregas will be staying at Arsenal for at least one more season, as Barcelona have confirmed they will not be increasing their offer from last year. In their bizarre world they reckon that his value has actually decreased because he is a year older. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Barcelona only have a chance of buying Cesc if they offer the going rate, and that must be in the region of €50 million in my opinion.
They can talk all they want of Barcelona DNA in Cesc, or of how they don't really need him, but unless they stump up the money he will remain an Arsenal player. Even if they can get over themselves and offer a realistic amount for Cesc Arsenal can still turn them down, and there is every possibility of that happening. Cesc's statistics from last season proved he was yet again the most creative player in the top five leagues in Europe, and players like that cost a lot of money.
His season may have been hampered by injuries, but when he played there was no player better than him at making chances for his team mates. Barcelona are the best team in the world, but they are kidding nobody when they say there is no place in their team for him. He might not start every single game if he joins, but he would seriously improve the overall strength of their team and their squad.
There still doesn't seem to be any move towards settling the contract issues with Samir Nasri, and it's getting very close to the stage where Arsenal will have to place him on the transfer list. If they cannot reach an agreement with him he will have to be sold, as they cannot afford to see him leave on a free transfer next summer. It would be a shame if he is sold, but it will be of his own doing, and it could be a very bad career move for him in my opinion.
The club released three young players last week and I can only hope Mark Randall, Thomas Cruise, and Roarie Deacon can find new clubs for themselves as soon as possible. There's a fine margin between becoming a successful professional footballer and sliding into oblivion, but I hope all three of them can make a good career for themselves elsewhere. With more players coming through the Arsenal academy every year room has to be made in the reserve and youth team squads, and those three players were the ones to suffer.
There have been plenty of reports of interest in Nicklas Bendtner, Gael Clichy, Denilson, and Carlos Vela, but as it stands Arsenal have not sold any of their first team squad. It's possible that Sebastien Squillaci, Emmanuel Eboue, Manuel Almunia, and Tomas Rosicky could be on the move too, but it all depends on the right clubs making the right offers for the players. With Arsenal's squad players earning so much money it might not be easy to offload some of those players, but hopefully some business can be done over the next few weeks.
If most of those players are not at the club next season I don't think it would be a bad thing, as I genuinely can't see what most of them can add to the first team. I can't imagine that they will all be sold though, and it wouldn't surprise me if most of them still remain and make the occasional appearance next season too.
Finally for today according to the Telegraph and other papers Arsenal are apparently considering a move for Inter Milan and Cameroon star striker Samuel Eto'o. He would be a real fantasy signing for Arsenal if they could manage to capture him, but I don't see how they could afford to pay his wages. I hope I'm wrong and he signs very soon, but personally I can't see it happening.
That's it for today.
Here's a look at how good Cesc is.
See You Tomorrow.