Nasri, Pires & the Verminator, plus Benzema
A few stories for me to cover in today’s round-up.
Firstly, the Mirror reckons that if we don’t manage to sign up Samir Nasri to a new deal, we’ll reluctantly look to sell him this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case, but I think too much has been made over the whole contract situation. Many people around the club seem confident that Nasri will sign up, and his agent also said that the Frenchman wants to stay at the club. It seems like a case of wanting to focus on football for the moment, rather than wanting to join a different side.
The Mirror report also added that we will look to Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Goetze as a replacement for Nasri if he does leave. I can’t say I’ve seen much of him – in fact I’m not sure I’ve seen him play at all – but I’ve heard good things about him. Still, I can’t see Nasri anywhere else but the Emirates next season.
Robert Pires returns to Arsenal tomorrow for Aston Villa, and he’s had some words of advice for Arsene Wenger. He reckons we’re lacking English experience/grit – I think it’s important to note that the only English players who were regulars in the Invincibles side were Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, plus Ray Parlour. I’m not sure nationality is the problem, but more so experience; another area which Bobby thinks we’re lacking in.
We should really sign some more experienced players, but Pires cited the reason for experienced Englishmen as being that “they know the English league”. I can’t agree with that – look at Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry, Ljungberg and Pires himself. They were all new to the league when they signed, but became world-class players over time. I for one think we should tap into the Italian league a little more. There are some excellent players there, for example, Gokhan Inler. Furthermore, Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry were all signed from Serie A, as was Kanu.
Continuing the talk about signings, the Benzema to Arsenal rumour continues to pick up pace. According to the Metro, he’s been “given the green light” for a £25 million move to the Emirates this summer. It’s a huge amount of money, and many are skeptical that Wenger wouldn’t go anywhere near that kind of sum for one player. However, it’s worth remembering that he did actually bid £20 million for Pepe Reina in the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Benzema.
I’m a big fan of his, I think he’d add a lot to our play and score a lot of goals here. However, I also heard that Juventus had a £25 million bid for the French striker turned down. I can’t remember who said that, but Juventus fans seemed quite certain it was true. But as I always say – I guess we’ll see…
Finally, some words on tomorrow’s game. Nasri and Cesc face late fitness tests, but there’s a rumour that Conor Henderson is in the squad, which would probably mean one of or both of our star midfielders was out. Villa aren’t great away from home, and are on a dodgy run of form, so we should dispose of them easily.
Thomas Vermaelen should start, which will be great to see. We’ve missed him a great deal this season, and I can’t wait to see him appearing for us week in, week out again. And for anyone who’s interested – he’s now on Twitter, under the username T_Vermaelen05.
That’s all for today, I can’t be bothered to cover the glory of both Manchester sides, although in other footballing news, Benik Afobe put in a decent shift for Huddersfield in the playoff semi final first leg. He missed a decent chance, but other than that lacked service.