London black cabs everywhere will be a little less cheery in their disposition this morning, after Lukas Podolski’s agent confirmed that he’ll be making the switch to Turkish football to play for Galatasaray this summer. I think we all knew it was coming, but the fact that Poldi’s agent said that they had a long and good chat with Arsène Wenger about his future – in which Le Boss apparently tried to convince Lukas to stay – shows a little bit about why players love Arsène. He does tend to treat them all with respect and in a week in which much back-slapping has been happening at Chelski for letting Cech go to Arsenal, it should perhaps not be forgotten that Arsène has a history of looking after players. “Make love, not war” is clearly a motto that the Frenchman seems to adopt. Certainly more than his odious Portguese counterpart.
It’s a good move for all, in truth, because it generates a bit of cash, gets a hefty earned off the wage bill, plus means that there’s one less quandary for Arsène to ponder over when it comes to the 25-man squad rule. By-and-large you’d have to say he’s hardly been a success, particularly as his value seems to have dropped from £11million three years ago to £3million now, but at least the German international has left us with plenty of positive memories of his thunderous left foot. Let’s just choose to remember the good things. It will make everyone’s outlook on life so much more sunny.
The other question mark at the top end of the pitch would be How do you solve a problem like Joel Campbell? Not quite a year to the day, but certainly come the beginning of August, there was a clamour to see the player start more regularly for Arsenal last season. But after half a season hardly ripping up trees at Villareal, having signed a new deal, one does wonder if we should have cashed in whilst young Joel’s stock was so high last summer.
After all, World Cup’s are not just festivals of football, but opportunities to put a player in a shop window and usually if a player plays well you see a selling club often command top dollar. It’s easy to say in hindsight (especially as I was one of those people who thought Mr Campbell should have been given more time. Perhaps it was due to the surname with which I still have multiple affections of given Arsenal’s past) that we should have cashed in because his value probably wouldn’t have increased, but after what we’ve seen with Coquelin and the transformation he’s had, I’m inclined to wonder who else could prove everyone wrong when all of their chips appear to be down.
The Coquelin situation has kind of thrown the whole deck of cards up in the air when it comes to young players, hasn’t it? I mean, what you thought you knew about a player of a certain age has suddenly seen you think twice, no? I know it has for me. Sure, defensive midfield is probably a position where you’re afforded a bit more leeway than up top, but even that Arsenal fan Harry Kane has proved that you can’t always predict how a player will evolve.
I am still of a mind to believe that Campbell will slowly disappear further and further away from the first team, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Arsène has a very good look at him in pre season before shipping him out on another loan or permanent deal.
Cue a hat-trick at The Emirates Cup and the hyperbole brigade out in force to implore the manager to give him a shout. That is, assuming we have injuries I suppose. After all, we’re now at the stage where we’re no longer blooding youngsters in the first team, unless they are exceptional talents like Bellerin. So whether or not there is a clamour to see a player like Campbell get game time compared to a year ago remains to be seen.
I know we might all be getting to the stage where we’ve had so much Cech news that we’ll soon be guilty of Cech over exposure, but he’s had a little bit more to say on the official site about how long he can see himself playing for. He’s said he doesn’t think about retiring and wants to play for another seven years. That would take him up to 40 and about the same age as van Der Saar and Seaman before they hung up their gloves. I can certainly see him going on that long and if we have him as our first choice for that period of time then the £11million outlay would be worth it, but in a way I hope it doesn’t get to that, because I’d like to see Szczesny step up over the next 18 months. If Cech is number one for seven years then there’s no doubt the Pole won’t be at the club but perhaps on a slightly more morose note, it would mean that his career which showed so much early promise, did indeed stagnate and move backwards. For a guy that has been with the club for so long and broken in to the first team from the academy, I’m sure no Arsenal fan would want to see that, regardless of what anybody might think about his attitude. So whilst I’m hopeful we’ll feel like we’ve got our money’s worth out of the Cech deal, I’m also equally hopeful that we’ll see a gradual changing of the guard over the next three years, with Wojciech emerging as the world class ‘keeper we all want him to be. Again, the benefit of hindsight now would be useful, as we can all know what happens and if required not stake so much emotional investment in Woj.
I must get back to finishing that flux capacitor.