Julio Baptista has spoken up and told us what we already know (except for my earlier wild speculation) – we won’t be signing him on a permanent basis. Arsenal fans the world over will be absolutely gutted. Not.
In fairness to the Brazilian, he’s had an infuriating year and he isn’t one of these players who is simply terrible – we’ve seen how good he is for Seville especially, and in moments for Real and us. But he never clicked, never inspired, never looked comfortable. Whether the English game wasn’t for him, or it was something else, we’ll probably never know. But don’t be surprised if he signs for another Spanish club this summer and rips the league apart next season.
I can’t help but think he’s a little deluded though. Take these quotes:
“Arsenal have told me they are not able to buy me and so all I can do is return to Real Madrid,”
Not able? He sounds like that kid in school who was always picked last for the team, and the teacher tries to tell him it’s because he’s so small people can’t see him, and really he is a wonderful player. Julio, replace the words ‘not able to’ with ‘never in a million years going to’ and you’ll make more sense.
“I adapted well. I didn’t play much at first but finished much better”
Hmm. You see, Mr Baptista, sir, you didn’t. You never adapted, you never looked happy, you didn’t enjoy yourself and you were, for the most part, utterly useless. We were all excited by your signing, but it never happened. You didn’t ‘finish much better’, in fact finishing was exactly your problem. If you think you played more because you were playing well, think again.
Anyway, on to the rest of the squad analysis.
Anyone who stills thinks our captain should be sold is a fool. If any season demonstrated his contribution, it was this one – the one when he wasn’t there. He actually scored quite a few goals for someone who barely got a game in and was never fit when he did.
We need our best goalscorer back. That is one thing Wenger is spot on about – we have new signings next season without even making them.
Robin Van Persie
The season’s top scorer hasn’t play since January, which is a shame as he was really beginning to show that he’s made the step up from potential match-winner to regular star. I have a feeling next season will be huge for the Dutchman – he was superb in the World Cup, and in his run of club games, and free from injury, and fresh, he will be hungrier than ever.
Last summer so many were questioning the African, wondering if he was at the level required, or just another Heskey style player. He’ll never be a 20 goal striker, but much like Dirk Kuyt at Liverpool he’s a fan favourite because of his energy, workrate, and chasing of lost causes. More than once his harrying has directly led to a goal, and the indirect lift he can give the crowd and the team is invaluable.
His finishing needs to improve somewhat, and his first touch can be laboured at times, but he is still young, and the attitude we heard about before he arrived hasn’t materialised. His agent seems like a prat, but with a new long term contract his future is bright here.
Julio Baptista / Jeremie Aliadiere
I’m putting these two together to stop me doing a copy-paste. It goes a little like this.
You aren’t good enough, you tried, but failed. Time to go now.
I’m yet to be convinced. He seems confident in his own ability, which is good, but the comments he has come out with suggest that perhaps he’s a little too ambitious to pay his dues. Who knows. Started brilliantly for Birmingham last season, but tailed off and the crowd turned against him for a while.
Many people think he is the answer. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he can do first, but I’m less certain.
Looks like he’s spending another season in Spain, and has yet to decide who with. Top league would be good for him this time around, rather than the second division he’s been playing in with Salamanca. He’s a hard one to find information on.