Ah, the long summer months. Endless speculation, quotes coming only from the agents, realistic sounding stories, complete garbage, its all here, with only the European Championships breaking the gloom. It could be a long three months.
With Flamini already gone and Hleb seemingly on his way (although quite how he expects to demand a transfer if he isn’t activating the Webster clause and has two years left on his contract I don’t know), the papers are understandably turning to us, linking Arsenal with a whole host of names, from the overpriced and unlikely (Eto’o) to the plainly rubbish (Dunne).
Most of the speculation surrounds Samir Nasri, Marseille’s playmaker, who is certainly a talent, although from what I’ve seen he does share some of Hleb’s weaknesses. His 11 goals in 121 games for Marseille do not inspire those who think a greater contribution should be made from midfield.
That said, he is fast, skilful, and a lot more direct than Hleb, but he won’t come cheap. If I’m honest, the constant ‘he’s getting closer’ rumours, with absolutely no quotes to back them up, sounds like Malouda from last summer. For ages he seemed to be coming, to the point where so many of us were convinced, and it came to naught. Good thing too, after the season he’s had.
Elsewhere, there is some classic agent stirring from Vincenzo Morabito, who represents Alberto Aquilani, and clearly wants a quick payrise:
“Aquilani is speaking to Arsenal. We will have to see if Roma will be able to match his demands.”
Which is agent speak for ‘I’m making up a story to try and get my client a big fat juicy new contract’.
Speaking of people who don’t seem to have a clue, Raymond Domenech has managed to ignore Gael Clichy’s awesome form and left him out of the French squad for the summer, preferring Evra (who has had an excellent season) and Abidal (who hasn’t). Bizarre, but good news for us, as he will stay at home with Sagna, who misses out despite the fact that his injury should clear up in time. With Rosicky also missing the tournament, we won’t have our usual representation, and that really is no bad thing.
More on the silly season coming later. Roll on Euro 2008 – I miss football. The Champions League final doesn’t count, sickening as any outcome will be.