Being international week, Arsenal news has been fairly nonexistent. However, a couple of items have caught my attention.
Two members of the Arsenal Board, Daniel Fiszman and Stan Kroenke, have done a deal over some Arsenal shares.
On the face of it, a £40 million deal sounds quite important, but it's really not. The shares have stayed within the inner circle of board members who continue to observe the "lockdown" agreement. It would be more of a story if Lady Nina Bracewell Smith had sold her shares to Alisher Usmanov, but she hasn't.
It is now rumored that Robin van Persie, Abou Diaby, and Nicklas Bendtner have all picked up knocks in the first round of the internationals. There is still another match to be played by a lot of the Arsenal squad, so who knows what the tally will be when Arsenal face Manchester City on Saturday. Hopefully they are all short-term niggles, and Arsenal don't suffer a setback.
Yet again Cesc is in the news. The story, as reported in the Daily Mail, is that Cesc has admitted to being "tapped up" by Real Madrid. Specifically, that Ramon Calderon, Real's President, tried to "tap up" Cesc, and that the pair of them had a jolly old chat about how good Cesc would look in a Real shirt.
El Mundo carried the story initially, and Cesc is quoted as saying:
"I never gave him my word that I was going to sign for Real Madrid. He asked about my progress and that was it."
So he wasn't "tapped up" then, nor did he admit to being "tapped up." This is yet another example of smoke but no fire. Coupled with the NOTW story on Sunday and the incessant use of the "Snarling Photo" at the top of just about every story that carries his name, Cesc surely isn't the darling of the British press at the moment.
As usual, being international week, I am bored. These stages of the World Cup are just a distraction from the far more exciting run-in to the end of the domestic season.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that national teams have to qualify, play, and train together. I also appreciate the World Cup Finals when they finally happen, but this week has been an expensive one for Arsenal, and it could get worse. I suppose that the silver lining lies in the goals that Arsenal players score in these matches.
Being international week, I have to mention England's victory, Poland's loss, and the events at Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where thousands of fans pushing to get into a game between Ivory Coast and Malawi set off a stampede that killed 19 people and injured more than 100.
The deaths of these football fans are deeply disturbing and serve as a timely reminder that it wasn't so long ago that English and European football fans were victims of similar tragedies.