I always thought that the Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona stories would be my biggest pain this summer. Now I realize that the Joe Cole stories cause me equal pain. To sign or not to sign? That's probably going to be the biggest question on the lips of every Arsenal fan this summer.
As I mentioned on Monday , if Barcelona cannot sign Cesc Fabregas today, I believe it will be highly unlikely for them to sign him at all this summer. First, Arsene Wenger arrived in South Africa yesterday, so there is no possibility of opening negotiations with him til he returns to England. Secondly, he also reiterated our resolve to keep Cesc and affirmed the club's position.
He said, "What is important is that Cesc has a great World Cup and that he comes back to Arsenal with a great desire to do well for the club. We want to keep our best players—that's my huge determination—I built this team for years from 16 and 17 years of age with most of the players. We want to continue to work with them because we feel we are very close, and strengthen the team in a very strong way."
He spoke without considering the prospect of Cesc departing to Barcelona. This could suggest that the club consider the matter closed and seek only to consolidate the team.
Add that to his remarks on Joe Cole and you can only imagine that the club may have actually stepped up their pursuit for the player, or have always wanted him but just decided to keep their interest under the radar. Maybe that's why Cole's name never came up in discussions between Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood and CEO Ivan Gazidis. It could be that they simply didn't want him blabbing away to the media as he usually does!
Arsene will only speak about a player if he is truly interested in signing him. Take the most recent cases of Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh. He usually only admits interest when he is pushed to the wall, or is all but assured of the player's signature.
On Cole he said , "I like him as a player because when he played against us he always did a lot of damage. He can create impact through his creative play. He can dribble, he can pass, he can score goals."
He simply stopped short of confirming whether or not a deal is indeed in place or not. The Daily Mail report that he has been offered a three-year deal at the Emirates worth around £90,000-a-week. Whether he accepts the offer or not is yet to be seen.
The International Version of Goal.com also speculate that a deal had been agreed in principal before he flew out to the World Cup on the strict condition that the move will be completed if he passes full medical on his return. That aside, I still remember his comments in 2008 on the Arsenal way of play .
He said, "Manchester United and Chelsea have learned how to win games in different ways, but Liverpool and Arsenal are different. They are both great sides on their day, but maybe they don't win enough games when they don't play well. Both are improving though, and they'll push us all the way this season."
He went on to add;
"The way they started was incredible. But people were talking about them like they were the Harlem Globetrotters. But if you're an experienced football man you're thinking: 'Hold on, there's a long way to go.' They got tired and their inexperience showed towards the end of the season.
"This season, with a bigger squad and more experience, they'll be stronger. Obviously Cesc Fabregas is their top player, but I was really impressed with the way Theo Walcott finished the season. If people aren't demanding him to be in the England team, they're writing him off. But I think he'll develop into a world-class player if people just give him some space to express himself."
Add Joe Cole to a bigger team with more experience and who knows we may be better off for it. Only time will tell!
The World Cup starts today and there is a huge buzz in the city this morning. It's Africa's first World Cup, and I'll be rooting for Nigeria all the way. Still, I will have my eye on the 10 Arsenal players who are at the World Cup . In that spirit, I'm running a quiz competition with the winner getting an Arsenal T-Shirt. The question is as follows;
Which Arsenal Player will score the most goals at the World Cup?
Please send your name and answer to firstname.lastname@example.org . Your details will not be used for any other purposes.
If you are on Twitter you can send me your answer at www.twitter.com/thegreengooner .
The competition is everyone irrespective of country of residence and closes on June 25, 2010 at 11:59pm GMT
Til then...Victoria Concordia Crescit