Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Flamini on the Way Out, Hleb Banned

Hello everyone. More grim news for us today as Hleb officially got his three match ban and will not play the rest of the season. That means more playing time for Theo so we have that to look forward to.

The important news though still regards the Flamster, and now it really does look like he's halfway out the door. Peter Hill-Wood spoke about him and he seems resigned to losing him.

"We have made what we think is a pretty generous offer and we are waiting to hear whether he will accept or not."

"You just don't know nowadays. You think players have a pretty good life, but, somehow, someone persuades them the grass might be greener somewhere else.

"So I don't know the answer, all I know is we think we have pushed the boat out."

So that seems like it's pretty much it for Flamini. Too bad he was one and done. He had a great year but if he's going out like this then I'm gonna be right pissed off. Once again we made a player into what he is and then as soon as he gets another offer he's gone.

So as phatbastard wrote in the comments on yesterday's post, it's time to look at our options for the holding midfielder role. So first I'm going to lay out all of our options in the center of midfield, not just the holding role. Currently in the first team we have Fabregas, Gilberto, Diaby, Denilson, as well as Song and Djourou who can both play there. I think of Cesc and Denilson as similar players even though Denilson is thought of by some as a holding midfielder. I think Gilberto is obviously the best candidate in the current squad available, so if Arsene doesn't bring anyone in than we need to keep Gilberto and have him teach someone else the role throughout the season. Djourou and Diaby could both do the job if they just got some time playing there, which they haven't gotten.

The other option is bringing someone in. Now chances are if we do bring someone in, then as usual it will be someone we have never heard of who is young and will probably piss off as soon as he is good (although I hope he won't). We've been linked with a few central midfielders but I think if Flamini really does leave then the speculation at the position will really pick up. Anyone have any suggestions? And please don't say Mascherano, Gattuso, etc...

Also, we could bring someone up from the reserves. Again, as phat pointed out in the comments, most of our highly touted young midfielders are more attacking players than holding ones. We have Gibbs, Lansbury, Wilshere, Randall, Merida, etc, but not too many holding players ready to break into the first team. I've emailed Young Guns writer J. Sanderson to ask him to let us know about who he thinks are our best options coming up in that position so hopefully he will get back to me.

In other news, Lukasz Fabianski looks set to get to test his skills in the Premiership in the last three games this season. Arsene said he wants to play him a few times to see if he is ready to be the number 2 keeper next season. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does and while he shouldn't face too much of a test against Derby, Everton should provide a good test for him.

Havard Nordtveit is looking to be our "New defender" that we all want to see brought in this summer. He's been playing well and he is the reserves team captain and hopes to get promoted to the first team squad next season. He is only 17 but everyone speaks very highly of him and his head is in the right place judging by his comments. He said he's hoping to get in the squad for next season's preseason games, which is a good goal for him to have and I think he will be in that squad. He's working hard and playing well and I'd like to see him get a run out. Keep it up lad.

And that's all I have for ya today. Cheers all.


Mike said...

Michael Bradley for Arsenal's new holding midfielder!


phatbastard said...

I know everyone is going to throw out the name Gareth Barry....I don't see that at all...I'm sure he's way overpriced. I remember last year Stephen Appiah's name came up a few times...never really seen him play though. Only other name I've heard mentioned was that Loic Perrin guy. Perhaps someone will burst on to the scene during the Euros.

Not to beat a dead horse...but if he lose Hleb on top of this, and Rosicky doesn't recover...or even if he does, you can't count on him...while I think we have some good players that you mentioned in midfield, I do think it would drastically change Arsene's plans. If his goal is to keep the team together...and it doesn't work'll be interesting to see what he does.

Looking back on this past year...very frustrating that we rarely got to see our full midfield of Rosicky, Cesc, Flamini and Hleb together...oh what might have been!!!!!!

JohnGeeTee said...

Although I've only seen Diaby play maybe a handful of times, for some reason he reminds me of Big Pat. I think its more of the way he moves around the pitch. 22 isn't he? So if he was the player for that position, he's going to need more games and soon.

ArseNole said...

Yes John, I believe he is only 22, maybe 23, but can't be positive. And he does move just like Vieira used to. Remember when we signed him he was dubbed "the next Vieira." Since then however he has really only gotten to play at left midfield so we haven't seen what he could potentially do in the center.

phat, I agree with you on Gareth Barry, but I don't like that either. A: he'd cost way too much B: he just doesn't seem the arsenal type to me. As for Appiah I haven't really ever gotten to see much of him either but I do remember his name going around last summer. And yes it would be interesting to see what Arsene does if Hleb and Flamini left and Rosicky is well...Rosicky. Rosicky is such a shame because he really is a good player when he is healthy he just never is!! And good news J. Sanderson from YoungGuns has agreed to do a piece on our young players on this blog so we will be able to hear all about who is ready to break into the first team.

phatbastard said...

Pretty excited to hear what Mr. Young Guns has to say...I was wondering if it might also be interesting to get his take on mwho he think the best XI for the future are of the reserve team...sort of a who has the most potential at each position. I saw his recent impressions of Jack Wilshire...very exciting...I don't usually care much about whether or not Arsenal has English players...but it would be a nice bonus if guys like Lansbury, Wilshire, and Freeman eventually became first'd just be nice to not have to worry about our best players wanting to eventually leave to play in Spain or Italy.

Speaking of which...I see that Inter is publicly stating their interest in Hleb....that must have been some really good ice cream he had! But I'm wondering if the rumors about Mourinho are true and he takes over Inter then perhaps we don't have to worry about this one so much. Hleb doesn't strike me as a Mourinho guy.

And now that you guys mention it...Diaby could be the answer to replace Flamini...I always think of him as an attacking player cause he's got a decent shot...but he does look like Vieira Jr. Good call!!!

A2Gooner said...

Appiah was awesome for Ghana in the 2006 WC. He outplayed Essien in most of their matches. He has been injured for most if not all of this past season though.

I agree with would be nice to see Michael Bradley as the new holding midfielder!

ArseNole said...

Bradley...hmmm...he's an interesting one. I like him as a player and he's certainly looked good this year. Problem is it's in the Dutch league and the caliber of play there isn't comparable to England. Good news is he is only 20 so has lots of time to improve. I wonder if he is a player that Wenger has looked at. It'd certainly be interesting to see an American playing for Arsenal!

Mike said...

Yes thats the main reason i'd like to see it, an American in Arsenal's first team would be awesome.

Unless he got a reputation for making bonehead plays like Senderos.