Morning All. So I've decided to do something that I don't think any other sites really do at the end of the season, and that is to go through the whole squad and review each player, giving stats and thoughts on this year plus what to expect next year from them. I've decided to just go in order of squad number so since Jens has left us we'll start with Vasiriki Abou Diaby. You can read my report on him later on in this post.
The big news that has been reported today is that Alexander Hleb won't be doing a Webster move and buying out his contract to move to Inter Milan. His agent was quoted as saying:
“Hleb has been playing in London for three years now and isn’t sure whether in the future he can show the level of talent that he is showing currently. I can only confirm that some of the world’s biggest clubs are interested in him.So it's good news there, that means Hleb is either staying or we'll at least get a transfer fee for him. If Hleb would have done that we would have hated him on Cashley Cole levels, because buying out your contract to leave with two years left on it as absolutely shite. I mentioned earlier that I didn't care if Hleb stayed or went, and I still don't, I just think it's a lot nicer that if he did leave we'd get some money for him.
“In any case I can say simply that Alexander will not buy out the remaining part of his five-year contract for a fixed sum of his sale. Hleb is a gentleman and will not stoop to that level. Everything will be done properly.
“I am sure that the situation surrounding this issue will finally be resolved in the next 10 days.”
And In other good news, Gael Clichy looks set to exted his stay at Arsenal as it has been revealed that he has just started talks about a new contract. This is great news because Clichy is one of our best young players. He played in every single Premiership match this season and did an outstanding job throughout the year. I hope he signs a lifetime contract but that's wishful thinking.
So now what everyone enjoys, transfer news and rumors!
First off, we've been linked with Crystal Palace wonderkid John Bostock. His contract recently expired and he has been stalling on signing a new one so he can leave for minimal compensation. All the big clubs and Sp*rs (because they are not a big club) are after him and they are reporting that Arsene could make a late move to try to bring him in.
David Villa has yet again been linked with us, this time by Setanta Sports. We know he likes the way Arsenal play, and we know Valencia are shite and he's looking to move, but for some reason I still don't see it. Let's just hope to God he doesn't end up at Liverpool with Torres or we'll be chasing 4th place.
Vincent Kompany has also been linked with us and was asked about a potential move. He gave the usual "I'm not saying anything" approach to the question but it seems that has only increased the speculation around him. He's a good player but can he stay healthy is the question. Also, 15 million seems a steep price for him.
So now on to our first player review, Abou Diaby.
In the past: Diaby came to us in January of 2006 from Auxerre for 2 million pounds. He was touted as "the next Vieira." We saw moments of what he could do, as he could certainly make a tackle and he also scored against Aston Villa. His season was ended by Dan Smith of Sunderland though on a tackle which broke his ankle and he missed the next 8 months. Since then he's had a lot of injuries that have hindered his playing time and not allowed him to really get in a groove.
This Season: This year Diaby made fifteen appearances for the club, scoring one goal and making one assist. He has played mostly on the wing, which is not his natural position, because of Tomas Rosicky's injury troubles. He had a brilliant goal against Derby from 25 yards out after beating three defenders, but unfortunately that was the only time he scored all year. I know he is not a natural winger but he should be providing more goals or more assists from out there. It doesn't seem like he has as many crunching tackles as he did when he first arrived either. It may be because of the tackle that broke his ankle and it's made him nervous about it or something or it could be because he's out on the wing but you'd like to see that come back into his game.
Looking Ahead: Diaby is now 22 years old. He hasn't been able to fulfill the label of new Vieira at this point. He is still young but he needs to be played and molded into the player we want him to be. We can't expect him to grow into the holding midfielder role by playing on the wing. Will Diaby be the guy Wenger tries to put into Flamini's place? It could very well be. We know he can tackle and he can shoot long range, what we need to see is more dribbling ability from him and better decision making. He is somewhat versatile and he is a decent, but not great, backup on the wing. The question is, if Arsene doesn't move him back to the center than does Diaby contribute enough to the team to be kept around? Wenger acknowledged that Diaby is a central midfielder, so you'd think he'll get more games there next year, but if we bring someone else in I wouldn't be surprised if Diaby is gone this year or next.
So that's all I've got for you today, that was a really long post I feel like so hopefully you made it through it all. Let me know what you think. Cheers