I was very pleased to see Arsene Wenger on Sky this morning. When he was pictured with Chamakh a few weeks back he was looking tired and gaunt. On TV today he looked like he'd had a good couple of weeks rest, and looked fresh again. For those who didn't see it he spoke of his "strong determination" to keep hold of Cesc Fabregas. I am in two minds on the whole Fabregas issue. I want him to be an Arsenal player, but if his heart is not in it, then it is probably better he left. Certainly after his come and get me speech he can not continue as Arsenal captain. If he does stay we will have to put up with a year of distractions as the press go on and on about him leaving next Summer. And what if he has a few bad games? The press (and some of the fans) would be full of "he's not interested" stories. It's a tough one, because we need our best player (one of our best ever) but do we want him if his heart is elsewhere?
When he'd finished with Fabregas, Wenger went on to talk about Theo Walcott's omission from the England World Cup squad. Arsene told Sky that the lad was "destroyed" by the news he would not be in the squad. I thought Arsenal played a blinder by issuing a statement on the official website, purportedly from Walcott, wishing England and Capello all the best. I suspect the boy was in no fit state to say anything about England. I must admit I was shocked that he was left out. I don't necessarily think he is good enough to be there, but in the face of those named ahead of him (Wright-Phillips in particular) i just don't understand it. There can be no doubt that Walcott has not yet fulfilled his early promise, but he has played at the highest level of the European Cup and delivered in big matches since he arrived at Arsenal - not to mention his hat-trick in England's last big game. If Capello had selected Adam Johnson I could have understood it as it would be another left-footer in the squad, but to leave Walcott out for a player who couldn't get near his club side (and a fairly mediocre one at that) is unbelievable. Unfortunately it has very much tempered my interest in seeing England progress at this World Cup - I'll be paying far more attention to Holland and France.
Wenger also paid tribute to the abilities of Joe Cole. As you will know, Arsenal are heavily linked, with a number of blogs and messageboards citing "sources" who are confident the deal is done. I have to say, hearing Wenger talk in glowing terms of Cole made me start to believe in the rumours. I, for one, would very much welcome his arrival at Arsenal - experienced, skilful, a winner. It is very fair to say that we do not urgently require a player in his position, but the arrival anyone that is an improvement on what you already have must be a good thing. I defy anyone to tell me that Joe Cole is not a better player than Rosicky, Nasri, Walcott and Eboue. If you can then ship out a couple of the dead wood, then you recoup the money you would b paying Cole in fees and wages. It would be a low risk, high reward, signing for Arsenal, I just hope Arsene can make it happen.
You might have noticed that the World Cup starts tomorrow - if you didn't then you must be living in Bin Laden's cave or something. There is plenty of Arsenal interest on the first day, Vela will play for Mexico in the opening game, while the French contingent are in action in the evening. I hope they all do well but, more imporantly, they all come back uninjured. Some of the players (Vela I suspect, as well as Gallas) will probably not come back to Arsenal, so let's hope Vela has a stormer and someone pays stupid money for him.
Until next time - probably after the matches tomorrow.