Laurent Koscielny, the Lorient centre-half, who has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, has today seen his agent go public. Koscielny's agent has apparently told Lorient that he wishes to go to Arsenal - well, who wouldn't? According to Wikipedia he is 6'1" tall, which gives something of a lie to the picture of him that was published in The Sun last week where he was being towered over by a couple of strikers. I Also remember the last French centre-back we got from Ligue 1, and Pascan Cygan was no Steve Bould, even if he was bald. It's the sort of deal we have come to expect from Arsene Wenger - little known Frenchman, modest fee - so I think you can expect it to happen. Let's hope he's more Patrick Vieira than Amaury Bischoff.
Martin Hayes has been appointed as Manager of my local club, Dover Athletic. I saw him play in some of his 15 matches as a player for Dover some years ago. They've had a very complicated close season so far with Andy Hessenthaler leaving to join Gillingham and being replaced by Ian Hendon, before poaching Hendon to be his assistant at Priestfield. When Hayesey played for Dover he was head and shoulders above those around him, and this meant he was playing on a different level to everyone else, often making him look like a man who gave the ball away all the time - the fact is that he had played with top players and still expected his team-mates to be making those same movements on the pitch. All the best Martin - I might make some rare visits to Crabble this season when Arsenal aren't playing - try to get a fixture with an Arsenal XI, please.
No point in talking about Cesc at the World Cup, as he didn't play. Maybe that's why Spain lost to Switzerland. Even Howard Webb couldn't steal the Swiss limelight. Whatever, it might just bring the tournament to life, especially if South Africa can pull a rabbit from the hat tonight.
While we're at the World Cup - Robbie Earle, what a prat. A dream job at ITV for an average footballer, with rare intelligence and the ability to string a few words together without a "you know" or an "I mean" and he throws it away. Berk.
For those who don't know, Robbie appears to have sold his complimentaries for the Holland v Denmark game to Bavaria Beer as they staged some "ambush marketing" during the game. Whoever their marketing manager is should get the biggest bonus in the history of business. At the last World Cup, they gave away orange lederhosen to Holland fans, which were confiscated from supporters entering the stadium. When these fans were pictured wearing only their pants at the matches, Bavaria Beer got Worldwide headlines. This time they chose to use women in orange mini-skirts (sitting in Robbie's seats) who grabbed the attention of the TV companies and were pictured on live TV around the World. FIFA had the women removed from the ground during the second-half which kicked off yet more publicity for Bavaria Beer. Apparently Budweiser are the official beer of the World Cup and, as such, have exclusive advertising rights. What the idiots at FIFA failed to realise is that, by making such an issue of the Bavaria stunt, the Dutch company has had more publicity for free than Budweiser could hope to have had for millions of pounds. I bet Bud are really happy with FIFA. If Bavaria want to make a donation to me for this further free advertising I will not be complaining. It perhaps says a lot about this World Cup so far that this has been just about the biggest story so far (at least until Switzerland this afternoon).
The Premier League fixtures are out tomorrow so we will know where we are playing on any given weekend, even if the exact dates won't be confirmed until Sky and ESPN have got their mitts on them. Early blog tomorrow as work calls in the evening.