Miyaichi - makes the trip to Malaysia/China
The 23 player touring squad for Malaysia and China gives us some clues as to the future of a number of our players. It seems certain now that Manuel Almunia and Nicklas Bendtner are to leave Arsenal fairly imminently. I would expect Manuel to go back to Spain while I hope Bendtner also goes abroad. Nickals Bendtner, if he went to a Stoke City or a Bolton Wanderers, will get his share of goals in the Premier League - he is more than capable of beating anyone in the air and his "goals to starts" figures are pretty good. Wherever they end up I wish them the best.
It hasn't gone without notice that Cesc Fabregas is not on the trip. He has, according to Arsene Wenger, a "muscle injury." Really? Is that the best they can come up with? How did he get this injury? When did it occur? It certainly wasn't in the training sessions of the past week as he doesn't seem to have been involved in any of them. As ever I remain unfazed by the Fabregas/Barcelona situation - all the time they don't stump up the cash they can bluster until the cows come home - Arsenal should continue with their adopted policy. However, I don't for one moment believe Cesc is injured, so I would question why he is not on the plane.
The Fabregas situation is in stark contrast with that of Nasri. The Frenchman is making the trip with the rest of the squad. I find this really quite interesting. Given that he has only one year left on his deal I would be quite happy to see him sold - make money now, rather than lose him for free next year (especially as he will be a complete passenger if he stays this season). I would like to think that he has been dragged to the other side of the World as a punishment for his actions this Summer. I hope Arsene is showing him who's boss by taking him all the way to China to sit in the stand and watch Arsenal play football. I doubt that's what is actually going to happen but I can live in hope.
I notice that we have only two goalkeepers on the tour, and one of them is not Lukasz Fabianski. I am very concerned about this now. I think most of us would be pleasantly surprised to see some new blood come in as competition for Szczesny, but are probably accepting that Fabianski will be the main back-up instead. However, Fabianski has now been out for seven months and is still apparently unfit. A goalkeeper with a major shoulder injury is not a good thing. There is a serious problem here that must be addressed.
Of the youngsters involved it is notable that Carl Jenkinson and Emmanuel Frimpong are part of the plans for Arsene Wenger's squad this season. The Japanese Ryo Miyaichi also makes the trip. Whether or not he is in the first-team shake-up, or this is just a cynical attempt to show those in the far-east that we are a global Club, remains to be seen. I've seen some of his performances in Holland last season and he looks a real talent - quick and skillful, with a good shot on him - so I hope it's the former. The youngsters that are absent, however, should perhaps be a little concerned as to their future. Henri Lansbury has been omitted, but I think this is more to do with him getting an extended Summer break following his involvement with the England U21 squad in to June. Lansbury has been linked with a permanent move elsewhere, but I think this boy has plenty to offer and would gladly see him get an opportunity at Arsenal. There are two others, however, who are maybe seeing the end of their Arsenal adventure.
Francis Coquelin was sent out on loan to Lorient last season and his versatility as a defensive midfielder/converted right-back seemed to make him a contender. However, the promotion of Frimpong and the signing of Jenkinson may well see the young French player surplus to requirements.
The other notable youngster to miss out is Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. There have been a number of questions asked of JET and his attitude/behaviour over the past few years. He had an unsuccessful loan period at Cardiff City last season, and now he's been snubbed by Arsene Wenger before the new season has even got started. He should be very concerned.
Of those making the trip there are a few we should be worried about. Denilson, Rosicky, Squillaci and Vela are all there. Back in May I couldn't believe that we would get to the start of pre-season with these four at the Club (the same goes for the absent Eboue who is also "injured" - I actually think he may form part of any deal for Gary Cahill or Stewart Downing). Let's be honest, this lot are not good enough to play at the level Arsenal need to be at in order to win things. I am gutted that they're still cluttering the place up but perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that nobody seems to want any of them. Gervinho is also missing as Arsenal claim the "imminent signing" has not yet been completed - the question that immediately springs to mind is why not?
I'm off to watch practise for the Open Championship at Royal St George's tomorrow so there won't be a post until tomorrow night at the earliest, and that is dependent on some major news breaking. More likely will be a post on Tuesday ahead of the first tour match and after Arsene Wenger's press conference.