The Arsenal first-team (those that were not at the World Cup) were back in training today. The official website has some exclusive shots of the boys being put through their paces. The most notable absentee is Arsene Wenger himself. The boss is still in South Africa, presumably being paid by Arsenal AND French TV while his players are slogging their guts out. This does not sit well with me. Arsene Wenger is the Manager of Arsenal Football Club - his players are back in training and so should he be. Arsenal pay your wages Arsene, so stop promoting Castrol GTX and appearing on Canal+ and get your backside to London Colney. Oh, and sign some quality and clear out some dross while you're at it.
Nicklas Bendtner was clearly unfit throughout the World Cup for Denmark with an apparent recurrence of the serious groin injury that put him out for months last season. Now he has revealed the extent of the injury which will probably put him out for at least the opening part of the season. Bendtner says that he feels such pain that he struggles to get out of bed in the morning and will probably need an operation. Get it done Nicklas, and get it done quickly.
Laurent Koscielny has apparently been made the new Philippe Senderos (it brings less pressure than calling him the new Tony Adams) by taking the number 6 shirt. He has, according to youngguns, been training with the youth team pending the announcement of his deal with Arsenal. Good luck to him - let's hope he lives up to TA6's standards. We are still way short of satisfactory cover at centre-back though, with Djourou and Vermaelen the only other recognised first-team players in that position. To consider Bartley and Nordtveit as cover for the Premier League would be defensive suicide.
And so to Barcelona. Again. Getting sick of this now. The new President of FC Barcelona says he will never pay more than €40 million for Fabregas. Okay, we'll sell him to somebody else then. It really is time that something was done about the way the two Spanish giants do their business. The public statements of intent are just disgraceful and betray the arrogance of people who seem to know that UEFA will do nothing to stop them. Arsenal will certainly not bow to Barcelona's bullying - not until the requisite amount of money is on offer. The latest story to hit this evening, albeit on one of the less reputable football websites, is that Inter have entered the race for Cesc, offering Mario Balotelli as part of the deal. The best thing that could happen, as I alluded to yesterday, is for another club to offer proper money and have a bid accepted by Arsenal. In the meantime I will say no more about Barcelona - if I'm getting bored with it, then so will you be, I'm sure.
Finally, best of luck to Robin Van Persie tonight in his World Cup semi-final. Hopefully Robin can turn it on and inspire The Netherlands to a place in Sunday's big game. Hup Holland.