Date: 17th June 2007 at 1:53am
Written by:

Hello everyone.

it’s still (fairly) quiet in Goonerdom, apart from the main shenanigans (some of which shall be covered later in this article), though I am sure by now that you have all read of how we have secured the signature of Havard Nordtveit, the 16yr old Norwegian Centreback, talked of in such high terms.

so I thought I’d take a look at the players who *may* be departing the Grove in this close season. The positives, the negatives, of any impending move, both for club and player. So without further or do, let’s move on to the first player.

Philippe Senderos
Still young, not as much playing time as he could have had last season, has come in for a bit of stick from certain gooners when he has. Has had dodgy moments in the past season, some question his pace, see him as a one-mistake-a-match person, and ask whether he will fulfil the early potential seen in him, if he is a liability.

Others insist we should be patient with him, and point out that for all his lack of pace, players like John Terry are not blessed with natural killer speed either, yet are still able to be dominant centrebacks in the Premier League; that Philippe is a good reader of the game; that although he has been exposed against some of the most muscular centre forwardsin the English game, his strength will only increase with his age, and as such, this will not be a permanent problem.

Interested clubs:
Real Zaragoza, Juventus, Charlton Athletic

Pros about leaving:
Clean start, nobody on his back, if it were to a different league, it might be to one which would suit his style of play more immediately.

Cons about leaving:
Arsenal could be deprived (should it be a permanent transfer) of a player who could mature into a commanding and resolute centreback, who might just need a bit of investment, patience-wise, in his play. With Toure going to the ACN this year, and Gallas likely to pick up knocks, Sendy would be missing out on the chance to show Arsenal fans and the Premier League that he has all it takes to hack it in an Arsenal shirt, and given his all-heart displays for the Swiss in last summer’s world cup, he is not a man who gives up without a fight.

Johan Djourou
Our other young Swiss centreback. Blessed with more pace than Sendy, and with that composure that he seems to have had about him from day one since appearing in the team, young Johan might find playing time a tad restricted this coming season. Can also play at the fullback role, and as holding midfielder.

Clubs interested:
Birmingham City(on loan, probably with a view to a permanent transfer…)

Pros about leaving:
More playing time, the chance to increase his experience.

Cons about leaving:
Will possibly lose the march he has already made on the team, and as mentioned above, playing time in the Arsenal first team will surely come his way with Toure going to the ACN and injuries at the back…

Mathieu Flamini
Our young french last-action-hero midfielder, who can run and run, and also has the knack to pop up with crucial goals, as displayed last season in the league and in Europe, Matty can also play at fullback (as we all know from the run to the CL final, where he did us proud), but wants to forge a career in his chosen midfield berth.

Never going to be a favourite amongst all Gooners, Mathieu’s honest endeavours nevertheless are appreciated, even if folk may say he lacks the silk to his game to go alongside the sandpaper. Looking to buy himself out of his contract this summer to continue his career at a club where he will be able to secure a regular place in a starting eleven.

Clubs interested:
Matty would ideally like to continue his career in Italy with a Serie A club – I hope Matty gets his wish, he will be a good servant for any club who he inks a deal with.

Pros about him leaving:
Matty gets more playing time, we free up some wages and a space in what is a very crowded arena of midfield players.

Cons about him leaving:
Arsenal lose a versatile player, a man who, as mentioned above, has that ‘knack’ for getting a goal at the right time, and a box-to-box player.

Jose Reyes
As nailed-on as a catherine wheel firework is to a tree. This guy is out the door providing someone comes up with the cash. Has done his best to burn his bridges at the club, nonetheless some gooners would love to see him back, if he could turn his head around. Sadly if you are homesick, it is not as cut and dried as that, and if you cannot acclimatise to a certain country, you simply can’t, and no-one can really criticise him for that.

Clubs interested:
Hmm, possibly the 2 madrid teams, possibly Sevilla?

Pros about leaving:
He gets to play in a country somewhere more in line with where he would like to; we recoup (as much as we possibly can of) what we laid out for him in the first place.

Cons about him leaving:
We lose a genuine left-sided player who could go on to great things; Sadly, it would seem there are no cons for jose.

Freddie Ljungberg
Has featured very intermittently for The Arsenal the past 2 seasons, it would appear that injuries have ravaged Freddie. Where once he was the man from midfield with the acceleration to arrive in the box at the right time, in the right place, time and again, it would seem that now he no longer has that burst of speed, and can no longer beat a man. Still gives his all, still battles, still has the heart and desire. And also the experience.

Clubs interested:
Portsmouth? West Ham?

Pros about him leaving:
Relieves Arsenal of what is reportedly a rather large wage, which could be spent of a new arrival; Freddie gets more regular playing time of which he is apparently desiring of.

Cons about him leaving:
Arsenal lose a wealth of experience in the midfield; Arsenal would also lose a player who is ready to be deployed in a number of positions across the midfield , and who can also play up front, in times of need.

Gilberto Silva
World cup winner, the invisible wall, the man who stepped into the breach when TH14 was out injured, Gilberto was never fully appreciated by some Gooners til he was out of the side injured with a back injury a couple of seasons ago.

When called upon to take upon the burden of the armband, performed above and beyond the call of duty, urging and inspiring more out of our young guns in the team, and contributing vital goals in our first campaign at Ashburton Grove.

Clubs interested:
Juventus; Milan

Pros about leaving:
Frees up space in the team for the younger midfielders

Cons about him leaving:
Though the above is true, they are then denied the opportunity to learn from him; One of the best and most under-rated defensive midfielders in world football, the quiet man goes about his business with sometimes unappreciated effectiveness; we lose a vice captain, or captain, should TH14 go; still a good few years left in the man, or if going by Wenger reasoning, 2 seasons; a calming presence in the midfield, a foil for Cesc, and a shield for the back four, gone in one fell swoop.

And finally…

Thierry Henry
It’s been a fairly inflammatory one, this, for obvious reasons – he is our captain, our talisman (if you will…), our all-time record goalscorer. Does he wish to stay or does he wish to go? None of us are *really* sure, though compared to last year, the later definitely seems more likely this time round.

I myself have been guilty this week of some outbursts about the whole Titi situation, later reasoned why, we have all been up in the air about this whole thing.

Your esteemed selves who frequent these pages will have seen the yays, nays, and other comments about the wisdom of TH14 moving, if he should, would it work for him, how would we do out of a move, what is our best strategy to adopt in the advent of a transfer of the player.

I think that, at the end of the day, as Arseblogger and the man from East Lower discussed in this week’s Arsecast blogchat, what we would all appreciate is a little honesty and clarity from the man who is our club captain. As is said there, we need to plan and build for filling the departure of a man who has been a legend for us.

TH14 has provided so many wonderful moments and goals that you would need a boxset to get them all in, one DVD would not do the series justice.

If he really wanted a move, fair enough, we’d be gutted, we’d lick our wounds, but we’d KNOW, and we could plan for the event, prepare ourselves (fans and club) for the impending departure.

But if he is upfront about it, and says so, I think that we would all respect that from a man who has given so much to the club – I watched a video today of the 5-1 mauling we gave Inter in the San Siro, some of Titi’s play in that game was simply divine. You cannot hate a man like that, should he wish to move on, for he has given his best years to the club, and so many wondrous memories.

It just needs clarification, that’s the main thing.

Clubs interested:
Milan; Barcelona; every other club in the world.

Pros about him leaving:
If to Spain, Henry gets to try his arm in the Spanish league, if for Barcelona, alongside bucktooth and Eto’o (unless he is a makeweight in any such deal…); If to Milan, Titi gets to join the CL holders, and a team with Kaka; rumour has it that TH14 would like to play in a team with more world stars in it, but this is a point of conjecture, and has no real substance as neither does any alleged demand by Henry that he be allowed to leave, it should be made clear. If these are true, then the positives for Arsenal are that we would be alleviating ourselves of a player who does not want to be at the club, and possibly would not be able to contribute fully, were he forced to stay – we would also free up a substantial portion of our wage bill, but really, that is neither here not there.

Cons about him leaving:
Arsenal would be losing their record goalscorer, their figurehead, the player who is most adored by our fans (for all his supposed strops…), and the man who, by his feats and escapades, and talents, has reinforced the glare of the world’s footballing media on us; How do you replace Thierry Henry? (but as the saying goes, Arsene Knows…); write off 25+ goals per season, cos that is what a fully fit Thierry Henry gives you…

Phew-ee. I think that’s them all. What do you think of it all?