Date: 8th June 2008 at 1:50pm
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As we move ever deeper into the close season with still more than a month to go before Arsenals opening friendly fixture the merest scrap of real information is becoming ever more scarce. The wider media have found it so hard that apart from the traditional tactic of making up their own stories they have even taken an interest in what David Dein has to say.

Dein gave his views on the FIFA 6+5 rule, which has found common cause on these forums. Elbondo advises us Personally I think FIFA should keep its nose out of club football and stick to international football – you don’t see the IOC interfering with poor countries sending elite athletes to countries with better training facilities, why should football be any different?

While Little Dutch goes for the compelling simplistic solution and therefore unacceptable to FIFA: If Bladder is really concerned about single leagues dominating the Champions’ League, then let’s see him put his money where his mouth is and say that the Champions League is only for the league winners. That way, there is no prospect of four teams from one league progressing.

Player transfers inevitably dominate much of the close season talk. One site listed 74 names that have been associated with Arsenal over recent weeks. I suspect that all these and more have been dissected in the Transfer Rumours forum. The pithiest comment in the forensic examination of each player`s strengths and weaknesses was probably that of Professor Calculus in responding to the view that Robinho was a player with more to offer than he has shown thus far So he’s a great player but has yet to fulfil his potential? So how does anyone know he’s a great player? Thought provoking at least.

Wenger recently stated, probably none too seriously, that he was taking his chequebook to the European Championships and could fall in love with a player at anytime. Goofle takes an interesting slant on this with a thread on scouting the Euros for fringe talent. Not necessarily the big names but players whose performances might make them worthy of consideration for the Arsenal team. What attributes would they bring? How would they fit in? It`s a thread that could develop interestingly over the competition.

It isn`t only the prospect of new players that brings excitement. The news that Eduardo`s recovery is ahead of schedule is welcomed as gooner4life describes the feeling You know that spring in your step that you have every time Arsenal win a game, I thought I wouldn`t feel it until the start of the season, all changed when I heard this news.

On a related theme prits questions the clubs medical team following a couple of seasons when supposedly minor injuries have proved more long term What troubles me is the action AFTER the injury – the diagnosis, the treatment, rehabilitation, predicting comeback times that need to be seriously looked at. and Ozi Gooner takes a thoughtful look at the issue of player loyalty asking What ever happened to the concept of the one club man? Has the modern game gone so far in the commercial direction, been so influenced by capitalist forces that the idea of loyalty in football, as touched upon yesterday by Peter Hill-Wood, is seen completely as a relic of a bygone era? before delving deeply into the topic himself.

The forums are pretty active even without the oxygen of player performances and results to examine. Topics cover everything from boardroom politics, financial performance, stadium atmosphere and European labour laws with many twists and turns and plenty of humour on the way including the revelation that Ashley Coles autobiography is apparently now being given away free with every coffee purchase in pound shops. Do you need the coffee to keep you awake while trying to read it or is the book an antidote to the stimulant effects of the coffee?

Little that isn`t abusive is excluded from the forums and there is plenty of scope for more opinion, comment and humour.