These comments have appeared in today's press as direct quotes from Andrei Arshavin:
"In some games last season, we played football which was very similar to that of Arsenal," he then adds "I would prefer my present No 10 but in the team where I hope to move it's not vacant. So I'm ready for any number they are going to offer me."
Whilst that seems the strongest indicator yet that Arshavin thinks he is heading to Arsenal, it should be remembered that whilst we may want to read the two sentences together and think - "why the hell is Gallas our no.10 anyway?", we should keep in mind that every single club in the entire world already has someone with the no.10 shirt, so its not a done deal yet.
Anyway, I am not that bothered about new signings at the moment. Instead, I thought its about time (in fact its late) for some half-term reports. These will be quite short as having given it a great deal of thought, its been something of a nothing season so far. An enormous amount of unrealistic expectation, an enormous amount of criticism of some half-decent players, a couple of good results, but overall more bad ones. So here
On the positive side, I continue to think we have the two best full backs in the country. Neither Sagna nor Clichy have been faultless, and it appears that they have been concentrating on their defending recently more than getting forwards, but both of them are class acts. Johan Djourou is coming through and whilst there are some crazed fanatics in his fan club (K-Man), he is not the finished article yet so lets not get too carried away. Nasri is showing a bit of consistency at the moment, and Walcott was just coming into some real form before busting a shoulder away on international duty. RVP is now looking like he is getting back to his best, and whilst Adebayor doesn't like it when its cold, he has just about scored enough goals so far.
So its not all bad. And thats really the point. Its damn easy to vent an enormous of spleen about how bad Eboue is, or Bendtner, or Denilson, or anyone else, but they are not usually half as bad as people make out.
However, I said on this site before the start of the season that Wenger's big gamble was on Gilberto and Rosicky. In Gilblet's case, I thought it was foolish to let him go having also lost Flamini in the Summer. Whatever the views on Denilson, Song and Diaby etc, those guys were second or third fiddle last year when Giblet and Flamini were around and its been a big step up for them this season.
Rosicky might be the even bigger gamble. With Hleb gone to Barca, Rosicky was the only remaining established wide player left at the club. Yes, prospects like Walcott were coming through, and Nasri was signed in the Summer, but they are both very young and relatively inexperienced compared to Hleb and Rosicky. I have no idea what the medical advice on Rosicky was during the Summer, but I honestly believe that he was expected to be playing football again within 2008. He is a massive loss to us.
So, in conclusion, Wenger's half-term report is not looking good. It was Arsene who took those gambles and neither has paid off. For what its worth, I think we could have got away with one of them, but not both. Lastly, and going back to the start of this post, the Arshavin signing (if it happens) looks to me like a replacement for Rosicky.
Arshavin may not get the no. 10 shirt, but I would not be surprised if he is not wearing the no. 7 by next season.