Lots going on in the Goonerverse today ranging from controversies to contract extensions, from transfer targets *cough, cough* to injuries, oh, and the little matter of a Premier League tie later this evening. But fear not gooners, I have got you covered on all accounts but due to the amount of news I will post a separate match preview later this evening.
Let’s start with the ludicrous decision from the FA yesterday not to punish Mario Balotelli for his disgusting challenge on Alex Song. We all know the FA can be contradictory and spineless but for me, by not punishing such a disgusting challenge, all the FA achieves is to encourage potentially dangerous challenges. It is beyond me how they can hide behind this pathetic attempt at an excuse to let the criminal assault go unpunished:
"Retrospective action can only be taken in scenarios where none of the Match Officials saw the players coming together. The normal scenarios in which retrospective action is taken are for 'off the ball' incidents.
Retrospective action was introduced for off the ball incidents where there was no contest for possession and could not be deemed to be re-refereeing an incident.
In agreement with FIFA, this is how 'not seen' incidents are dealt with retrospectively in England. It is a policy that is agreed with all football stakeholders."
Well, what a load of rubbish. Aside from the fact that this has nothing to do with football law according to AnotherArsenalBlog, (who cites the guidance as set out by the FA into disciplinary and retrospective bans), but it also sets a very negative precedent which will only encourages buffoons like Balotelli in the future. This is very similar to the handling of the incident involving Wayne Rooney last year, where he was let off with elbowing an opponent because the referee had seen it. Would the interests of football surely not have been better served if behaviour such as this was not encouraged?
Also Arseblog covers a number of incidents in the French and German league whereby retrospective action has been taken despite the match officials seeing the incident suggesting this is not mandated by FIFA as the FA are insinuating. Well worth a look.
Well it makes no difference to the rest of our season in all honesty but it is certainly an issue which the FA must address before it is too late. Would they have gone back to the incident had Alex Song broken his leg?
Moving on, Goal.com is reporting that the contract negotiations between Theo Walcott and Arsenal have hit a stalemate. Despite apparently being offered £80,000 a week an agreement is not forthcoming as Walcott wants closer to £100,000 a week.
We have to be sceptical when an unnamed source close to Arsenal is mentioned but it would not surprise me to hear that Arsenal are in fact offering less than the player wants. It should come as no surprise to anyone but I would take the figures with a grain of salt.
My take is that this is a player that frustrates many fans but at the same time is a vital component of a team which is becoming more and more direct utilising pace particularly on the right wing. It is clear that Wenger see’s him as part of the squad in the long term and as such should be secured in a long term deal. Nobody around the club wants to see a prolonged transfer saga involving another player this summer that is for sure.
By the same token I do not believe we should just offer him what he wants especially if this report is to be believed. I know he would argue that you can look around the Premiership and see many stars on that sort of wage. I still think his performances have not warranted such a hefty pay increase and what I would do is incentivise the contract based on performances but then that is just me.
Who knows how this will pan out but one would imagine that his future could be linked with that of Robin Van Persie. I can see him staying and extending his contract and I believe he should as we have stuck with him through some pretty average performances throughout his career. He has also had some fantastic performances and I know despite some stick all Arsenal fans genuinely want him to do really well.
If you read my blog you would know that I don’t really talk about transfer speculation unless it is a transfer window or some dreaming on my part. The numerous reports linking us to a wealth of players in the past few weeks has reached the levels of absurdity which are usually reserved for transfer windows.
I generally perceive such transfer news and headlines to be a lazy attempt at gaining some readership from hopeful fans but in the past few days this has reached new unparalleled heights. We have been linked with Vertonghen for a number of months really so it is no surprise to see his name brandished yet again, but to hear the ridiculous story as told by The Mirror that we are to sell Mertesacker to facilitate it is beyond bizarre. No basis, no real thought just awful speculation based on a "report".
Anyway I know it was mentioned a couple of days ago and I was hoping to ignore it but to have people ask me if there is any truth in it made me go over the edge.
Well that will be all until later this evening where I will have team and injury news for the crucial tie against Wolves.