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By Tony Attwood
It is being said that Arsenal are taking a good look at Victor Wanyama of Celtic, with a view to signing the defensive midfielder.
He is a Kenyan international who can also play centre back, and he was one of the goal scorers when Celtic beat Barcelona.
In the summer of 2008 he signed for Beerschot AC which is not only in Belgium but is also in the province of Antwerp, so I will refrain from further comment and wait for Walter to reveal more about the club.
In all he played 50 league games for the club, and scored two goals before moving to Celtic for the 2011/12 season, where he has played 52 league games and scored 10 goals. The transfer fee is said to have been a little under £1m.
But the link with a central midfielder is interesting. Ramsey is getting better and better, and besides Arteta we have other players who can play there. And does it mean that Frimpong is seen as not coming up to standard? Or is it all the usual speculation following a visit by one of the club’s scouts to see his sick aunty who lives north of the border?
Meanwhile the press are already beefing up the idea that we are going to buy another striker and a right back in the summer. (Incidentally Andre Santos is also saying that he expects to return from Gremio where he is on loan to the end of the season.)
And although the summer is about 20 degrees away (at least where I live and work) maybe we can look forward to think who else might depart.
Sebastian Squillaci and Andrei Arshavin will be out of contract, and can’t expect a renewal. Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh, Johan Djourou and Park Chu-Young are all out on loan and will be back and under contract.
Obviously I don’t see loanees while they are away from the club, but I can’t imagine anyone coming back – other perhaps than a re-awakened Bendtner. However the deal with Juve includes (I am told) an option for them to buy him. He has played eight times for the club, but is now out injured, and probably will be for another month.
Thomas Vermaelen is probably in a similar position, but Laurent Koscielny should be available for both games.
The interesting position will be left back where Monreal will play against Blackburn but not in the Champs League as he is cup-tied. Gibbs is injured and Santos has left on loan. So, that could mean Vermaelen playing at left back – another reason for him not to play against Blackburn.
There will of course be the normal pre-match preview by Billy the dog, in which (following his extraordinarily accurate analysis of the opposition for the Sunderland game) there will be further revelations about the diminutive principality of Blacheborne.
But it will be particularly interesting to see how Diaby will be used. He is clearly highly valued by Arsenal, as he is by France, but is being used cautiously this season. He might well feature in one of the two cup games, but which one? With Wilshere likely to miss the Blackburn match I guess Diaby could play in that.
And then there is Cazorla. There is talk of him being tired from playing every game, so again maybe he could be left out for Blackburn.
One other thing: Fabianski played in a recent reserve game. Maybe he will get a game against Blackburn.
Put all that together and the team for Blackburn becomes a very different one from the team that plays in the Champions League.
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