By Tony Attwood
When Robert Pirès speaks I do pay attention, just as I do when Thierry Henry says something, or indeed Dennis Bergkamp. They have played elsewhere and indeed two continue to play elsewhere, but their hearts are always at Arsenal. Wonderful players with extraordinary insights into the game, in my view, and always worth listening to.
Robert’s had his ups and downs since leaving us, as you may know, and his life has taken him to unusual locations. He trained with Arsenal this past summer and has now gone to Goa FC where he is about to start playing. And he is always worth listening to, even if one doesn’t always agree.
Robert’s latest sally forth has been to say that we should sign Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira.
He also said that the current squad has all that is needed to be champions again save for one element – the defensive midfielder who scares people off before they even try and get past him.
In the Telegraph he is quoted as saying, “The quality is there but you need more, maybe like Yaya Toure in middle. He reminds me of Patrick Vieira, maybe they have an opportuniuty with Khedira. It is likely in the January window. He played very well with Germany. My advice is if he can buy Khedira he can be the Vieira, more aggression in the middle. He has a lot of experience. When you play in the middle you need experience, especially when your midfield is young like Arsenal’s.”
Khedira’s contract runs out in the summer, and Real Mad might do a deal in January – but Man U and Chelsea would also be on the lookout for the player, so there is no guarantee he’ll come to us. Factors such as the negativity of the fans (where Man U currently outperform Arsenal) and the way in which the team gets protection from referees (where Arsenal are the least desirable location at the moment) could affect the deal.
The ability for the manager to speak the language helps – but here we have no advantage over Man U. I’m not sure if JM at Chelsea speaks German – I’ve never heard him, and I wonder if he is just fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
Next, players like to have their countrymen around them – and with Ozil, Pod and a BFG I think we’re home and dry there.
But on the other hand the reputation of the manager – where Arsenal outscore everyone when it comes to the view of European players – counts for us.
Meanwhile, just in case you are interested, the Indian league also has Nicholas Anelka, Freddie Ljungberg, Mikael Silvestre and Andre Santos playing there. I’m contemplating a trip to Goa early next year.
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