Sunday, July 25, 2010

Don't come to Arsenal, Akinfeev!

“I have spoken with Arshavin about Arsenal and London life. He has only had good things to say about the club and the city. He said some very nice things about me going on to be the best goalkeeper in the world – and that he would like me to reach that goal at Arsenal with him."

- Igor Akinfeev, from the Daily Star

The Daily Star is the same paper that Peter Hill-Wood talks to, so I'm a bit uneasy about relying on them as a source. As a casual observation, the Daily Star seems to lean towards the sensationalist and the silly. So while a story about Igor Akinfeev wanting a move to the Arsenal (and incidentally, calling us "one of the best clubs in the world") is heartening, it's something one should take with a grain of salt.

Firstly, a look at the last five years' results in the Premier League would show Akinfeev that we're not one of the top clubs in England. That honour belongs to Chelsea and Man Utd, both of whom have won recent trophies. The Arsenal is a big English club with a thin squad which is talented enough to qualify for the Champions League, but not to win a trophy.

Secondly, when did Arshavin say "only nice things" about Arsenal and London? He's complained about women drivers, the food, the nightlife, the traffic, the pay, the thin squad, the lack of experience... I think Arshavin's hilarious, but I'd be surprised if he's wholeheartedly endorsed the Arsenal without a single bad word.

Thirdly, if I was Akinfeev, I'd be wary of kind words said by a man who has to play with goalkeepers of the calibre of Almunia and Fabianski. Arshavin (and the rest of us) desperately wants a new 'keeper. At this point, we'll do anything to get someone of international repute... including trying to sell a dead horse to stable-owner. The reasoning is that Akinfeev signs with the club, we lock him in for a five year contract, and then... we only need two, maybe three top, top players to challenge for the league title.

Save yourself the heart-ache, Igor. Sign with Man Utd and win stuff.

So on my 274th last day of my 20s, I talked to the parents of this kid who's doing dentistry in Adelaide. They're family friends and he's such a nice boy. I've been kind of mentoring the kid. He reminds me a bit of Theo - polite, respectful, well-mannered. He's doing really well at uni, passed his first semester exams and has settled in nicely, really loves the fact that he's achieved a measure of independence for the first time in his life. Make me feel a bit envious, really - my uni experience was much like a continuation of high-school, when what I really wanted was something resembling Animal House.

I'm missing the GOMD like a phantom limb. I talked to her for like five seconds today, and that's not enough. For the rest of the day, I kept looking around, expecting her to be there, but she wasn't. I've this nagging urge to call her, or text her or something. Not a good idea, I think.

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