If we’re going to get a keeper this year, it increasingly looks like a choice between Shay Given and Mark Schwartzer. It seems like Wenger had his hopes on Joe Hart at first, then tapped up Schwartzer as a consolation target, and then started stalling once it became clear that Given’s available. At the moment, it’s a matter of whether Given wants to leave (he does), Mancini is willing to let him leave (he is) and whether Wenger and the Arsenal can arrange terms with him before another club snaps him up (it’s possible). If not, then we’ll go for Schwartzer.
It leaves me in a bit of a club vs country dilemma. I love the Arsenal, and Given is hands-down the better option. He’s younger, better, and has had more experience with big clubs. But I also love the Socceroos, and it’ll be great to see one of our boys wearing a red shirt with white sleeves. So if Schwartzer gets signed, a part of me will be very happy indeed. It’s not often that an Aussie gets to play with one of the big clubs in world football.
It’s a bit of a fallow period for Australian football. We did alright in the World Cup but we played dourly. We don’t have any really talented players coming through (aside from maybe Tommy Oar). Four years ago, our best players were all in the first and second divisions of European leagues. Now, our best players are scratching around for clubs to take them. So we could do with the boost that a signing to the Arsenal would give.
So is it wrong to want to compromise the Arsenal’s quality in order to give Australian football a chance? Is it wrong to wish that Arsenal would sign Schwartzer (because he’s Aussie) and not Given? My head says that Given is the better deal, but my heart tells me that I’d be prouder to wear an Arsenal shirt with Schwartzer on the back than anything else.
So on the 249th last day of my 20s, I didn’t do a lot. I locked myself out of the house first thing in the morning, and had to get the spare keys off the neighbour. Took some Codral to get me through the day. And for some strange reason, sang “We Love The Arsenal” on the drive to work, in my best Cockney accent. For some reason, I always speak in Cockney when I sing an Arsenal song.