The annual summer soap opera at Arsenal Football Club is developing along familiarly embarrassing plotlines, this summer’s instalment almost more painful than recent runs due to it all starting off relatively rosy. Everyone knew van Persie’s failure to sign a new contract was a bit strange but most couldn’t shake the hopeless belief that he was Arsenal through and through and may have just hung around like the club did with him through all of those injury ravaged years. No dice, after tying up deals for two shiny new international forwards early doors the captain’s statement via his personal website on July 4th soon put the pin in Arsenal fans proverbial balloon.
The decision on whether he goes on Arsenal’s tour of Asia looms large for Arsène Wenger who will field pre-season questions for the first time on Friday while the contract situation of one Theo Walcott continues to gently simmer in the background, further destabilising what is supposed to be a team building trip. The lack of interest from Arsenal fans towards Theo Walcott’s apparent indifference to extending his stay in North London is striking with the England winger being most recently linked with boyhood club Liverpool. Walcott’s excruciatingly slow development at Arsenal may have finally convinced Wenger to sell, but despite his obvious flaws Walcott produced excellent numbers last season and would need replacing.
Most at home playing as a central attacking midfielder further up the pitch, he has been used in a variety of roles and a move to Arsenal would most likely see him deployed wide, but could also quite easily shift to one of the three midfield positions.
Ex-German wonderkid, now just talented Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby has been mentioned as a possible arrival. At 21 Holtby hasn’t quite developed as quickly or as spectacularly as some of his peers, with Reus, Gotze and ex-teammate Schurrle all enjoying roles as impact substitutes at this summer’s European championships. Holtby has struggled at Schalke since returning from his outstanding loan spell at Mainz in 2011 and now finds himself in an almost identical situation to Theo Walcott - he is yet to sign a new deal with the Royal Blues and has one year remaining on his current contract. Holtby has already stated his desire to join the Premier League; when quizzed on a possible move to Arsenal he was full of niceties, saying: “They play nice one touch football, offensive and with young players and a nice stadium so it’s a nice club.”
The player’s desire to come to England stems from the fact that he is half English himself, born to an English father and a German mother. Holtby grew up an Everton fan and has professed his love for the Toffees on numerous occasions. Most at home playing as a central attacking midfielder further up the pitch, he has been used in a variety of roles and a move to Arsenal would most likely see him deployed wide, but could also quite easily shift to one of the three midfield positions. Since changing to the current formation Wenger seems to have abandoned his fetish for central creative midfielders out wide, opting for the more direct in Walcott, Gervinho and Chamberlain. Holtby would hark back to the days of Hleb and Rosicky as faux wingers, but the German’s touch and trickery would be a welcome shift in style.
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