On the back of Didier Drogba missing out on the World Cup, another Premiership star has been ruled out. In just their first training session in Rustenburg, England’s captain Rio Ferdinand injured his knee in a collision with Emile Heskey and was rushed to hospital for an urgent scan. He left a couple of hours later on crutches and it has been reported that he too is now ruled out of the competition. This would have been his 4th World Cup appearance, however it is not to be. Michael Dawson of Spurs will now be hastily be called up, and will be on the next plane to Johannesburg.
This is the culmination of a frustrating season for Ferdinand who missed a lot of the last Premiership season with a back complaint.
Didier Drogba has suffered a suspected broken arm in a pre tournament friendly against Japan and is almost certainly ruled out of the World Cup. The Ivory Coast striker left the field in the first half after 16 minutes clutching his left elbow after a seemingly innocent clash with Japan’s Tanaka. A worried Sven-Goren Eriksson later explained "It's an elbow injury but we don't know how bad it is, we (are going) straight to the hospital. If it's serious, it's very worrying, he is our captain, one of the best strikers in the world."
In the game, the Ivory Coast won 2-0, Drogba scoring with a deflected free-kick just 3 minutes before he was injured. The win was rounded off with a headed goal from Kolo Toure.
I am an old fashioned person at heart. Maybe I am out of touch. I believe that if you make a pledge to someone or you make an agreement with a company, you should honour it. Suppose you find in life that there are better offers along the way, like being married and then seeing the leggy blonde who you went to school with moving in to the house across the street. You have a secret affair, then you move out lock stock and barrel, divorce your not so pretty but loyal spouse and you believe your dreams have come true. Then she dumps you for the hunk down the road, screws you for every penny you have and you end up on the street. Now I am not saying that Cesc Fabregas if he signs for Barcelona is not gonna succeed. He may well be a fabulous success, but the recent experiences of Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini should serve as a warning to the young Arsenal midfielder. The grass is not always greener on the other side and I can think of few instances of a player returning to his old club and playing with distinction.
I am very behind the stance being taken by Arsenal football club in this long running battle for the services of Fabregas. Quite legally when he was 16, Arsenal offered Cesc a professional contract and the young Catalan wanted to progress his career quicker than than Barcelona were able to offer. He made a brave decision to up sticks and come to London, and it was an inspired choice. Soon he found himself the youngest captain in the Premier League, the lynchpin of the Arsenal midfield and the work and care that Arsene Wenger and his coaches have lavished on Cesc over the past 7 years have turned all the potential he had on joining into the real article; a true world class midfielder with the world at his feet.
The mauling at the hands of Barcelona in the Champions League back in March I believe was a watershed moment, a real turning point in this story. Barcelona produced a sensational performance crushing Wenger’s team 4-1 in the Nou Camp. From the sidelines having being prevented by injury and also by suspension, I can imagine that Cecs’ head would have been turned at that moment. Maybe the tapping up started then also. Maybe that was the point that Cesc decided that his future lay with Guardiola and his version of fantasy football.
Moving the story onto today and we find claim and counter claim, Cesc is “under stress” out in South Africa preparing with his Spanish colleagues for the upcoming World Cup. Barcelona have tabled an official bid for the player of around £30 million and Arsenal in turn had rejected this opening gambit. Quite right too.They say that player power is king these days. The players can do exactly as they want, they can play where they want for extortionate money. Jean-Marc Bosman has a lot to answer for. The only defence clubs have these days is to secure players on long contacts so that should they want to, it will be extremely expensive for them to buy themselves out of a club. This is what Arsenal have done and Cesc freely signed up until 2015. So if Barcelona want “the one that got away”, they should pay top dollar to secure his services. Last season he scored 19 goals in 35 starts from midfield, a fantastic goals to game ratio which is better than majority of many top strikers in Europe. Add in all the assists and work he put in plus the fact that at just 23 he has the best years of his career ahead of him and I would start the bidding at a minimum of £45 million. The argument coming out from Barcelona that they developed him is rubbish. Deep down they know it too. Barcelona are not in the rudest of financial health themselves if the reports that they are £420 million in debt. I would find it most surprising if they were willing to up their initial bids much above £35 million.
Personally I think Wenger will fight tooth and nail to keep Fabregas & I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays at least one more season, or at least until Ramsey and Wilshire are ready to step up, however, if the two clubs do thrash out a deal, then I wonder which side will regret it more? I finally think that the penny has dropped with Wenger and Arsenal now seem to be very active in the initial transfer market for next season. Chamakh has arrived, Joe Cole may follow and there are rumours that the signing of a goalkeeper and one or two centre halves are in the pipeline. Out in Madrid, Jose Mourinho has arrived and it is clear that Real have set their sights on regaining the title in Spain. Mourinho rarely fails to deliver. Wouldn’t it be ironic as Cesc leaves, Arsenal finally deliver a title and Madrid relive their former glories.