23 May 2006

Tuesday Transfer News: Rosicky now a Gunner

Well it's not taking long for transfer news to accumulate.

Much of it is speculative. Mahamadou Diarra is the subject of much of it, with reports sending him from Lyon to either Real Madrid or Manchester United. However, his agent is cooling the speculation (which to me says that he's deep into contract negotiations). Dirk Kuyt has been linked with Newcastle, perhaps after hearing from van Nistelrooy and van Persie the joys of the Prem. Many rumors circulate around Chelsea's surplus, primarily Wayne Bridge (Fulham, Tottenham) and Robert Huth (Fulham, Everton, Wigan). There are managerial rumors too; Iain Dowie left Crystal Palace and is probably in the running for several spots including Middlesbrough, Charlton and Ipswich.

But the biggest news yesterday (just confirmed this morning) centers around Arsenal. Arsenal have now confirmed that Tomas Rosicky has moved to the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund. Rosicky is a Czech international with 53 caps. (All US fans of course hope he has a poor group stage, particularly in the first match!) Unlike many of Arsenal's recent signings, Rosicky has proven success, but at 25 he's young enough to have many of his best years ahead.

Rosicky has usually played in a central midfield role to this point, but Arsene Wenger is more likely to use him on the left side, particularly if Robert Pires departs. In general, Arsenal suffered a drought of goalscoring from its wide midfielders, with unproductive years from Robert Pires, Jose Antonio Reyes, and Freddie Ljungberg in particular. He can be compared to Aleksander Hleb in some ways, but Rosicky spends less time on the ball and has a better shot. Here's some video:

Of course this is exciting for Arsenal fans. His actual success with the team is yet to be proven of course. Don't judge early; Hleb provides a good cautionary tale, taking several months to really integrate into the team. But Arsenal have now signed an established player, early in the transfer window -- two attributes that have escaped us of late. So good for us!

I'm off to Nashville later today for the US - Morocco match. I'll post photos and an analysis either late tonight or tomorrow. So for now: Come on you Nats!

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