Weekly Wrap – 23/06/2017

We figured we’d put together a weekly wrap of the best news etc from the Arsenal during the offseason since there’s not enough meat on the bones to put something out with more frequency.

So without further dallying, here it is;

You have probably all read the news by now that Arsenal have made a move to approach Port Adelaide’s fitness and conditioning coach, Darren Burgess, in regards to bringing him into the fold at the Emirates. Burgess himself has had previous exposure to life in the Premier League, with 2 separate stints at fellow League “giants” Liverpool. As the story developed it was revealed that Arsenal will be partnering up with Port in order to collaborate in a “range of areas including sports science, professional development and international growth.” In what would be the first change to the back room staff during the current offseason, it could also signal a reshaping of a fitness and conditioning department which last saw a major addition when Shad Forsythe joined the team 3 years ago.

Of course, as any well-meaning Arsenal fan will know, the club has had its issues in being on the right side of keeping its players in pristine condition over the years – even after Shad came on board three seasons ago. Whether or not Forsythe and Burgess will be combining powers is something we are waiting to see, there have been whispers that Forsythe may return to the US national team structure in the lead up to Russia 2018.

In any case, Burgess is a well-respected name both at club and league level over here and the partnership between the two teams shows that networking with other professional sporting codes could be the way of the future when it comes to procuring the finest talent available.

Moving on to other news and the future of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was once again brought into the tabloids with some more talk of potential suitors ready to make their move for the England International. The story that he is now into the final 12 months of his contract with Arsenal has already been fairly well covered and of course will remain a target of click-baiters and gossip columns everywhere until we get some solid information from the club. Very little has been said past the standard spin from the club which is hardly surprising. From a fans perspective though, I think most of us would be in the camp that would very much like to see the Ox continue in an Arsenal shirt.

His career has had more than its fair share of bumps in the road so far with Chambo suffering niggling injuries and setbacks that have minimised his opportunity in the starting XI since his £15 million move from the Saints back in 2011. This season however was a breakout for the young lad as he came of age, showcasing his work rate, direct running and flexibility while being moved into different roles within the squad as it evolved around him. A run without injuries saw him find form in the unlikely role of Wing Back where he shone, especially in the FA Cup Semi against City (he was MoM and provided a lovely assist for Monreal’s winner). Arsene has earmarked him for a future role in the heart of midfield and the man himself has also expressed his desire to play through the middle. Whether this has anything to do with the current negotiations is probably a moot point for me. After waiting these past years for his undoubted potential to be fulfilled, it would be a poor decision to let him go to a league rival where he could break hearts up and down the emirates upon his return. Along with Alexis and Ozil, this is one we just need to get across the line.

Finally, the new home kit was launched at Londons Kings Cross station to much fanfare. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil were a major element in the launch as club legends Robert Pires and Martin Keown were on hand to entertain the morning commuters as they passed through.

Keown was more than happy to answer a few questions and I found some of his insight into the development of young centre half, Rob Holding to be quite interesting.

“I’ve been really impressed. He’s quietly understated and doesn’t get ruffled by anything. He’s very calm in possession and uses the ball well. He really benefits from being in a back 3.” Keown said. “When you’re a young defender, it’s nice to have that extra player around you and his positioning is already very good in that formation. When you consider City paid upwards of £50m for Stones and Arsenal have paid £2m for Holding, that’s another exceptional piece of business from Arsene.”

The emergence of Holding late in the season coincided with the switch to the back 3 and he showed maturity beyond his years in the FA Cup Final, where we all loved watching him dominate the insane Diego Costa. The double act he pulled with Per Mertesacker will live long in the memory and provide a special place for the young man in the hearts of gunners fans for years to come.

The kit itself is nothing out of the ordinary, with the standard red and white affair this time around being capped off with a return to the collared finish. The red is slightly deeper this season and to celebrate 50 years of the Arsenal cannon featuring on the clubs kit, it has also been included on the back just below the collar to mark the occasion. It has been mentioned that the usually distinct 3rd kit will be unveiled during the pre-season trip to Sydney, where the kit will be worn for at least one of the games against the Wanderers or Sydney FC.




Just quickly;

Until next week!


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