By Jack’s Opinion
On Tuesday evening Arsenal had a busy night in Singapore. They initially had a training session at the new impressive National Stadium in front of around 2,000 fans from around South East Asia.
I attended the event and it was good to see the players put through their paces in the humidity and heat of Singapore and one thing to me was very clear: this team is ready.
Obviously it’s hard to judge from an intimate training session without the intensity of a real match but a lot of players looked sharp – in particular Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil.
You can see Ozil is enjoying a rare pre-season and we could be getting a completely different animal this campaign than after the World Cup last summer.
After the training event I had been invited to an evening with Arsenal Legend Liam Brady. A player who joined Arsenal at 15 and went on to be PFA player of the year, before moving on to have a very successful career in Italy – primarily with Juventus.
Liam was an excellent speaker and very open in his opinions on many issues throughout his career. He touched on his greatest ever manager in Johnny Giles, and the best player he’d played against was Diego Maradona, who was at Napoli whilst Brady was in Italy.
He also had less than positive words to say on other players and in particular a very angry Irishman in Roy Keane, where Brady said he was ”out of order” for the way he walked away from the Irish Training camp at the World Cup. Brady said Roy has issues about being away from home rather than it being too much toward the facilities that were provided.
Brady, up until last year, had been head of the youth development at Arsenal since 1996. 18 years growing an area that had only four staff when he joined up to around 40 or 50 now. He said that he still feels very proud in what they are achieving at Arsenal in this area.
He mentioned that Ashely Cole was probably the best that had come through in his opinion in his time, and that the player whom he thinks has a real chance now to break through is Chuba Akpom. Time will tell on that.
As the night progressed you learnt that Brady still has very close ties to the club and I couldn’t resist myself with the final question of the night to ask, ”Are we close to signing anyone else…?”
Now, in true Arsenal fashion, he kept his cards fairly close to his chest when answering and said that he is not involved in any transfer dealings, but I pressed, asking: ”There is a lot of talk around Benzema, but is there any truth?”
Brady said Benzema will NOT be moving to Arsenal, and that if he was he would have known.
I felt that the way Brady provided very open views would suggest that I am now fairly certain that Benzema would not be joining us. Obviously he is not the only player that we are apparently looking at but to me he would have been the best option. But either way, at least we can put a line through it and focus on other made up tabloid nonsense.
It was a great night with a true Arsenal Legend whom must be in the top 10 players of all time to have graced our club.