The countdown has begun; the day is near. Whether talking about the date of Arsenal’s first preseason match or about the official completion of the transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City, it seems that we are now just hours away from seeing both take place.
Having gone a couple of months without any Arsenal action on the pitch, the Gunners open their preseason schedule tomorrow with a game against Barnet at Underhill. This matchup has been the club’s traditional opener for a number of years, and will mark the first chance for supporters to see the squad in a competitive encounter in preparation for the 2009-10 campaign.
Arsenal’s official web site has listed the 21-man squad for Saturday’s curtain-raiser with Barnet. As expected, the team will feature a majority of youngsters along with some veteran first-teamers for the Gunners’ opener.
New signing Thomas Vermaelen will make his debut, after joining the club from Ajax last month. Tomas Rosicky, who hasn’t appeared for Arsenal since January of 2008, will also play a role on Saturday.
As stated, reserve and youth team members make up the bulk of the Arsenal team to face Barnet. The full squad list includes: Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone, William Gallas, Johan Djourou, Mikael Silvestre, Thomas Vermaelen, Tomas Rosicky, Andrey Arshavin, Jack Wilshere, Thomas Cruise, Craig Eastmond, Luke Ayling, Conor Henderson, Francis Coquelin, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Mark Randall, Emmanuel Frimpong, Gilles Sunu, Sanchez Watt, Jay Simpson, and Nacer Barazite.
Those among the first-teamers missing from tomorrow’s lineup include Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs, who were part of a group of Gunners that joined training camp late due to their involvement in international competitions earlier in the summer.
That list also includes Emmanuel Adebayor, who may finally and officially be sold off to Manchester City in the next day or two — after media reports earlier this week had claimed transfer talks between Arsenal and City were being finalized and a work permit was secured for the Togo striker.
A deal between the two clubs looked to be done on Wednesday, but an article in The Guardian on Thursday reported that Adebayor had requested more time to mull over the proposed move.
Arsenal have accepted City’s £25 million bid, according to the article’s author, Daniel Taylor, but Adebayor asked City “to allow him a few days to talk to his family and representatives before going through with a move that he believes could open him to criticism.”
Sky Sports reported today that Adebayor was seen saying his goodbyes to Gunner teammates during Friday’s training, while The Sun claims a medical is scheduled later today in Manchester for Adebayor.
Today’s article from The Sun indicated that the Arsenal striker “held more talks with Eastlands officials yesterday … and a dispute over the terms on offer to Adebayor, which threatened to KO the move, was ironed out last night.”