Steven Pienaar (courtesy nicksarebi)
FootballFanCast have accused Arsene Wenger of hypocrisy over his positive comments in the press about Steven Pienaar and Joe Cole. Wenger has previously criticised Barcelona for their public tapping up of Cesc Fabregas via the media but has now publicly commented on the merits of both Pienaar and Cole, which could also be viewed as public tapping up.
On Pienaar, he said: "Pienaar has grown this year. He was usually a very busy player but the final ball was missing a little bit. This year he has gained in personality and he has kept his work-rate - so he has been much more efficient. What also played a big role in his growth was that Mikel Arteta was not there for a while and that he had to take the responsibility of being the playmaker of the team. He was one of the best players in England this year. He would get into the Arsenal team. I always had an eye on him since he was at Ajax."
And on Cole he said that: "I like him as a player because when he played against us he always did a lot of damage. He can create impact through his creative play; he can dribble, he can pass, he can score goals."
I feel as if I have to defend Arsene Wenger on this issue. Funnily enough, I was talking to my brother (who is an Everton fan) about this same thing last week. He said pretty much the same thing as FootballFanCast (i.e. that Wenger is a hypocrite) to which I replied that Arsene would not have made those comments had there been any chance whatsoever of us signing Pienaar. I also pointed out that Arsene is a pundit on EuroSport so he has to comment on players. Remember the European Championships two years ago when Arsene Wenger said that he wasn't sure if Andre Arshavin would be able to cut it in the Premier League?
The situation with Cole is of course completely different. He is out of contract and Arsene Wenger is therefore able to say anything he wants about him. Personally, I hope we sign him. We shall see. Although not mentioned in the article, you could say the same about Marouane Chamakh, who was in the last six months of his contract and therefore eligible to speak to other clubs. Arsenal offered a fair price for Chamakh when he was still under contract but Bordeaux preferred to keep him until the end of the season and thus lost out on a fee.
So the FootballFanCast article is just a blatant attempt to smear Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.