Jeremie Aliadiere has been talking about his hopes for a return to action for Arsenal later in the year.|
The latest turn of Aliadiere's injury-stricken career has been a transfer-window change of loan club, from West Ham to Wolves. This came after his spell at the Irons was, sadly and somewhat inevitably, interrupted almost immediately by injury. The subsequent run of form by West Ham, and strikers Harewood and Zamora in particular, followed by his (reportedly) publicly criticising boss Alan Pardew for not picking him, and then the signing of Dean Ashton, pushed him further down the pecking order. No point being on an experience- and fitness-proving loan if you don't get to play. Whether or not his (reportedly) going on about Arsenal rather than Wolves will help him get picked by Wolves coach Glenn Hoddle remains to be seen. So far, since his Jan 31st move, they've had 4 games. He didn't make the bench for the first 2, a loss and a draw. Then he came off the bench in the 80th minute in a 1-0 win over Burnley, and this weekend he came on after an hour in a 1-0 win over Ipswich - and provided an assist for the goal by winning the penalthy.
Of course, it's possible that he said lots of stuff about what a great club Wolves is and and about how being with such an inspirational coach with faith-healing connections will give his career just the boost that it needs. But maybe not. According to the BBC, Jeremie says stuff like,
"This has been a really hard time for me. I don't think going on loan has been good for me. I want to stay at Arsenal next season and try to break through..."
...and nothing about Wolves.
He has 3 years left on his Arsenal contract and claims that Wenger tells him he doesn't want to see the player leave. It's believable, because Wenger has shown great faith in the player by sticking with him for so long despite the fact that he breaks down with a long-term injury after a few games every time he comes back (last season it was a knee ligament followed by a hernia).
Aliadiere's luck as a player has been comparable with that of Kaba "woodwork" Diawara. And as he points out, it's not just the injuries but the loan timings too:
"...when you not at the club, everyone is getting injured, and you think you might have had your chance. And when you are at the club no-one gets injured and then you don't get your chance." (no-one except you, Jeremie).
He's right of course. We could do with him right now. Having started to pull out of the phase of having almost no defenders available, we're now having to travel to Real Madrid with just one and a half fit strikers. But in the longer term, we're actually looking fairly healthy on that front.
"I've been at Arsenal for seven years and if I could stay all my career I would be so happy," he says, but following the signings of Adebayor and Walcott and the goalscoring form of van Persie, it seems to me that his chances of a return to Highbury in the summer could come down to 2 things: whether or not he manages to break into the Wolves starting line-up and to start scoring a few goals for them, and whether or not the extraordinarily prolific Arturo Lupoli can make a successful move from reserve to first team football.
But at the end of the day, you just have to feel for the lad, and we really hope that things work out for him.