Cygan’s long pass, Pennant’s opportunity

By Myles Palmer

PASCAL CYGAN is a decent player, but not a great player, they say.

West Ham watched him for two years. Man City, Bolton and Blackburn also watched him.

All the scouts knew his record.

But nobody made a bid.

CYGAN might become a great player with better players around him, so his career situation is aspirational.

Arsene has signed a player who wants to play for France, not somebody who has won the World Cup and already peaked.

THE LILLE COACH is a talented Bosnian, Vahid Halilhodzic, who now wants a big job after quitting.

At the start of the 2001-20002 season Lille won their first eight or nine games and Halilhodzic spoke to the players and said, “Look, if anybody’s tired and wants a rest, come and talk to me.”

So Cygan said he wanted a rest.

The coach stripped him of the captaincy and left him on the bench for a while.

Then Cygan apologised and was back in the team.

His centreback partner told this story to one of my pals, who says Cygan has a good long pass.

So that’s all we know about Pascal Cygan: he is 28, six foot five, left-footed, good organiser, would love to play for France, and has a good long pass.

GILLES GRIMANDI wanted to play in a new country and learn

another language.

He had a week training with Japanese club but felt lonely.

He fancied Spain.

Had an offer from a promoted Itlaian club but turned it down.

So he may go back to France.

Always a sweet guy, Gilles sends this mesaage to Cygan,

“You’re very lucky to join a really great club and I wish you all the best wearing my No 18 shirt!”

WILL JERMAINE PENNANT seize his chance in the next month?

Pennant is in a comfort zone right now, like so many


A young man with a car and a flat and a girlfriend and rather too much money.

What happens now is down to him, really.

He’s 19 and very quick and two-footed. He needs to work in the gym and build himself up a bit more.

Ideally, Pennant should play a game and do some good things and then play another game and score.

Then he might really settle in and get some confidence.

But that is asking a lot and AW may not ask that much from him yet. Only he can judge when the lad should be used and how much he should be used.

Apparently, Pennant has been told: If your attitude improves, you’ll be in the team.

15th July 2002.