Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Football

Arsenal update – David Villa wants to leave Barca now says Spanish paper

By Stefano on January 21st, 2013

The David Villa to Arsenal saga was thought to be over last week after Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said “I completely rule out the transfer of Villa during the winter market.”

However, in what could be great news for Arsenal fans, the 31 year old striker apparently doesn’t see things that way.

The Independent has reports from Spanish paper Sport that Villa is frustrated about not playing and wants to leave the club in the window. The player was rumoured to be keen on a move to North London and Arsenal had apparently readied a team to jet to Barcelona to secure his signature.

The arrival of Pep Guardiola at Bayern also means that a move to Munich shouldn’t be ruled out either.

There are still 11 days left in the transfer window and this one could go to the wire.



Football

Man United boss Fergie meets Wilfried Zaha – £15 million deal imminent

By Stefano on January 21st, 2013

It seems as if Sir Alex Ferguson might have shunned the odd glass of Merlot – or maybe something warmer – with AVB last night as he had other business to attend to.

The Mirror is reporting that the United boss made a beeline for a London hotel to meet Crystal Palace’s highly rated tricky winger Wilfried Zaha.

The Mirror says

Manchester United have agreed a staggering £15 million deal to sign wonder kid Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been backed by his money men in his bid to land the England starlet and Palace have accepted a fee that guarantees them £10 million.

The extra £5 million will come in appearances and achievements and the whole total is more than the Eagles could refuse for their young attacker.

In the race to sign the winger United always seem to have the edge over their rivals Arsenal in spite of the fact that Zaha is a Gunners fan. The winger is apparently happy to move to Manchester and it shows how keen the United boss is to sign him.

Arsenal have spent big on young Championship talent in the past with the £15 million forked out for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. However the club is eerily silent on Zaha, even though Wenger is known to be a huge fan.

If the deal goes through it does throw up the question of what will happen to Nani? The Portuguese winger was lined with moves to Arsenal and other clubs in December and in spite of the that it was reported that he was going nowhere he might now be deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

There’s also no word on whether Zaha would stay at Palace for the rest of the season or head straight away to Old Trafford.



Football

Arsenal update: last minute bids for Yanga-Mbiwa and Sunzu and Gourcuff on loan?

By Stefano on January 21st, 2013

Arsene Wenger said the other day that he liked to wait until the end of the window before he bid for the players he most wants. But what if other clubs move first? Well Arsene is going to have act quickly if he wants to secure the signing of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Stoppila Sunzu both of whom are apparently on the verge of committing to other clubs.

Long-term target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who was excellent for Montpelier against Arsenal in the Champions League, is apparently on his way to Newcastle with the club having agreed a £6.7m fee for the French international defender.

The Daily Mirror is suggesting that Wenger will offer the player the chance to play at The Emirates and will trump the Toon’s bid. What would make Yanga-Mbiwa such great value is that he can play as a central defender, but also a right back. If, as is possible, Bacary Sagna leaves the club in the summer then he would offer competition to Carl Jenkinson while replacing Johan Djorou as a reserve centre back.

If that deals doesn’t happen then Arsene might prefer to look again at one of the first tranfers targets of the window Zambia’s Stoppila Sunzu. The Mirror reports that although a deal with Reading appears almost done, Arsene Wenger may re-activate his interst in the defender, who is on AFCON duty, who could be picked up for less than £4 million.

Finally The Mail suggests that Arsenal have been offered Lyon’s midfield playmaker Yoann Gourcuff on loan. Gourcuff has been on Wenger’s radar for a long while, but it could be argued is too similar to many players that Arsenal already have in their squad. He has also endured a difficult twelve months dogged by injuries and poor form.



Football

Opinion: Wake up Roman! Chelsea are becoming a Pantomime club

By Stefano on January 18th, 2013

Simon Poulter edits What Would David Bowie Do and is more than a little unhappy with event at The Bridge

I can’t verify this, but it is possible that the under-communicative oligarch Roman Abramovich is currently still enjoying the good life on St. Barts. For it is there that the Chelsea Football Club owner has been – and may well still be – enjoying an extended New Year’s holiday with his pregnant girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova. And good luck to him. Everyone needs to take time out to spend with their nearest and dearest every once in a while.

Unfortunately, while Roman has been sunning himself on his Nimitz-class yacht, his football asset – managed by a hapless Rene-from-’Allo ‘Allo lookalike – has acquired the sort of toxicity that turned Erin Brokovich from struggling single mother living in the Californian desert into the subject of a blockbuster movie.

Your season – it is behind you

It is, though, still the pantomime season in Britain, which means that seasonal booing and hissing is a national ritual at this time of year. So, as matinee audiences of Cub Scouts and church outings boo soap stars and game show hosts playing Baron Hardup in provincial theatres, Chelsea fans are booing anything not nailed down at Stamford Bridge.

First, there is Rafa Benitez, the ruddy-cheeked, portly Spanish restaurateur who, despite being as popular as a fart in a spacesuit before he was appointed “interim first team manager”, has succeeded in galvanising his unpopularity via a variety of methods: 1) getting out of bed in the morning; 2) turning up for matches; 3) picking star striker Fernando Torres; 4) not picking club legend Frank Lampard; 5) winning some games handsomely while drawing or losing quite disastrously others.

Is it all Rafa’s fault? Oh no it isn’t

It’s not all Rafa’s fault, of course. The club’s reward for Lampard and Ashley Cole continuing to be, respectively, a prolific goal scoring central midfielder and the world’s still-finest left back, is to show them the door at the end of the season and not extend their contracts. Meanwhile Torres, who these days permanently carries the demeanour of a sulking 15-year-old girl, is not even responding to diagrams of cow’s backsides and instructions on how to hit one with a banjo. Demba Ba, the crock-kneed Senegalese brought in from Newcastle for a fraction of the Spaniard’s money is, however, scoring goals everytime he smell a goalkeeper’s boot polish.

Into this background is the club’s extraordinary approach to fan engagement – i.e. to not have one. This is a club that would rather do its business in private, with the owner “advised” by a coterie of people whom, it would appear, are no more qualified to advise about running a Premier League football club as I would be about running a hospital. Unless you regard Michael Emenalo, the former Nigerian defender and now Chelsea’s technical director as being of distinguished experience in the game.

Thus, the rare on-pitch appearance of club chairman, Bruce Buck, making a pre-match presentation to goalkeeper Petr Čech, results in the sort of sustained and vitriolic booing chancellor George Osborne earned when turning up at the Olympics last summer to give out medals. Booing the chairman may sound like impudence bordering on frustration, but the fact that the fans were bothering to boo a club executive they’d never actually bothered about at all previously says a lot about where fan sentiment at Stamford Bridge is at the moment.

There are those – including club executives – who will continue to dismiss the religious singing of Roberto Di Matteo’s name on 16 minutes each game as rambunctious fandom, even considering it morale-boosting collective sprit. It’s not. Most of us do genuinely regard the sacking of Di Matteo as counter-productive, and the appointment of Benitez as poisonous as opening a Spurs club shop opposite the Emirates Stadium.

The singing for Di Matteo, even the singing for Jose Mourinho, is not just a rallying call. Chelsea – and for that we must assume Abramovich – have miscalculated too often the depth of stakeholder sentiment. It is, of course, a valid argument that Abramovich’s decision to sack managers has often produced the results he’d hoped for – an improvement in form and silverware – but it would appear that with this latest act of petulance, there won’t be a happy ending.

Despite a few impressive results, like the pre-Christmas mauling of a pathetic Aston Villa, who barely seemed to have turned up, Benitez is still struggling to make impact. Torres is a waste of space, although Ba has become a bright spot, but the defensive frailties that Di Matteo was suffering with are still there, if Wednesday night’s embarrassing 2-0 lead turning into a 2-2 home draw to Southampton was anything to go by.

And so, as Chelsea go into a weekend when they face Arsenal at Stamford Bridge – a fixture rich in both turbulent entertainment and sour disappointment over the years – there is a creeping deflation amongst supporters of the West London club.

Most Chelsea fans have never had a problem with the club being unpopular with other fans. We don’t really care. We’ve been perfectly happy with our club long enough – whether courting 1960s celebrities, being seen as a bunch of Fancy Dans in the 1970s, being pretty rubbish in the 80s and almost bankrupt, or being regarded as a home for ageing internationals in the pre-Abramovich, latter Ken Bates era. We have worn the “shit club, no history” goading with good grace. But whereas “shit club, no class” used to wound – but perhaps they have a point.

The constant upheaval, the inability to retain managers, the lack of consistency in player policy (“Will we not buy this summer due to lack of funds and then buy some expensive trinket of a player in the January window as a panic acquisition?”), on youth development and even stadium development.

Every football fan will find fault with their club of choice. That’s why we love football. Football IS chaos! It is still our excuse – and I’ll admit, an almost exclusively male preserve – to have a moan about something. Even if our team is running away with a telephone number-nil win, we’ll find something to niggle.

However, the complaints against Chelsea are piling up and, yes, much has to be directed at Abramovich. Elephant in the room, and all that, but the man who has ploughed an insane amount of personal fortune into the club is also directly responsible for creating the toxicity around it.

It comes from a lack of communication. Yes, we get plenty of communication from whomever is in charge of the team from one week to the next, but do we have any idea about what is really going on at the club? No.

The back end of the horse

We assume Lampard and Cole are being treated shabbily because that is how the press is reporting it, how Lampard and Cole’s people are telling it, and our instincts are receiving it. But we could be wrong. Perhaps a little explanation of the strategy would go a long way. Perhaps Abramovich himself would break cover and speak. After all, it’s hard to really read a man when we only ever see that half grin of his as he stands at the back of his executive box in the Stamford Bridge West Stand, the grin occasionally evolving into high-fives with his sidekick Eugene Tennenbaum, before returning to its bemused state.

Like the wizened old crone that I am, I’d foreseen much of this disease spreading at Chelsea in November when the club’s annual Halloween nightmare rendered Roberto Di Matteo redundant and Benitez installed. I even suggested that Pep Guardiola, the manager coveted by Abramovich more than any other, might be wise to give Chelsea a miss when he chose to come back to football management.

And thus it proved to be so, as arguably the greatest football coach of his generation chose Bayern Munich over anyone else. In so doing, he chose a club with history, with class, with money, with German efficiency, in a league that is quietly becoming Europe’s most exciting. As opposed to a club with history, money and a boatload of dysfunction. Well, maybe an expensive super yacht-load of dysfunction.

Article originally published here.

Image in no way inspired by the era of Dennis Wise and Gianfranco Zola.



Football

Arsenal update: BBC says Walcott to sign today, Zaha favours move to Man United

By Stefano on January 18th, 2013

Ok, so he still hasn’t actually ‘signed da ting’, but the BBC at least is confident that Theo Walcott is about to splash the ink on a new deal at Arsenal. It even suggests it could be done today.

They say

“Agreements have now been reached between Arsenal and their top scorer, who could put pen to paper on Friday if legal formalities can be completed.”

So there’s no source and no details, but the BBC don’t tend to run stories like this unless they are very confident in their facts.

Arsene Wenger said yesterday that he was 99% sure that Walcott would agree a new deal.

Slightly disappointing news for Gunners fan comes from Goal.com which claims that Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha is on the verge of becoming a Man United player. Apparently The Reds have bid £6 million for the winger.

They say.

United made the first formal move on Thursday for the forward, who has privately told the Premier League leaders that he favours a move to Old Trafford ahead of the Gunners.

Palace have rejected United’s cash offer as they hold out for a higher fee and will wait to see if Arsenal will also make a bid.

It will be interesting to see if Wenger now makes his move.



Football

Man City tactics – Milner Better Option Than Nasri on Form

By Stefano on January 18th, 2013

It’s strange to think that Samir Nasri, artistic playmaker, and James Milner, determined workhorse, cost Manchester City roughly the same amount of money, depending on one’s valuation of Stephen Ireland in the Milner swap deal. But although Nasri is the more talented footballer, Milner was excellent against Arsenal last weekend, and deserves to keep his place for the home match against Fulham.

Milner simply offers balance and variety when City attack; whereas Nasri is broadly a similar player to David Silva, Milner’s more direct and determined with his running. His opener at the Emirates came from the type of run Nasri simply wouldn’t make, in behind the defence, and with Milner and Silva on either side, there’s more variety when City have possession, which makes them trickier to defend against.

Nasri’s role at City has never truly been clear; at Arsenal he briefly thrived as a goalscoring midfielder, while Laurent Blanc encouraged him to dribble with the ball, and beat opponents. At City he simply seems another passer, with no unique role in the side.

Milner’s also better defensively, which could be an important factor against Fulham left-back John Arne Riise. The veteran Norweigan has been linked with a move away from Fulham this week, after reports of a bust-up with manager Martin Jol, but it now appears his future will be at Craven Cottage. The alternative is Kieran Richardson, another player who offers an attacking threat. Either way, it is Milner, rather than Nasri, who is more likely to protect Pablo Zabaleta.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.



Football

Why Mohamed Diame could be Arsenal’s best bit of transfer business this window

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

It has been a busy day for Arsenal transfer rumors and this time the source of them is none other than the manager himself with his praise for both Wilfried Zaha, and tantalisingly for Gunners fans, Edinson Cavani. There is however one rumour that won’t go away and that does appear to make a huge amount of sense and that is that Arsene Wenger is looking to add West Ham’s Mohamed Diame to his midfield.

Last night’s victory over Swansea was great for the team, but in some ways it raised more questions than answers. Ignoring the obvious ones like trying to accommodate Theo Walcott in his favoured forward role I am instead going to look at how Jack Wilshere was able to put in such a commanding display yesterday. If you didn’t see it Wilshere put in his best performance since his return from injury. He was a colossus in the midfield pushing the team forward, creating chances for Giroud and Walcott and ultimately scoring the wining goal himself.

One of the reasons I think that he was able to play in  a more Steven Gerrard-like way for the Gunners was that the midfield had at its heart a pair of players who have strong defensive qualities. Francis Coquelin was resolute in front of the back four and he was ably supported by Abou Diaby who, while happy pushing forward from time to time, spent a lot of time in the centre of the park mopping up Swansea’s attacks and trying to find both Wilshere and Cazorla.

The dilemma for Wenger is this. As brilliant as Diaby can be he is never going to play more than 20 games a season for the side. And as for Coquelin, I am not sure that Wenger is convinced that he has the strength or the talent to play that role week in week out for the team. Normally his place would be taken by Arteta, who has at times been sublime for the Gunners in the past seventeen or so months with his metronomic passing skills. Arteta is by no stretch of the imagination a defensive midfielder in the mould of the man who he replaced Alex Song. And while he may be the answer for some games, he certainly isn’t the right player for every game.

Nope if Wenger is going to shape his team around Wilshere playing in the hole and Cazorla, who can play anywhere in the middle of the park, then he needs a midfield enforcer to allow his talented players the freedom to attack. And last night in the game between West Ham and Man United Wenger would have been reminded what a great fit Mohamed Diame would be for his side. He was tough in the tackle and solid at the back, yet when given the chance to push forward he took players on and set up chances. He just seems to have that physical presence that Arsenal, with its smaller players seem to be lacking.

For me Diame is a slightly more defensively minded version of Diaby, minus the dodgy ankle, and his versatility would be a key ingredient for the Gunners. Put it this way opposing teams would never know what type of Arsenal midfield they were dealing with and that unpredictability would cause opposition managers real headaches.

Of course fancying a player and then getting him to sign on the dotted line is a long and troublesome process. Diame appears happy at West Ham. And even though he would come comparatively cheaply – a fee of around £7 million might be enough to prise him from the Hammers – the player himself might prefer what is shaping up to be an interesting future in East London rather than heading northwards.

Arsenal have been associated with a long line of combative midfielders in the window and I guess had M’Vila not had his moments of madness he might have been an Arsenal player by now.

Ultimately the arrival of a super star striker like Cavani, might be the catalyst that changes Arsenal’s season. However from a tactical point of view signing Diame might have a huge impact.



Football

Arsenal update: Wenger confirms interest in Edinson Cavani. No move for Zaha yet

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

In a move sure to massively excite Arsenal fans Arsène Wenger has confirmed his interest in the 25 year old Uruguayan Napoli striker Edinson Cavani – a player who ticks both the marquee signing and RVP replacement boxes.

When asked about the player who has been in scintillating form for Napoli in Serie A this season scoring 16 goals (one less than RVP) Wenger replied

“Cavani is a player that I like. Will he cost a lot of money? That’s for sure. Nobody would deny that. [But] our banker lives just next to me at the moment and he is ready if we find the right player.”

A fee of around £30 million has been rumoured.

Wenger also gave an update on possible Arsenal movements for Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.

“We are looking at him, but at the moment we have not made any bid for him. I don’t know if Manchester United are in for him. Anyway, if you call any club for any player, they will tell you Man Utd, Milan, Real Madrid are as well in for him, but it is always difficult to know if it is true or not.”

Wenger also told Arsenal fans to be patient as he looks to make his signings at the end of the window.

“The prices always go up at the start of the transfer market and go down in the last week. Sometimes as well they go up in the last week, but it depends. Most of the time they go down in the last week and you know as well that 90% of transfer activity happens in the last week, if not in the last 48 hours.”

Pic Wikipedia



Football

Arsene Wenger says he is “99%” confident that Theo Walcott will sign a new contract

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

So one of the longest running contract stands offs in British football appears finally to be coming to a conclusion. And it good news for Arsenal fans

At a press conference this morning Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that he is “99%” confident that Theo Walcott will sign a new contract at the club. The Arsenal manager also said that he hopes the deal can be finalised by this weekend before the team’s big London derby with Chelsea,.

The actual quote from Wenger, which has also been reported by the BBC, was “My optimism is at 99% now. I was scared that he could leave.

“It took us some time to get where we want to get and it’s still not finalised, but hopefully it will be done by this weekend.”

Wenger now has just over two weeks to add players to the squad.



Football

Arsenal update: Walcott contract almost signed, Kaka linked, Zaha saga rumbles on

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

There isn’t a huge amount of Arsenal news this morning, but a couple of papers seem to have picked up on a story originally posted by London’s Evening Standard that Theo Walcott’s contract is with his lawyers and is waiting to be signed.

The paper reports

The contract is in the hands of lawyers and, although the exact structure of the deal is yet to be finalised, it is believed the total package is worth in the region of £20million, which includes a seven-figure signing-on fee.

It is thought Walcott could earn as much as £100,000 a week, including bonuses and other performance-related incentives.

Interestingly the paper believes that there’s no mention in the contract of Walcott playing upfront as a striker. Last night Walcott seemed to alternate between playing on the wing and moving through the middle alongside Olivier Giroud. He might not have scored but the player created a lot of chances.

Asked about the Walcott situation and new signings Wenger said

“We are working very hard. First of all we want to sort out the injuries and we are trying very hard to close the deal with Walcott. Once we have done that, we will certainly do something else. At the moment I cannot tell you more.”

There’s an update from Wenger here.

In today’s add one and one and make five Fanatix is suggesting that Real Madrid’s Kaka is an Arsenal target. It bases this on the view that Wenger is considering buying an experienced player and was considering Villa etc. It then links to a report in the Spanish paper El Economista that says Madrid are desperate to get rid of Kaka in a bid to reduce their wage bill. Apparently he could be available on a free transfer.

Lastly The Mail says that Man United are going to make the first move in the battle to sign Wilfried Zaha in presenting Palace with a £6 million offer for the winger. The paper says

The Barclays Premier League leaders are confident they are the only serious contenders to sign Zaha this month and are using that belief to drive the price down.

Well, over to you then Arsene.

Pic Wikipedia



features, Football

The Premiership’s 15 best African players of all time – Drogba, Radebe, Mido (!?) and more

By Stefano on January 16th, 2013

So here we go again. The African Cup Of Nations kicks off this week to the delight of football fans everywhere and the chagrin of a small group of managers who lose key players for a few weeks.

Later this week we’ll asses which clubs are going to suffer the most during the month, but for now it is time to look back and salute some of the great Africans who played in the Premiership.

I have chosen 15 players who in one way or another all made their presence felt in the English league. Some, like Mido, only really shone for one season, others, like Lucas Radebe and Lauren had a huge impact over an extended period of time.

Anyhow here then are the 15. Tell us in the comments who we missed. And roll on South Africa v Cape Verde Islands.

Pics from Wikipedia

Mido

Picture 2 of 15
Picture 2 of 15

In spite of their success in international football - including winning the African Cup of Nations three times in the last ten years - there have only been six Egyptian players who have graced the Premiership. And to be fair the only one of any note is Ahmed Hossam Hussein Abdelhamid - known to you and I as Mido. In fact he makes this list mainly because of one season on loan at Spurs where he scored 13 times in 36 appearances. Things didn't work out so well when he properly signed for the club a year or so later and in 2007 he was snapped up by Middlesbrough. Since then he has played for a number of clubs mainly on loan, without a great deal of success. These days he is on the books at Barnsley. Shame really because he is clearly a talented player who for one reason or another has never fulfilled his potential.



Football

Arsenal update: Yoann Gourcuff on the cheap? Milito buzz continues. Good news about Arteta

By Stefano on January 16th, 2013

First up some good news for Gunners fans, Mikkel Arteta’s injury isn’t as bad as initially feared and he could be back in action in two weeks, maybe even in time for the crucial Premiership game against Liverpool on January 30th.

Arsenal do keep getting linked with midfielders though and the latest one who the club are allegedly mulling over is long term target Yoann Gourcuff.

Wenger made a move for the player in 2009, but was put off by his £20 million price tag. A few years on and the player has been peripheral to his current club Lyon this year, his progress dogged by injuries and off field problems.

So if Wenger fancies bringing him to The Emirates he could be available for as little as £3 million. Arsenal are also reported by a couple of papers to be still tracking West Ham’s Mohamed Diame and Étienne Capoue from Toulouse. Gourcuff might have missed his chance though as he is a creative midfielder more akin to the likes of Santi Cazorla or Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal arguably need a tough tackling box to box player.

Several papers are reporting that Wenger is still interested in Inter’s veteran Argentinian striker Diego Milito. Signing the 33 year old seems an unlikely move, but then again so did Arsenal’s interest in Barcelona’s David Villa. Milito has scored eight times this season.



Football

Arsenal update – Wenger tells Al Jazeera Sport he will ‘spend big’ on adding two players to the squad

By Stefano on January 15th, 2013

Oh Arsene – you are such a tease! On a comparatively quiet day for Arsenal transfer gossip we suddenly get this from the man himself.

Wenger has been talking to Al Jazeera Sport and in an interview which was conducted prior to the City game, and has been broadcast by Talk Sport today, he maintains that he will “spend big” again but continue to look to build the core of the team from within.

Tantalisingly for Arsenal fans Wenger even mentions the number of players he would like to sign.

He says

“My plan is to keep all of the players we have and then to add maybe, if possible, two new players to the squad. We will spend big (again) because we had restricted finances because we had built the stadium and had to pay that back.”

So who will those two players be then? The clever money is on a midfielder and a striker with Adrian Lopez, Yoann Gourcuff, Wilfried Zaha and Etienne Capoue the hottest names for now. Earlier today Arsenal were linked with West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame, but Hammers boss Sam Allardyce says he hasn’t had a call from the Arsenal boss.

Referring to the way in which he managed the team during Arsenal’s lean financial years – when they were paying for the stadium – Wenger said

“We stayed at the top level, yes without winning the Premier League, but we were always at the top level. Now we have come out in a much stronger position financial again, so we can spend. But our way is a bit like Barcelona as well, to produce the core of the team from inside and add from outside the players who give really a plus.”

So will Arsene sign two players? And if so are two players enough to ensure Champions League football at The Emirates next season?



Football

Arsenal update: West Ham’s Mohamed Diame a target

By Stefano on January 15th, 2013

With Mikkel Arteta out for three weeks Arsenal have been linked with a few defensively minded midfielders. Yann M’Vila and Étienne Capoue have both been mentioned in dispatches but one possible solution that The Sun is touting this morning is West Ham’s Mohamed Diame.

The player has been linked with Arsenal before and now it seems that the Gunners are considering a quick move for the 25 year old Senegalese star.

There are a few questions over the player’s fitness in that he tore a hamstring last month. Diame was however an an unused sub in Saturday’s game with Sunderland and he is expected to start in the FA Cup replay at Manchester United on Wednesday.

He could be picked up relatively cheaply at around £3.5 million.

Meanwhile the same paper is reporting that previous Arsenal target Yann M’Vila will sign for QPR today for a fee of around £7 million.



Football

Arsenal and Man United to start talks with Wilfried Zaha this week

By Stefano on January 14th, 2013

The extended saga of the transfer of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace to a Premiership club seems finally to be heading for a conclusion. According to Goal, both Man United and Arsenal will have talks with the player (Sky Sports News is also running the story) and that ‘Zaha’s destination is “50-50″ between United and Arsenal, with the final decision to rest with the player himself.’

That might prove to be good news for Arsenal, given that Zaha is a fan of the club. However Palace manager Ian Holloway is reputedly keen to keep Zaha on loan for the rest of the season as his side pushes for promotion to the Premiership. Alex Ferguson is said to be happy with this arrangement, but Arsene Wenger, aware of his the lack of depth in his squad, would want Zaha immediately.

Zaha’s decision might also come down to money. Again this favours United as Ferguson has consistently spent big on players that he deems to be essential. Meanwhile Wenger’s cut price offers have seen him lose players to other clubs in the recent past most notably Gary Cahill and Juan Mata who both ended up at Stamford Bridge rather than The Emirates.

The bidding is likely to start at around £10 million.




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