Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Football

Torres to Arsenal from Chelsea? Surely not…

By Stefano on June 13th, 2013

There are some rather wicked whispers around today about the future of of one Fernando Torres. The Chelsea striker has been the subject of much speculation recently with Barcelona allegedly lining up a £17 million bid.

Now however the SportsDirect News site is claiming that Barca have a rival for Torres – Arsenal.

The site says

Emirates boss Arsene Wenger is a huge admirer of the 29-year-old, and believes he could help him recapture the form that made him one of the most feared strikers in the world at Liverpool.

Couple that with the fact that none of Arsenal’s supposed targets seem to be too interested in the club means that the site has its story.

It also claims to have heard from a Gunners source : “The boss loves Torres. He knows how good he can be, and a deal could come off.

“Chelsea are looking at strikers, Fernando has become surplus to requirements and Arsene is ready to pounce.”

Well the Rooney story is bonkers enough, but Torres. He is still young enough at 29 to have a few good seasons left in him, he also scored 22 goals last season, not a bad tally.

But I think it unlikely that even if Arsenal were interested that Chelsea would sell him to their rival London club. Barca are one thing. The near-ish neighbours are another.

Ultimately though buying Torres would be a huge personal gamble for Arsene Wenger. Were it not to work out I think he would end up personally taking the blame for a transfer which while it clearly could be a sensational signing still represents one hell of a risk.

What do you think?



Football

Is Fellaini the new Zaha? The next player Arsenal are going to miss out on?

By Stefano on June 13th, 2013

So Marouane Fellaini is apparently keen to move to Arsenal, but it hasn’t happened yet because Arsene Wenger is reportedly reluctant to trigger his £23million release clause.

So says the Metro this morning, which also adds

The Gunners have been strongly tipped to make a move for the Belgian international, but Goodison Park sources claim no inquiry has yet been lodged.

So Arsenal’s inability to actually sign a player looks like spilling over into the summer window with Wenger once again cautious with the cash and moving so slowly that he runs the risk of leaving the door open for other clubs.

Of course it could be that he doesn’t rate Fellaini that highly or he has another player in mind, but this saga is certainly starting to irritate Arsenal fans.

The manager’s indecision has also been highlighted by The Express which today revealed

Arsenal opted against signing Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha before he went on to join Manchester United in January.

Ron Noades told the paper, When Steve Parish sold Zaha I was mildly involved in it as I tried to get Arsenal to buy him, but they were not interested.

“I spoke to David Dein as I did not want Zaha to go to Manchester United, I wanted him to stay in London.

“I just thought he was an exciting talent.”

So is Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to spend his war chest starting to annoy you?



Football

German paper says Arsenal duo are Bayern targets

By Stefano on June 12th, 2013

Bild is reporting that new-ish Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola is set to go shopping for centre backs, and that high on his list are two Arsenal players Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen

In fact Bild names five players who might be wanted to stiffen up Bayern’s defence – the other three are Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ukraine international Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Jeremy Mathieu of Valencia and former FC Barcelona star Eric Abidal. Bild thinks that Bayern needs the cover as central defender Holger Badstuber expected to be out until March 2014 after rupturing his cruciate knee ligament.

So is this good or bad news for Arsenal? Well a bit of both. Koscielny has hinted that he would seek a move if things didn’t improve in north London, but it doesn’t seem as if he will go this summer. Vermaelen is a different matter. The Arsenal captain seems to be seen as surplus to requirements at The Emirates and a new challenge might suit both clubs and the player. His fee could also help fund a move for Swansea’s Ashley Williams.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.



Football

Arsenal update: Stephan El Shaarawy, Nani and Lorenzo Melgarejo

By Stefano on June 12th, 2013

As one door closes…Just as it seems that Arsenal are about to lose out to Juventus on two of its main transfer targets comes news that the club may have some exciting new options.

The big one is of course AC Milan’s 20 year old striker Stephan El Shaarawy.

The Indie reports that the Milan club’s vice-president Adriano Galliani has indicated the club may sell striker Stephan El Shaarawy, who has been linked with Napoli, Manchester City and Arsenal.

The 20-year-old scored 16 times for the Rossoneri before Christmas and although his record in front of goal dropped off after the January arrival of Mario Balotelli from Manchester City, he is still regarded as a great prospect.

The downside for Arsenal fans is that Man City are also keen on the youngster, but then City have been linked with a lot of high profile strikers recently (as have Arsenal) so El Shaarawy may end up being an option. For now though the hot money is on him replacing Edinson Cavani at Napoli.

One rumour that refuses to die is the possible transfer of Nani to Arsenal. The player seems to have been deemed surplus to requirements at United and Wenger is known to be a fan. There were rumours of deal in the winter windows too. Now other clubs are sniffing around most notably Galatasary, and the rumour is that Manchester United will accept a bid of £8.5m for the player.

Given that he is just 27 years old and in theory entering his prime, that sounds like a bargain. Maybe Arsene will be tempted?

Finally Arsenal are said to have made inquiries about Benfica’s Paraguayan defender Lorenzo Melgarejo.

“Arsenal and Fenerbahce have enquired about Melgarejo. But so far there has been nothing concrete,” his agent told Radio Monumental.

Oddly Melgarejo is a left back and Arsenal have two pretty good players on their books for that position.



Football

Wilfried Bony – Arsenal’s next target? The pros and cons

By Stefano on June 12th, 2013

So it looks as if Arsenal won’t manage to sign either of the marquee strikers that they have allegedly been chasing for a while. Instead they have both bizarrely chosen to sign for the same club where at least one of them will end up warming the bench to accommodate Fernando Llorente. Bonkers eh?

Which then ushers in the next question – who will Arsenal sign to lead the line this year. David Villa is available, but at 31 and with injury issues, he isn’t a long term option. Then there’s Wayne Rooney who may yet prove to be marquee signing that Gunners fans have been dreaming about since that wad of cash hit the Arsenal bank account.

And there are also suggestions that Arsenal are very keen on Swansea sensation Michu.

But one striker who might be worth a serious punt is Wilfried Bony of Vitesse Arnhem.

The player, who finished as top striker in the Dutch league last year, has already given a come and get me plea to Premiership clubs.

“To play in the Premier League, one of the best leagues in the world, is a unique opportunity”, he told Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

“When the opportunity arises, I will fight to go. I am very unhappy with Vitesse.

“They have made promises that they have not kept.”

So what are the pros and cons of landing the player

1 He would be cheap – There would be no £30 million outlay to land the player he could go for as little as £10 million. Much depends on who else bids for him. Chelsea and Liverpool are reported to be interested and he would be an obvious replacement if Suarez quits.

2 He knows where the sticks are – Bony has scored 31 times in 30 games this season. That’s an astonishing record.

3 He is exactly what Arsenal needs – The Gunners created so many chances last season via the trickery of Cazorla and the pace of Walcott, yet quite often there was no one in the middle of the park to finish the job off. Bony has excellent positional play. He knows how to sniff out a goal. He is clinical too so with excellent service from the team he could well score a lot of goals for Arsenal.

4 He is still pretty young – He is 24. The sell-on fee might just be a little more than it is for David Villa then.

5 He has some interesting moves - Those goal celebrations are top drawer

And the cons

1 Those 30 goals were scored in one of Europe’s weaker leagues – There are no guarantees he would do the same in the Premiership against higher quality defenders.

2 He doesn’t sound like the most loyal of characters – He has spoken out a couple of times against the Vitesse management. That talk might sound alarm klaxons at Premier league clubs.

3 He’s Ivorian – Not a negative per se, but it means he’ll be off to the Cup Of Nations, which is never good a for a club trying to put a run together in late winter.



Football

Higuain and Jovetic set to snub Arsenal. So why can’t they sign a striker?

By Stefano on June 12th, 2013

I think most Arsenal fans have by now given up on the possibility of the club securing Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, but the Gonzalo Higuain saga has rumbled on and it seemed as if the club was in a good place to tempt the Real Madrid striker to come to the Premiership.

But if today’s Metro is to be believed it sounds like Arsenal have been mugged by the Old Lady – twice!

Arsenal are set to lose out on another striker to Juventus, with the Italian side closing on an instalment-based deal for Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain.

According to Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport, Madrid are to allow Juve to pay for the striker in three or four instalments following a meeting between the two clubs.

The paper also says that almost everything is in place apart from the transfer fee. In what might give Arsenal fans a sliver of hope Madrid want €30m, but Juve have so far only offered €22m.

So what next for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal then? I wonder if it might be back to Premiership and that double raid on Swansea to land both Ashley Williams and Michu?

And I wonder how Gunners fans will feel? Both players are high quality with a proven track record in the Premiership. But are they the marquee signings that were promised by Ivan Gazidis?

I do wonder if Arsenal’s laid back approach (or dithering in the transfer market if you are being cruel) has cost them. It seems crazy that Juve will now have three world class strikers on their books, yet Arsenal are struggling to sign one. Maybe it is a reflection of how far the club’s stock has fallen in recent years that they can’t land quality signings.

Or maybe is is all about cold, hard cash. Juve is offering the players better deals and even with that huge chunk of cash in the bank, Arsenal don’t seem to want to match what the Italians are offering.



Football

Spoof alert – ‘Man Utd ‘Confirm’ Robert Lewandowski signing on club website,’ yeah right!

By Stefano on June 11th, 2013

So Man United are very close to signing Borussia Dortmund’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski?

In fact they apparently trailed the news on their website earlier on today.

The post didn’t escape the eagle eye of who ate all the pies readers who took this screen grab.

lewandowski-man-utd

Weirdly the post was pulled not long after.

Well that’s the story, but it never existed in the first place. It is quite a clever spoof.

But what does the fact that it is so believable tell us?

Check this out.  And if it is about to happen what on earth is Wayne Rooney thinking?



Football

Arsenal update: Fellaini talks, Grenier news incoming, but not yet.

By Stefano on June 11th, 2013

After a flurry of activity it seems to have gone a bit quiet on the Marouane Fellaini to Arsenal front. Goal has a theory why. It says that…

The north Londoners are now waiting for Everton to make the Belgium international available for talks in order to begin negotiating terms.

Even if Fellaini agrees a package with Arsenal, the club are in no rush to complete the signing, as most of their key staff, including the medical team, are now on holiday and will not return to the club until the end of June.

It all sounds incredibly laid back. No worries about ex boss David Moyes sneaking in with an offer then, apparently.

Arsenal were also being made to wait by midfield target Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Clement Grenier. The player, who Wenger recently likened to Nasri says he will contemplate his next move when he returns from his holiday.

“I’m training here in Uruguay and Brazil,” Grenier told the Daily Express.

“It feels good to be far from France right now because I’ve heard a lot of things about me lately.

“I can’t give answers to everybody. I want to enjoy these 10 days of training. We will see about my future after the internationals, during my vacation.”

I wonder what the odds are on Arsenal not have made a significant signing by the end of the month?



Football

José Mourninho is back at Chelsea, but is he really the ‘happy one?’

By Stefano on June 11th, 2013

Simon Poulter welcomes back an old pal. But has he cheered up since last time?

With, precisely, the very first answer to the very first question posed yesterday at Mourniho’s official Stamford Bridge homecoming press conference, the Portuguese deadpanned, in that Jack Dee scowl way of his: “I am the Happy One.”

Instantly, we made the assumption that José was being ironic, a little knowing in his answer. Which, in fairness, was a response to the predictable reminder from the floor that during his original unveiling to the press, in 2004, he’d declared himself “Special”.

In, literally, a word, Mourninho marked his card as a property the media would never tire of poking with a stick to see what came out. And thus it has been ever since. And, yes, as everyone else has remarked, life is a little more fun with José around. Ron Manager he is not. Isn’t it?

Much of today’s presser, as journalists call them, dwelled on Mourinho’s temperament. Was he calmer? “Calmer? I believe so,” he responded, calmly, as if a) he was talking about emptying the dishwasher and b) he was expected to burst into a Basil Fawlty-style rage at the question.

Crazy stuff

We all know of the crazy, non-calm things Mourniho has done in the past: appearing to poke Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova in the eye, celebrating goals by knee-sliding across the technical area and, allegedly, being evacuated from Stamford Bridge in a laundry basket to avoid getting caught by UEFA’s secret police.

This was a rock star performance without the rock star pretensions. Musicians, when they host press conferences, have a habit of disappearing up their own arses, talking about the need to reconnect with this and get to the essence of that. Mourinho is resolutely not in that camp, although he did end the press conference, answering a question about his weaknesses, with:

“If I speak of them, I have to say I’m trying to improve them. You don’t speak about weaknesses with your enemy, and my enemy will read the papers and watch television. We hide our weaknesses. Every player, manager has weaknesses. You have to try to hide them. So I’m not giving that chance for the enemy… with respect because, in sports, an enemy is not really an enemy. I know my weaknesses, not much… not many… but I try to improve and hide them.”

So he’s not talking about his weaknesses, then. Still, he managed to crank the cool level up to 11, even when his speaking about “boys” sounded more like a disgraced priest than a Ron Atkinson giving it the full “boys done good” managerspeak.

His former partners are his new rivals

If anything there was something muted about José today. Not quite caged animal, but restrained. Calm. He gave opaque reference to talking to John Terry about the future (“I know what he can give, so let’s try to make him again the best player he can be”), gave nothing away about player acquisitions (beyond saying that it would be “normal” to bring in one or two) and spoke in somewhat glowing terms about how, since he departed British shores three of his “boys” – Steve Clarke, Brendan Rodgers and André Villas-Boas (later self-corrected to “not boys anymore”) had moved on to take charge of the very teams that will be pushing Chelsea next year in their assault on Manchester.

That, is what makes next season such an intriguing proposition. One particular comment that stood out today is that when Mourinho first arrived at Chelsea in 2004, Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal was the pace-setter. Nine years on, Wenger is the default elder statesman at the resident top end of the Premier League but with a reputation still struggling to maintain itself.

With the likes of Moyes and Pellegrini (himself due to be unveiled this week by Manchester City) settling in to their new clubs, and Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool champing at the bit, the competition around Mourinho will be far more intense than he’s experienced in Italy or Spain. Not that he will be bothered. Because he’ll be calm.

José’s performance today was just like those Chelsea teams he nurtured to back-to-back league titles in his first two seasons at the Bridge: it was businesslike, a little boring and well defended. Unlike other managers – belligerent (Ferguson), mad (Strachan), paranoid (Warnock), indifferently Gallic (Wenger) – José projected his version of cool. Not cool in the Steve McQueen sense, but cool in the…er…calm sense.

Is he worried about Roman?

Was he afraid of things coming unhinged again with Roman? “I hope I can go to the last day of the contract. If the club is happy and the club wants me to stay then I’ll be more than happy to stay.” You see? Calm.

But didn’t it go spectacularly pear-shaped in 2007? “I read and keep reading that I was fired and we had a complete breakdown in relationship. At the time we thought it was the best for both of us [to go our separate ways].” Still calm.

And what about Andres Iniesta’s claim that José “damaged” Spanish football while manager of Madrid? “I damaged Spanish football by being the manager that broke Barcelona dominance,” he responded. Calmly.

It was a typical audience with the sports press, I suppose. Inane questions designed to goad the subject were dealt with without any noticeable signs of exuberance.

Have you changed? “Do I have a different personality? No, but for sure I have a different approach and perspective,” without really saying what. Was he disappointed that neither Manchester United nor City had come in for him? “I am where I want to be – I wouldn’t change it for anything.” This was either glue-eyed rendering of the club Q&A or Mourinho’s interpretation of Keith Richards’ regular on-stage declaration: “It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere.”

So what did we learn?

Temperament aside, we learned very little today. Indeed, José did, very little. Throughout the entire 60-minute press conference his head hardly moved, his expression hardly changed. If he was happy to be there, it was impossible to tell. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that the blue touch paper is being kept desert dry. Because while ice may have been coursing through José’s veins this afternoon, it’s not why we can’t get enough of the guy.

Ever since his return to Chelsea was first mooted, he has been talked of like no other returnee to a football club I can ever think of. Before he’d even been announced, officially, as the new first team coach at Chelsea, column inches – from the front to the back pages, stopping off at the Women’s section en route – had been devoted to him.

With David Beckham retiring to add Miami to his collection of exotic operational hubs, and Sir Alex Ferguson stepping upstairs to start a new chewing gum mountain in the Old Trafford boardroom, Mourinho’s return to centre stage in the English sports media has injected some much-needed fairy dust into the line-up of somewhat dull technocrats that pervade the game.

Anyone who has ever met real stars – and I’m not talking about about reality show wannabees in a Mayfair nightclub, but proper, rock’n'roll, Hollywood celebrities – know that part of what makes them a star is their aura. Plenty have said that of Bill Clinton. No jokes please.

Mourinho has that aura. But rather than being a smug looking show pony (not sure why Simon Cowell comes to mind there), he has the record to back it up: two Champions League titles, a UEFA Cup, two league titles each in Portugal, England and Italy, the Spanish title, and domestic cup trophies in all four countries he’s coached in. And, as he pointed out, “At 50, I think I am still very young as a manager and I think it is like the beginning of a new period.” I can’t wait.

Article originally published here.



Football

Cesc Fabregas – the approach from Arsenal and an update from Spain

By Stefano on June 11th, 2013

Catalan paper Mundo Deportivo has a lengthy story on the future of Cesc Fabregas today and fortunately for us non-Catalan speakers much of it has been paraphrased here on Sportwitness.

Several key things emerge. Firstly that it does seem that both Man United and Arsenal have made an approach for the player, but they were just tentative inquiries. Given Cecs’s relationship with both Arsene Wenger and the club I can imagine that both sides would have been pretty candid.

The second and most important thing is that Barca will only sell Fabregas if he wants to leave and it seems unlikely that he does want to go.

Apparently…

A meeting was held on Sunday at Arenys de Munt and friends and family of the player grilled Barcelona’s vice-president of sport, Josep Maria Bartomeu, about reports Fabregas could be playing in the Premier League next season. Bartomeu put their mind at rest and said that Fabregas would only leave if he wanted to.

However Mundo does say that Fabregas has recently become a father for the first time and would rather his family were based in Barcelona than anywhere else. Which is odd as I thought his girlfriend was based in London.

Fabregas himself remains tight lipped about his future.

He is quoted by La Informacion as saying

“I have not opened my mouth ever. It took me a lot to get where I am and I won’t throw it away for nothing. I will say if I want it to be something else, what I really want is to succeed at Barca, it has been my childhood dream.”

Hopefully from Arsenal’s perspective this will resolve the issue for now. I think one of the reasons why Arsene Wenger hasn’t been that proactive in the transfer market so far and especially in seconding a creative striker, was because he was waiting to see if Cesc was to become available. If he is not then the chase for Rooney, Jovetic and others can continue.



Football

Lewandowski to Arsenal?! Now that would be a marquee signing

By Stefano on June 10th, 2013

The future of Borussia Dortmund’s genius Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is up in the air again after his club disclosed that he would not be following his team mate Mario Gotze to Euro Champions Bayer Munich.

Retuers is reporting that the Dortmund club won’t sell to Munich because they haven’t actually had an offer for the Bayern.

“Robert Lewandowski will definitely not transfer to Bayern Munich in 2013,” Watzke told Bild newspaper. “This is final. We have informed Robert and his advisors. The Bayern case is closed because there was no written offer.”

Lewandowski’s contract ends next year, so the club either need to get him to re-sign – which has apparently been unsuccessful – or move him on.

The news from Dortmund has of course put a Premiership clubs on red alert with several papers linking both Chelsea and Manchester United.

The Reds are possibly favourites as they have been allegedly been tracking the player for some time. But Leandowski would still be in the shadow of a certain RVP were he to sign. If he moves to Chelsea he will be their top striker. Interestingly if he signs for United then that could be the catalyst that shifts Wayne Rooney to another club, possibly Arsenal.

Ivan Gazidis is correct, Arsenal also have the cash to fund the move for a player like the Pole. Lewandowski has been mentioned in dispatches with Arsenal over the last year, and he is the type of striker that the club needs. It is clear that Arsenal are casting their net wide wide at the moment with potential transfers. Might Lewandowski the left field one that really excites the fans?



Football

‘Wayne Rooney is Arsenal’s priority’ – and five reasons why he might be tempted

By Stefano on June 7th, 2013

The Daily Mail has run a story this morning which may or may not shed a bit more light on the Wayne Rooney and his Arsenal possible transfer.

The paper says that

Arsenal hope a package of around £170,000-per-week and a multi-million pound signing on fee – plus the security of a five year contract – could persuade Rooney to take a pay cut from his current £250,000-per-week deal at Old Trafford, that has two years left to run.

It also says

But getting a sensational move for Rooney over the line remains Arsenal’s priority ahead of next season. And Gazidis insists the club, who have in excess of £70million to splash on transfer fees this summer, have the financial structure in place to land established stars like Rooney.

Many Arsenal fans seem very cynical about the move for Rooney and justifiably so. Arsenal haven’t bought a high profile player from United in the Premiership era. To join the club the player would almost certainly be taking a significant pay cut. Rooney is also settled in the north west where he has lived all his life.

In short there are lots of good reasons why Rooney won’t be leaving Manchester United and joining Arsenal, but as time goes by it does feel like Arsenal are serious in their pursuit of the England player.

Here then are a few reasons why Rooney might just be Arsenal bound.

1 It is not a bad financial offer - If The Mail is right then Rooney is taking an £80k per week pay cut. The again if he does stay there are no guarantees that United will offer him anything like that amount of money. Of course he could hang on another year – he has two year left on his contract – which would put him in a very good negotiating position. But another year of being eclipsed by Van Persie and whoever else United bring in could bring that value down further. He could possibly get more money from PSG, but who is to say they are going to bid for him and besides would he really rather live in Pairs than London? Wayne on The Champs-Elysees? Not sure…

2 He would be the star at Arsenal – I get the feeling that Wayne just wants to be loved. He isn’t feeling that at the moment at United. A move to Arsenal would trigger a huge wave of excitement in North London – just think how many Rooney shirts would be sold over the summer?

3 He could lead the line – Ferguson has been playing Rooney in a deeper position and it is one that suits some aspects of his game but not others. He wants to lead the line.  Who knows what Moyes will do with him? At Arsenal he would be the first choice striker.

4 He would be joining up with some pals – Arsenal has a good crop of English youngsters who, if their body language in recent friendlies is anything to go by, get on well with the United star. Playing alongside Wilshere, Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain might be a pull in the way it was to Ashley Cole when he left Arsenal to join his England mates at Chelsea.

5 The fact that Gazidis is being bullish about the cash and about Rooney - At a press conference Ivan Gazidis was asked if the Gunners could afford a £20 million deal, plus £200,00-a-week wage.

He responded…

“Of course we could do that. We could do more than that.”

“We have a certain amount which we’ve held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you.

“If Arsene thinks signing big names is the right thing to do, yes. The fact is this year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower.

“We can look at some options that weren’t really in our financial capability. It’s a progression over the next two seasons. It’s quite significant for the club.”

Arsenal would be a new start for the England striker. It seems that the ball is very much in his court.

Incidentally The Mail has the full transcript of what Ivan Gazidis said yesterday here.

 



Football

Arsenal fans – is Marouane Fellaini the signing you have been waiting for?

By Stefano on June 7th, 2013

Facebook and Twitter went ballistic last night when both The Times and Goal ran with the news that Arsenal had allegedly triggered the £22 million release clause and were bent on signing Everton’s midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

However it seems that not all Arsenal fans are overjoyed by the prospect of the big haired Belgian donning the red and white.

As well as lots of excited Gooners there were comments like this.

You are joking aren’t you. Fellaini would be a crap signing. Don’t rate him as a footballer – he can’t pass. He is only good at heading and we don’t cross. What a waste of money.

The theory is that Arsene Wenger will play Fellaini in a more defensive way than he plays for Everton. With the Belgian protecting the defence it will give more free rein for Arsenal’s talented attacking midfielders – Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott and whoever else they sign – to run riot.

Last season four Arsenal players scored more than ten goals, with the Belgian stopper in place they might equal or even surpass that next year.

But is £22 million a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a defensive midfielder?

And is he really what Arsenal need? Arteta and Ramsey seem to be gelling well as a midfield pairing, so why add Fellaini?

Tell us in the comments and vote in the poll.



Football

Arsenal update: Rooney latest, Vermaelen on his way, Gervinho exit

By Stefano on June 7th, 2013

After last night’s shock news that the Gunners have made a bid for Everton’s talismanic midfielder Marouane Fellaini things are a bit quieter on the gossip front this morning.

There’s a little more about Wayne Rooney plus some whispers about a couple of players who might be on their way out.

Firstly Rooney, and Arsenal’s CE has been talking about how the club can now comfortably afford both a big transfer and his astronomical wages.

At a press conference Ivan Gazidis was asked if the Gunners could afford a £20 million deal, plus £200,00-a-week wage.

He responded…

“Of course we could do that. We could do more than that.”

“We have a certain amount which we’ve held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you.

“If Arsene thinks signing big names is the right thing to do, yes. The fact is this year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower.

“We can look at some options that weren’t really in our financial capability. It’s a progression over the next two seasons. It’s quite significant for the club.”

So the big question revolves around whether Wayne Rooney wants to come. In The Mirror yesterday Arsenal authority John Cross said that he thought it would be ‘easier for Rooney to stay at United.’ He will first have to make his peace with new boss David Moyes though.

Meanwhile Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo is claiming that Thomas Vermaelen is now very close to the exit door at Arsenal. Following a season blighted by injury and poor form the Belgian centre back Mundo says that Barcelona would be cheap enough and keen enough to join Barcelona.

Finally is Gervinho now surplus to requirements? French team Marseilles hope so. They want to take the player on loan says Le 10 Sport.

Marseilles finished second in the French league last year, but face more competition this time round from a big spending PSG and Monaco.



Football

Reports that Arsenal have made a sensational £22 million bid for Marouane Fellaini

By Stefano on June 6th, 2013

UPDATE 10-40PM – The Times is reporting it too

Yep it is one of those Goal exclusives, so make of that what you will, but the website is saying that Arsenal have bid £22 million for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

The website reports…

The Gunners have activated the release clause in the Everton midfielder’s contract and are confident of wrapping up a deal for the 25-year-old in the coming weeks.

Goal understands that Arsenal made the club-record bid on Wednesday, the same day that Roberto Martinez was appointed the new Everton manager.

It is believed that Fellaini’s buy-out clause is £22m for a top-four club, and £24m for a club that finishes outside the Champions League places.

So Fellaini eh? Arsenal have a real need of a defensively minded, powerful midfielder and Fellaini certainly fits the bill. The player has been used in a more forward position for Everton in recent years but could be deployed very effectively in front of the back four at Arsenal. Fellaini is still close to Arteta and the Spaniard has apparently encouraged both parties to consider the move. There are rumours that Wenger tried to buy Fellaini in the last minute transfer scramble in summer 2011 – but ended up with a different Everton player in Arteta.

It would explain why Wenger has been slow to make moves for other defensively minded players like Alex Song and Etienne Capoue, both of whom have been linked with the club for a long time.

It is possible that the move will push David Moyes into raiding his old club and trumping Arsenal’s bid. Although it should be noted that there may be an agreement – gentlemanly or otherwise – that Moyes leaves his old players alone for a period of time.

With all that Premiership experience a bidding war surely is very likely.

So Arsenal fans – can you see this one happening? Or are Goal.com’s sources not as reliable as they might hope.

Here’s a few suggestions as to why Wenger has been slow in securing a marquee signing.




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