Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal’

Football

Arsenal update: Has Arsene Wenger lost the support of Arsenal fans?

By Stefano on January 12th, 2013

So does Arsene still know? After seven trophy-less seasons and the exodus of many of the team’s highest profile players many Gunners fans aren’t so sure.

The Daily Mirror reports that a group of Arsenal fans think it is time for Wenger to change his approach or leave the club. In fact nearly 50% of them want him to go now.

The survey was undertaken by the Black Scarf Movement who have been active in the last few months in expressing their dissatisfaction with both the board and the manager, so those figures, while not too shocking, are actually probably fairly unrepresentative of Arsenal supporters as a whole.

Raj Patel, of the group told the Mirror: “We are not an anti-Wenger group, but we are responsible for what our fans want and what they are thinking.

“The overwhelming thing for us is that the percentage of fans who want a change of board is in the 90s and the same goes for those who want [share-holder] Alisher Usmanov to have a place on the board.

“Our members, from this survey, clearly feel that the current board is achieving financial stability without being able to compete on the pitch – football is all about what you do on the pitch.”

The survey can be seen here

Even if they aren’t necessarily paid up of members of the ‘Arsene Go’ club there is clearly a huge amount of dissatisfaction among the fan at the way the club is being run.

As an Arsenal fan at the moment I see a club lurching from crisis to another with a manager who has a nasty habit of saying things that enrage the Arsenal fans.

Van Persie slip

The latest slip is in The Sun and concerns the incredible form of the Emirates’ favourite Robin Van Persie.

Wenger said.

“It is painful to see Manchester United so far in front of us.”

“You know when you sell Robin van Persie to United that will be the case. He is one of the best strikers in the world and you know he will score goals. He got 30 for us in the league last year.”

These sound like the words of a man who had nothing to do with the sale of the player six months ago to one of Arsenal’s direct rivals. Had Arsenal held Van Persie to his contract, or sold the player to a club out side the Premiership then United would not be that far ahead of Arsenal. Of course the club would be £22 million worse off but…

Also painful is the protracted contract negotiations with Theo Walcott. I know these things can take time, but the team really should have had this wrapped up prior to the transfer window. If Walcott does decide to leave then Arsenal will need some reinforcements and quick and a last minute scramble – like the undignified mess of August 2011 – would be a nightmare.

Then there’s the lack of activity in the transfer market. Arsenal have a fixture run in January which is going to stretch their resources, and yet while our rivals have strengthened their squads, Arsenal seem a long way away from buying the striker, defensive midfielder and left back they so desperately need.

To cap it all The Sun has a story about how the Arsenal 2013 diary features one Robin Van Persie. Ok it is a small thing, but it seems to reflect the chaos that engulfing the club.

Things may be calm and ordered at The Emirates and we might even go on to finish third and scrape a trophy or two (but I don’t really believe that either), but that isn’t the impression of the way things are the moment.

Personally I think, along with probably the majority of Arsenal fans, that Arsene has half a season to sort things out. If Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League at the very least, then it might be time to have a re-think, and that may or may not include Arsene at the helm.



Football

Arsenal rival Fulham in chase for Dutch keeper

By Stefano on January 11th, 2013

It seems that Arsenal’s search for a new keeper didn’t end with speculative moves for Pepe Reina. According to an Italian paper Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg fancies a move to the Premiership and Arsenal and Fulham are competing for his £3.5million signature.

The story broke first in Gazzetta dello Sport (Stekelenburg is current at Roma) which suggest that both Arsenal and Fulham are negotiationing with the club to sign the player.

Stekelenburg has had a tricky few years in Roma since moving in summer 2011 and these days warms the bench behind Bogdan Lobont. Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk rates him though for since the retirement of Edwin van der Sar from the national team, Stekelenburg has been the first-choice keeper.

Whether he would be warming the bench at The Emirates is a moot point, but Arsene Wenger certainly needs serious competition for Wojciech Szczesny.

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Arsene Wenger ‘cautious, but optimistic’ that Theo Walcott will sign

By Stefano on January 11th, 2013

If you thought it was a done deal then think again. In spite of endless speculation that the player was on the verge of re-signing for Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger has told reporters (and it has been confirmed by BBC Radio Five Live) that he is ‘cautious, but optimistic’ that Theo Walcott will sign a new contract.

In some ways the news that the deal still has a way to go is not surprising given that Arsenal are linked once again with several new players including Palace’s Wilfrioed Zaha, who would be a direct replacement for the England winger/striker

Wenger full statement was…

“We’re on a good road with Theo’s negotiations. I’m more optimistic this week than last week. The discussions have progressed smoothly but slowly. As long as nothing is signed, you are cautious. I’m optimistic we’ll get to a happy conclusion.”

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Arsenal update: Wilfried Zaha talks and ‘favourites’ to land Loic Remy

By Stefano on January 11th, 2013

After a couple of quiet days the Arsenal transfer rumour machine has been very active in the last few hours linking the club with several new signings.

The Indie has a pair of stories claiming that Wenger has made a move for the talented Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, while it also suggests Arsenal are now favourite to scoop Marseilles’ experienced striker Loic Remy.

Zaha had been assumed in the last few days to definitely be United bound, and Wenger himself poured a bit of cold water on the  rumours a few weeks ago. Now it appears that the chase is back on.

The Indie says

Arsenal have certainly been active observers of the winger, about whom United have opened discussions with Palace, with the north London club’s chief scout, Steve Rowley, present at several of his games.

Admittedly no other papers are saying that Arsenal have a chance to land the 20 year old – the rest are going with him signing for United and being loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.

The Indie, and a lot of other papers, also have the story that Arsene Wenger is making a late move to sign Marseilles striker Loic Remy. The 26 year old, who has been chased by QPR and Newcastle is apparently an Arsenal fan and would cost the Gunners in  the region of £10 milion.

The paper says

In his first two seasons Rémy scored 37 goals in all competitions, but this campaign has been a struggle.

Inter had been keen on a move for the forward, but they preferred to offer a player as part-exchange in the deal and that has not appealed to Marseilles. Wenger is also keen on Anderlecht holding midfielder Lucas Biglia.

Lastly David Villa showed some form last night in scoring two excellent goals in Barcelona’s 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba. According to the gossip Villa wants to go, Barca want keep him and Wenger is in two minds. I don’t think we have heard the last of this yet.



Football

Breaking: French newspaper says Marouane Fellaini will be a Chelsea player by the weekend

By Stefano on January 10th, 2013

Some bad news for United, Arsenal and, let’s not forget, Everton fans. French newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that the Blue’s talismanic midfielder Marouane Fellaini could be a Chelsea player by the end of the week.

The report, which has also made the BBC sports news , is that that the 25-year old will sign a five-year deal with the club, for a fee of £22m. He will earn £4m a year.

It has been widely reported that the player has a £22 million transfer trigger fee and it seems that Chelsea are prepared to meet it.

Fellaini has made a total of 155 appearances for Everton, scoring 29 goals. His form this year has been scintillating.

Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer but it seems unlikely that Arsenal would match the asking price. With the move seemingly imminent will Fergie make his move now?



Football

Is this the best team goal of the season? Nope, not Barca or Arsenal, but some Greek kids

By Stefano on January 10th, 2013

Yep it is a contender for the best team goal of the season, but there’s no Iniesta pulling strings, Walcott speeding through the middle or Van Persie finishing in style. It is actually a bunch of Greek kids from the AO Giannina club, who kick off and then Tikki-taka the ball all the way though to the opposition’s goal. They take 20 passes and the opposition, Atromitos, don’t get anywhere near the ball

It is utterly sublime, and augurs well for the future of Greek football. Now what are the odds on a repeat of the 2004 Euros win?



Football

Arsenal update: David Villa deal back on? Afellay targeted. Shaw going nowhere. Diaby back against City?

By Stefano on January 10th, 2013

Barcelona President Sandro Rosell may have told Arsene Wenger that he is not prepared to sell Spanish international striker David Villa in the window. But it seems that hasn’t put the Arsenal manager off. Caught Offside is reporting that Arsenal are still engaging with Barcelona in discussions about Villa and want to sign another of their players.

Long term Gunners target Ibrahim Afellay is apparently back on Wenger’s radar and the club are said to be very keen on the versatile attacker who is currently on loan at German side Schalke. Afellay struggled in his first season at Barcelona though his loan period – which has yielded four goals in 13 games – has been slightly more successful. The player was also a key man in Schalke’s recent Champions League victory over the Gunners.

There are very few hard facts on the Caught Offside story, so make of that what you will. But Afellay has been on Wenger’s radar for a while and could be picked up relatively cheaply. And as for Rosell’s pronouncements on Villa, how many times have clubs, especially Arsenal, gone back on their word when the right deal came along? We’ll have to wait and see.

Another of Wenger’s targets is happy to stay where he is for now anyway. Southampton’s highly rated left back Luke Shaw told the club’s website he is staying put.

“I’ve spoken with the chairman about a long-term plan for me at the club and just to end all speculation, I will be committing my future to Southampton.” 

“I’m not going anywhere. I think Southampton is the place to be for young kids like me.

“I’m playing in the Premier League in the first team and that’s what anyone wants to be doing and I just want to carry on doing that.

“If you look back, you’ve had Ads [Lallana] come through the youth system, and now he’s captain of the first team. Prowsey [James Ward-Prowse] has just signed a new deal and that’s what I want to be doing.”

Finally Arsenal’s injury-prone midfielder Abou Diaby played 65 minutes of the club’s most recent Under-21s league game without any reaction from his thigh problem. He may even make the squad to face Man City at the weekend.

Pic Wikipedia



Football

Arsenal update: Walcott to be offered £25million to stay. German defender linked

By Stefano on January 9th, 2013

Worryingly for Arsenal fans keen to see Arsene Wenger strengthen his squad it has been a fairly quiet morning for transfer rumours. The big one is the seemingly never ending saga of Theo Walcott and his new contract.

In an exclusive – ain’t they always – The Mail says that player will get a five-year deal worth in the region of £88,000-per-week, plus a £3million signing-on bonus, and that the club are now confident he will ‘sign da ting.’

The rest of the article says nothing new, but if true, it does seem as if the deal might be about to be done.

If it is then Wenger, Gazidis and co need to get their skates on. There is a big run of games looming and still no signings. Yesterday Barcelona President Sandro Rossel confirmed that his star striker David Villa, was gong nowhere in the window, so is it all back on for Atletico’s's Adrian Lopez? It is all quiet on that one.

TalkSport have linked Arsenal with one new player this morning, but it is not striker. The website says that a plethora of interested Premier League parties have been alerted by Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes’s decision to shelve contract talks with his Bundesliga club, including Arsenal.

The player, who has won ten German caps, is a central defender who would rival Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen for a place in the side.

On one level this sounds unlikely given the talent Arsenal have at the back. They have however leaked six goals in their last three games, so maybe Arsene is pondering a change.



Football

Man United update: Is Wilfried Zaha a done deal? Danny Wellbeck on loan to Reading?

By Stefano on January 9th, 2013

So have United done a deal to sign Crsytal Palace’s tricky winger Wilfried Zaha? The Telegraph seems to think so. The paper believes that other clubs have been frightened off bidding for the player because Fergie has already agreed to sign him

The Telgraoph says

The main issue is when, not if, it will happen with Crystal Palace hoping to keep the £12 million-rated 20-year-old until the summer at least.

Palace are hoping for a deal that would enable the player to stay at the club on loan for the rest of the season.

Zaha was attracting a lot of interest from Premiership clubs a few weeks ago. Arsenal have dropped out of the race because it seem that the club will now re-sign Theo Walcott while Spurs distanced themselves from bidding for Zaha yesterday.

Meanwhile United striker Danny Wellbeck is reported by The Mail as being on the verge of joining Reading on loan. There have been few opportunities for the player at Old Trafford this season and a move to another club might help him re-ignite his United career in the log run.



Football

Arsenal update: Gunners target Lucas Biglia wants move. Should Ramsey go on loan? Villa staying at Barca

By Stefano on January 8th, 2013

Arsenal’s pursuit of a new midfielder continues to today with several papers reporting that Wenger once again is targeting Anderlecht’s tough tacking midfielder Lucas Biglia.

The Mirror says that Wenger has been put on alert because the Argentinian has told the Belgian club that he wants to move to a bigger league.

This sounds like pure speculation. Admittedly Biglia has been watched by the Gunners for a while and yes Arsenal haven’t really replaced Alex Song, so maybe keep half an eye on this one.

Arsenal have also been linked (admittedly by the papers not the club) with Rennes’ Yann M’Villa and Wigan’s James McCarthy both of whom are solid in the tackle and good at carrying the ball forward to strikers, but there has been no word from the club.

Meanwhile ex Arsenal striker John Hartson says that he fears that Aaron Ramsey is going backwards at the Emirates and needs a loan deal to sharpen him up.

Hartson points to the fact that in 25 appearances this season, Ramsey has completed 90 minutes on just six occasions. Arsenal manager has also played him several times on the wing, which is arguably not his strongest position.

Hartson told the BBC.

“I don’t think playing on the left, wide left, is his position. [Against Swansea on Sunday] he looked lost at times.”

“I just think he [Ramsey] needs that run of games.”

“Maybe if he did go out on loan because he doesn’t seem to start many games at Arsenal now and when he does start he’s brought off and he doesn’t look happy.”

Given the fact that Ramsey has just signed a new contract and Arsenal are short of midfielders a loan move would seem highly unlikely. What do you think?

BREAKING – The Indie reports that Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has said potential suitors can forget about signing Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer.

“I completely rule out the transfer of Villa during the winter market,” Rosell told Catalan radio station RAC1.

“He is ours and we need him, there is a lot of the season left.”

Full story here. However Barca have ruled out selling Villa before and then transfer noise has got louder, so I don’t think this one is completely over



Football

Arsenal update: Walcott about to sign, M’Vila holding out for a big club

By Stefano on January 8th, 2013

Goal.com is running with ‘an exclusive’ this morning that Theo Walcott is close to signing a new deal at Arsenal. The website says that he ‘will put pen to paper on a deal that runs until 2017.’

Arsenal have apparently offered the England player around £90,000-a-week and that salary will be supplemented by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee.

Of course until they see a smiling Arsene and Theo many Arsenal fans won’t believe that a deal has been signed, but this does have a ring of truth about it. The gossip emanating from The Emirates for the past week or so has been that Walcott is on the verge of signing a new deal and the gap between the two parties was closing.

Wenger has also acceded to Waclott’s wishes to let the player start as a striker for The Gunners. He has certainly looked sharp in that position scoring four goals in give games.

The importance of the deal is that it now gives Wenger time to strengthen Arsenal’s comparatively under nourished squad. The club have been linked with goalkeepers, left backs, central defenders, central midfielders, wingers and strikers, though how many new players end up at The Emirates remains to be seen.

One player who hasn’t yet had discussions with the club is Rennes’ midfielder Yann M’Villa. Goal is suggesting that the player has turned down a move to QPR because he is holding out for a move to a bigger club.



Football

Pep Guardiola says he wants a job. But where will he be next season? Bayern? Chelsea?

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

Ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed that his extended sabbatical in New York is going to come to an end soon and that he is looking for a new job.

The 41 year old told the press conference ahead of today’s Ballon d’Or ceremony that he will be managing again.

Guardiola said

“Yes, I would like to come back [to coaching]. I don’t have a team, I don’t know, but I would like to go back to coaching. My decision has been taken to coach, but beyond that there is no decision taken.”

However Guardialo wouldn’t be drawn as to where he might be in a few months time

“It would be a lack of respect to other coaches to speak about any team that is being run by a coach anywhere in the world.”

There will be no shortage of suitors for the well dressed, uber tactician. Chelsea have long been favourites to land the Catalan, and the fact that they only currently have a temporary manager in Rafa Benitez underlines that they may be looking for a new coach come the end the season.

The key question for Guardiola is whether he would be willing to work for a club that has such a high turn over of managers? If not the two Manchester clubs could be options – though this would require Ferguson to retire or Mancini to end the year with no silverware.

Paddy Power us running a book on his next destination and rates Chelsea of Bayern Munich as his most likely role, followed by Man City.

Where do you think he will end up? We ran a poll on the site a few months back – which you can see here.



Football

Would Frank Lampard leave Chelsea for another Premiership club? Everton? Man United? Arsenal?

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

So it appears that Frank Lampard is on his way out of Chelsea. The departure of the 34 year old midfielder, who has been at the club for 11 years, has a whiff of ravens leaving the Tower of London about it. But his exit from the Blues was pretty much confirmed at the weekend with the player expected to depart in the summer.

But where will Frank be off to next? According to Goal today he isn’t short of offers. The website says that Everton have already had an offer rejected and that Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are among the clubs who have asked to be kept informed of the 34-year-old’s situation. The Daily Mail is running the story too.

At first glance it seems unlikely that the ultra loyal Lampard would ever go and play for one of Chelsea’s rivals. However, he does want to continue playing and, according to Goal again has ruled out a stint in Italy or Spain.

The obvious destination for the player would then be the MLS following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

The key question though is does the player think his carer at a top level is finished? And is now the right time to head west? Given his time again would Beckham have moved to the MLS when he did when he arguably had at least a couple of years when he could have played in a premium European league? Lampard is older than Beckham was when he moved to the Galaxy, but the Chelsea player seems very fit, not too lacking in speed or agility and certainly still has a keen eye for as goal.

Maybe it is due to diet, or better injury management, but over footballers seem to be playing longer and older players are more in demand than they used to be. Van Persie went for £25 million while nudging 30, and Arsenal may be about to spend £16 million on a 31 year old. At United Scholes and Giggs, who are closer to 40, seem to be going on forever.

Lampard might be too ‘True Blue’ to consider signing for one of Chelsea’s direct rivals, but then again he knows he will have one last big pay day and maybe money might trump sentimental loyalty. And would the move to United be so bad? Fergie apparently would sign the player tomorrow and the way in which the United boss has extended the careers of several of his players might swing it.

The other alternative would be a return to his first club West Ham. With Cole now at the club and move to the Olympic Stadium in the offing I wonder if Frank might see the East London club as a project that he could help develop.

Pic Mark Freeman (Wikipedia)



Football

Man United and Spurs battle to sign Wilfried Zaha

By Stefano on January 6th, 2013

With Arsenal dropping out of the race (possibly because the deal with Theo Walcott is as good as done) Man United and Spurs have been battling it out for the signature of Crystal Palace’s highly promising winger Wilfried Zaha. Spurs were apparently first to contact the club about the winger, but Fergie, a huge fan of the player has been monitoring the progress of the talks.

According to The Mirror
it is Spurs who are in pole position.

Manchester United boss Fergie has now made an official move for the Eagles kid, but Palace supremo Steve Parish is refusing to talk to the Old Trafford giants.

And Ferguson will be furious to discover that Parish will meet Tottenham supremo Levy tomorrow to thrash out Zaha’s future.

The two clubs are already at loggerheads over Spurs’ deal for Ezekiel Fryers.

The Mail reports that Spurs bid for Zaha is around £10 million and part of the deal is that the player would have to be loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.

Read our top transfer target list here

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Arsenal update: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and James McCarthy targeted and Wenger phones David Villa.

By Stefano on January 6th, 2013

Is Arsene Wenger losing interest in French bad boy Yann M’Villa? Possibly because according to the Mirror he has a new midfielder on  his radar, Wigan’s highly rated Republic of Ireland player James McCarthy.

McCarthy has been very consistent this season and was highly impressive  when Arsenal beat Wigan a few weeks ago. The Mirror reports that Arsenal will offer Wigan £8milion for the player, but there’s very little to detail back the claim up.

The same paper also suggests that with Arsenal finally offloading players – Djorou and Chamakh have already left on loan and Squillaci and Arshavin are expected to follow – Wenger will redouble his efforts to sign Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbwia, who can play across the defence and in midfield.

The Sunday People has an update on the chase for David Villa suggesting that Arsene Wenger has called the Barcelona player to encourage him to sign for the Gunners, although the Catalan club are apparently now hinting that they want to hold on to Villa until the summer.

Read our top transfer target list here

Pic Wikipedia




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