Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal’

Football

Lewis Holtby interesting Liverpool and Arsenal

By Stefano on December 27th, 2012

Well Schalke might have tied down one of major stars to a new deal in the guise of Klaas Jan Hunteklaar, but now they need to work hard to keep another of their key players at Gelsenkirchen.

According to Goal 22year old midfielder Lewis Holtby has decided against renewing his contract with the Bundesliga club and is eyeing up a move to the Premiership.

Holtby is high on the list of targets of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer (Holtby showed good form against Arsenal in the Champions League) and was linked with the player in November.

The German star, who has an English father, would be free to leave Schalke in the summer under the Bosman ruling and so a move in the January window seems a very real possibility.

Holtby, who is apparently an Everton fan, was reported to have demanded almost £5 million a year to commit to Schalke. The player’s agent Markus Noack rubbished those rumours, telling Goal.com that such a figure had been “plucked from the air”.

Pic PA



Accessories, Football

Arsenal pursue French striker who has a knack of scoring spectacular goals

By Stefano on December 26th, 2012

With Arshavin apparently on his way to Reading and a number of clubs competing for Chamakh Arsenal clearly has space for a striker or two. One totally left field suggestion has come today from French radio station RMC.

In a story reported by LadyArse the club are being linked with a move for 21 year old French forward Anthony Knockaert. The player is currently at Leicester City and is under contract until 2015. He has had a good-ish season so far for The Foxes scoring five goals in 21 appearances and delivering four assists.

This seems like a bit of a long shot – but then so did Cark Jenkinson and Joel Campbell. This also might be an agent trying to get a bit of publicity for his client. It seems that the player is on his way out of Leicester as he is in hot water with Foxes boss Nigel Pearson after being arrested and bailed following a public order incident a few weeks ago.

Knockaert began his career at Guingamp and has represented France at both under 20 and under 21 levels.

He has a penchant for spectacular goals. Both of these beauties scored against Huddersfield in October are goal of the season contenders. Check out the outrageous flying back heel.



Football

Wesley Sneijder on his way to London? Spurs favourites, but don’t rule out Arsenal

By Stefano on December 26th, 2012

There have been some interesting rumours about Inter Milan’s Dutch playmaker in the last few days. His wife recently tweeted

“We are about to emigrate. It should happen in early January and we are looking for a nice place for our family.”

Though she did retract the tweet soon after.

Now Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri has told TalkSPORT that Tottenham have agreed personal terms with Sneijder.  The Mirror has the story too. The rumour is likely to spark interest from Arsenal , whose manager Arsene Wenger reiterated yesterday that he was only interested in buying expectational players. Wenger has been keen on Sneijder before (he apparently talked to Inter about the player twice in the summer), but was unable to make a move for him because of lack of finance and the fact that Sneijder allegedly had ongoing issues with Robin Van Persie.

Sneijder would be available now at the cut price of £10 million – considerably less than the £24 million Arsenal secured for another 29 Robin Van Persie.

Whether the Spurs deal goes ahead depends on if the two clubs can thrash out a value for the player for the player and that other clubs don’t come in with bigger offers. Sneijder is thought to favour a move to the Premiership and apparently fancies living in London.

The only huge question mark hanging over the story is that Spurs are currently not in the Champions League and although they are in the mix to qualify this year, there is no certainty that they will finish in the top four.

Oh, that and the fact that he is paid £200,000 a week by Inter, a figure that neither of the London clubs would match.

Pic PA



Football

Arsenal in for yet another Spanish striker?

By Stefano on December 24th, 2012

Not a good 48 hours for Arsene Wenger in the transfer market with Barcelona confirming that they won’t be letting go of David Vila and Klass Jan Huntelaar signing a new contract at Schalke. There’s no updates on Ba, Llorente and Lopez either.

TalkSport, however, seem to think they have found the answers to Arsenal’s striking problems in the Seville striker Alvaro Negredo. The player has apparently been on Arsenal’s (and Spurs apparently) radar for some time now and TalkSport reports;

Now, economic uncertainty at the club means that the Andalucians are reportedly willing to listen to offers, and it looks like both Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to test their hand. Sevilla are believed to be holding out for around £17m.

Negredo made his first real impression at Real Madrid before signing for Almeria in 2007 where he scored an impressive 32 goals in 73 appearances. He then ended up at Seville, via a quick return to Real Madrid, and has been one of their star players ever since.

Negredo ticks many of Wenger’s boxes in that he is good at linking up with midfielders – so could be a great partner for Cazorla – is strong in the air and has a good engine. Just like Lopez, he is a quality player who Wenger might think he can help elevate to a great one.



Football

Spurs make the first move for Wilfried Zaha – but Arsene and Fergie are waiting in the wings

By Stefano on December 23rd, 2012

Last night Wilfried Zaha added a few more pounds to his price tag. In the game between Crystal Palace and Huddersfield he scored the kind of wonder goal (watch it here) that will have Premiership managers drooling.

It seems to have spurred at least one manager into action with The Daily Mirror reporting that AVB is about to hit Palace with £8 million bid, that’s a guaranteed sum up front of around £6m, plus extras and bonuses Although Palace boss Ian Holloway has continually stressed that Zaha is going nowhere in the window and has even sent hands off messages to Arsene Wenger, if the money gets too high the England starlet is likely be playing Premierhsip football in 2013.

Whether Fergie or Wenger, both long term admirers of Zaha, bid depends much on whether they keep or sell existing squad members. Fergie might need to offload Nani before launching his bid, while Wenger sees Zaha as the perfect replacement for Theo Walcott. Wenger has spent big on Championship players with big potential before. He paid £12million, plus another £3 million in add-ons, to secure the services of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

Zaha is reported to be an Arsenal fan, and has lived in London for most of his life, which ought to be music for Wenger’s ears. Then again plenty of Arsenal supporting kids have ended up at The Lane. This is going to be fascinating to watch.



Football

The lowdown on Adrian Lopez – Arsenal’s next striker?

By Stefano on December 23rd, 2012

A few days ago Arsene Wenger told the BBC that he was only looking to buy exceptional players during the transfer window. And then, in words that will haunt every Gunners fan for the next few weeks, he added that exceptional players were hard to come by. So there still remains a possibility that there will be no new additions to the squad in the coming weeks.

One player that Wenger rates as exceptional is Atletico Madrid’s striker Adrian Lopez. The player has been on Wenger’s radar for quite a while now and there seem to be encouraging noises coming from Spain that a deal to secure Lopez is more than a possibility.

But is Lopez the marquee signing that Arsenal fans have been dreaming of. There’s no denying that his form last season, in which he bagged 19 goals, was scintillating. Things however have become more problematic this season as he has been eclipsed by Radamel Falcao (now that would be a marquee signing) and Diego Costa.

The theory runs that cash strapped Madrid are desperate to cling on to Falcao and realise that by selling Lopez they can hang on to their star.

Lopez also fits the Wenger template in so many other ways in that he is young (24), not going to cost too much cash (he has a buy out clause of £15 million, but his wages would be much less than £100k per week demanded by Huntelaar and Villa) and will relish the opportunity to re start his career at another club. There were rumours earlier in the weekend that Arsenal were chasing Barcelona’s David Villa, but while a loan deal might suit both parties, the player is too old and injury-prone to be a long term solution for the Gunners.

So what would Arsenal be getting with Lopez? Firstly he has great positional sense in an around the goal. He is one of those strikers who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He is also quick – many of the goals he scored for Atletico last year saw him burst through the middle, outpace defenders and then outwit the goalie.

Lopez also scores a lot of goals with his head. The pace and power he gets when heading the ball is astonishing and would give Arsenal another very serious attacking weapon.

What he doesn’t really offer is presence and power. If Arsenal want a striker who will dominate the area and who has the knack of winning that ball no matter what they would probably be better off with Demba Ba.

So while Lopez would be a very useful signing much would depend on how quickly he acclimatise to the Premiership. Arsenal have had mixed fortunes with Spanish players. Cazorla has settled quickly and has become the pulse of the team. But then Arsenal once fielded one of Lopez’s team mates at Athletic – Jose Reyes – and after a sensational start Reyes faded badly.

Yesterday saw two of Arsenal’s other transfer targets in action. Demba Ba put in a powerful performance for Newcastle, while Wilfried Zaha scored a wonder goal for Palace. he really does look like an English Aguerro and he would be a superb replacement for Arshavin. One thing that could tip the balance in favour of Ba is that he has Premiership experience.

Anyhow, here a video of Lopez’s goals last season. Is he the player to ensure that the gunners finish in the top four and start a real challenge for many honours next season?



Football

Who should Wigan play upfront against Arsenal?

By Stefano on December 21st, 2012

Wigan’s perennial ‘great escape’ means they are accustomed to their current proximity to the relegation zone, but Roberto Martinez’s side are on a particularly poor run. Only one win in seven, at home to bottom club Reading, leaves them just outside the relegation zone. And with Aston Villa and QPR showing signs of improvement, Wigan need to start picking up points.

This weekend’s fixture against Arsenal provides a selection dilemma for Martinez, who has been shuffling his pack in an attempt to provide a spark of excitement upfront.

His front three will be chosen from five players: Jordi Gomez, Arouna Kone, Franco Di Santo, Mauro Boselli and Shaun Maloney.

Boselli was given his first start of the season against Norwich last weekend, but he performed relatively poorly and was replaced by Di Santo, who continues to lack goals (he hasn’t scored in his last ten matches) but provides a good focal point for Wigan’s attacks. Expect him to return to the side, especially as he performed well in Wigan’s 2-1 win at the Emirates in April.

Goals have also dried up for Kone, who started life in the Premier League with three goals in his first seven games, but has now recorded just one in his previous ten. Still, his pace should be useful for Wigan’s counter-attacking, and since he hasn’t missed a game since August, he’s unlikely to be dropped here.

So, it’s a decision between Maloney and Gomez. The Spaniard scored an excellent hat-trick in the win over Reading, but Maloney was another who fared well at the Emirates last season, and scored last weekend after coming off the bench. A trio of Di Santo, Kone and Maloney looks likely.

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

Is Arsene Wenger right to build his team round young British players?

By Stefano on December 20th, 2012

Yesterday Arsene Wenger confirmed what was a pretty badly kept secret that five of his young British charges including Jack Wilshere, had signed long term contracts at the club. The move surprised very few people. Were Wilshere to follow his ex-colleagues on the road to The Etihad or the Camp Nou, then any talk of Arsenal being among Europe’s elite would surely be over for good.

Of the other four, Jenkinson, Oxlade Chamberlain and Gibbs clearly have big futures at the club while Wenger seems to believe more in the potential of Aaron Ramsey than many of the fans.

Wenger has also gone on record as saying how important a British base is to his team

He said

“I believe that we have a good core of young English players. We couldn’t keep the good core of young foreign players but I hope we will be capable of building the team around these English players and for them to achieve something together.

“I believe as well that when a club gives a chance to young players the players must say ‘let’s do it together’ because if you educate players at some stage their fate is in their own hands.”

This of course is a tad ironic from the first manager to ever field a whole team of foreigners in the Premiership in February 2005.

Also if Wenger believes that English players are more loyal to the club than those mercenary foreigners he would do well to remember that the among the first players who were at their peak who left the club was Ashley Cole in 2006.

Both of those dates are actually very interesting. Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since 2005 and I think one of the reasons (money is obviously the main one) Cole left in 2006 was because he felt more of an affinity with the English players who he had met on international duties at Chelsea than he did with all the foreigners at Arsenal.

British football has changed irrevocably since Wenger first took the reins at Arsenal in the late nineties. Then, his team of scouts who delivered some of the best players in France and beyond, were almost unique in the Premiership. These days everyone has teams all over the world searching for the stars of the future.

There does however seem a logic to building a team round British players. I guess Wenger wants to re-create the tightness and loyalty of the famous five defenders from the Graham era and hark back to the consistency of the pre-2005 days where the bed rock of the team was home grown.

The big question though is – are those players good enough to provide the foundations of the future for Arsenal?

Well here’s a quick verdict on all five

Jack Wilshere – For the first two or three games after his return every time Jack went near a challenge you could hear all The Emirates cringe. It does however appear that he is as robust as he can be at this stage and he just gets better in each game. Surely Wenger will make him captain soon. He is not only the most talented footballer that Arsenal’s youth team has bequeathed Wenger but he is articulate, smart and, for most of the time, level headed. I think he is the future of Arsenal.

Aaron Ramsey – I think most Arsenal fans would agree that Aaron simply hasn’t been the same since that tackle. Sure there have been flashes of brilliance but until his altercation with Ryan Shawcross he not only had confidence, he had swagger. These days he tends to disappear from games at times. And his goal scoring record isn’t what it ought to be for an attack minded midfielder. However, there have been moments this year (against City and Olympiakos) when the old Ramsey shone through. Also Wenger has played him out of position on the wing which hasn’t really been a success. He might not be the player that Wenger builds the team around, but he is a good long term bet for the future.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Another player who has had a rather mixed season. Again there have been flashes of genius, and the moments when he takes on defenders raises the temperature at The Emirates. Then there have been the games where he has failed to make any impact at all. It’ll be fascinating to see how pivotal he becomes to the team if Walcott does leave, even more so if Zaha is his replacement.

Carl Jenkinson – What a difference a year makes! The young defender, who looked like a rabbit in the headlights a year or so ago, has matured to the point where some Gunners are imagining a day where he takes over at right back from Bacary Sagna. Apart from some obvious mistakes (coughs Swansea) he has been very reliable this year and his crossing and attack player is constantly improving. I think the England right back berth is his for the taking.

Kieran Gibbs – If only he could shake off those injuries Gibbs would be one of the best left backs in England. With Baines unlikely to venture south and Wenger’s last experiment in finding a left back delivering a slightly bonkers Brazilian Gibbs really ought to be a feature in the Arsenal team for a very long time.

I think most Arsenal fans would answer the question about whether Arsene was right to tie up the players with a stroke of the chin. There is clearly a huge amount of potential there, but then there was with Denillson, Bendtner and Vela too. At the moment it seems as if Wenger has made a fairly safe bet. But only time will tell.



Football

Champions League draw; Arsenal face Bayern Munich and Man United tackle Real Madrid

By Stefano on December 20th, 2012

So here it is. Arsenal have been drawn against Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League while Man United will face Real Madrid in the plum tie of the round.

The draw means that Ronaldo will be returning to the stadium that made him famous. In 2000 and 2003 the two sides played with Real winning both ties.

At least Arsene Wenger will be cheered that he has managed to avoid Barcelona who have put the Gunners out twice in the last three years.  The last time Arsenal played the Germans, Bayern put them out of the Champions League in 2005 winning 3-2 on aggregate. Bayern are currently an ominous nine points clear in the Bundesliga.

The first legs of the Champions League last-16 ties will played on 12-13 and 19-20 February and the second legs are on 5-6 and 12-13 March.

The full draw is

Galatasaray v Schalke

Celtic v Juventus

Arsenal v Bayern Munich

Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund

AC Milan v Barcelona

Real Madrid v Manchester United

Valencia v Paris St Germain

Porto v Malaga

 



Football

Arsene Wenger tells BBC he is confident that Theo Walcott will sign a new contract

By Stefano on December 20th, 2012

Breaking news – the Theo Walcott transfer saga looks like it is about to take another turn. After agreeing contracts with five of his British players yesterday, including Jack Wilshere, Arsene Wenger has now told the BBC that he is ‘convinced’ that Theo Walcott will be staying at The Emirates.

Wenger said ‘I am convinced Walcott will stay and hope that the other players signing contracts will encourage Walcott to sign as soon as possible’

‘My gut feeling is that he belongs to this club. Once he has made up his mind up it will be very quick.’

Of course we have been here before. Wenger has been confident that other Arsenal players from Sami Nasri through to Robin Van Persie would stay too. But it does sound a little bit more optimistic for Arsenal fans.

Wenger also said that the club might buy one or two exceptional players in January and acknowledged that he was under pressure to strengthen the squad. Wenger insisted though that ‘exceptional players are hard to come by at this time.’



Football

Question marks over Liverpool targets – Ince, Huntelaar and Sturridge

By Stefano on December 20th, 2012

It does seem as if things are never straightforward for Brendan Rodgers in his bid to strengthen the Liverpool squad, for three players who he has been targeting all now appear to have other options than joining the Reds.

One of the Red’s top striking targets Klass Jan Huntelaar, who was yesterday apparently in talks with Arsenal, now might be staying at Schalke after all. Two German papers DerWesten and kicker said the the striker, who has an incredible track record in the Bundesliga, would be staying with the club and that a new deal would be announced this week.

Meanwhile the journey to sign Liverpol’s other main striking target Daniel Sturridge appears to have hit a bit of a hurdle. The Daily Mail reports that there is a sticking point in the amount of money that the club would have to pay to the player’s agent. Liverpool spent £31.3million on agents fees since 2008 – only Chelsea (£31.8m) and Manchester City (£39.02m) have paid more in the same period

Finally Goal are suggesting that the done deal to sign Thomas Ince might not be so concrete after all and that Manchester United might try and scupper the deal with a bid of their own. The club needs a box to box midfielder to reppace the well, irreplaceable Paul Scholes.



Football

Arsenal’s first winter signing? Stoppila Sunzu apparently on his way

By Stefano on December 18th, 2012

It has not been officially confirmed yet, but it seems that Arsenal are on the verge of making their first signing of the winter transfer window. With a view to adding a bit of steel to his midfield Arsene Wenger has apparently targeted Zambian Stoppila Sunzu and there are suggestions from his home country that the signing is imminent.

Sunzu is on his way to London and he told the FA Zambia website

“I will be travelling to England to sign a deal with Arsenal after the friendly game against Tanzania. As we speak, Mr Katumbi’s personal consultant Salomon Eskadela is here in Zambia waiting to travel with me to England.

“I don’t know the details of the deal yet because I have not discussed with both Arsenal and TP Mazembe. However I spoke to both Mr Katumbi and Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger who assured me that I would not be going to London for trials but to discuss personal terms and possibly sign a contract.”

The player is 23 and yet has been a staple in the Zambian team for several years. He is best known for scoring the winning penalty against Ivory Coast in the 2012 African Cup of Nations. He also has a goal or two to his name scoring 21 goals from his 53 appearances for his team TP Mazembe.

There are likely to be work permit issues to be sorted before he can join his new team.

If he does sign it casts a very real doubt on the future of Emmanuel Frimpong. So is Wenger about to replace Alex Song? Maybe.

Pic from PA



pick of the blogs

Hot stuff – this week’s top stories; Arsenal destroy Reading pics, Christmas gift guides and more

By Stefano on December 18th, 2012

This week’s stories from Brandish and our pals

Some great pics of Football in the snow

Arsenal destroy Reading pics

Evil Knievel talks cycle safety

Brilliant video of a hammered Kim Wilde singing Kids in America on a train

Nintendo Wii U games console review

Samsung’s budget new big screen phone 

Huge selection of Christmas gift guides

Great pics from the golden age of Formula One – the 60s and 70s

Last minute Christmas jumper ideas

Which is the best Live album ever?

 

 



Football

Are Chelsea now favourites to land Theo Walcott?

By Stefano on December 18th, 2012

So the Theo Walcott  transfer saga rumbles on in many ways over shadowing everything else that is going on at The Emirates at the moment.

Last night the youngster got his wish and was started by Arsene Wenger as a central striker. Walcott scored one and looked a constant threat trying to latch on to balls from Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta. It is clear that Reading gave Arsenal way too much room to play their free flowing football and that naivety cost them dearly. Still, Waclott seems a better bet in the striker position than Wenger’s other winger turned poacher Gervinho.

Wenger has once again called for Theo to sign a new contract and BBC Radio Five Live were reporting that insiders think that the issue of signing a contract is about to come to ahead this week.

If Walcott doesn’t sign then Goal is reporting that the club in prime position to secure the signature of the England player is Chelsea. In an article this morning here’s what they had to say.

Liverpool, the two Manchester clubs and Juventus are all on Walcott’s trail but they all fall short in one notable area.

“Location is key for Theo,” said one source well acquainted with the 23-year-old’s situation. “He is settled in the South East and would prefer to stay there.”

The article suggests that Walcott will stay at The Emirates until the summer and then sign for The Blues.

The sticking point for Walcott could be his insistence that he wants to play as a striker. Were Benitez to sanction the deal Walcott would run the risk of being frozen out of his preferred position if Benitez’s successor has other plans.  It would make a lot more sense to wait until the Chelsea choose a new manager before signing. Choosing to play as a striker will also scupper moves to the Manchester clubs who both arguably need wide men as they are well stocked with front men.

So where do you think Theo will be next season?

 

 



Accessories, Football

Houllier tells French TV Thierry Henry might not be going to Arsenal – no contact between the clubs

By Stefano on December 17th, 2012

More problems for Arsene Wenger this morning. It seemed as if Arsenal’s greatest ever striker, Thierry Henry, was destined to return to the club for a third spell this winter. Many papers have suggested that this is a done deal and that Henry would be at the club for several weeks and could even play for The Gunners in the Champions league.

However if Arsene Wenger does want the 35 year old in his squad he needs to get a bit of a move on.

For Gerald Houllier who is New York Red Bull’s Head of Global Soccer, told French TV network Canal+ that there has been no contact between the two clubs.

“I find it strange what we hear in the media. If Arsene needed him, he would have called me or (sporting director) Andy Roxburgh, but this is not the case. I do not think both parties need to have this second comeback. Moreover he has become a dad again. I think he will appreciate this truce. ”

So is Henry coming. Do Arsenal need him? Might this be a cameo too far?

Image – PA




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