Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal’


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?


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.


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.


‘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.



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.


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.


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’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.


Arsenal centre back options – Steven Taylor and Ashley Williams

By Stefano on June 6th, 2013

The Daily Mail has a bit of an odd one. It has just run with the story that the latest name on Arsene Wenger’s defensive wishlist is Newcastle defender Steven Taylor.

The paper says

He played 25 times last year, his most Premier League games since 2008/09, but the arrival from Montpellier of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa means he has no guarantees next season.

So the logic is that he won’t be able to get into the Newcastle side next season but still might be good enough for Arsenal… The mind boggles.

I like Taylor though. He played well last season and was, well very solid and largely error-free. But to see him taking any defensive role at Arsenal other than as a replacement for Johan Djourou (or Sébastien Squillaci) seems very unlikely.

The Mail also says that Steve Bould is very keen to add some British players to beef up the back. Ashley Williams appeared to have been a done deal, though that one has gone a little quiet of late. It has been over a week since the papers were running with stories that Laudrup was resigned to losing his centre back.  Maybe Taylor is the cheaper option, and the Arsenal manager is keeping his options open.If Wenger is pinning his faith in Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker as well as Thomas Vermaelen staying and recapturing some of the form he showed a couple of seasons back then Taylor would be a very useful squad member.


Five reasons why Arsenal haven’t made any big signings yet – Wenger, Jovetic, Fabregas

By Stefano on June 6th, 2013

So no Jovetic, Higuain or Rooney. Well not yet anyhow.

Here are five possible reasons why Arsenal still haven’t secured that marquee signing.

1 Arsene Wenger’s contract talks got in the way – Today Arsenal’s CE Ivan Gazidis has said that he expects Arsene Wenger to sign a new contract very shortly. Maybe all the talk about his future was weighing on the Frenchman’s mind and that until it was sorted he wasn’t prepared to make those big signings the fans crave.

2 The Cesc Fabregas factor - I am still convinced that Arsenal were on the verge of signing Stevan Jovetic in the week following the end of the season. It didn’t happen for a number of reasons, but chief among them was the surprise ‘availability’ of Cesc Fabregas. As is well documented if Cesc did choose to leave Barca Arsenal would be his preferred destination. For Wenger to accommodate Fabregas in the team he would need to play him as a second, or ghost striker, which is almost the certainly the role he has envisaged for Jovetic. Until the Fabregas issue is resolved either way Wenger won’t sign a big money second striker.

3 The transfer money-go-round has not quite kicked off yet – There is always a point each summer when some club or other – previously it was Man City and Chelsea and this year it is also Monaco and PSG – start splashing the cash. This then kick starts the transfer market. Were Juventus, for example to sign either Higuain or Jovetic it would make the other one’s position clearer (and knock a few million of their price too).

4 The internationals – Several players, David Villa among them, have said that they expect their futures to be sorted out after the international games finish. Most of the friendlies will be over with a week and then the players and the agents will have time to focus on sorting out their futures.

5 Wenger still doesn’t know who he wants – So is the Frenchman indecisive in the transfer market? Well even if you think so you can’t deny that there have been many players who have slipped through the net because the Arsenal manager couldn’t make his mind up about them – Juan Mata and Gary Cahill being two very good examples. Also even with that stash of cash in the bank Wenger isn’t going to suddenly splash out large transfer sums and huge wages – that just isn’t his style.

If you want a few more…

He needed to offload the dead wood – some of this happened yesterday.

Jovetic can’t make his mind up either – his quotes about coming to Arsenal have been contradictory

He might be about to gamble on one huge signing – Cavani? Rooney?

Season ticket sales are going well – If they hadn’t been you can bet Arsenal would have signed a player before the renewals finish tomorrow

Any more?


Another German league player on Arsenal’s radar. Trio depart

By Stefano on June 6th, 2013

Yesterday we reported that Arsene Wenger was mulling over a move for Bayern Munich’s Austrian David Alaba. The player allegedly wants to play in central midfield and with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez already in the team that isn’t looking too likely.

Today though there are reports that Arsenal are in for another Bundesliga player,

According to The Mirror Wenger is keen on Matthias Ginter, a 19-year-old defensive midfielder, from German top-flight side Freiburg in a deal worth £5m.

The paper says

Wenger’s scouts have been tracking Ginter for months and the Gunners have spoken to Freiburg about doing a deal for the 6ft 1in German.

The key issue for Arsenal at the moment is what while the infux of youngsters is both welcome and interesting to the fans – Arsenal have apparently already signed Yaya Sanogo, and are quite advanced in the deal to pick up the ‘new Bendtner’ Alexsandr Mitrovic - it does feel that the manager isn’t concentrating on spending cash on that marquee signings that they crave so much.

The move for Jovetic feels dead, Higuain is all over the place and Rooney was always a non-starter. Bony is possibly going to Portugal while Benteke will cost at lot of money. David Villa could be an Arsenal player soon. But the arrival of a 31 year old isn’t going to assuage fans who want the club to spend big to compete with the likes of United, City and Chlesea.

There will be more money for wages too with Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci all shown the door yesterday.


Are Arsenal about to move for a Bayern Munich star?

By Stefano on June 5th, 2013

This could be interesting, very interesting. Austrian site has suggested that Arsenal have put Bayern Munich star David Alaba on their wish list.

The site suggests that Arsene Wenger is hoping to lure the 20 year old who played in the Champions League final, to The Emirates by offering a central midfield position. For Bayern he has largely been used as left back.

Alaba is certainly tough in the tackle, and his versatility could prove very useful to The Gunners (he can also play on both wings). But a central midfield role? On one hand it seems very unlikely, but then again the French man has a habit of taking players and finding new positions for them, so I guess this is just about believable.

Alaba’s contract is up in the summer of 2015 and we obviously don’t know how highly he features in Pep Guardiola’s plans.

File this as unlikely, but one to keep an eye on.


Arsenal go head to head with Spurs for David Villa. Could Wilfried Bony be the back up plan?

By Stefano on June 5th, 2013

This afternoon has seen a bit of news on a couple of players who Arsenal have apparently been tracking for ages.

The first is an update from Talksport about the possible future of Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony. In case you missed the chat from a few weeks ago Bony has impressed Wenger, and indeed half of Europe with his phenomenal goal scoring exploits last season.

The Ivorian banged in astonishing 31 goals in 30 league matches in the Eredivisie, which has brought him to the attention of not just The Gunners but also Liverpool, and West Ham.

It seems now that the Bony issue could come to a head with Benfica manager Jorge Jesus about to bid for the player. If he does it might then trigger moves from other Premiership clubs.

Bony is likely to be relatively cheap – well compared with the likes of say Higuain, Jovetic and even Benteke. However the Dutch league isn’t really one of Europe’s strongest so the jury is out on whether he can perform something similar in the Premiership.

At the other end of the scale, veteran Spanish striker David Villa has been talking about his future. In news reported by Catalan publication El9 Villa is being chased by Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Interestingly El9 states that the Spurs are offering the most money with a 15 million Euro bid on the cards, but Arsenal could yet gazump Spurs as they can offer Champions League football.

Villa said…

“I have another year of contract and today I am a Barca player,”

“After the Confederations Cup I will sit down and analyze everything.

“For now, I’m happy to be in the best club in the world.

“I have a contract with them and after my holiday I will see see what happens.”


Fabregas could return to Arsenal this summer – says his agent’s dad David Dein

By Stefano on June 5th, 2013

David Dein may be an ex-Arsenal board member who left in acrimonious circumstances a few years ago. He is also the father of agent Darren Dein who represents, among others, Cesc Fabregas, so when Dein senior speaks about potential transfers it is worth taking in every word

So despite saying that he wanted to stay at Barca earlier this week and arranging a meeting with manager Tito Vilanova to discuss the problem it is by no means certain that the Spaniard won’t be returning to Arsenal.

Quizzed about Fabregas Dein senior said

‘You can never say never in football,’

‘I know Arsene Wenger will try to improve the squad if he can.’

I do wonder if the Fabregas is the reason why Arsenal haven’t put the money down for Jovetic. Since his transfer Fabregas has been playing in a more advanced position than he did at Arsenal and there would potentially be a clash with Jovetic who is a deep lying striker. What do you think?


Arsenal update: Jovetic’s Chelsea link, Capoue, Mitrovic

By Stefano on June 5th, 2013

There’s no sign that Arsene Wenger has made his mind up yet as to who is going to be his marquee striker singing this summer. Rooney and Higuain are still in contention and it might be a long shot but Lewandowski hasn’t yet put pen to paper for Bayern. Then there’s the wild card of Michu.

The one player that Wenger seems to have cooled on a little is Stevan Jovetic and according to a lot of sources this morning Arsenal’s failure to sort out a deal for the Fiorentina striker has let some old foes in.

Chelsea, who in the past few years have nabbed Arsenal targets Hazard, Mata and Cahill, are apparently mulling over a move for the talented Montenegrin.

Jovetic has said that he wants to move on and so far Arsenal and Juventus have been the front runners. This morning though The Times says this about José Mourinho’s tranfer plans.

The newly appointed Chelsea manager has told the board that he wants to make the Montenegro striker his first signing after returning for his second spell at the club and talks have opened with Fiorentina over a £23 million transfer.

I get the feeling that this one is going to go on all summer long.

Another long running saga is the future of Etienne Capoue. The 24 year old French midfielder has also signaled his intent to move on from Tolouse. The player, who is away on international duty, said to L’Equipe.

‘If he (Casanova the Toulouse coach ) wants to keep me, that is good,’

‘That says that he counts on me, that he is happy with me.

‘But it is football. I feel it is the moment to leave, to play in big competitions.’

The player is also being tracked by Arsenal’s rivals Spurs too.

Finally Arsenal are looking to land another talented European youngster, HITC has details on Sky Italia’s reporting that Arsenal are in pole position to sign Aleksandr Mitrovic from Partizan Belgrade.

The 18 year old featured in the Serbian 2012/13 Team of the Season and he scored 15 goals last season.

Here’s what he is capable of.

Arsenal have already apparently signed Yaya Sanogo and Dan Crowley this summer. So for all the noises about buying experienced players Arsene Wenger still seems very keen on adding young players to his squad.


Arsenal update: Michu a new target? Higuain making positive noises

By Stefano on June 4th, 2013

If I had a quid for every time I heard a Gunners fan suggesting that lanky Spanish goal merchant Michu would look good leading the Arsenal line I’d be a rich man.

But does Arsene agree? Well The Mail seems to think he might. The paper is running with a story this morning that Wenger might not just be hoping to raid Swansea for centre back Ashley Williams but Michu too.

The paper says

But Sportsmail can reveal a shock move for Swansea’s prolific striker has been discussed by Wenger and his scouting team.

Well Michu scored 22 goals last season, which coincidentally is around the same number that Theo Walcott bagged, but you get the feeling that with his clinical finishing he would have scored a lot more had he been given stronger service.

Michu isn’t of course the only option. The Mail also reports that the club are mulling over moves for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko too.

Meanwhile some interesting new quotes have emerged from Spain that are attributed to Madrid’s want away striker Gonzalo Higuain,

The player confirmed this weekend that he wants to leave Madrid, but we only got half the quote in the UK media and interestingly some of the rest of what he says refers to Arsenal.

Higuain said

“I am leaving Real Madrid, the decision has been made, I feel the time is right and I want a change of scenery. I have not decided where I will go, but the club already know that I want to go. It was my decision. I feel that this is the end of my cycle here.

“I shall choose the next team on the basis of sports projects. Arsenal? They might suit me. I’m still young, I have goals and I will do everything to achieve them. Juve? They are many possibilities. I want to go where I can seriously be put to the test. There are offers and I hope that I hope that they [Madrid] do the best for me and for themselves. Besides I was bought for 15 million and now I will be sold for a figure considerably higher.”

Wenger has been a fan of Higuain for several years, the striker boasts some very impressive stats – 122 goals in 266 games for Real Madrid – he seems a better fit than say Jovetic, especially if Arsenal re-sign Fabregas. I guess much depends on how keen the player is to try his luck in Italy.


Arsenal update: Wenger speaks about Rooney and Fabregas and has Villa signed a pre-contract deal?

By Stefano on June 3rd, 2013

Arsene Wenger has been speaking to Al Jazeera and may or may not have been dropping some pretty serious hints about who he fancies signing in the summer.

Judging by these words I think we can safely assume that Wayne Rooney, who Wenger has previously described as most talented English player he had seen, is on his radar

“Rooney could be an interesting player for everybody in the world, who would turn him down?

“David Moyes’ first challenge is to go in to Manchester and bridge the gap between him and Rooney. If that is feasible or not depends on his personality and if Rooney bears a grudge or not, we will see.

“It will be interesting to see how that will be handled.”

Of course Rooney may end up staying at United, but Arsenal would be a great choice for the England player if he decides to stay in England. His wages might be a problem, but if Rooney is set on leaving United and staying in the Premiership he might have to be prepared to take a hit,

Wenger has also been lavishing praise on another Arsenal target – their former caption Cecs Fabregas

“I think at the moment he’s lacking the confidence of being a regular player,” said Wenger. “Recently he has not been that.

“Cesc is such a passionate player, a player of such quality, that it must hurt him not to play in every single game. That’s what he misses. When you come in and out you never play with full confidence.”

If Fabregas does decide to leave Barcelona it is highly likely that he will return to Arsenal. I think though the smart money is on him sticking it out for another year at least.

There’s more here.

Speaking of Barcelona Talksport is reporting that striker David Villa has apparently signed a pre-contract deal with Arsenal.

Spanish football expert Axel Torres says he has been told by a source that Barcelona striker David Villa wants to move to England, with the Spain international reportedly showing the club’s board an pre-contract agreement to sign for Arsenal.

The ball is then in the Catalan club’s court, but with Neymar in the bag and other possible moves opportunities might be fairly limited for Villa at the Nou Camp next season.

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