Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal’

Football

Arsenal update – Jovetic claims, Wanyama keen and Higuain leaving Madrid

By Stefano on June 3rd, 2013

There’s plenty of Arsenal-related gossip so let’s kick off with the biggie.

Stevan Jovetic will become an Arsenal player very shortly! Well so says Caught Offside – so make of that what you will. Apparently Juventus’ campaign to sign the player has hit the buffers and Arsenal are now in pole position to secure the signature of the Montenegrin.

The website says

Arsenal have reportedly reached agreement on a fee for Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic, said to be in the region of €31m (£26m), and as personal terms with the player are said to have already been reached it seems only a matter of time before a deal will be completed.

I guess that even with £70 million burning a hole in his pocket Arsene Wenger is still careful with the cash which might be why this deal has gone on forever. It is still a case of I’ll believe it when I see it though…

Lots of sources are claiming that the young Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama is very keen on an Arsenal move with a figure of around £10 million mooted. However the Mail also has a story that Wanyama’s mentor Jean-Marie Abeels who has known the player since he was young thinks that the move might be step too far too quickly for the player.

He said

‘He is still young and I have told him he needs to be careful about when he takes the really big step.
‘I think myself that it’s better that he has a step in between before going to the really big level.’

Finally Gonzalo Higuain has put lots of clubs on red alert after confirming that he will be leaving Real Madrid in the summer.

The striker 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 came here for £10 million and I am leaving for more.
“I want to go where I can prove myself really. I have several offers. I hope that Madrid do the best for me and for themselves.”

I think the player is almost certainly Juventus bound but I’d also be surprised too if Arsene Wenger at least didn’t make enquiries about the player.



Football

Moyes is serious about Fabregas. Are Arsenal and Wenger too?

By Stefano on May 29th, 2013

In what could be a nightmare scenario for Arsenal fans it appears that David Moyes has made Cesc Fabregas his number one target.

According to The Daily Mail Moyes ‘has targeted midfield as the area in greatest need of strengthening and that Fabregas is one of his prime targets, following an initial meeting to discuss potential acquisitions for this summer.’

The Mail also suggests that United will have a rival for the ex-Arsenal player too in the guise of Man City. It also says that Barcelona are ready to let the player go and that inevitably the Premiership seems his most likely destination.

The news is certain to send a shiver down the spin of Arsenal fans. The thought of both Fabregas and Van Persie lining up against them next season would certainly be massively depressing for Gunners followers.

The question is though – if Fabregas is coming back to the Premiership will it not be to his old club?

There are some goods signs for Gooners to cling on to. Firstly Fabregas is still an Arsenal fan and regularly watches the games either on TV or when he can at the Emirates. Secondly Barca still owe Arsenal money from his, and Alex Song’s transfers.

Wenger himself said in January

“I’m not convinced that he will not one day come back here because he is a real Arsenal man. He loves Arsenal, he watches every Arsenal game.”

Also there are unsubstantiated rumours of a buy back clause which was inserted into his Barca contract.

The question is though do Arsenal want the player back? His skill and vision would certainly rejuvenate Arsenal’s midfield.

I think that the thought of Fabregas lining up for United would be too much for Arsenal fans. But if there is no rooms for him in a midfield brimming with world class talent – well Cazorla and Wilshere anyhow – it might just be where the Spaniard ends up.



Football

Arsenal slacker to become world’s best paid player – you couldn’t make it up!

By Stefano on May 29th, 2013

You really couldn’t make it up.

The man responsible for one of the greatest ever Arsenal comebacks, who then spent three years offering virtually nothing, looks set to become the best paid player in the world.

According to The Hard Tackle Andrei Arshavin has reportedly signed a deal with Azerbaijani football club Khazar Lankaran on a one year deal that will net him €2million a month. That’s even more than Samuel Eto gets for playing for Anzhi Makhachkala.

There’s no confirmation from the player yet, but at a press conference the club announced…

“Andrei Arshavin really officially signed for our club. We are pleased that our player joins the ranks with such an impressive track record, is considered one of the most talented players in Europe.”

“Arshavin transition from the Arsenal in the Khazar-Lankaran has become a landmark event not only for the club but for the whole of the Azerbaijani championship. Hope that our cooperation will be fruitful. We are absolutely sure that Andrei has not yet said its last word in football. ”

In case you were wondering about Khazar Lankaran – they play in the Azerbaijani championship and have only won the title once back in 2007. The club which is managed by John Toshack is bankrolled by Azerbaijani entrepreneur Mubariz Mansimov and dubbed by the local media as “Caucasian Chelsea”



Football

Are Chelsea about to gazump Arsenal again?Jovetic on his way to the Bridge?

By Stefano on May 29th, 2013

Over the last few years Chelsea have been Arsenal’s nemesis in the transfer market. The Gunners have often made a move for a player only to be gazumped by the Blues who come in offering more money and better wages.

It happened with Cahill and Mata and then last season with Hazard. So is it about to happen again this time round with Arsenal’s supposed umber one target Stevan Jovetic.

I must admit I thought Arsenal were playing a risky game with the Montenegrin. By not coughing up the cash they opened the door for Juve who also seemed to have beaten the Gunners to Higuain too. The club are clearly hanging on making the assumption that Fiorentina won’t sell to Juve and that Arsenal will end up being the only club in for the player and will get a cheap deal.

But if the Express is to be believed

Jose Mourinho will sign his new £12m a year four-year contract with Chelsea on Monday, and wants to challenge the club’s London rivals for Jovetic.

With Falcao off to Monaco and Cavani probably heading for City Jovetic could be the hottest young striker that has not yet been picked up by money bags clubs.

Chelsea never seem to have a problem meeting club’s financial expectations for a player unlike Arsenal whose determination to secure a bargain seems to mean a very paralysis at times in the transfer market.

There are still lots of great players who the Gunners could buy – Bony, Benteke and even Rooney to name a few – but it seems once again that Arsenal are just not competing for Europe’s elite players.

So where do you think Jovetic will be playing next season? Arsenal, Chelsea, Juve or even Fionrentina?



Football

Arsene, if Arsenal sign Ashley Williams, please don’t make him captain

By Stefano on May 24th, 2013

Aaah the curse of the Arsenal captain. Give a player that armband and you can be sure as anything that within a season or two they will be off into the sunset. It happened to Henry, Fabregas, RVP and if the goss is right Thomas Vermaelen very shortly too.

Quite Arsene Wenger never gave it to Squillaci is beyond me…

But what’s this – there’s a new Arsenal captain on the horizon. That man is Ashley Williams and if The Daily Mail is right he will soon be an Arsenal player and possibly even bossing the side next season.

So do Arsenal need Williams? Well yes, and errr no.

If Vermaelen does leave then Arsenal are clearly short of centre backs. Wenger seems to quite like Miguel, but isn’t yet ready to elevate him to the first team. Besides any team competing for all those trophies next season needs three quality centre backs.

Williams has had an excellent season or two, reads the game well, isn’t afraid of the hurly burly and generally would be an excellent buy.

However I do wonder of Wenger has found his perfect centre back combination already in the guise of the BFG and the French fella.They have gelled so well together recently and their understanding seems almost telepathic.

What would concern me, and I guess many other Arsenal fans, is Wenger naming Williams captain then feeling obliged to start him. Unless he is convinced that the Koscielny/Williams pairing is the future it would be a very silly move. Half of the reason why it took so long for Wenger to start Mertesacker and Koscielny was that he felt he couldn’t leave his captain out. As Vermaelen’s form dipped so did Arsenal.

So by all means welcome Ashley Williams to Arsenal. But in my book for now he is our third choice CB. Sure he will get lots of games next year, but please Arsene don’t make him captain…

if you really want to shore up that defence can we please have Capoue?



Football

Arsenal update: Benteke wants to be a Gunner, but Higuain fancies an old lady

By Stefano on May 24th, 2013

There’s good news and bad news on the striker front for Arsenal fans this morning.

The really bad news is that it seems unlikely that Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain will be and Arsenal player as according to a newspaper in Italy he is heading for Juventus.

La Repubblica suggests that the marksman had already agreed to join Juventus on a four year deal. The only potential stumbling block is the price with Madrid wanting £25 million and Juve obviously not wanting pay anything like that.

The only sliver of hope for Arsenal,fans is that Juve are also supposed to be on the verge of nabbing Stevan Jovetic too. And they have already lined up Athletic Bilbao’s Spanish forward Fernando Llorente on a free transfer. So do the team need a trio of new world class strikers?

One goal score with plenty of Premiership experience has given the club a bit of come and get plea.

Christian Benteke told the Express yesterday…

“I hope that if I leave my club a deal can be done more quickly than the one last year,” he said.

“There is no point in me getting into a tug-of-war with Villa, and I don’t think there is any need for one. If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I am convinced that we can reach a compromise where everybody comes out a winner.

The paper says that £20 million would be enough to scoop the Belgian marksman, but that Atletico Madrid are also keen on the player too.



Football

Jovetic speaks – but dodges questions about Arsenal and Juventus

By Stefano on May 23rd, 2013

Stevan Jovetic might be one of the most wanted strikers in Europe, but he insists that he is not spending too much time dwelling on any potential move from his current club Fiorentina.

The Arsenal, Juventus, and possibly even Chelsea target is away with his national team Montenegro and says that a big money move is the furthest thing from his mind.

“Every day the media has me moving to a new club,” he told pobjeda.me, which has also been quoted by Football Italia.

“Honestly, the only thing that concerns me at the moment is the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine. Rumours do not affect me. It was a good season for Fiorentina, and also for me personally. I am just sorry we couldn’t get into the Champions League.”

So this one looks like it has a few weeks to run. Hopefully for both Arsenal and Juve fans there will be resolution as soon as the internationals are over.



Football

Jovetic to Arsenal not happening says agent

By Stefano on May 23rd, 2013

Stevan Jovetic’s agent seems to have poured some very cold water on the prospect of the player moving to North London. In an update that has just been reported by the Metro Fali Ramadani says his client is not interested in moving to the Emirates.

‘Stevan prefers to stay in Italy rather than move away,’ said Ramadani.

The 23 year old had previously been very keen on a move to the Premeihsuip, so it seems odd that he has changed his mind.

The news will alert Juventus who have been chasing the player, yet seem to prefer Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain (another player linked with Arsenal).

So how seriously should we take this pronouncement? Well the Jovetic to Arsenal transfer is a saga of Illyiad style proportions and probably hasn’t run its course yet.

If Juve do sign Higuain then expect the Montenegrin to be waxing lyrical about his love of Islington restaurants.

I wonder if the agenct is mischief making too as it seems that neither club will match his valuation of the player.

This one is set to run and run.



Football

Arsenal update: Sanogo medical, Vermaelen and confusion over Higuain

By Stefano on May 23rd, 2013

There is plenty of Arsenal related transfer gossip this morning though sadly not much of it relating to Stevan Jovetic. It does seem that the deal with Fiorentina has stalled and that Arsenal run the risk of letting Chelsea sneak in and do an Mata.

There is also plenty of confusion about the future of Gonzalo Higuain too. Last night news from Italy suggested that Juventus had won the race to sign the Argentinian, however in what it claims is an exclusive the Daily Star says the opposite is true

And Starsport revealed yesterday how incoming Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was plotting to hijack the Gunners’ bid to sign Fiorentina’s £25m-rate forward Stevan Jovetic.

That leaves Higuain, 25, as the number one choice – and the Gunners are understood to have contacted Real to sound out whether they would be prepared to sell.

The club are also keeping fairly quiet about what is happening with the transfer of French striker Yaya Sanogo. According to the Lyon website Lyonne.fr the player has had a medical and the move is imminent.

Guy Cotret said

He gave us his answer. He chose to join Arsenal and so he left to have his medical there.

Finally The Sun is going with the story that Arsenal are willing to listen to £5m bids for skipper Thomas Vermaelen.

As it points out

It would mean the Gunners taking a £5m hit on a player they bought from Ajax for £10m four years ago.

The Gunners captain is apparently desperate to stay in north London, but it seems as if the club are very keen on shipping him out



Football

Review of the Premiership part 2: Chelsea and Arsenal – managerial issues…

By Stefano on May 22nd, 2013

Simon Poulter of What Would David Bowie Do? rounds up the season

Chelsea (75pts, GD +36) 3rd

If I were to believe the club and it’s patronizingly-titled “Interim First Team Coach” for the last seven months, all that Chelsea set out to achieve this season was achieved.

The reality is somewhat different. Winning the one trophy that, at the beginning of the season, wasn’t even amongst the seven Chelsea were contending for, is an unnatural victory.

Of course, as a fan, I am delighted they won a consecutive European trophy and joined the small elite of clubs to have won all three of the continent’s major silverware. But, still, Chelsea as ever the masters of dysfunction, what with their handling of the Clattenburg affair, the aftermath of the John Terry racism mess, and the annual managerial switcheroo. Keeping Roberto Di Matteo only long enough to pay lip service to his successes as interim boss (yeah, only the European Cup and FA Cup…) was hardly a shining moment of endearment to the fanbase, which they worsened by hiring the most divisive individual they could have possibly chosen. Rafa Benitez says – with some justification, I’ll concede – his appointment has been vindicated. I would say that third place and a second-choice, default trophy only vindicates the decision to make him an interim coach.

Performance-wise, Chelsea regressed this season. Yes, I know, 69 fixtures and all that, but if that stretched the side so much, why did they have virtually a full 11 out on loan, with Romalu Lukaku banging ‘em in for fun at West Bromwich Albion and Thibaut Courtois helping Athletico Madrid to the Copa del Rey and third place in La Liga? What, too, was the point of replacing Di Matteo with Benitez when the waiter’s record hasn’t been fundamentally any better – an identical win ratio of 57% over a similar number of games in charge.

Did Chelsea progress at all over the course of this season? Yes, in spots. Eden Hazard eventually settled in to become a lethal component of an attack, with Juan Mata making himself indispensable and justifiably the club’s player of the season. Fernando Torres still spent most of 2012-13 as a grumpy teenager, but despite not scoring in the league between December and last Sunday, a 23-goal haul for the season is not at all bad.

Further back, Chelsea was, at times, a defensively gaping chasm this season. But at least give to Benitez for converting David Luiz to holding midfield, where his discipline improved out of all recognition, and he began to appear destined to become one of the club’s big personalities, a latter day Joe Allon, and even a captain in the making.

Mention should also be made of Nathan Ake, the Dutch teenager who not only emulates Ruud Gullitt’s former hair-do, he also emulates Gullitt’s midfield presence. And finally, hats off to Paolo Ferreira: as loyal a servant as you’ll find these days in football, he played out his contract at Chelsea without complaint or going on strike, serving as a true squad player as well as providing invaluable support and mentoring to the club’s young Brazilians. Obrigado!

Arsenal (73 pts, GD +35) 4th

There is a scene at the end of the terrific World War II movie The Bridge At Remagen where Robert Vaughan, playing a somewhat sympathetic German officer defending a Rhine crossing from the advancing Allies, is carted off by the SS to be shot. In his final scene, Vaughan’s Major Krüger asks an SS goon whether the planes he can hear are German or Allied. “Enemy planes!” comes the curt SS reply, to which Krüger, with a downbeat look on his face mutters, “But who is the enemy…?” before being shot. I mention this only because Arsène Wenger has, at many times this season, carried the same look as Vaughan’s in that final scene.

As the season has worn on it has been obvious that Wenger’s Arctic-tog Millets sleeping bag-come-overcoat wasn’t for keeping out the cold but protecting him from his own side’s bullets. He has, on occasion, looked quite forlorn and helpless, the perfect presentation of that line “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way” from Pink Floyd’s Time. The problem is, how much of this has been his own fault? On paper – and certainly if you are a Spurs fan – achieving Champions League football for the 16th consecutive season is a glittering prize, but crucially, it is still the only reward Arsenal can claim after eight dismal years without so much a silver teaspoon in the trophy room. And that just isn’t good enough. Arsenal are still a brilliant side led by a brilliant manager, but at times it’s like finding Hendrix playing bar room blues in a provincial pub.

This is simply where Arsenal shouldn’t be. Two positions higher, they’d be runners up. Three, champions. The 12-points separation between Manchester United and Arsenal isn’t such an unassailable gap, but then that only inflames the situation further. What difference would a striker have made to those 12 points? What difference would some flair in midfield have made? Would some better options for creativity have made things better?

“Boring, boring, Arsenal”, is how we used to chide visiting Gooners, but more for the disciplined way they got on with being annoyingly more successful than ourselves. Now that ‘boring tag’ seems to apply to a team that will happily achieve another tilt at the Champions League, taking the nice little welcome package that comes with it, and still do nothing about making one of football’s great clubs perform like it.

Only Wenger can really answer these questions. Fourth is no disaster, and no one team actually deserves anything, anyway. But even to this Chelsea fan, the look on my face this season as I’ve looked across London has been as flummoxed as that on Wenger’s. Except that it’s his job to fix the problem.

Article originally published here.



Football

Are Arsenal playing hard ball with the Stevan Jovetic transfer

By Stefano on May 22nd, 2013

So, what is going on with the Stevan Jovetic to Arsenal transfer.

This we know that Jovetic’s agent was in London today apparently talking to Arsenal. There are also rumours that Arsenal have tabled a bid.

There’s plenty of evidence that Jovetic will be leaving Fiotentina, but also that he still might end up Juventus.

But as the dust settles after yesterday it appears that the sticking point is over his valuation.

The Telegraph has a bit of an update. It quotes Andrea Della-Valle, the Fiorentina president as saying there was “little chance” that Jovetic would stay in Florence and, although there is also interest from Juventus, there would be a preference to sell to a club outside of Italy.

But the paper also hints that the £25 million asking price also has them looking at Real Madrid’s Higuain and Bemnzema.

I wonder if Arsenal are playing hard ball with Fiorentina. They obviously want the player and initial discussions appear to have taken place. By telling the Italian club that they are looking at other options it will put pressure on Fiorentina to lower the price.

It seems that Arsenal are in pole position as the club don’t want to sell to Juve and that Jovetic wants to leave.

I still think that this transfer is imminent, but Arsenal feel in such a strong position they can argue over a few million.

Let’s hope this one doesn’t come back to haunt Wenger.



Football

Here we go – Stevan Jovetic to Arsenal deal imminent says Metro

By Stefano on May 21st, 2013

Ok, so yesterday I predicted that Arsenal would announce a singing. Oops. I may be a day or so behind because it appears that the move of Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina is imminent.

The Metro says that Jovetic’s agent is reportedly in London negotiating a £24.5million deal.

Jovetic’s agent, Fali Ramadani, is thrashing out terms with Arsenal in London after an offer was lodged, according to Italian media group Mediaset, and will report back to the 23-year-old with the Gunners’ proposal.

Fiorentina’s failure to make CL football – along with Arsenal’s qualification – as well as the club’s reluctance to sell Jovetic to their rivals Juventus seems to make this a done deal.

Jovetic is apparently keen to move to London, Wenger is clearly a fan, so now it all seem to down to the price.

Arsenal fans have ten days left before season ticket renewals finish and I would be astounded if there wasn’t one major signature before then, almost certainly this week. It happened last year with Podolski signed, sealed and delivered before the renewals deadline. Bet it happens again!

The big question for Arsenal fans though is that will Jovetic’s signature mean that the Gunners don’t go after other names that the club have been linked with like Higuain and maybe even Rooney.

Who do you want to sign for the Gunners? Vote here.



Football

Arsenal update: Higuain bid, but is he the striker you want?

By Stefano on May 21st, 2013

There have been whispers for a few weeks now that Arsenal are about to launch a bid for Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain. Now even the broadsheet papers are getting in on the story with the Telegraph claiming that the player has emerged as the Gunners’ number one target and that a bid of £19 million has been lined up.

According to the paper Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is going to move swiftly so he has a settled team ready for the Champions League qualification games in August.

Higuain would be a real quality addition to the the Arsenal squad and he has a very good record scoring 120 goals and providing 45 assists in 264 games for Madrid.

However the paper also says that Wenger is mulling over three other targets; Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, Wayne Rooney and another Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

Looking at that list I think Higuain seems the most likely, but maybe Jovetic will be coming too.

So which one would you prefer?



Football

Arsenal update: Guillem Balague says £10 million bid for David Villa

By Stefano on May 20th, 2013

There is some real confusion about where David Villa will be playing football next season. However it seems very unlikely that he will be joining any clubs that can’t offer him Champions League football so that means Spurs and Liverpool are out of the picture.

So then where does that leave Arsenal?

A couple of sources are quoting Spanish football expert Guillem Balague who has said that Arsenal have bid around £10m for the Spanish striker.

Balague also tweeted

Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool all interested in him. So is Atletico Madrid. It’s still waiting time for Villa

So it seems that Villa’s decision is going to be between Atletico Madrid and Arsenal.

That is if Arsene Wenger wants him. Back in January he would have been a very good buy for Arsenal. In May though Wenger, with all his cash and a CL place in the bag, has a lot more options. And then there are those nagging doubts about his poor form in the second half of the season, that injury and his advancing years.

Would you still take him?



Football

Jovetic to Arsenal update

By Stefano on May 20th, 2013

If Fiorentina’s talented Montenegrin is to join Arsenal three things needed to happen to make the deal certain. So let’s take a peek at those three things and where we are with them.

1 Fiorentina not to quality for the Champions League, but Arsenal to make it. Well thanks to Koscielny’s goal the Gunners will be in the draw for CL qualifying, but they won’t be facing Fiorentina, who were pipped at the line by Milan. Jovetic could well have stayed at the club had they qualified, but now it seems certain that he will go and seek Champions League football elsewhere.

2 Juventus not to chase the player – There have been rumours that the Italian Champions had been sizing up Jovetic for a while. However this morning Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade has revealed that Juventus have not spoken to him about the player.

Prade told Sky Italia

“We have said many times that an answer [over Jovetic's future] can only be given after a meeting between the president and Jovetic.”

“Juventus? I have not talked with them because they have never asked to talk.”

3 Wenger decides he wants the player - Earlier in the season it seemed like a done deal. However Jovetic’s second half of the season has been a little disappointing. He finished the year with just twelve goals. Wenger is clearly a huge fan – but he has other options too in Higuain, Villa and maybe even Rooney.

I think Jovetic will either be announced as an Arsenal player in the next 48 hours as the deal has already been done and now ratified following Arsenal’s qualification for the CL.

If that isn’t the case I wonder if it will run and run as Wenger seeks a bargain.




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