Posts Tagged ‘Arsene Wenger’

Football

Arsenal rumours; M’Villa in, three heading for the exit

By Stefano on January 3rd, 2013

It seems like Arsene Wenger is homing in on one of his long term transfer targets. Caught Offside is reporting that the Gunners are close to signing Rennes combative midfielder Yann M’Vila.

The website says

Wenger is confident he can lure M’Vila to North London this month and will look to make the midfielder the first signing of the window.

The 22 year old battler came close to securing a deal to move to the Emirates Stadium last summer but the deal collapsed at the last moment. Now Rennes are reportedly ready to accept offers of around €15m (£12m), a price-tag that Wenger is willing to meet in order to add some much needed steel to his Arsenal midfield.

Arsenal have not really replace Alex Song who left to join Barcelona in the summer and Wenger believes that by buying a defensive minded midfielder he will be able to give more rein to the attacking instincts of creative players like Wilshere and Cazorla. The key issue that the Arsenal boss is having to consider is whether he can manage an undeniably talented but tempestuous player who has at times had a difficult relationship with the Rennes fans.

Wenger clearly believes in the player who in spite of his 22 caps for France has been dropped by Rennes several times this season. In spite of this the club’s manager Frédéric Antonetti is a huge fan of the player and said that M’Vila “reads the game like Makélélé, has the presence of Vieira and can pass the ball like Yaya Touré.”

Although Arsenal appear to have back tracked on several of their potential signings since the window opened, this one feels like a real prospect. For all their midfield talent the club clearly have an issue with carrying the ball from midfield to their strikers Walcott and Giroud and a tough tacking box to box player with great vision sounds like the missing link in the chain, especially if he can release the other midfielders to take more attacking roles.

Meanwhile three Arsenal players are apparently a step closer to leaving the club this morning. According to an Italian paper out of sorts striker Marouane Chamakh is being tracked by Inter Milan and Johan Djourou is on the radar of German club Hanover. Sebastien Squillaci has apparently been talking to French clubs Marseille, Nice, Monaco, Bastia or Ajaccio about a possible move.

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Football

Theo Walcott to sign new Arsenal contract. Wenger ends interest in Zaha, says Talksport

By Stefano on January 2nd, 2013

Talksport has an exclusive, which if proved true, could be one of the hottest transfer stories in January. They believe that Arsene Wenger is about to make his first signing of the window - Theo Walcott.

They say

“Reports have emerged from the Emirates that the former Southampton winger is ready to agree a new deal, having had various requirements met.”

Sky Sports is also reporting that Walcott is in news talks with the club today and that they expect a clear position on his future by the end of the day.

The down side for Arsenal fans is that Talksport also believes that Walcott signing will mean the Gunners cool their interest in Crystal Palace’s precocious star Wilfried Zaha.

The article also suggests that Arsenal remain in the market for other players with David Villa and Arda Turan on Arsene Wenger’s radar.

There have been positive noises coming out of The Emirates about Theo Walcott, so I don’t think many people will be too surprised if he re-signs. Arsenal are also not short of wide players, though they will lose one of them, Gervinho to the Africa Cup Of Nations, so cooling interest in Zaha isn’t too much of a shock. Not buying a winger thought would also rule out Turan. I do wonder if Arsenal’s main deal this winter will turn out to be Adrian Lopez who can play anywhere across the front three.

United are known to be very keen on Zaha, as are Spurs. Ferguson could even let him stay at palace on loan for the rest of the season. Zaha recently stated that he was ready to play Premiership football.

Here’s who else Arsene Wenger is considering signing this winter.



Football

Arsenal say no to Henry and Sneijder, but new signings on their way

By Stefano on January 2nd, 2013

In today’s least surprising news Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Thierry Henry won’t be returning for a third spell at the club. Arsenal have also ruled themselves out of the race to sign Dutch front man Wesley Sneijder, but Wenger insists that the club will make signings in the window.

Henry has been training with the club in the last month and there was possibility that he would repeat his loan spell of last year which saw him score twice for the club. However when quizzed about a deal Arsene Wenger told the press.

“He is not ready, he has just come back from holiday anyway. At the moment we are not on that case.”

Meanwhile The Sun is reporting that Arsenal (and Chelsea) have passed up on the chance to sign Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder even though he is being offered as a free transfer. Both teams are scared off by his wage demands. He currently earns £200k a week in Italy.

Finally Wenger has reiterated that he is looking to buy players in the window.

He said -

“I will be active, yes. Will I be concrete? I hope so. We are looking everywhere, we are open-minded. We want to strengthen the squad if possible if we find the right players.”



Football

Arsenal face tough battle to land the ‘new Gareth Bale’ Luke Shaw

By Stefano on January 1st, 2013

Arsenal are stepping up their bid to secure Southampton’s Luke Shaw, a left back whose ability has inevitability lead to comparisons with another Saints graduate Gareth Bale.

However they may face a tough battle to secure the youngster in the winter transfer window with manager Nigel Adkins adamant that his star 17 year old defender is going nowhere.

Adkins told the Mail

‘I think Luke gets linked every week with Arsenal, doesn’t he?’ said Adkins.

‘Luke is under contract, he is playing football for us in the Premier League, which is important.

‘We are not looking to let him go anywhere if anyone wants to come in for any of our players, by all means speak to the chairman. He does the deals and all the best with that.’

Wenger has apparently been tracking Shaw for several years. He also has swelled Southampton’s coffers in the past with big money signings of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. The latter cost £15 million. The bid for Shaw is apparently a third of that figure and Arsenal will have to increase that offer to stand a chance of luring Shaw to The Emirates.

Shaw might also worry that he is trading regular first team football for a period as under study to Kieran Gibbs. Although one wonders if Wenger has plans to do a Bale with Shaw and turn him into a more attack-minded wide player.

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Football

Arsenal bid £10 million for Atletico’s Adrian Lopez

By Stefano on December 31st, 2012

Goal has an interesting exclusive. It is claiming that Arsenal have tabled a £10 million bid for Atletico Madrid’s out of favour striker Adrian Lopez.

The bid is less than the £14.7m release clause in the forward’s contract, but Wenger hopes that the striker, who has only played six times for the Madrid side this season, will put pressure on his club to see the move through.

Arsenal have already been closely linked with a number of Spanish strikers including David Villa, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente. The former would be probably only be available as loan deal and it seems that Wenger is set on strengthening his striking squad permanently in the window.

One of the reasons why Lopez is so attractive is that he a versatile player who can start anywhere in the front three. His striking skills would provide serious competition to Walcott and Giroud at The Emirates. Last season Lopez scored 19 goals in every competition.

He is not the marquee signing that Arsenal fans are calling for, but he might prove to be an excellent addition to the squad.

Pic PA



Football

Wenger’s winter shopping list – the six players who could re-ignite Arsenal’s season

By Stefano on December 30th, 2012

On one level that was a pretty impressive display by the Gunners against Newcastle. However before we get carried away and start predicting great things for the club in the new year it is worth noting the following. Firstly, injury-crippled Newcastle aren’t far off relegation fodder at the moment. Secondly Arsenal were poor for much of the first half managing only a couple of meaningful chances in addition to their goals.

There are clear holes in the team which need filling and Wenger, for all his talk of only signing exceptional players, knows this to be the case. No matter how big the new sponsorship deals are, not qualifying for The Champions League will blow a huge chasm in Arsenal’s financial plans and at the moment Arsenal look like a team that could well finish fifth or even sixth.

Also the pressure on the manager (and the board too) from the fans is starting to increase. What was the odd murmuring from disgruntled supporters a year or so ago is now a crescendo of discontent and it is an issue that needs to be met head on this January.

So, to help Arsene out a little, here are the six players who I think could transform Arsenal’s season. Obviously Arsenal would be unlikely to secure all six, but they are clearly missing a striker, a defensive midfielder, a wide player (especially if Arshavin goes) and a left back (if as expected Santos heads to Turkey).

This lot should realistically cost £30-40 million in signing on fees and a significant wad in wages. However that should still leave  plenty of cash for more rebuilding, and in particular that marquee striker signing, in the summer.

So who have I missed?

Pics from PA

6 Arda Turan

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With Arshavin out the door and question marks about where Walcott will be playing Arsenal need two new wide players. Zaha has to be one, but if Wenger opts for a second then Arda Turan, Atletico Madrid's Turkish star would be a very good bet. He is 25, plays on the left wing – an area where Arsenal have sometimes struggled this season with Lukas Podolski – and owing to the perilous financial nature of Spanish football he could end up costing less than £10 million. He would also be a good player to link up with Santi Cazorla and certainly works harder tracking back than Podolski. He also has plenty of pace, something that is sorely lacking in the current Arsenal team. If Wenger wants to go a little more left field then Leicester's French winger, Anthony Knockaert, would come in a fair bit cheaper.



Football

Arsenal in pole position to sign Luke Shaw – but do they need him?

By Stefano on December 30th, 2012

Arsene Wenger clearly has a thing for graduates from the Southampton Youth Academy. In 2006 he nabbed a young winger called Theo Walcott – what happened to him? Then in 2011 he paid a reported £15 million to land Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. Now Wenger apparently has another Saint on his radar.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Arsenal are now favourites to sign the 17 year old left back Luke Shaw. Since his graduation from the youth team Shaw has been a revelation at St Mary’s. The Saints’ defence is nowhere near as leaky as it was earlier in  the season and Shaw’s speed, direct approach and ability to take on and beat men have all been noted.

In many ways he sounds like a classic Wenger signing – but do Arsenal really need him? At the moment Arsenal have three left backs – Kieran Gibbs, Andre Santos and Jernade Meade. Gibbs is clearly the number one choice and recently signed a long  term contract with the club. Gibbs is quick, good going  forward and not afraid of getting in shooting positions and having a pop. He had a mixed game against Newcastle yesterday. He was partially responsible for one of the Newcastle goals but then his dogged resilience and quick feet created several chances at the other end.

He might have been injury-prone in the past, but this season that iffy metatarsal doesn’t appear to be troubling him. If Wenger does sign Shaw he will be Gibbs’ under study at least in the short term.

Left back two is Andre Santos who many fans consider to be a full on liability. Wenger is almost certain to off load him in the window.

The big question about whether Wenger signs Shaw is what kind of future does he predict for Jernade Meade? The youngster looked good in the Capital One Cup and also against Olympiakos in away leg of the Champions league and maybe he can play an important role as a squad player. He was originally a left winger, but has become the regular left back for the Under 21s. In some ways he is almost an analogue of Gibbs, tough, quick and not afraid to get forward. However an injury to Gibbs and a sale for Santos could propel him into an extended run in the team and maybe Arsene thinks that he just isn’t  ready for that responsibility. It will be a shame for Meade if Shaw does arrive, but it will give Arsenal three of the best young left backs in the country.

 Image PA



Football

Nani to Arsenal – apparently it is back on, but what about Zaha?

By Stefano on December 29th, 2012

If you thought that the Nani to Arsenal rumour was just the figment of an over active sports writer’s brain you might be forced to think again. The Mirror is today reporting that the United winger might be on his way to Arsenal as Arsene Wenger looks to strengthen his squad.

Wenger has a bit of a dilemma about who he should play on the wings at then moment. Gervinho will shortly be off to the African Cup Of Nations ,while Andre Arshavin appears to be on his way to Reading. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has looked impressive recently but clearly needs to be brought on slowly. And as for Theo Walcott, Wenger seems to be agreeing to his wish to play up front in a bid to keep him at The Emirates.

Nani, who has barely featured for the Reds this season, is a an experienced campaigner who would add depth to the squad. Not everyone would be keen on his arrival though. In the comments on this link he features as one of the five players Arsenal fans hate most of all.

There’s no direct quotes in the Mirror article so make of it what you will.

According to the paper Wenger is very keen on Wilfried Zaha, Pepe Reina, and Southampton Left back Luke Shaw. There alsoa appears to be a bit of a buzz about Yann M’Villa  again. Odd that there aren’t any strikers on that list though. Also the Zaha to Arsenal bandwagon seems to have stalled a little. The player, who has been in scintillating form for Palace this year, is an Arsenal fan who, according to hearsay, favours a move to London Premiership club, however only Spurs have declared their intention to sign the winger so far.

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Football

Atletico Madrid’s tricky winger Arda Turan tracked by Arsenal and Liverpool

By Stefano on December 28th, 2012

The latest news from Arsenal is that the club are apparently interested in signing Atletico Madrid’s Turkish winger Arda Turan.

Turkish paper Millyet says that the player’s agent Ahmet Bulut has received offers from both Arsenal and Liverpool, and the Turkish midfielder wants to continue his career in the Premier League.

Wenger (and Rodgers) was clearly reminded about what a talent the player is when he starred during the Madrid club’s recent thrashing of Chelsea in the Super Cup.

He is 25, plays on the left wing – an area where Arsenal have struggled this season with Lukas Podolski – and owing to the perilous financial nature of Spanish football he could end up costing less than £10 million.

He would also be a good player to link up with Santi Cazorla and certainly works harder tracking back than Podolski. He also has plenty of pace, something that is sorely lacking in the current Arsenal team.

From a marketing perspective it would be a very wise move to sign a Turkish player too. The area to the east of the ground is home to many Arsenal supporting Turks and Turkish Cypriots who would be hugely excited about one of their own starring at The Emirates.

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features, Football

Why Spurs now have a stronger squad than Arsenal – and this from a Gooner

By Stefano on December 27th, 2012

Up until this season if you had suggested to an Arsenal fan that their pals at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road had a stronger squad you would have probably been chased all the way back to Edmonton.

However, as the season progresses and Arsenal’s results and performances get weirder and weirder, it has become painfully obvious to a lot of Gooners that the superiority over their neighbours that they once took for granted, might be about to come to an end.

At the time of writing both teams are, along with Everton, the key contenders for that fourth Champions League slot. If you asked me though who I think will be hosting Champions League games next season I’d say it is more likely to be Spurs – and this from a Gooner. And it isn’t just me. Catch them in a more reflective moment and many Arsenal fans would agree that their worst fears might soon be about to be realised.

I have gone through both squads and compared the Arsenal and Spurs players (to be fair I am way more familiar with the Gunners, but I have watched a lot of the Spuds on the TV this season) and the sad part is that, while it is still pretty close, in certain key areas, Tottenham have the edge. There is probably a greater number of Spurs players who I wish were wearing red and white than probably since the late 80s, and fewer Arsenal men that Spurs fans covet.

So, take the tour and say what you think in the comments. Like most Arsenal fans I remain optimistic, but that optimism is born out of two things – 1 A feeling that we have managed to sneak a Champions League slot so many times before. 2 That Ivan Gazidis isn’t kidding when he says that Arsene Wenger has plenty of cash to spend in January. Whether Arsene spends it though is another matter.

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Goalkeepers - Spurs

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So who is the best North London keeper? It is a bit of a moot point recently given that Wojciech Szczęsny has been out for a chunk of the season with injury and that AVB can't decide if Hugo Lloris or Brad Friedel is his number one keeper. Friedel's contract extension though might partially answer that one though. To be honest it is hard to choose between the three of them. I really love Szczęsny and like most Arsenal fans are desperate for him to succeed. He is a step above Almunia at the very least. What gives Spurs the edge though is that they have two quality keepers, Arsenal have one plus Mannone... A quality signing - Reina? - could even things up a little, but at the moment Spurs have the edge.



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.



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10 things we changed our minds about in 2012 – from red trousers to big phones

By Stefano on December 23rd, 2012

We are British, and let’s face it we can be fickle. We might have a thing for an underdog one year, but the minute they start realising their potential and being successful we enjoy nothing more than taking them down a peg or two.

Here then are ten things we changed our mind about in 2012. These are things that we accepted as wisdom for at least some of the year, but revised our opinions on. Some in a negative way, but a surprising number in a positive way.

What have I missed?

1 The Olympics

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So Mitt Romney was right. We can't run an Olympics. It was chaotic, the transport system tanked and that famed British negativity meant that everyone walked around during the games with a sour look on their face. Actually it turned out it was Mitt Romney who couldn't run things properly (well election campaigns anyhow) and all those naysayers who spent the weeks before the games moaning about transport, corporate sponsors, drugged up athletes and more chomped on their words. London is the greatest city in the world and we gave the world the best ever Olympics. Why should we be surprised?




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