Posts Tagged ‘Arsene Wenger’

Football

Are Arsenal going to hit Malaga for yet another player?

By Stefano on March 4th, 2013

Bit of an interesting one this which I guess is more speculation than hard fact for now.

But  HITC is suggesting that Arsene Wenger is considering his campaign to reunite the Malaga team from last year at The Emirates by signing 29 year old French defensive midfielder Jeremy Toulalan.

Malaga are currently one of the hottest teams in Spain. They are fourth in La Liga and still in the Champions League. However mounting financial troubles mean that they have had to sell off several off their players and Arsenal have already profited with a great deal for Cazorla and a potentially good one for Monreal too.

Toulalan would be a good fit for the Gunners. He has played with Sagna and Diaby in the French national side and obviously knows Monreal and Cazorla’s game very well.

He is also strong in the tackle and has good vision for a largely defensively minded player.

He has said he is leaving Malaga in the summer and Atlético Madrid are interested in his services. Newcastle have been monitoring him too as they are apparently light on French players (not).

Arsenal fans will be hoping for a higher profile signing like a Capoue, but if that Champions League place doesn’t happen then Toulalan could be a useful and cheaper alternative.



Football

Five reasons why Arsenal fans shouldn’t be too down today

By Stefano on March 4th, 2013

Losing to Spurs is never easy and to be honest it is not something  that Arsenal fans have had to endure too may times in the Wenger era. And yes it does open up a seven point gap between the Gunners and their north London rivals. But if Spurs fans can hear the Fat Lady singing they are mistaken, she hasn’t even started clearing her throat yet.

Besides there are a few positives that Arsenal fans can dwell on this morning

1 Arsenal didn’t really deserve to lose – I think many neutrals would have said that a fair result was a draw. Apart from the minutes of madness in the first half the Gunners played well and were in control of significant parts of the game. In the moments before the goal they looked comfortable and in the second half, after the Mertessacker goal, if they had scored again they would have looked the better bet to win. Admittedly while they created fewer chances they actually had more possession  than Spurs. Ultimately the key Arsenal players had average games  - Walcott, Cazorla and Wilshere – and they will be put in better performances this season.

2 There are still 10 games to go – And if you look at the run in of the three London team the Arsenal one is the easiest of the three  Besides, Chelsea and Spurs have to play each other, so if the Gunners can get a run of wins they will make up some points automatically  Tottenham’s next few games includes trips to a newly rampant Liverpool, cup winners Swansea and Stamford Bridge. They also have two more tricky home games in Everton and Man City. They finish with what on looks like three winnable games, but by then it could be a lot closer. It has happened before…

3 Yesterday heaped more pressure on Arsene Wenger – In the short term this is not a bad thing for Arsenal. He will drive the players with renewed vigour. In the long term it underlines the folly of sticking with a squad that at best can achieve fourth place, when you have huge cash reserves in the bank. Even if Arsenal did qualify for the Champions League this season the pressure for change at the club - highlighted by the alleged offer yesterday – will be huge. There is clearly a mess that needs sorting.

4 Even if the nightmare happens – And Arsenal finish fifth for the first summer in a long time there is very unlikely to be any core Arsenal players leaving  the squad. Wilshere and Walcott are going nowhere. The only question mark could be over Cazorla, and that seems very unlikely.

5 Ramsey played well - On the positive side Aaron Ramsey had a good game and is showing that he is nearing the kind of form that won him a regular first team start. Ok, I am clutching at straws now…



Football

Why Cazorla is the key man for Arsenal against Spurs

By Stefano on March 1st, 2013

Arsene Wenger has two separate formats for his 4-2-3-1 formation this season. At the start of the campaign, he fielded two wide forwards, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, either side of Santi Cazorla, with Olivier Giroud upfront. That gives Arsenal pace on the flanks, and a classic number ten between the lines.

However, in recent weeks Wenger has experimented with Cazorla drifting inside from the left, the role where he made his name at Villarreal. This changes the balance of Arsenal’s attacking department: Cazorla becomes an extra central midfielder and helps dominate possession, while Jack Wilshere can play higher up the pitch, in the ‘number ten’ role.

It’s tricky to guess which system Arsene Wenger will favour for this weekend’s North London derby. Arsenal’s left-winger will be facing Spurs right-back Kyle Walker, who is impressive going forward, but has been poor defensively this season. Attacking him might be wise, but Wenger will also want to guard against his storming forward runs. However, neither Podolski, who jogs back half-heartedly, or Cazorla, who was caught out by Philipp Lahm when moved to the left against Bayern, offers a perfect solution.

Instead, Wenger might look at the midfield zone, where Cazorla’s movement into central positions should allow Arsenal to pass around Spurs’ three-man midfield. If Wilshere and Cazorla can get in behind Scott Parker, Arsenal might cause real problems; and with Cazorla scoring Arsenal’s last three goals from that left-sided role, it seems likely Wenger will continue with his ‘new’ system.

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.

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Football

Opinion: How a move back to Arsenal could revive Samir Nasri’s career

By Stefano on February 28th, 2013

Ok Gunners fans, stop sniggering. Over the last few days there have been rumours about the next move of one time Arsenal hero Samir Nasri.

After a season in which he has been very poor and only scored twice it seems that Man City have decided that he is surplus to requirements at The Etihad. The player, that they signed from Arsenal for £25 million, is now being linked with a move to French League two side Monaco.

One thing is for sure City are going to have take a serious hit on the player, perhaps selling him for around the £10 milion mark. Nasri’s big money pay days will be at end (well relatively anyhow) as he is unlikely to earn £175k a week anywhere else.

It does beg the question though might a return to Arsenal be a possibility. Well I know the player has burned a lot of bridges with the fans, but does the 25 year old still have the respect of the manager and the team? Quite possibly. Wenger clearly rates Nasri as he was very sorry to let him go. Meanwhile Nasri seems to harbour some affection for the club, even though he has been a little bit disrespectful in tweets. He went to the game against West Ham recently running the gauntlet of irate Gunners fans.

So, and it is a big if, if they management team fancy a reunion what would they be getting? Is he the player he was three seasons ago?

There’s an intriguing article here on the always excellent Squwaka blog which outlines his problems. It suggests that the Frenchman might be being playing out of position at City which has seriously dented his confidence.

He has always dreamt of playing in the hole for a top European club, this hasn’t been the case at Manchester City where he finds himself on the wing in a two-sided role. He is there to create from out wide by cutting in but also to make it difficult for other teams to penetrate through the middle by tucking in when they have the ball. His efforts with the ball have been good, a pass completion rate of 91% is excellent.

However only 54% of these are forward passes, indicating a lack of incisive play. Nasri has created 32 chances this season although mostly from set-pieces where he has an array of enormous men to aim at hence his tally of only 3 assists.

With Arshavin out the door, Gervinho wayward at best and Oxlade Chamberlain not quite capturing his early form Arsenal could clearly use a player who can play behind the striker, but also wide if necessary. I guess he wouldn’t start every game (but at least he would give Santi a break), but I am sure Wenger would find much more use for his undoubted talents than Roberto Mancini.

The Arsenal manager clearly knows how to get the best out of the Frenchman – I wonder if he would like another opportunity. Talented players with this amount of Premiership experience don’t come along at cut-down prices too often.

Wenger was sanguine about the motives for Nasri’s move when it happened and Nasri has recently been praising Wenger.

So Arsenal fans would you take Sami back at a cut-down price and on sensible wages?



Football

Arsenal update: the £100,000 per week wage cap is history

By Stefano on February 28th, 2013

In the light of recent financial news it now appears that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board are ready to break the self-imposed £100k wage cap per week the club has for players.

The money is certainly there with the club working at a financial profit, yet also having reserves of over £120 million as well as incoming sponsorship money from The Emirates and other sources – which may total more than £100 million – some of which will be used to buy and fund players.

IB Times, among others, says

The Gunners’ Premier League rivals pay well upwards of £100,000 per week to several key players and, in the case of Ivorian Yaya Toure and Dutchman Robin van Persie (for Manchester City and Manchester United respectively) the bill crosses £200,000 per week.

Arsene Wenger has often been criticised for failing to use the significant financial funding available to him, either to sign big-name players or pay existing talent on par with other clubs.

In the past the club have lots out on many key players – Cahil, Mata and Hazard mentioning just the ones who went to Chelsea – because they either bid too low or didn’t offer high enough wages.

If the club doesn’t qualify for the Champions League as remains a real possibility then they will have to compensate players by offering seriously high wages in order to attract the best talent.

Wenger has spoken of his admiration for strikers like Edinson Cavani, Falcao and Stevan Jovetic but all three would almost certainly demand well north of £100k per week to join the club.



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Arsenal’s top transfer targets – How Arsene Wenger should spend that £70 plus million

By Stefano on February 26th, 2013

Yesterday Arsenal issued its latest financial update - and guess what, the club is in pretty rude health. Profits might have dropped a little, but just look at that whopping £123 million reserve in the bank. And there’s also sponsorship money to be added, plus season ticket cash and maybe even Stan’s idle millions (dream on…).

So the money clearly is there and in the summer the rebuilding programme needs to begin in earnest.

The big question for Arsene Wenger is how much re-building is really necessary? Are we looking at a wholesale clear out of the Arsenal team, or just some minor pruning but with some big name additions?

The rather huge sized elephant in the room is whether Arsenal will qualify for The Champions League? Not qualifying will lose Arsenal possibly as much as £20 million – thought I have seen it quoted as much more.

The more worrying thing would be trying to attract players to a club that aren’t mixing it with Europe’s finest. However Liverpool and Spurs have signed some pretty impressive players in the knowledge that they will be busy on Thursday nights rather than Tuesday and Wednesday.

So, Arsene, here is my take as to how you should spend your cash. Of course I personally think it unlikely that you’ll spend more than £40 million (0ne striker, one midfielder and a keeper), but we can all dream…

My little spree would come in at £120 million with most of that cash going on Cavani and Di Maria and that is assuming we have CL football next year. If we don’t then it comes in at about half that figure. Maybe the latter is more realistic anyhow…

Btw I think we should cash in on Vermaelen as well as losing fringe players like Arshavin, Fabianski, Mannone, Bendtner, Chamakh and possibly Gervinho too – which could generate as much as £30-40.

So what do you think? Who should Arsenal sign?

Centre backs

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Picture 3 of 7

Well, where do you start? I think there is a contributing factor in that the lack of holding midfielders has left Arsenal's centre backs more vulnerable than in the past, but still all three have under performed this season. Mertesacker seems to play well in one game, then make silly mistakes and look completely immobile in others. Koscielny has been the best of the three, but he has also looked off the pace and tactically suspect at times. And then there's our Belgian who is clearly lacking in confidence and is shadow of a player he was when he joined. If Arsenal are going to spend big then this is the place that needs some serious surgery. Mats Humell would be an ideal buy - even though Borussia Dortmund wouldn't let him go except for a large fee. If Arsenal are on more of a budget then Fernando Amorebieta from Athletic Bilbao would add some real steel to the defence and come for just £4-6 million. If Vermaelen's form doesn't improve then I think Wenger should cash in on him come the end of the season. To buy both players is going to come in at £20 million. If we don't make the CL then we might need to think about established Prem CBs. Phil Jagielka could come for £10 million.

 



Football

Why Jack Wilshere should be Arsenal’s new captain sooner rather than later

By Stefano on February 24th, 2013

As every Gooner knows the Arsenal captain’s arm band is cursed. Pop it on to your shoulder and with a few months you’ll be off playing elsewhere in Europe. It happened to Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie and now we hear that Barca are sniffing round Thomas Vermaelen.

Now there is a school of thought that suggests that Arsenal should cash in on the Belgian. His form, like his fellow central defenders, has been poor this season and there is a theory that being captain has affected his game. It has also caused problems for Arsene Wenger too because, to be frank, there have been several times this year when Vermaelen hasn’t really merited a place in the team and Wenger has picked him rather than dropped him.

Given the issues faced by Arsenal captain then the news that Arsene Wenger is considering giving Arsenal’s outstanding midfielder Jack Wilshere the armband, might not be universally welcomed by Arsenal fans. But to be honest it makes sense and needs to be done sooner rather than later. Firstly it may help Vermaelen. I personally am not too bothered whether he stays or goes – and part of me thinks that a wholesale clear out of the central defence is must for Arsenal to push forward – but it will take the pressure off and will help to concentrate on his game and hopefully recapture the form that propelled him towards the role in the first place.

As for Wilshere, well it is clear that he is the hub round which Arsenal work. His central midfield position is the perfect place for a leader to play. He is the future for the club.

There is also a precedent for Arsenal having a young captain too. Cesc Fabregas was of a similar age when he took the arm band and Tony Adams was just 21.

What Arsenal desperately require at the moment is leaders and Wilshere is someone who will drive the team forward. He is very mature for his age, will start every game and had a huge amount of passion for the club.

If, as seems likely, Arsenal don’t make the Champions League next season, then there will be a transnational year ahead and maybe the re-building starts with Wilshere taking the reins.



Football

Arsenal update: Sagna exit? New right back lined up, Chelsea’s Nathaniel Chalobah tracked

By Stefano on February 22nd, 2013

So Gunners fans – does Bacary Sagna have a long term future at the club? That’s the question being posed this morning by The Guardian.

The right back,  who was the only member of the Arsenal defence to come out of Tuesday’s game with any credit, is mulling over his future after only being offered a one year extension to his contract.

The big concern is Sagna’s injury record. He has broken his leg twice in two years and given the fact that the player has just turned 30 it seems  that his days at Arsenal may be numbered. The Guardian reckons that PSG will be interested in the player, who has 33 caps for France.

Arsene Wenger has already hinted that Sagna’s future is in the balance. Last week the manager said

“He has criticised his own form recently but the things you never question from Bacary are his commitment, his mental attitude, his desire to win and his intelligence. If he has not been playing as he would expect, it is down to his injury. It takes time to come back, and he has played through a lot of pain – in fact, he is one of the strongest players I have met when it comes to doing that. He’s hugely respected here, and if he’s not at the level we know he can achieve then we are tolerant because we know it’s not down to a lack of commitment. It’s just because he has come back from a long-term injury.”

Arsenal have a potential replacement in Carl Jenkinson, who was superb when asked to cover for Sagna last season. This year his form has been a little more mixed. Sagna is apparently injured at the moment and won’t play on Saturday against Aston Villa giving Jenkinson the chance to remind Arsenal fans what talent he has.

The club are also being linked with another right back in the guise of Feyernoord’s Daryl Janmaat.

According to The Mirror

Janmaat, who has won three Dutch caps, joined from Heerenveen last summer and has been watched by Arsenal who already have a partnership with Feyenoord which has seen them loan players and work together.

The Daily Star reports that Arsenal are planning a shock move for Chelsea starlet Nathaniel Chalobah who is currently on loan at Watford. According to the paper Arsenal believe they can tempt the player, who can start in both defence and midfield positions, to move to North London by offering more regular appearances that he would get at Chelsea. The 18 year old Englishman has been in superb form for Watford this season.

 



pick of the blogs

Hot stuff: Sony PlayStation 4 details and games, Apple iWatch update and the amazing Pig football boots

By Stefano on February 21st, 2013

The hottest stories from Brandish and our pals

Mitch Winehouse at the Brits – and his Amy jacket

How The Champions League hoardings trolled Arsenal

London’s fashionistas -and how they brightened up Fashion Week

Has Arsene Wenger too much faith in mediocre players?

12 photos of Bobby Robson in his prime

Football Boots we have loved – remember The Pig?

Apple’s iWatch – take a look at the future of gadgets

Meet the new Stone Roses – yep Jagwa Ma are leading the Baggy/Madchester revival

Your next phone? The very stylish and high-tech HTC One

Want a record player? Check out these retro-looking beauties

Sony’s PlayStation 4 – all the details of this year’s hottest new games console

PlayStation 4 – the games you are going to be playing this year

 



Football

Arsenal update – Wenger to stay and get huge war chest, Fabregas hints at return and more

By Stefano on February 21st, 2013

According to The Mirror no matter what happens this season Arsene Wenger won’t be collecting his P45. The Arsenal boss will instead be around for next season and will have a large chunk of cash to spend in the summer.

The Mirror reports that a £70 million reserve is ready for the Arsenal boss to spend big on a series of player. However it also says that if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League that sum will be reduced and only a couple of players will be on the way.

The Mirror says that Arsenal insiders are worried about how the fans’ current disapproval of the Frenchman is affecting him.

Its says

The biggest worry is that the fans – who have begun to turn – will carry on making it tough for Wenger if results do not improve.

The Frenchman has looked under increasing strain, yet those closest to him and within the club believe he is determined to ride out the storm and show he can turn Arsenal’s fortunes around before his current contract expires next year.

Meanwhile Cecs Fabregas has re-affirmed that if he ever left Barcelona he would return to The Emirates

He told Sky Sports

“I haven’t spoken to [Wenger] about that but it is good news for me that he is saying things like that because I was sad when I left. When I spoke with [Wenger] I was happy in a way because I was able to shake his hand and look him in the eye. I would have never forgiven myself if I had left in a bad way. [It's an] amazing club that has given me everything.

“I’m just happy that they have a good memory of me. Who knows? In the future I don’t know if I will come back to Arsenal. If one day I had to leave Barcelona, probably the first thing I will look into is Arsenal, but at the moment I’m very happy here. I could not think of a better team for me.”

Finally Sky Sports had got its team of experts, including several ex-Gunners, to suggest what might happen next to the Arsenal boss. All five pinpoint his transfer strategy as being the main reason for Arsenal’s demise.

However Stewart Robson adds that there has been some mismanagement of the side. He points to how nervous the players look and that Steve Bould hasn’t been given free rein to work with the defence.

He believes that it isn’t the team that is weak but the way they are managed.

Arsenal cannot keep selling their best players, but man-for man, there is not that much difference between Arsenal and Bayern Munich. The difference was that one team was organised and the other had no tactical understanding.



Football

Five things Arsenal fans were thinking at the final whistle last night

By Stefano on February 20th, 2013

A few things that Arsenal fans were thinking at the end of the game last night.

1 That this was their last European home game for a while – Many Gunners aren’t confident that Arsenal will over haul Spurs and/or Chelsea and secure a Champions League place next year. So last night could be the last Champions League night at The Emirates for quite some time.

2 That the defence needs a total restructuring – Not just a player or two but complete restructuring. Sagna played well, but the other three were generally very poor. Vermaelen isn’t the player he used to be, Koscielny might not have been fit, but looked sluggish and Mertesacker simply isn’t good enough. The team needs a defensively minded midfielder to add some protection and at least two new centre backs.

3 That Wenger needs to go – Maybe not today, or even if Villa beat Arsenal on Saturday, but at the end of the season. Piers Morgan might been advocating his removal now, but I think that a lot of Arsenal fans think he deserves the chance to try and turn things around this season. He could then leave with a degree of dignity in the summer. Arsenal need to be thinking about his replacement now.

4 The board that runs their football club is a shambles - Installing Silent Stan was a defensive move to prevent Usmanov from taking over. Kroenke has kept his part of the bargain by keeping quiet and letting the current team manage the club. However they simply aren’t up to the job. There’s no real leadership and no significant injection of cash and Arsenal need those to compete. If Usmanov was the controlling shareholder and brought Dein back they would have both.

5 Wilshere could become the new Gerrard - By that I mean the only realty outstanding member of a largely mediocre team. A player whose loyalty keep him at the club but who would achieve more if he left.



Football

Arsenal update: Season ticket weirdness, Wenger does Taxi Driver, but Bayern boss backs him

By Stefano on February 18th, 2013

Phew – what a day. It sounds like one that Arsene Wenger won’t want to remember. In case you missed it, earlier in the day Wenger had a bit of an incident that the Arsenal press conference.

There’s a blow by blow account at The Guardian, but the fury appears to have been sparked by what Wenger called ‘wrong information; in The Sun that negotiations had already started with Wenger over a new deal, with his current one set to expire in the summer of 2014.

Now most managers would be keen to trumpet new contract negotiations, but not under fire Arsene.

Wenger responded by saying

“That is the wrong information and I work for 16 years in England and I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention: to harm. If it is good information which comes from nowhere it is all right but this is wrong information that comes from nowhere and it is completely wrong.”

As the Guardian then reports Wenger got in to an exchange with a journalist and even added a bit of Taxi Driver speak.

“I look at you not because you give information, I do not know if it is you, I do not know where the information comes from. Why do you look at me? I just thought you had given this information out.”

The journalist apparently responded that he was looking at Wenger because he was at his press conference…

The beleaguered Arsenal boss did get a bit of support today from his opposite number at Bayern.

At his press conference this morning Jupp Heynckes seemed to blame the Arsenal commercial management and not Arsene Wenger for the club’s decline.

You have to take into consideration that Arsenal are competing with teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City,’ he said.

‘The way I see it, over the years they have been selling their best players whereas the other teams get in these world stars. If you have to compete with that I don’t think it is fair to blame Arsene Wenger.

‘Wenger is a great coach. You see the way his teams play. Arsenal has a lot of tradition and history. They play attractive football.

‘If you take away the game against Blackburn they have been very positive. They’re fifth in the league. They will be a very difficult opponent for us tomorrow.’

Finally a really good spot by the chaps at Anorak who have noticed that Arsenal tend to talk up their transfer war chest every time season ticket renewals come around.

It links to The Telegraph who this morning reported that Arsenal have a £70 million war chest to spend in the summer, and this a couple of days after it opened season ticket renewals.

Apparently a similar story ran in February last year also just before season ticket renewals opened. And as for that war chest – it didn’t really get spent now did it?



Football

Arsenal update: Goalkeeper gossip, Wilshere on Chelsea and why Wenger might drop Giroud

By Stefano on February 18th, 2013

There’s lot of Arsenal news this morning with the papers dominated by recriminations over the defeat to Blackburn and previews of the game on Tuesday against Bayern Munich.

Jack Wilshere has been talking eloquently about both subjects.

On the Blackburn game Wilshere said

“It’s obviously disappointing to go out of the FA Cup. We know what this trophy means in England and we wanted to go all the way.

“We created a lot of chances we’re just disappointed we couldn’t put it in the net. “They probably created one chance and they got a lucky goal but that’s the FA Cup. Giantkillings going on all the time in this cup and it happened today.”

On the game against Bayern, Wilshere said that he hoped the Arsenal team would find inspiration from an unlikely source – their West London rivals Chelsea

“They weren’t having a good season and ok they got a bit lucky in some games but they showed great character and we need to do that now. We need to come together as a team. We’ve got good leaders here we’ve got a good team atmosphere and I think that’s going to help us now.

Meanwhile Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has tackled the Chelsea issue straight on saying that the German side are much stronger this season. He told The Daily Mail.

“We are hungry to win the Champions League. This team have been to the final twice and didn’t win. We have more experience and we’re moving towards our aim. Compared to the final against Chelsea, we are stronger. We have more good players and we are stronger on the bench. This is a crucial point.

“In the final, Chelsea brought on Fernando Torres and Florent Malouda and that helped them win the game. That’s a big difference to last season. We have more options to change.”

The Guardian has a round up of all the latest Arsenal related transfer news. Not that any of it is what you would call proper news. The big issues seems to be around the future of Wojciech Szczesny. Is Arsene in for a new keeper? Well according to The Guar the main names in the frame are Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and Liverpool’s Pepe Reina. Both of which seem pretty unlikely.

Finally Goal has an interesting take on who might play for The Gunners against Bayern. It is pure speculation of course but the website thinks that Wenger might drop Olivier Giorud, who had a turkey on Saturday, and play Theo Walcott down the middle.

Its rationale is this

Arsene Wenger believes his strongest offensive weapon in the last-16 first-leg encounter is a pacy, mobile front three that can hit the runaway Bundesliga leaders on the counter-attack. The Arsenal manager is believed to be leaning towards starting with a front trio of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, although he could revise his plans following training on Monday.

Goal also thinks that Aaron Ramsey will get a start too which would explain why he didn’t play on Saturday.

I think there might be legs to this one. Bayern are probably more susceptible to pacy players who catch them on the break rather then old school strikers like Giroud who could be easily marked by their superb defensive paring.

We will find out soon enough.



Football

Rumours of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona? The Arsenal captain’s curse again!?

By Stefano on February 18th, 2013

Here’s an interesting question for Arsenal fans. Would you cash in Thomas Vermaelen for a Barca player or two?

Well that’s the rumour that has been picked up the Daily Mirror which suggests that the Catalans are lining up the Arsenal defender as a replacement for Eric Abidal who is unlikely to return to to-level footballer after his illnesses.

In return The Mirror suggest that Arsenal will be offered several Barca players including David Villa.

The paper says

Wenger has gone cold on the idea of signing Barcelona striker David Villa. However, the Spanish giants will try to reignite his interest if it will help get a deal for Vermaelen done.

Barcelona have already put around £40million aside for new signings in the summer and that pot will grow if they can offload Villa, versatile defender and midfielder Adriano and young forward Cristian Tello.

Vermaelen, 27, is under contract at Arsenal until October 2015.

So Arsenal fans what do you think? Might this be a sensible move for Arsene Wenger? It is clear that Thomas Vermaelen isn’t the commanding figure he was a couple of seasons back. There are even those who think that the Arsenal captain isn’t part of the best defensive pairing which they believe to be Mertesacker and Koscielny.

Then again it would be tough to replace a player with his skill and experience.

It is interesting too that this could end up being another example of the curse of being captain, for several players that Wenger has given that role to has left the club not too long after.



Football

Wenger admits Arsenal tried to sign Gareth Bale from Southampton, but rated Theo Walcott more important

By Stefano on February 15th, 2013

One other really great snippet from this morning’s conference which has been picked up by ESPN and others is that Arsene Wenger had admitted that Arsenal were looking to sign Gareth Bale from Southampton, but instead determined Theo Walcott to be the better prospect.

And it is a decision that he doesn’t regret.

Talking about signing Theo Walcott from Southampton in 2006 but not taking Bale too Wenger said :

“At some stage, we were looking to take the two if possible. We got Walcott, and I am very happy with that. Look, if I tell you the number of players we did not sign that we should have signed, you will be amazed. It’s the same for every club – you sometimes miss out on players.”

In words that will probably anger a few spurs fans Wenger said that he feels that while Bale is a brilliant player he isn’t the third best player in the world behind Messi and Ronlado as has been suggested by some papers today.

“He has the potential to develop and to get close to the players you compare him to, but Ronaldo and Messi?

“Messi has won two or three Champions League titles. He has won a few championships. He scored more than 90 goals last year. Let’s not go too quick [in comparing Bale to Messi]. You are always very quick here, but let’s slow down a bit.”

Bale was in sensational form for Spurs last night scoring twice in their win over Lyon in the Europa Cup.

Tottenham play Arsenal in what might turn out to the the Champions league fourth place decider on March 2nd.

Pic James Boyes




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