Posts Tagged ‘Arsene Wenger’

Football

Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea target Edinson Cavani talks about his future

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

The Napoli striker is very high on many manger’s wants lists at the moment with Arsene Wenger and Roberto Mancini especially being known as keen admirers.

And the player has given some encouragement to the clubs who might want to prise him from Napoli in the summer.

Talking to La Gazzetta dello Sport today Cavani spoke explicitly about the 63million Euros (or £53 million) buy out clause that has almost certainly prevented him from moving in the winter window. Cavani suggests that he would consider a move but it sounds like it would only be to Europe’s ultra rich footballing elite – think City, PSG and Chelsea.

Cavani said

“If a club has a clear project and they want to focus on me, they can’t be frightened in front of this figure. For now, I’m not thinking about [my future]. Then it will be up to the club to take into consideration what should be done.”

The huge buy out clause figure was also mentioned recently by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis who told Corriere dello Sport.

“I have already said before that Cavani is not for sale. We will have to wait and see whether someone is willing to pay his buy-out clause, and if the player wants to join that club.”

The player also said that he would be talking Napoli at the end of the season. The club are currently second in Serie A three points behind the leaders Juventus.

“Yes, but a lot will depend on the offer that the [Napoli] president will make me at the end of the season. I am happy here. Napoli have given me a lot and I am trying to repay them. We’ll talk about it.”



Football

Arsenal update: All quiet, but for one last push for David Villa or Edin Džeko?

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

After a game in which Arsenal created a huge number of chances only to see many of them squandered by their current striker you might have thought that Arsene Wenger would be combing Europe for reinforcements. Well Wenger said after the game last night

“We will try to be active. It won’t be easy but at the moment I have nothing to give to you unfortunately.”

This does however tantalisingly suggest that the Arsenal fax might get a bit of a whizz today and that it is pointing in the direction of Barcelona.

Whether it is hearsay, or maybe that they have ruin with the story so long, a couple of sources are suggesting that Arsenal will have one last crack at persuading the Catalans to part with David Villa.

It is a move that Vila is keen on and that would suit Arsenal too, but the fact that there are only a few hours left would suggest a lot of work would have to be done very quickly to push it through. And that would have to start with a change of heart from Barca’s management team.

The Metro suggests that Wenger will add left back to cover for Kieran Gibbs who will be out for three weeks with a thigh injury.

Meanwhile the talk of The Emirates last night was that Edin Džeko was once again a target. Even though Balotelli is gone Mancini appears to be looking to offload the Bosnian and several German clubs are interested in the player.

Wenger, however likes a last minute trolley dash – remember how many players Arsenal signed at the window’s end in August 2011? – so who knows what will happen today.



Football

Five possible reasons why Arsenal haven’t signed any players in the window

By Stefano on January 30th, 2013

So with less than 48 hours to go Arsenal have signed exactly zero players in the window (I am not counting Walcott). Their rivals for Champions League places, Liverpool and Chelsea, have both significantly strengthened their squads by adding new players and in the case of The Reds it has already given them some very real momentum. Arsenal will find out exactly how much momentum later today.

Yet there remains the very strong chance that at the end of tomorrow night the Arsenal squad will be pretty much as it was a month ago.

Arsenal fans seem unsure of what to make of this. I read the always interesting Ashburton Grove this morning who talks of how he was not expecting any signings, but if one does land it would be nice surprise.

He says

I’m at peace with myself that we won’t make any signings. If we do, it will be a nice surprise. So that means putting my full support behind the players pulling on the Arsenal shirt until the end of the season, continuing against Liverpool tonight.

Other fans take a more aggressive view. They think that the club is going to struggle to reach fourth place and is in dire need of reinforcements. Wenger, Gazidis and their team have had a month to get new blood in, what has happened? The money is there, there are financially struggling clubs all over Europe and there are some great potential deals to be done. So why no new players?

No one knows exactly what has gone on at Arsenal this month part from Arsene and Ivan, but here are my pet theories as to why it is possible that Arsenal haven’t signed anyone.

1 Arsene is happy with the squad he has – The club’s recent results haven’t been bad, Walcott has signed a new contract and, although it is not a done deal, fourth place is still a very real possibility. Arsenal have the players,  they just need to gel together.

This all depends on expectation levels. If the limit of Arsenal’s ambition is fourth place then Wenger may have a point. Ultimately Arsenal fans are expecting a lot more. They want to be  challenging United and City for the title. If that is the case the team desperately needs new players. Even Wojciech Szczesny admitted to this yesterday when in The Guardian he said.

“Over a long time I’ve honestly had enough of people saying Arsenal’s defence is not good enough. People judge defence on the back of goals conceded but you have to have a look at the defending in general. If my back four are completely exposed against Chelsea – most of the time in the first half there it was four of my defenders against six Chelsea players – they were disadvantaged all the time. You have to look at the defending of the whole team, the shape of the whole team. People blame the Arsenal defenders way too much over the past couple of seasons.

That sounds like to me a cry for a reliable committed defensive midfielder.

Also look at Arsenal’s rivals. United might be many points clear but even they looked to  the future in the window in signing Wilfried Zaha – a player who realistically could have been an Arsenal signing.

2 Arsene can’t make his mind up -
The Frenchman knows that he needs to add players, but he can’t decide which ones. So Yann M’Vila is coming, and then he isn’t. Mohamed Diame is on his way but then Wenger goes cold on him.

I do think that indecision is playing a role. Arsene has consistently stated he only wants to sign exceptional players, but I am not sure in his head who he thinks is exceptional as it seems to change all the time.

3 Arsene can’t bear to spend the money – There are lots of players who Arsene would consider signing, but he isn’t going to splash the cash to get them. He has constantly alluded to the fact that you don’t apparently get good value in the winter window and this means that he is not bidding enough money for the players he wants.

Who knows if Arsenal made bids for Zaha, Villa etc. But I know Arsenal clearly bid for Gary Cahill and that piss takey sum incensed Bolton so much that it was inevitable that Cahill was on is way to Chelsea. I can also see Arsenal getting gazumped by City on a David Villa deal. I wonder if Wegner was so traumatised by criticism of his recent transfer policy (coughs, Park) and the way he seems to be paying mediocre players large wages that this means he deems it essential to be financially very, very prudent, and Arsenal end up with players who are 30% less talented than the ones they are replacing.

4 Wenger and Gazidis are just rubbish at transfers – This one gets trotted out a lot by Wenger’s critics. In the old days David Dein  spoke to Arsene, got a shopping list and off he went. Since Dein’s exit Arsenal’s transfer strategy seems to have been a lot more haphazard and there are those who think that Wenger doesn’t know what he is doing. They point to the fact that other clubs tied up players early while Wenger  has left it until last minute in search of a bargain.

For me this has a ring of truth. Arsenal’s transfer strategy seems flawed in that the longer you leave it to execute on your targets the more complex things become. Sure you pay more money earlier in the window, but then you get the pick of the players you want. I sometimes wonder if Wenger likes a deal more than he likes making great signings.

5 The money isn’t there – Maybe this £100 million war chest doesn’t exist. It is all a sham and Arsenal were never going to sign any players at all.

So what do you think? Any other reasons?



Football

Allardyce acknowledges he ‘might lose’ Diame. But will it be to Arsenal or Spurs?

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

Interesting quote this morning from a press conference given by West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.

Asked about what the situation was with Mohammed Diame Allardyce seemed to acknowledge that the controversial midfielder could be on his way out of Upton Park.

Allardyce said ‘It is total confusion. I’m as confused as anyone. I hope we don’t, but we might lose him.’

Diame, who has played superbly for the Hammers this season has been tracked by Arsene Wenger for quite some time. However some sources, well the Metro are suggesting that Spurs may have moved ahead in the race to sign the player. The rumour is that he has a £3.5million buyout clause in his contract, but in reality the clubs may expect to pay a lot more than that for his services.



Football

Wenger says Barcelona don’t want to sell Villa to Arsenal

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

Bad news for Arsenal fans. Arsene Wenger has revealed during his press conference this morning that David Villa is unlikely to join Arsenal during the transfer window as the Catalans aren’t prepared to sell their star striker.

In spite of Villa being keen to join Arsenal and Wenger being keen on the player, the Gunners boss said

‘Barcelona do not want to sell David Villa, they have made that very, very clear.’

David Villa’s wife gave birth to their third child last night, a boy named Luca, which may complicate any possible move.

Given the way that Arsenal have undertaken negotiations in the past though I wouldn’t completely rule it out until midnight on Thursday.

At the same conference Wenger also ruled out signing David Beckham who has been training with the Arsenal team.



Football

The truth about Arsenal transfer denials – and why I think Villa is on his way

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

So Arsenal fans – in 48 hours or so time the squad you cherish so much might still be exactly the same with no new additions. And this in spite of the fact that Arsene Wenger stressed that he wanted buy two players.

But then again one of Europe’s top strikers might just be about to sign.

It is eerily quite this morning concerning the possible move of Barcelona’s David Villa to Arsenal. The story broke once again yesterday with Goal.com claiming that Arsenal had dispatched Dicky Law to Spain to push the deal through.

A few hours later Sky Sports said that Arsenal hadn’t begin talks with the player.

But who is right? I can’t comment on the Goal story, someone must have seen Law jumping off the EasyJet flight from Luton… But the Sky Sports story is completely uncredited. It may be the words of an Arsenal employee, but it is more likely to be the TV network’s Spanish expert Guillem Balague, who Gunners fans may remember was a rather annoying sideshow during the Fabregas sale.

The point is that we really don’t know and even if Arsene Wenger denies that talks have begun today I wouldn’t write the transfer off. Arsene has consistently denied that Arsenal about to sign players before going on and signing them. Arteta, Cazorla, Arshavin – there’s a long list here. He even denied that Podolski was a done deal when it patently was. And as for Carzorla there was plenty of noise from Malaga about him not going, just as there is now from Barcelona.

It is not that Arsene is a liar, it is just that club is in the midst of complex negotiations – the Villa one could be very tricky given the money that Barca already owes Arsenal – and they are not going to admit to the press that the deal might be about to go through.

You might also remember this story about a Liverpool blogger and the supposed impact he had on deals.

Of course this all might be wishful thinking (as it seemed to be with Arshavin a few years ago), but I don’t think we can forget the Villa to Arsenal story to one minute past twelve on Friday morning.

 



Football

Arsenal begin ‘formal talks’ with Barcelona to sign David Villa

By Stefano on January 28th, 2013

Ok Arsenal fans. So you have endured a pretty rotten transfer window, but there are signs that it is about to get a whole lot better. If I were a betting man I’d put money on Mohamed Diame being an Arsenal player in the next 48 hours.

But even more exciting is the news, which has been reported by Goal, that Arsenal have opened formal talks with Barcelona to sign David Villa.

Goal says

The Gunners’ contract negotiator Dicky Law has been in Spain to negotiate the transfer of the country’s all-time leading goalscorer and Arsenal are increasingly hopeful they can push through what would be a sensational deal in the last days of the window.

The club are reluctant to let the player go, but it appears that Villa has set his heart on leaving Catalonia and that Arsenal are his preferred destination.

The rumour is that Arsenal will fork out £13.8 million to sign him on a permanent deal and match his current £110,000-a-week wages.

The interesting part is that Arsenal may hold a lot of the ace cards as Barcelona owe them money for both Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song.

So Arsenal fans would the arrival of Villa be some recompense for all the players (Petit, Overmars, Henry, Hleb, Fabregas and Song) who have moved to Spain over the years?

And is Villa finally a replacement for Robin Van Persie?

Or is Wenger about to cough up a lot of cash for a player who is past his best, will be dogged by injuries and might not suit the way the Gunners play?

What do you think?

UPDATE – Sky are saying that Arsenal have denied that the talks are taking place. This one is going to the wire…

Great post here on how Arsenal denied interest in both Arteta and Cazorla

 



Football

Arsenal update: Mohamed Diame ready to join, striker hunt continues

By Stefano on January 28th, 2013

With only three days to go before the end of the transfer window Arsene Wenger should in theory be a busy man today. If Arsenal are going to sign two players before the deadline we should start hearing some concrete news from The Emirates very soon.

One player who is apparently desperate to join Arsenal is West Ham’s Mohamed Diame. The Daily Mail reports that the tough tackling midfielder has already told friends that he is very keen to head to North London. Diame is allegedly in trouble with Hammers boss Sam Allardyce for missing a 7am meeting last week to go through the games against the Gunners.

Wenger’s hunt for a striker continues with the morning with the papers highlighting three fronts. The Daily Mail says that Wenger is stepping up his campaign to prise David Vila from Barcelona.

If Villa doesn’t join Wenger is still apparently interested in both Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic and Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez.

I guess we will hear some more new today.

Meanwhile Arsenal’s current striker Olivier Giroud has been talking about how much he is enjoying life in the Premiership.

“I chose this championship because there is more intensity, more physically, you have to be ready in the athletic way. I like it but I like to play good football as well. It’s been a very important week. I’ve had a lot of time to play. I had a difficult time a couple of weeks ago when I didn’t play a lot so I had to keep confident, keep going and it’s important for me to score in both matches.

“I was not so far from scoring a hat-trick again. But I want to continue to work hard, to succeed and I’d like to score my first hat-trick soon.

“I play better not when I’m angry but when I’ve got determination. It’s very important in football. When you don’t have the hunger you can’t play very well and succeed. You need it. We want to get six points against Liverpool and Stoke to reach Tottenham and fourth place. We are looking forward now, we want to reach fourth and then we will play and see where we get.”



Football

Arsenal update: Does Giroud’s form mean the chase for David Villa is over?

By Stefano on January 27th, 2013

Given the circumstances a 3-2 FA Cup win away at Brighton isn’t too bad a result for Arsenal. Well it would have seemed that way to the fans until they saw Man United blast their way past Fulham.

The most notable thing about the Brighton game though was the excellent form of one Olivier Giroud.

The French striker has now scored six times in eight games and is starting to win over the Arsenal faithful who were concerned by the length of time he took to acclimatise to the Premiership.

Arsene Wenger has been singing his praises too likening him to Arsenal legend Alan Smith. Yesterday’s goals were top drawer too. The first a bending shot from outside the area that gave the keeper no chance. The second, possibly even a better, a beautiful piece of skill to control a long pass from Diaby and then a lethal shot. Dare I say it it was almost Van Persie-esque in its execution.

In spite of his form though most Arsenal fans are still desperate for an A list striker to be added to the squad. Barcelona’s David Villa tops many fans wants lists, but others like Adrian Lopez would be welcome additions.

The only problem for Gunners fans is that Giroud’s run of form has coincided with Wenger’s back tracking on buying players in the window. In spite of rumours about team on their way to the Catalan Capital to secure Villa’s services, Wenger has said that there has been no contact between the two clubs about the player.

It isn’t just Villa. There is the ongoing link with Lopez. The dream move for Cavani – though that has gone predictably quiet – and the mooted move for Aston Villa’s in form Christian Benteke.

As well as Giroud (and Walcott) are playing at the moment if Arsenal are to qualify for the Champions League they do need to replace Van Persie with a world class striker. Giroud is arguably a tanned version, not of Alan Smith, but another Arsenal forward with ball holding attributes Nick Bendnter. The French man will achieve more at The Emirates in long run, but he is not the player who will ensure that Wenger end the season with the fans on his side.

Wenger said at his conference yesterday

Asked if he needs to sign a new striker before the transfer window closes on Thursday night, Wenger said: “Quality-wise, no. But number-wise we are maybe a bit short.

“It will not be easy, though, because you do not find strikers who are good enough to play for us on the street.”

That doesn’t sound like a man ready to break the bank to re-ignite Arsenal’s season.



Football

Arsenal’s decline – it isn’t all about Arsene Wenger

By Stefano on January 27th, 2013



Julius from one
Gunner Gooner blog on why Arsenal’s troubles aren’t all about the manager.

Arsenal’s players are still not good enough, our board is still too stingy and our fans still pay too much money to sit in sub-zero temperatures and watch the away end dance for 90 minutes. Yet I still have optimism that the season can be saved, by which I mean finishing ahead of Tottenham and having enough change kicking around to buy a decent player or three.

For this is a road trod by Gooners all too often since Patrick Vieira kick started the annual Islington merry-go-round. To list every star player replaced with a slightly worse one would not only pluck at tired heartstrings but also tease anger out of a normally docile support that has collectively sighed more times than Private Eye’s legal team. Summers meant for relaxing are spent shredding nails over the latest overpaid, underworked mercenary that sees both silver and gold at stadia other than the Emirates. Gruelling winters are endured at the computer with a mug of tea, scanning forums and social networks for signs that Arsenal will purchase anyone other than pre-pubescent fullbacks in the January window.

This should not be the reality. There is a generation of young supporters who are growing up with scarce remembrance of any trophy more prestigious than the Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup. The highlight of each season is increasingly likely to be a turnaround against our North London rivals, inspired by another world class Wenger-tuned mercenary who’s off in the next window. The delight in celebrating a derby win is paradoxical given one’s acceptance that this is about as good as it’s going to get. Of course, Walcott has just signed a new contract. But the fact that this wasn’t expected speaks War And Peace-style volumes about the logistical mess that is our club. This should not have taken 7 months. We were too slow.

And through our giddy sideways stumbles, the enemy three miles up Seven Sisters Road have strode forward to emerge as serious rivals. Tottenham have bought shrewder than us, kept and neutered their players better than today’s Arsenal seems capable of. Their previously limited ambitions have become rather grand, and now there is little reason other than history as to why Spurs cannot take our Champions League place. In Gareth Bale they have the kind of game changer that we have sold several times over, yet the reason why he could be persuaded to sign a new deal and Hleb, Flamini, Adebayor, Nasri and Van Persie could not is perplexing to say the least.

At the heart of it all is Arsene Wenger. His faults are well established. He is, at least publicly, too loyal to players that don’t appreciate his commitment to their careers. He is perhaps too prudent, an Economics degree surely contributing to his view on what is true value for money. He is notoriously stubborn and has training his way, not giving enough time to Steve Bould to mould the defence into a shape rather than just four footballers occasionally in a weak horizontal line. Saying that the top four is like silverware doesn’t help the supporters of a club that hasn’t lifted the curse, or a trophy for that matter, for over seven years now. No matter what happens this season, it will be at least eight.

But it is too simple to address Wenger and Wenger alone. He is an easy target, a gangly Frenchman who almost looks to be a caricature of himself. He is obviously incredibly intelligent, yet all too often boils over when things don’t go his way. The world seems to be against him at the best of times; he can receive a touchline ban for kicking an innocent water bottle yet Ferguson often gets away with what can only be described as harassment of officials who, unlike water bottles, have feelings. When his side has come close to recreating the magic of 1998-2005, he has endured torment and heartbreak as it is often inches or seconds that take Arsenal’s tilt at a trophy away. Take Lehman’s sending off against Barcelona in 2006. Eduardo’s leg break in 2008, a year in which Arsenal should have won the Premier League. Van Persie’s ridiculous sending off against Barcelona, and Bendtner’s miss in the same game. Koscielny and Szczęsny’s clanger in the League Cup final, and more recently Gervinho’s open goal clanger against Bradford. Had the Gunners seen off the Bantams (who are 65 places below them in the standings), they would have set up a semi final against a painfully average Aston Villa.

There are those that say Arsenal’s decline is down to Arsene himself. I can emphasise to some extent, but there is no such thing as a perfect manager. It is not a coincidence that David Dean’s departure was the end of champagne and bus parades. He was always the one that forced deals over the line, the one who was willing to push the boat out for top talent. The game is evolving to the stage where the amount of unknown future stars is becoming non-existent, and Wenger himself hasn’t evolved with it. You can guarantee that the best young talent abroad is no longer Arsenal’s market to corner as English clubs have aggressively networked in recent years. This has pushed the price up as competition for players has soared. The result? Juan Mata costing a dear £27m. Chelsea had to shell out £35m to ward off competition from Arsenal and Spurs for Eden Hazard, and Sergio Aguero set Manchester City back £38m.

The introduction of oligarchs in football has dumped gooey black sludge on our beautiful game, tarnishing its foundations and skewing the playing field. It is pointless to debate the ethics of pumping money into a club and ripping the quality away from others, simply because ethics isn’t even closely linked with the sport anymore. Football is no longer about the area, supporters, history and footballing culture. It is about the business, sponsorship and finance speaking louder than the name and crest which have taken hundreds of years to garner their significance. Kroenke’s involvement with the club speaks volumes about how Arsenal’s culture is eroding, as does the blood and £1,955 supporters annually cough up to watch their team stutter and stop season after season.

In any dynamic as complex as the football landscape, there will always be paradoxes that speak for the good and bad shoulders of the football world. In the case of Arsenal, it’s decline is complicated as football appears to have left Arsenal in a time before clubs became rich men’s playthings. Whilst there is hope that this season can be rescued, unless there is a change in Arsenal’s frankly bewildering wage, contract and transfer policy, this decline may be terminal , at least in terms of Arsene Wenger’s astoundingly fascinating reign at the helm of a club he loves will all his heart. No matter what you say about a man turning greyer by the day, you can’t deny his story at the North London outfit would make one hell of a book.

Let’s hope that at the end of Arsene’s reign there will be a happy ending.

Pic Flickr – photographer Dyobmit



Football

Arsene Wenger Arsenal press conference update. Villa; ‘not on the case.’ No new players a possibility?

By Stefano on January 25th, 2013

There might just be a week to go in the transfer window but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem in too much of a hurry to buy new players.

Describing signing new players in the winter window as ‘a gamble’ at his press conference Wenger went on to say that he also thinks that the number of deals in the window should be limited.

But the saddest news for Arsenal fans is his dismissal of any activity to sign Barcelona’s David Vila. Wenger said ‘we are not on the case.’

With the future of Mohamed Diame in some doubt and Spurs apparently keen on the player now, there remains a very real possibility that Arsenal will not sign a single player in the window in spite of letting several players go on loan and their mixed league form.

So Gunners fans what do you think? Has Arsene Wenger got his transfer strategy all wrong? Or does he still know?



Football

Arsenal update: good and bad news on the David Villa chase

By Stefano on January 25th, 2013

There some good news and band news for Arsenal fans this morning – well those who covet the signing of one David Villa from Barcelona.

The good news is that the player didn’t get a run out in the Catalan team’s 4-2 victory over Malaga in the Copa del Rey last night. Villa is apparently frustrated at his lack of playing opportunities and The Daily Mail among others thinks that his spot on the bench will further push him towards the exit door.

Barca’s assistant manager Jordi Roura said before the game: ‘We already know everything about David. He has had really bad luck with his injuries. That has interrupted his rhythm. He will know if he starts or not when we take the decision. He has always been an important player for us.’

However The Metro suggests that even if the striker does decide to leave Spain, North London might not be his destination.

Italian giants Juventus are apparently mulling over a bid for the 31 year old.

This is the same Juve that has been on the verge of signing Athletico Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente (coincidentally another Arsenal target) for much of the window.

With the Basques playing a little hard ball over the deal this sounds like a classic case of the Italians spreading news to get the Llorente deal done.

If that’s not the case then Villa comes with a price tag of around £10 million, which may prove prohibitive for The Gunners.

If the player does sign expect it to be hours before the deadline in classic Wenger style.



Football

Why Mohamed Diame makes sense for Arsenal and will be the club’s next signing

By Stefano on January 24th, 2013

Only a week to go before the transfer window shuts and Arsenal are still in search of reinforcements. Arsene Wenger has suggested he will add two players to the squad and given the others players he has mentioned it would appear that top of his wants list is a striker and combative central midfielder.

While he is  a long way off on the former, the latter could be an easier process as I think he may have found the ideal player in Mohamed Diame .

Even though he played a very small cameo in last night’s game between Arsenal and West Ham and his team were down to ten men after the injury to Potts, Diame still did enough to catch the eye. He is such a large imposing figure that even without touching a ball he adds presence to a side.

Last night he started on the left side of midfield and undertook a few runs at the Arsenal defence one of which caused Sagna real problems. He then shifted to the right hand side for the last couple of minutes of the game looking to create opportunities for the Hammers on the break.

He is clearly the lynch pin of the West Ham midfield, Allardyce certainly thinks so which explains why he is so keen to keep him, and they sorely missed him during the ten minutes of madness at the start of the second half last night.

So why then I do expect Mohamed Diame to be an Arsenal player in hours rather than days?

1 He is a proven Premiership player – Take a look at Man United. When Fergie wants a player in that he will mould his his team around he always shops in the Premiership. Think about it – Ferdinand, Rooney, Carrick, Young, Van Persie. He is happy to take chances with players and some come off (Ronaldo) while others are less successful (Nani) but on the whole United like players with proven Premiership experience.

It works at Arsenal too, and Wenger clearly knows this. With Arteta there was no time spent letting him finding his feet acclimatising to the rigours of English football. He had been playing in Britain for nearly a decade so he just got on with it and slotted in from the start. Arsenal need reinforcements to help propel them to that Champions League fourth spot not gambles for the future – save those for the summer.

I think Diame would slot in easily and quickly at Arsenal which is an essential attribute of a winter window purchase.

2 He is versatile – Diame is tough in the tackle and solid at the back, yet when given the chance to push forward he can take players on and set up chances. He can do both the defensive midfielder and box to box midfielder too.

As I wrote before

For me Diame is a slightly more defensively minded version of Diaby, minus the dodgy ankle, and his versatility would be a key ingredient for the Gunners. Put it this way opposing teams would never know what type of Arsenal midfield they were dealing with and that unpredictability would cause opposition managers real headaches.

If Jack Wilshere is the future of Arsenal he needs to play alongside a midfilder who will curb their attacking instincts and let the England player express himself. Diame could be the man to play this role.

3 He’ll come cheaply

The player clearly wants to leave West Ham and given his £3.5 million transfer trigger he wouldn’t dent Arsenal’s cash stash too greatly. Of course he will cost more than that amount and probably a lot more if other clubs start sniffing around – but he won’t end up being too expensive.

4 Wenger is running out of options – It still puzzles me a little why Wenger, who was keen on Yann M’Vila for so long, didn’t bid for the Rennes midfielder. It is clear that M’Vila wanted to come and he also would have been add steel to the Arsenal midfield. I guess his bad boy reputation put Arsene off. The sad truth is though that there really aren’t that many option left now for Arsene, especially with Premiership experience. Wigan’s James McCarthy is a possibility, and there’s that fuzzy haired fella from Everton too.

5 Diame could play in the Champions League – Diame could start against Bayern if required. Also if Arsenal, didn’t qualify for the Champions League this year it would be less of an issue for the player than it would be say some bigger money signings from outside the Premiership.

So what is stopping Wenger? Diame’s fitness – he had a heart scare a few years back? The feeling that he is a bit of a mercenary – after all he has only been a West Ham player for a few months. The ongoing search for British talent?

Ultimately I think that none of these are insurmountable and that Mohammed Diame will be an Arsenal player some time this week. It just makes sense.

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Arsenal update: Brazillian youngster linked, Ashley Williams one for the summer?

By Stefano on January 24th, 2013

Just one week to go before the transfer madness in this window is over. Until then expect lots of players to be linked to Arsenal, who still, in case you had forgotten, have two players to sign.

After Stevan Jovetic yesterday, several papers are reporting that Arsene Wenger is looking at another Italian-based player. Sky Italia is leading the charge suggesting that the club is taking a peek at Hellas Verona’s (they play in Serie B btw) Brazilian Jorginho.

A kind of Italian version of Wilfried Zaha (except that he plays as a central midfielder) Jorginho has got rave reviews this season and has been interesting many of the big Italian sides including AC Milan, Lazio, Napoli and Fiorentina. There’s an interesting clip of him above.

Jorginho would apparently cost around €4milllion.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Wenger is looking at the player, but this one seems a bit unlikely. I suspect that if Arsene is looking to buy a midfielder he will start with one who is playing closer to home.

Another player Arsenal are being linked to is Swansea captain Ashley Williams. Several papers are suggesting that Arsene Wenger will go head to head with AVB for the Welsh player in the summer.



Football

Lopez looking unlikely. Rumours from Italy that Wenger wants Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetić

By Stefano on January 23rd, 2013

So the David Villa deal is in the balance, Adrian Lopez looks like he is staying at Atletico, Edinson Cavani is probably too pricey, so where should Arsene Wenger go next to find a striker?

According to Italian football site Football Italia Arsenal are prepared to offer Fiorentina £20m for the services of Stevan Jovetic.

A number of clubs have apparently asked about the 23 year old shaggy haired Montenegrin including Man City and Juventus, though the official word from Italy is that he is staying at the club.

Jovetic is a technically gifted player with excellent dribbling skills. He typically plays as second striker, so maybe Wenger would play him behind Walcott, or for games against more muscular Premiership games, Olivier Giroud.

He does find the net too and has scored eight times this season.




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