Arsenal’s quest to sign a new striker continues and this morning sees several old names thrown back into the to mix.
The one that seems to have the most momentum is a loan deal for Real Madrid’s youngster Alvaro Morata. The player has been on Arsene Wenger’s radar for a while (he was a target last summer apparently) and he doesn’t seem to be getting too many games at the Bernabeau. The 20 year old did however score for Real at the weekend against Levante. Here he is in action.
A couple of websites are also mentioning PSG’s out of favour Argentinian striker Ezequiel Iván Lavezzi. Again Wenger has tried to sign the player before. He might stand a better chance now given his poor form at Paris St Germain, he has only bagged two goals this season. The tricky part is likely to be the fee with PSG keen on recouping as much of the £24 million they paid Napoli as possible.
Finally a slew of clubs from QPR to Newcastle wanting to secure the services of Rennes’ combative midfielder Yann M’Villa. However there is no word from The Emirates on long term Arsenal target. The Mail thinks that he will be bound for Loftus Road.
So does Arsene still know? After seven trophy-less seasons and the exodus of many of the team’s highest profile players many Gunners fans aren’t so sure.
The Daily Mirror reports that a group of Arsenal fans think it is time for Wenger to change his approach or leave the club. In fact nearly 50% of them want him to go now.
The survey was undertaken by the Black Scarf Movement who have been active in the last few months in expressing their dissatisfaction with both the board and the manager, so those figures, while not too shocking, are actually probably fairly unrepresentative of Arsenal supporters as a whole.
Raj Patel, of the group told the Mirror: “We are not an anti-Wenger group, but we are responsible for what our fans want and what they are thinking.
“The overwhelming thing for us is that the percentage of fans who want a change of board is in the 90s and the same goes for those who want [share-holder] Alisher Usmanov to have a place on the board.
“Our members, from this survey, clearly feel that the current board is achieving financial stability without being able to compete on the pitch – football is all about what you do on the pitch.”
Even if they aren’t necessarily paid up of members of the ‘Arsene Go’ club there is clearly a huge amount of dissatisfaction among the fan at the way the club is being run.
As an Arsenal fan at the moment I see a club lurching from crisis to another with a manager who has a nasty habit of saying things that enrage the Arsenal fans.
Van Persie slip
The latest slip is in The Sun and concerns the incredible form of the Emirates’ favourite Robin Van Persie.
“It is painful to see Manchester United so far in front of us.”
“You know when you sell Robin van Persie to United that will be the case. He is one of the best strikers in the world and you know he will score goals. He got 30 for us in the league last year.”
These sound like the words of a man who had nothing to do with the sale of the player six months ago to one of Arsenal’s direct rivals. Had Arsenal held Van Persie to his contract, or sold the player to a club out side the Premiership then United would not be that far ahead of Arsenal. Of course the club would be £22 million worse off but…
Also painful is the protracted contract negotiations with Theo Walcott. I know these things can take time, but the team really should have had this wrapped up prior to the transfer window. If Walcott does decide to leave then Arsenal will need some reinforcements and quick and a last minute scramble – like the undignified mess of August 2011 – would be a nightmare.
Then there’s the lack of activity in the transfer market. Arsenal have a fixture run in January which is going to stretch their resources, and yet while our rivals have strengthened their squads, Arsenal seem a long way away from buying the striker, defensive midfielder and left back they so desperately need.
To cap it all The Sun has a story about how the Arsenal 2013 diary features one Robin Van Persie. Ok it is a small thing, but it seems to reflect the chaos that engulfing the club.
Things may be calm and ordered at The Emirates and we might even go on to finish third and scrape a trophy or two (but I don’t really believe that either), but that isn’t the impression of the way things are the moment.
Personally I think, along with probably the majority of Arsenal fans, that Arsene has half a season to sort things out. If Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League at the very least, then it might be time to have a re-think, and that may or may not include Arsene at the helm.
It seems that Arsenal’s search for a new keeper didn’t end with speculative moves for Pepe Reina. According to an Italian paper Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg fancies a move to the Premiership and Arsenal and Fulham are competing for his £3.5million signature.
The story broke first in Gazzetta dello Sport (Stekelenburg is current at Roma) which suggest that both Arsenal and Fulham are negotiationing with the club to sign the player.
Stekelenburg has had a tricky few years in Roma since moving in summer 2011 and these days warms the bench behind Bogdan Lobont. Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk rates him though for since the retirement of Edwin van der Sar from the national team, Stekelenburg has been the first-choice keeper.
Whether he would be warming the bench at The Emirates is a moot point, but Arsene Wenger certainly needs serious competition for Wojciech Szczesny.
If you thought it was a done deal then think again. In spite of endless speculation that the player was on the verge of re-signing for Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger has told reporters (and it has been confirmed by BBC Radio Five Live) that he is ‘cautious, but optimistic’ that Theo Walcott will sign a new contract.
In some ways the news that the deal still has a way to go is not surprising given that Arsenal are linked once again with several new players including Palace’s Wilfrioed Zaha, who would be a direct replacement for the England winger/striker
Wenger full statement was…
“We’re on a good road with Theo’s negotiations. I’m more optimistic this week than last week. The discussions have progressed smoothly but slowly. As long as nothing is signed, you are cautious. I’m optimistic we’ll get to a happy conclusion.”
Zaha had been assumed in the last few days to definitely be United bound, and Wenger himself poured a bit of cold water on the rumours a few weeks ago. Now it appears that the chase is back on.
The Indie says
Arsenal have certainly been active observers of the winger, about whom United have opened discussions with Palace, with the north London club’s chief scout, Steve Rowley, present at several of his games.
Admittedly no other papers are saying that Arsenal have a chance to land the 20 year old – the rest are going with him signing for United and being loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.
The Indie, and a lot of other papers, also have the story that Arsene Wenger is making a late move to sign Marseilles striker Loic Remy. The 26 year old, who has been chased by QPR and Newcastle is apparently an Arsenal fan and would cost the Gunners in the region of £10 milion.
The paper says
In his first two seasons Rémy scored 37 goals in all competitions, but this campaign has been a struggle.
Inter had been keen on a move for the forward, but they preferred to offer a player as part-exchange in the deal and that has not appealed to Marseilles. Wenger is also keen on Anderlecht holding midfielder Lucas Biglia.
Lastly David Villa showed some form last night in scoring two excellent goals in Barcelona’s 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba. According to the gossip Villa wants to go, Barca want keep him and Wenger is in two minds. I don’t think we have heard the last of this yet.
Barcelona President Sandro Rosell may have told Arsene Wenger that he is not prepared to sell Spanish international striker David Villa in the window. But it seems that hasn’t put the Arsenal manager off. Caught Offside is reporting that Arsenal are still engaging with Barcelona in discussions about Villa and want to sign another of their players.
Long term Gunners target Ibrahim Afellay is apparently back on Wenger’s radar and the club are said to be very keen on the versatile attacker who is currently on loan at German side Schalke. Afellay struggled in his first season at Barcelona though his loan period – which has yielded four goals in 13 games – has been slightly more successful. The player was also a key man in Schalke’s recent Champions League victory over the Gunners.
There are very few hard facts on the Caught Offside story, so make of that what you will. But Afellay has been on Wenger’s radar for a while and could be picked up relatively cheaply. And as for Rosell’s pronouncements on Villa, how many times have clubs, especially Arsenal, gone back on their word when the right deal came along? We’ll have to wait and see.
Another of Wenger’s targets is happy to stay where he is for now anyway. Southampton’s highly rated left back Luke Shaw told the club’s website he is staying put.
“I’ve spoken with the chairman about a long-term plan for me at the club and just to end all speculation, I will be committing my future to Southampton.”
“I’m not going anywhere. I think Southampton is the place to be for young kids like me.
“I’m playing in the Premier League in the first team and that’s what anyone wants to be doing and I just want to carry on doing that.
“If you look back, you’ve had Ads [Lallana] come through the youth system, and now he’s captain of the first team. Prowsey [James Ward-Prowse] has just signed a new deal and that’s what I want to be doing.”
Finally Arsenal’s injury-prone midfielder Abou Diaby played 65 minutes of the club’s most recent Under-21s league game without any reaction from his thigh problem. He may even make the squad to face Man City at the weekend.
Worryingly for Arsenal fans keen to see Arsene Wenger strengthen his squad it has been a fairly quiet morning for transfer rumours. The big one is the seemingly never ending saga of Theo Walcott and his new contract.
In an exclusive – ain’t they always – The Mail says that player will get a five-year deal worth in the region of £88,000-per-week, plus a £3million signing-on bonus, and that the club are now confident he will ‘sign da ting.’
The rest of the article says nothing new, but if true, it does seem as if the deal might be about to be done.
If it is then Wenger, Gazidis and co need to get their skates on. There is a big run of games looming and still no signings. Yesterday Barcelona President Sandro Rossel confirmed that his star striker David Villa, was gong nowhere in the window, so is it all back on for Atletico’s's Adrian Lopez? It is all quiet on that one.
TalkSport have linked Arsenal with one new player this morning, but it is not striker. The website says that a plethora of interested Premier League parties have been alerted by Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes’s decision to shelve contract talks with his Bundesliga club, including Arsenal.
The player, who has won ten German caps, is a central defender who would rival Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen for a place in the side.
On one level this sounds unlikely given the talent Arsenal have at the back. They have however leaked six goals in their last three games, so maybe Arsene is pondering a change.
So have United done a deal to sign Crsytal Palace’s tricky winger Wilfried Zaha? The Telegraph seems to think so. The paper believes that other clubs have been frightened off bidding for the player because Fergie has already agreed to sign him
The Telgraoph says
The main issue is when, not if, it will happen with Crystal Palace hoping to keep the £12 million-rated 20-year-old until the summer at least.
Palace are hoping for a deal that would enable the player to stay at the club on loan for the rest of the season.
Zaha was attracting a lot of interest from Premiership clubs a few weeks ago. Arsenal have dropped out of the race because it seem that the club will now re-sign Theo Walcott while Spurs distanced themselves from bidding for Zaha yesterday.
Meanwhile United striker Danny Wellbeck is reported by The Mail as being on the verge of joining Reading on loan. There have been few opportunities for the player at Old Trafford this season and a move to another club might help him re-ignite his United career in the log run.
Arsenal’s pursuit of a new midfielder continues to today with several papers reporting that Wenger once again is targeting Anderlecht’s tough tacking midfielder Lucas Biglia.
The Mirror says that Wenger has been put on alert because the Argentinian has told the Belgian club that he wants to move to a bigger league.
This sounds like pure speculation. Admittedly Biglia has been watched by the Gunners for a while and yes Arsenal haven’t really replaced Alex Song, so maybe keep half an eye on this one.
Arsenal have also been linked (admittedly by the papers not the club) with Rennes’ Yann M’Villa and Wigan’s James McCarthy both of whom are solid in the tackle and good at carrying the ball forward to strikers, but there has been no word from the club.
Meanwhile ex Arsenal striker John Hartson says that he fears that Aaron Ramsey is going backwards at the Emirates and needs a loan deal to sharpen him up.
Hartson points to the fact that in 25 appearances this season, Ramsey has completed 90 minutes on just six occasions. Arsenal manager has also played him several times on the wing, which is arguably not his strongest position.
Hartson told the BBC.
“I don’t think playing on the left, wide left, is his position. [Against Swansea on Sunday] he looked lost at times.”
“I just think he [Ramsey] needs that run of games.”
“Maybe if he did go out on loan because he doesn’t seem to start many games at Arsenal now and when he does start he’s brought off and he doesn’t look happy.”
Given the fact that Ramsey has just signed a new contract and Arsenal are short of midfielders a loan move would seem highly unlikely. What do you think?
BREAKING – The Indie reports that Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has said potential suitors can forget about signing Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer.
“I completely rule out the transfer of Villa during the winter market,” Rosell told Catalan radio station RAC1.
“He is ours and we need him, there is a lot of the season left.”
Full story here. However Barca have ruled out selling Villa before and then transfer noise has got louder, so I don’t think this one is completely over
Arsenal have apparently offered the England player around £90,000-a-week and that salary will be supplemented by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee.
Of course until they see a smiling Arsene and Theo many Arsenal fans won’t believe that a deal has been signed, but this does have a ring of truth about it. The gossip emanating from The Emirates for the past week or so has been that Walcott is on the verge of signing a new deal and the gap between the two parties was closing.
Wenger has also acceded to Waclott’s wishes to let the player start as a striker for The Gunners. He has certainly looked sharp in that position scoring four goals in give games.
The importance of the deal is that it now gives Wenger time to strengthen Arsenal’s comparatively under nourished squad. The club have been linked with goalkeepers, left backs, central defenders, central midfielders, wingers and strikers, though how many new players end up at The Emirates remains to be seen.
One player who hasn’t yet had discussions with the club is Rennes’ midfielder Yann M’Villa. Goal is suggesting that the player has turned down a move to QPR because he is holding out for a move to a bigger club.
With Arsenal dropping out of the race (possibly because the deal with Theo Walcott is as good as done) Man United and Spurs have been battling it out for the signature of Crystal Palace’s highly promising winger Wilfried Zaha. Spurs were apparently first to contact the club about the winger, but Fergie, a huge fan of the player has been monitoring the progress of the talks.
According to The Mirror it is Spurs who are in pole position.
Manchester United boss Fergie has now made an official move for the Eagles kid, but Palace supremo Steve Parish is refusing to talk to the Old Trafford giants.
And Ferguson will be furious to discover that Parish will meet Tottenham supremo Levy tomorrow to thrash out Zaha’s future.
The two clubs are already at loggerheads over Spurs’ deal for Ezekiel Fryers.
The Mail reports that Spurs bid for Zaha is around £10 million and part of the deal is that the player would have to be loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.
Two years ago if you had suggested that Arsene Wenger would be wiling to splash out £15 million plus for a 31 year old you would have been laughed out of The Emirates. Yet this morning it seems as if that a big money signing of a player entering the twilight of his career might come through as Arsenal have apparently made a formal bid for Barcelona’s David Villa.
According to Caught Offside Wenger is testing Barcelona’s resolve with a bid for Villa, and if the club don’t bite then he will secure Atletico’s Adrian Lopez. The Mirror is also running with the story.
Villa allegedly fancies a move to the Premiership where he would fit in well with Arsenal’s style of play. There are also three Spanish players in the Arsenal squad already in Cazorla, Arteta and Miquel. Arsenal appear to be the only club left in the running as no other Premiership clubs would consider buying the striker, they were only after loan deals. So the story doesn’t appear to be too much of sports reporter’s flight of fancy.
Since his signing from Valencia Villa has scored 40 times in 91 appearances for Barcelona. His appearances this season have been limited by an injury and the embarrassment of riches that the Catalan club boasts in forward positions.
In order to secure more signings the Arsenal board are keen to clear out some of the squad’s fringe players. Chamakh has joined West Ham on loan, Arshavin is negotiating with Reading, Djourou is wanted by Hannover and Squillaci will be offered a free transfer.
One transfer that appears to have gone a little quiet is Luke Shaw from Southampton. Talksport reports that there has been no discussions between Arsene Wenger and Nigel Adkins about the player’s future, and that Shaw wasn’t mentioned when the two teams met earlier in the week.
“No, [Wenger] didn’t say anything,” said Adkins. “As I have said before, Luke is better playing for Southampton Football Club, where he is being nurtured and looked after.”
Asked how he would feel if Arsenal did make a formal approach for the teenage defender, Adkins replied: “He is under contract. We are not looking to let him go. This is the best place for him at this point in his career.”
Barcelona also seed to have decide that they will let David Villa go after all, but if Arsenal want him they will have to fork out £16 million. They might also end up competing with Spurs also. £16 million for a 31 year old? Doesn’t sound like Arsene Wenger. I do think a load deal would be great, but it isn’t going to happen, is it?
With the Lopez deal stalling, Zaha apparently staying at Palace it doesn’t look like Arsenal will be making too many purchases in this window.
But hey that won’t matter because look who is back. Yep Abou Diaby started training with the Arsenal team today and is fit enough to be included in the squad for the weekend’s FA Cup tie at Swansea.
According to Arsenal.com
“Overall the [fitness] situation is very satisfying. Even when you start the season, usually you have an injury. We had Tomas Rosicky coming back injured from the European Championships. [Having everybody fit] is something we really enjoy.
“We are doing more work on [injury prevention] and it certainly plays a part. It’s difficult to say how much, but the prevention has become a bigger part of our training methods.”
As much as I’d love for Diaby to come back and set the Premiership alight in the way he did at the start of the season, it just isn’t going to happen. I’d so love to be proved wrong but I think he has proved a gamble too far for Wenger.
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.
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.
“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.