Posts Tagged ‘Ashley Williams’

Football

Arsenal update: Rooney, Jedvaj, Williams and more

By Stefano on June 21st, 2013

The Wayne Rooney to Arsenal story simply won’t go away. Even though the player is on holiday and has apparently hasn’t talked about his situation with Man United manager David Moyes there is lots of speculation today as top what is going through his mind.

One one hand the Daily Mail thinks that Rooney is coming to London but to the blue bit.

Sportsmail understands that Chelsea remain Rooney’s preferred destination should the unsettled England striker decide to leave United after nine years.

He believes he is more likely to fulfill his ambitions with the Europa League winners, while Chelsea are also more capable of matching his £250,000-a-week wages.

Rooney told United he wanted to go before the end of last season and is unlikely to change his mind despite the appointment of his old Everton manager David Moyes as Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement.

Meanwhile the Express has minority Arsenal shareholder, and richest man in Britain no less, Alisher Usmanov urging Wenger to buy the United star.

Usmanov – who holds almost 30 per cent of Arsenal’s shares said: “He is a great player and joining the club would be great for Rooney and Arsenal too.”

Meanwhile the Gunners seemed to have cooled on their chase of Swansea’s centre back Ashley Williams. The Sun thinks that Wenger is still keen but won’t pay the £10 million that the Swans are asking for the 28 year old. The paper says that Arsenal might now turn their attention to Dinamo Zagreb’s Croatian wonder kid Tin Jedvaj.

The Arsenal boss is keen to pounce after Italian giants Roma failed with a £5m bid for the Dinamo Zagreb defender just days ago.

Jedvaj, 17, has already trained with the Croatian national team and is being courted by Serie A clubs. He would apparently cost the Gunners in the region of £6 million.

Finally footballfriendsonline runs the rule over Arsenal target Asier Illarramendi with a video that shows just how effective he was recently at the European Under 21 championship.



Football

Arsenal update: Update on Williams, Villa and Gervinho

By Stefano on June 14th, 2013

Well we must be nearing the transfer deadline window proper – it opens on July 1st – as a lot of those apparent ‘done deals’ are now looking very wobbly, which in my book equates to selling clubs holding out for more money.

The one that saddens is me a little is the news coming from Swansea that Arsenal and the Welsh club have failed to get anywhere on the possible transfer of centre back Ashley Williams. I think a lot of Arsenal fans believe that the player would be a solid addition to the Arsenal defence especially if Thomas Vermaelen heads off. Sadly Swansea want £10 million and Arsenal are reputed to have only offered around £8 million. I wonder if this will be another Cahill with someone else sneaking in quickly and nabbing the player.

Williams is quoted as saying

“I play my football for Swansea City and now I’m just going away and looking forward to a holiday,”

“I’ve said before, I’ll take it (Arsenal rumours) as a compliment, it means you’re doing your job well. I’ve done that this time, I haven’t looked too far into it.”

Another player who also apparently won’t be joining Arsenal this summer is David Villa. Barca’s Sandro Rosell has moved to squash speculation that the Spanish striker will be leaving the club by saying.

“Until is otherwise the case, David Villa remains a Barca player and our desire is that he will remain so until next year.”

Villa’s contract runs out in summer 2014, so he could in theory stay on at the club until he is a few moths shy of his 33rd birthday.

I wonder too if valuations from Arsenal and Spurs have fallen well short of what the Catalan club were hoping.

Finally this morning there has been a lot of speculation over the future of Arsenal winger Gervinho. After a hit and miss season – well a couple in fact – the player is being linked with a return to France with Marseilles keen to secure his services.

This is a profile that interests us, yes. We want flank players, with dribbling, passing and scoring and Gervinho has this profile,” Marseille assistant coach Franck Passi yesterday.

Arsenal fans are you bothered if the Ivorain goes. He hasn’t exactly set the Premiership alight but there have been glimpses of his huge potential too.



Football

Higuain and Jovetic set to snub Arsenal. So why can’t they sign a striker?

By Stefano on June 12th, 2013

I think most Arsenal fans have by now given up on the possibility of the club securing Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, but the Gonzalo Higuain saga has rumbled on and it seemed as if the club was in a good place to tempt the Real Madrid striker to come to the Premiership.

But if today’s Metro is to be believed it sounds like Arsenal have been mugged by the Old Lady – twice!

Arsenal are set to lose out on another striker to Juventus, with the Italian side closing on an instalment-based deal for Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain.

According to Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport, Madrid are to allow Juve to pay for the striker in three or four instalments following a meeting between the two clubs.

The paper also says that almost everything is in place apart from the transfer fee. In what might give Arsenal fans a sliver of hope Madrid want €30m, but Juve have so far only offered €22m.

So what next for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal then? I wonder if it might be back to Premiership and that double raid on Swansea to land both Ashley Williams and Michu?

And I wonder how Gunners fans will feel? Both players are high quality with a proven track record in the Premiership. But are they the marquee signings that were promised by Ivan Gazidis?

I do wonder if Arsenal’s laid back approach (or dithering in the transfer market if you are being cruel) has cost them. It seems crazy that Juve will now have three world class strikers on their books, yet Arsenal are struggling to sign one. Maybe it is a reflection of how far the club’s stock has fallen in recent years that they can’t land quality signings.

Or maybe is is all about cold, hard cash. Juve is offering the players better deals and even with that huge chunk of cash in the bank, Arsenal don’t seem to want to match what the Italians are offering.



Football

Arsenal centre back options – Steven Taylor and Ashley Williams

By Stefano on June 6th, 2013

The Daily Mail has a bit of an odd one. It has just run with the story that the latest name on Arsene Wenger’s defensive wishlist is Newcastle defender Steven Taylor.

The paper says

He played 25 times last year, his most Premier League games since 2008/09, but the arrival from Montpellier of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa means he has no guarantees next season.

So the logic is that he won’t be able to get into the Newcastle side next season but still might be good enough for Arsenal… The mind boggles.

I like Taylor though. He played well last season and was, well very solid and largely error-free. But to see him taking any defensive role at Arsenal other than as a replacement for Johan Djourou (or Sébastien Squillaci) seems very unlikely.

The Mail also says that Steve Bould is very keen to add some British players to beef up the back. Ashley Williams appeared to have been a done deal, though that one has gone a little quiet of late. It has been over a week since the papers were running with stories that Laudrup was resigned to losing his centre back.  Maybe Taylor is the cheaper option, and the Arsenal manager is keeping his options open.If Wenger is pinning his faith in Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker as well as Thomas Vermaelen staying and recapturing some of the form he showed a couple of seasons back then Taylor would be a very useful squad member.



Football

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

By Stefano on May 24th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Football

Arsenal update: Ashley Williams talks begin, Stephan El Shaarawy interest

By Stefano on April 16th, 2013

Goal.com has just unveiled one of their exclusives and they claiming that Swansea’s central defender Ashley Williams, or at the very least his representatives, visited the London club for talks about his future.

Arsenal are reportedly very keen on the Swansea captain as they seek to bolster a defence that has pretty much undermined any chance they had this year of a Premiership title shot.

The site also suggests that Arsenal are keeping tabs on Marseille centre-back Nicolas N’Koulou, 23, who is apparently looking for a move from the French league this summer.

Of course Arsenal will face strong competition from Liverpool for Williams’ signature. The player has a connection with the Red manager Brendan Rodgers. However Arsenal may be able to offer Williams Champions league football, and at 29 the player may be sorely tempted.

Meanwhile there are murmurings, reported by Touchline Talk, that Arsenal, are also tracking Stephan El Shaarawy’s situation at AC Milan.

Apparently the player appears to be unhappy after two years at the San Siro, and could be on his way out in the summer.

Arsenal and Man City are possible destinations, as is Napoli who may need to replace Edinson Cavani (another player linked with both Man City and Arsenal) in the summer.



Football

Liverpool ahead of Arsenal in race to sign Ashley Williams

By Stefano on April 12th, 2013

Ashley Williams is apparently Arsene Wenger’s number one centre half target as he bids to strengthen a defence that has proved Arsenal’s undoing many times this season.

The Mirror though claims that it is unlikely that the Frenchman will get his man with Williams favouring a move to Liverpool.

There appears to be every little substance to the story (which is also covered in a number of other papers) other than a re-iteration of things we know already – that Williams is a massive Liverpool fan who idolised John Barnes and that the player would jump at the chance of working again with old Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers.

Arsenal are wiling to bid at least £9million, though they could potentially offer more give the size of their war chest. They are also more likely than Liverpool to be able to offer Williams Champions League football. Several papers suggest that Liverpool will need to spend £12 million to secure Williams.

If Williams does sign for Liverpool Arsenal could renew their interest in QPR’s Chris Samba or if they want to spend big Borussia Dortmund’s highly rated Mats Hummels.



Football

Arsenal update: More on Ashley Williams, Pepe Reina and Andre Santos

By Stefano on March 28th, 2013

The Daily Mail is returning to the story that Arsenal are pursuing Swansea’s excellent centre back Ashley Williams.

The player reports that the club are going head to head with Liverpool for the services of the player and that Wenger’s chief scout Steve Rowley has been very impressed by what he has seen of the player this season.

Arsenal face a struggle to secure Williams though with Liverpool, managed by Swansea’s ex-boss Brendan Rodgers still favourite to land the player’s signature.

The Mail says

Sources close to Swansea’s skipper claim the Wales international will find it difficult to turn down the chance of a move to a more high-profile club this summer.

The paper also suggest that the club will continue to chase Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina. His move may be partially funded by the exits of Gervinho to Galatasaray and Andrey Arshavin to FK Khazar Lankaran.

Finally it seems that Andre Santos is happy in Brazil and may end up staying.

Santos told Zero Hora as reported by Sky Sports:

‘I’ll do my best to win titles. I have won titles at every club I have played for.

The staff, board and the players have all made me feel very welcome. There is no doubt that I want to stay.’



Football

Remy? Samba? Are Arsenal sizing up a raid on QPR in the summer

By Stefano on March 21st, 2013

So will QPR escape relegation this season? My heart says yes, but my head thinks they might be heading for the drop.

And if Rangers return to The Championship there might be some significant plundering for Premiership managers on the hunt for a bargain or two, and Arsene Wenger is likely to be first in the queue.

QPR have three players that he has chased with in the past and they could significantly strengthen the Arsenal squad for not an especially huge outlay. And they would probably all sign for The Gunners even if they don’t have Champions League football next season.

Arsenal’s interest in Christopher Samba is well documented. And I think that he could well be the player the Gunners turn to if, as expected Ashley Williams, arguably the team’s number one target joins his ex-boss at Liverpool. His wages might be an issue, but possibly less of one if as expected Arsenal junk their strict wages policy.

Then today The Daily Express is reporting that French striker Loic Remy has a clause in his contract that will allow him to walk if QPR go down.

The paper says that Remy could be available for as little as £4million. The player has scored three times in his six appearances for Rangers and has a reputation from his days in France for being an energetic and deadly finisher.

Arsenal have a trio of strikers – Park, Bendtner and Chamakh – who will leave in the summer and if Wenger does opt for his number one target Stevan Jovetic, he will still be in the market for an out and out striker. Remu would certainly fit that bill.

Finally there’s Junior Hoilett, a player who has had a chequered career at Rangers but is still young – he is 22 – and Wenger (who has expressed his admiration for the player in the past) may feel that he could do a job for Arsenal.



Football

Will Liverpool and Arsenal be competing for the same players this summer?

By Stefano on March 13th, 2013

There’s an interesting interview (reported by The Telegraph and others) where Brendan Rodgers talks about his transfer plans for next summer.

First up Rodgers doesn’t see a major restructuring of the team which has hit form recently.

“There is no doubt there is a natural rebuilding that will come with the likes of Jamie Carragher retiring. I am happy with the squad if I can then put another three or four quality players to it,”

In words that echo a certain Arsenal manager Rodgers states…

“It is quality we are after, not quantity. We see Coutinho and Sturridge’s quality in January, if we bring in another three or four players of that quality and add that to what we have got then we have got a strong squad.“You want between 20 and 22 players. I’m talking about two in every position and your three goalkeepers. Then below that having young players who can support that.

“Of course you have an ideal target, but we are getting to a situation now where, for me, you have to have three players and if one doesn’t come off you have to be comfortable with the other two. If you get one of those you are happy. There is a lot of terrific work going on with the scouting department getting those lists together.

There are more interesting parallels with Arsenal too. At the current time it seems unlikely that either side will be playing Champions League football next season which will mean that they are unlikely to compete with Europe’s big guns for the likes Jovetic and Cavani. Also, as Wenger knows all too well, both managers will be painfully aware that the Continent’s top sides could be targeting their marquee players.

One player that the two clubs are likely to tussle for is Ashley Williams, the in form Swansea centre back. Rodgers’ relationship with the player could give Liverpool the edge, especially if neither side has Champions League football on the table.

Williams would be a tailor-made replacement for Carragher bringing solidity and leadership to the heart of the Liverpool defence.

There are several other players that both clubs could be competing for.

Ajax’s Christian Eriksen will be on his way to the Premiership next season and could interest both sides. Arsenal are also very keen on another possible Liverpool target Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona and Bilbao’s controversial centre back Fernando Amorebieta could end up at the club that doesn’t land Williams.

The big question for Rodgers is how much money he feels he needs to spend to create a squad that will be challenging, at the very least, for Champions League football next season. The interview suggests that he will have a £20 million kitty. Is that enough? If  Rodgers wants more then the club will have to sell players. There are fringe players, like the out of form Skrtel, who could prise some cash, but there remains the option of cashing in on the club’s prize asset – Luis Suarez.

It would be massively unpopular with the fans but Suarez’s sale could add a significant wodge to that the cash reserve. Bayern Munich are rumoured to be interested in the player while the Daily Mail reported recently that Atletico Madrid are targeting Suarez to replace Radamel Falcao should he leave the La Liga side.

It might free up funds for the club to launch a bid for Xabi Alonso of Real Madrird, who could rejoin the club he spent five seasons with to finish his career. The 31 year old has certainly been in sparkling form for the club. Rodgers would also have to invest heavily in a new striker or two.

Is it a gamble worth taking?

It will be interesting to see of the club manage to offload flop striker Andy Carroll this summer. Liverpool paid £35 million for the player and it will be fascinating to see how much of that money that manage to recoup.



Football

Arsenal’s next captain? Ashley Williams? The Guardian thinks it could be on the cards

By Stefano on March 5th, 2013

Arsene Wenger has his eyes on Swansea’s captain and central defender Ashley Williams so says The Guardian.

There’s no mention of a source or a quote from Wenger but the paper says…

Wenger has identified the Wales captain as someone with the leadership qualities to control and organise Arsenal’s defence in a way more reminiscent of when the club built a large part of their success on having a dominant figure such as Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Steve Bould in the heart of their back four.

Interestingly the article also discusses Wenger’s lack of faith in his current trio of central defenders and suggests that the Arsenal manager was keen to bring a player in during the transfer window.

It also adds that neither Thomas Vermaelen or Per Mertesacker seem capable of taking charge of the Arsenal defence.

It concludes that Williams, who is contracted to 2015, would cost in the region of £8m and is also being tracked by Liverpool.

So, if this is true then why did Wenger not approach Swansea in the transfer window? Surely given Arsenal’s financial resources if he was that disappointed with his trio of centre backs he could have signed a player, maybe even Williams.

Arsenal clearly need as leader too though parachuting Williams in as not just as a new recruit, but also as a captain, sounds like it could be problematic.

So what do you think? It wouldn’t surprise me if Arsenal bid for the player in the summer, but he is just one on a long list of centre backs.

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.




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