Posts Tagged ‘Wilfried Zaha’

Football

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

By Stefano on December 30th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

So who have I missed?

Pics from PA

6 Arda Turan

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Picture 1 of 6

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



Football

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

By Stefano on December 29th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Image PA



Football

Spurs make the first move for Wilfried Zaha – but Arsene and Fergie are waiting in the wings

By Stefano on December 23rd, 2012

Last night Wilfried Zaha added a few more pounds to his price tag. In the game between Crystal Palace and Huddersfield he scored the kind of wonder goal (watch it here) that will have Premiership managers drooling.

It seems to have spurred at least one manager into action with The Daily Mirror reporting that AVB is about to hit Palace with £8 million bid, that’s a guaranteed sum up front of around £6m, plus extras and bonuses Although Palace boss Ian Holloway has continually stressed that Zaha is going nowhere in the window and has even sent hands off messages to Arsene Wenger, if the money gets too high the England starlet is likely be playing Premierhsip football in 2013.

Whether Fergie or Wenger, both long term admirers of Zaha, bid depends much on whether they keep or sell existing squad members. Fergie might need to offload Nani before launching his bid, while Wenger sees Zaha as the perfect replacement for Theo Walcott. Wenger has spent big on Championship players with big potential before. He paid £12million, plus another £3 million in add-ons, to secure the services of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

Zaha is reported to be an Arsenal fan, and has lived in London for most of his life, which ought to be music for Wenger’s ears. Then again plenty of Arsenal supporting kids have ended up at The Lane. This is going to be fascinating to watch.



Football

The lowdown on Adrian Lopez – Arsenal’s next striker?

By Stefano on December 23rd, 2012

A few days ago Arsene Wenger told the BBC that he was only looking to buy exceptional players during the transfer window. And then, in words that will haunt every Gunners fan for the next few weeks, he added that exceptional players were hard to come by. So there still remains a possibility that there will be no new additions to the squad in the coming weeks.

One player that Wenger rates as exceptional is Atletico Madrid’s striker Adrian Lopez. The player has been on Wenger’s radar for quite a while now and there seem to be encouraging noises coming from Spain that a deal to secure Lopez is more than a possibility.

But is Lopez the marquee signing that Arsenal fans have been dreaming of. There’s no denying that his form last season, in which he bagged 19 goals, was scintillating. Things however have become more problematic this season as he has been eclipsed by Radamel Falcao (now that would be a marquee signing) and Diego Costa.

The theory runs that cash strapped Madrid are desperate to cling on to Falcao and realise that by selling Lopez they can hang on to their star.

Lopez also fits the Wenger template in so many other ways in that he is young (24), not going to cost too much cash (he has a buy out clause of £15 million, but his wages would be much less than £100k per week demanded by Huntelaar and Villa) and will relish the opportunity to re start his career at another club. There were rumours earlier in the weekend that Arsenal were chasing Barcelona’s David Villa, but while a loan deal might suit both parties, the player is too old and injury-prone to be a long term solution for the Gunners.

So what would Arsenal be getting with Lopez? Firstly he has great positional sense in an around the goal. He is one of those strikers who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He is also quick – many of the goals he scored for Atletico last year saw him burst through the middle, outpace defenders and then outwit the goalie.

Lopez also scores a lot of goals with his head. The pace and power he gets when heading the ball is astonishing and would give Arsenal another very serious attacking weapon.

What he doesn’t really offer is presence and power. If Arsenal want a striker who will dominate the area and who has the knack of winning that ball no matter what they would probably be better off with Demba Ba.

So while Lopez would be a very useful signing much would depend on how quickly he acclimatise to the Premiership. Arsenal have had mixed fortunes with Spanish players. Cazorla has settled quickly and has become the pulse of the team. But then Arsenal once fielded one of Lopez’s team mates at Athletic – Jose Reyes – and after a sensational start Reyes faded badly.

Yesterday saw two of Arsenal’s other transfer targets in action. Demba Ba put in a powerful performance for Newcastle, while Wilfried Zaha scored a wonder goal for Palace. he really does look like an English Aguerro and he would be a superb replacement for Arshavin. One thing that could tip the balance in favour of Ba is that he has Premiership experience.

Anyhow, here a video of Lopez’s goals last season. Is he the player to ensure that the gunners finish in the top four and start a real challenge for many honours next season?



Football

Now Fergie wants Zaha at United, and has a cunning plan to land him

By Stefano on December 9th, 2012

In case you hadn’t  noticed the transfer window is now just three weeks away and one player who is set to become one of the most in demand over that period is Wilfried Zaha.

The Palace winger has long been a target for Arsenal and now it appears other premiership clubs are keen to land him too. Step forward Sir Alex Ferguson who not only has a £10 million bid in the pipeline, according to the Mail, but also is willing to let Zaha stay at Palace for the rest of the season. United have already done a similar deal 2010 when they bought £8m defender Chris Smalling from Fulham but allowed the defender to stay at the club.

The deal could prove very attractive  to promotion chasing Palace whose boss, Ian Holloway  is adamant that he doesn’t want to let Zaha go in the transfer window.

It could be hugely bad news for Arsenal who appear to have earmarked Zaha as a replacement for Theo Walcott, who seems destined to be leaving the club in the window. Wenger clearly would want Zaha in Arsenal colours a lot sooner than August.




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