Confirmed: Arsenal sign Arteta and Benayoun!

August 31, 2011

Arsenal has done a great job on the transfer deadline day.

It is now officially confirmed that Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker and Benayoun have joined Arsenal.

According to BBC, we also have signed Arteta for a fee of around 10 million. He will join the club on a four year deal.

This is what @bbcsport_david tweeted on twitter minutes after the window officially closed:

“I can confirm Arteta and Bendtner are DONE deals #bbcfootball #afc #safc #efc”

“Arteta signs for Arsenal for fee in region of £10m. No news on contract length, squad number. Bendy to #safc on year-long loan #bbcfootball”

Arsenal has officially confirmed Arteta’s signing and Bendtner’s loan move to Sunderland.

Great news all around!

More to follow!


Benayoun on loan to Arsenal and Arteta also close to signing!? Mertesacker to wear No. 4 shirt

August 31, 2011

After announcing earlier that Per Mertesacker deal was pending formal completion, Arsenal has now officially announced that the deal is completed. He will wear the number 4 shirt.

Arsene Wenger on signing him said:

“We are delighted to welcome Per Mertesacker to the Club. He is a German international with vast experience and strength and is good on the floor and in the air. I believe he will be well-suited to the Premier League and a tremendous asset to the team.”

Mertesacker, on completing his move, said:

“I had a great time at SV Werder Bremen and I’m grateful to the club. Moving to London enables me to fulfil a dream and a further step in my career. The Premier League has always represented a great challenge for me.”

And in a major development, talks with Arteta have started again according to Skysports. In a major twist in our favor, Arteta is now only a few minutes from signing for Arsenal.

It is being reported that the deal is agreed and only wages and personal stuff is to be decided. Arteta himself is pushing in for the move. Which means this deal is well and truly done!

This comes on the back of Benayoun talks, on whom the latest report is we have signed him on a season long loan.

Stay tuned as the confirmation comes in!

Update: It is now confirmed that Benayoun has signed for us. This is what the player tweeted just a few minutes ago:

“I sign with arsenal,very happy and excited about it,but now my head is only in the game against grecce on friday,thanks for the support.”


Arteta interest has ended but we may still get Benayoun!

August 31, 2011

Everything is happening at the moment for Arsenal. Earlier today reports started appearing that we have opened talks with Everton for their playmaker, Mikael Arteta. The offer at first was cash plus Bendtner which was followed up by a £10 million bid, later reported to be rejected by Everton, who are asking for £15 million.

As things stand, Skysports is reporting that we have ended our interest in the Spanish playmaker.

However, in another development partly related to above, we are now moving in for Chelsea’s Yossi Benayoun according to Skysports sources. He has also been linked with Liverpool but recent reports suggest that we are in talks with Benayoun, for a possible loan move.

Now, ideally I would have liked both of the above mentioned players at Arsenal together. Arteta is very creative and he could have been a decent replacement for Fabregas. Combined with the talents of Wilshere and Benayoun, we could have filled some of the gaps left in by Fabregas and Nasri. Now however, I don’t believe that Benayoun alone is the answer to our midfield problems. He can be great but his injury record is a concern.

And Even if we do get Benayoun, we would still require another creative midfielder. And with just less than three hours to go, we are in for a tense final hours before the window closes.

Anything can happen. It is getting frustrating at the same time now as no new signing have taken place today. Santos, Mertesacker and Park were done yesterday, two of them were only announced today. Maybe we have someone else lined up. Keep your fingers crossed!

More to follow


Wenger will do his best to keep Nasri and Fabregas, Juan Mata linked!, Benzema rumor surfaces again!, Denilson to Villareal?

July 8, 2011

After venting my anger a couple of days back, I am back to myself again. However, I do stand by that we need to strengthen the team and sort it out quickly. With pre-season matches just round the corner, all focus needs to be diverted towards getting ready for next season. Transfer rumors do hinder a teams performance, no matter how hard one denies it.

We have until end of August to buy players, however, the speculations surrounding few of our players needs to be quickly addressed. Only then the negativity that is emanating from all corners of the blogosphere is going to stop. A couple of signings now will also be great!

First and foremost, Nasri’s situation needs to be solved. It should have been sorted out by now as everyday it gets more annoying. Dragging it on is only making things worse for us. If Nasri really wants to leave, for whatever reason, he must be sold to the highest bidder and as quickly as possible. Manu has already enquired about him.  Reports of an offer, official or unofficial from United, for Nasri has also been reported. Even though we have denied it, there might be some truth to it. There were also rumors of Man City claiming that they are close to acquiring him, which I don’t believe. With Chelsea also in the mix, we can have a bidding war which can only be good for us, if we get to a point where selling is the only option. The money received should then be spent to acquire a top replacement.

If he doesn’t want to leave, he must sign the contract quickly, Arsenal must announce it so that we may get on with our preparation for the season.

Personally, I want him to stay. He has been a good player for us and he has the potential to be a great player. He has had his ups and down but he seems to be getting consistent. No doubt he lost his touch in the later stages of last season; he still was phenomenal for us. It has taken him three years to somewhat fully express himself and he is only going to get better. That is the reason that all top three clubs in the league are after him. We can’t afford to lose an experienced Premier League player on a cheap to our rivals. For me, he is more important than Fabregas (this doesn’t mean that we need to let Fabregas go!)

We have the money, and we can offer him what he asks. Arsene Wenger’s comments today were positive and shows that the boss is intent on holding him. Speaking to Arsenal player, Arsene said:

“We will do everything we can to keep him [Samir Nasri].”

I know Wenger will try his best, but then, we did lose Clichy. So, you can’t do anything if a player wants to leave, which is the bitter truth in modern football. Allowing Nasri to run out his contract is going to be more costly to us than letting him go this season. A contract must, therefore, be signed this summer or else he must be shown the door. I am just hoping for him to commit to Arsenal quickly. All this, as I said before, need to be done without more delay. We cannot wait till September for Nasri to make a decision!

One announcement that we have all been waiting for is Gervinho’s unveiling. He is likely going to be declared an Arsenal player any day now. According to many reports he was in London for his medical on Wednesday, which was successful. The Daily Mail has gone on to add that only a small problem in the paper work has delayed the announcement. Better late than never, in my opinion. I am really looking forward to seeing him play in the pre-season. With so much being said about him in the press, I am certain that he will turn out to be a great player for us.

As for the recent rumors linking us to Juan Mata and Karim Benzema, they are great, I am more than certain that they are only rumors. With Gervinho arriving, I don’t see Wenger going for another forward. Mata might be an option only if we lose one of Fabregas or Nasri.

I am more interested in Hazard though. He, alongside Nasri and Fabregas, with van Persie ahead will be perfect! I know, sometimes it’s great to live in fantasy!

The Fabregas situation has also gone quiet. There are reports that Barca is offering Abidal in addition to cash, which I don’t see Wenger taking in a million areas. For me, anything less than Messi plus cash should be rejected. Wenger, today, made it clear that he will be trying to hold onto him at all costs. Speaking to Arsenal player, the manager said:

“Our position is always the same, we want to keep Cesc and I will fight as hard as I can to keep him”

I feel, by now, Barcelona should have realized that we won’t accept an offer less than what Fabregas is worth. Also, Fabregas should realize that Barcelona don’t really value him. He needs to stick with Arsenal, get over his injury and lead us to trophies. I am certain that this saga is going to continue till the end of the transfer window with Fabregas staying at Arsenal! I have my fingers crossed.

Before I conclude, I got excited about the news linking Denilson to Villareal. However, I haven’t seen any follow up to the story. So, I am guessing that it was another false rumor and we will be seeing him around the Arsenal squad a bit more. I am starting to wonder if anyone will ever ever buy him!!    

Till next time!


Gazidis assures signing players, Arsenal to have talks over Gervinho, Arsene interested in Emmanuel Riviere

June 14, 2011

Just a quick update today as I am busy somewhere else. Yesterday, Ivan Gazidis had a question and answer session with the Arsenal Shareholders Trust. I haven’t yet seen the session due to not finding time so can’t really comment on what happened. Ivan did, however, assure the fans that Arsenal will be making new signings this summer and a few of the current squad will also be asked to leave.

He was off the opinion that despite a massive disappointment the season cannot be seen as a disaster.

“Coming off the end of the season, I share with you a sense of profound disappointment. We had a season that promised a great deal and looked like it could turn into a very special one but in the end a familiar story began to tell itself. I understand the feelings that we all felt.

It is very clear we had some shortcomings and in this close season we are going to see some turnover of players. Some new signings will be coming in and some of our existing squad will be going out. As Arsène has said, it will be a busy close season for the Club.

But also it is important to recognize that it has not been a disaster. We have a young squad and we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The trick will be identify which parts to keep and which parts to turnover. And we will do that within our financial capabilities.”

I don’t want to sound negative but if finishing fourth in a two-horse title race isn’t disaster than I am afraid Ivan has lost me. It might have been disappointing if it was happening for the first time but to happen for four years consecutively is quite worrying. I will be discussing more of this after I have seen the whole session. For now, I am grateful that Ivan considers buying and indeed selling a few players, hopefully not to include Nasri and Fabregas.

In other news, Lille’s general manager Frederic Paquet has confirmed that they will be holding talks with Arsenal for a possible transfer of Gervinho. The general manger said

“He [Gervinho] wants to go and has developed contacts with Arsenal. We will soon have talks with them and see what they offer. He has expressed a desire to go to England and we will see what happens.”

With news coming out on daily basis related to Gervinho, it seems that we really are interested in him. let’s hope the talks are fruitful.

There is also talk of Arsene’s interest in Saint-Etienne striker Emmanuel Riviere. He has been compared to Thierry Henry and is valued at around £4.5 million. In the player’s own words

“I am flattered to be linked with the clubs mentioned. I am a young player, so to be linked with Arsenal is fantastic for me. If Arsene Wenger is interested in you it means you have potential to be a very good player. People compare me to Thierry Henry and that is a big compliment. If I can achieve half of his career I will be happy.”

With Bendtner on the verge of leaving, we do need to sign a striker this summer. Who will we get can only be answered by Wenger.

Today there were also reports that revealed Tottenham as the possible challengers to us in acquiring Christopher Samba. Blackburn themselves will do their best to keep Samba but my gut feeling is that if Wenger truly moves for him, we will get him this summer.

The biggest surprise of the day for me, however, was the news of a possible swap deal between Chelsea and Tottenham involving Drogba and Modric. My initial reaction to this was WTF! As for the rest, we will find out in the coming weeks.

By the way the media has already started speculating who will be the team to replace us in the top four next season. At the moment many are favoring Liverpool. Don’t the media love writing us off? Although I can’t say anything about titles at the moment, I am sure we will finish in the top four.

Have a good time!!


Player Ratings: Arsenal 3 – 1 Chelsea

December 28, 2010

We finally did get to beat Chelsea after dominating for most parts of the game. In the last few matches against Chelsea we couldn’t convert our domination to victories as we were dealt severe loses. Last night it was different as we held our game and never looked intimidated. Maybe Fabregas was right that it was a mental thing and hopefully this victory will have broken that mental lock.

It was an overall much improved performance from the Manu match. We showed more determination and desire. It was clearly visible that we were hungry for a win. We found our rhythm going forward and at the back we were organized. And for a change we converted our possession into goals.

The defence did their job superbly. There were some nervous moments but as the midfield was contributing we held on. The defenders covered up well for each other.  

The midfield players were immense. They contributed in defence and were quick to move ahead whenever they got the ball. Our passing was quick and precise. One thing I liked was that we held onto the ball and didn’t give it away unnecessarily except on a few occasions.

Our forward line also did brilliantly as they probed for openings in the bus parked by Chelsea. We were quick in our movement. And as the chances presented them we took them clinically.

One grey area was the manner in which we conceded the goal. None of our players attacked the ball especially Koscielny. Fabianski also was at some fault for the goal because of his decision making.

Coming to player ratings:

Fabianski (6.5): He looked uncertain on a few occasions otherwise coped well when called upon. Should have done better on the goal though. Needs to be firm in his decision making. Like he was coming forward to catch the ball and then stopped midway. Had he stayed on his line he would have caught the ball.

Sagna (7.5): Top game from the Frenchman. Chelsea weren’t able to use his flank to attack. Provided width while going forward and at the back was solid. Showed good pace too.

Djourou (8) and Koscielny (6.5): Top performance from the centre backs. Never gave space to Drogba as he was forced to drop deep to get the balls. Aerially were dominant except on a few occasions. Made some vital interceptions and were good in the one-on-ones. Koscielny was great in closing down the Chelsea players but made a few errors one of which led to a goal.

Clichy (7): An improved performance. Good going forward and great in covering his flank. Made a few errors but we can ignore them for this game.  

Song (8.5): One of his best performance of the season. Brilliantly held the midfield, no misplaced passes, closed down the Chelsea attack and made good interception. Today he did his job while also moving forward.  And he did score the vital opener.

Wilshere (7): He too had a brilliant game after a slow start. Held his ground against the Chelsea players and never looked fazed. Distributed the ball around nicely.

Fabregas (7.5): He did overcome his fear and played a Captain’s role. Orchestrated our moves brilliantly. Made a few excellent runs and at times found the perfect ball. Scored the important second goal and provided the assist on the third. He did give away the balls a few times but that can be expected after not playing for some time.

Walcott (9): Started slowly as he was denied space on the right. His touch also wasn’t good as he had an opportunity to open the scores but was let down by his control. However, when he found his rhythm, continuously harassed the right flank. Plenty of times forced the Chelsea backline to make mistakes which eventually led to goals. Provided the assist on the second goal and scored the third that proved to be vital in the end.

Van Persie (7): He is slowly getting to his best. In the first half had to drop deep to get the balls but eventually found space in the centre and linked up play nicely with the wider players.

Nasri (7): Despite getting double teamed and at times triple teamed, he found space to do something good. His chip in the first was delightful but it was saved by Cech. Could have scored the fourth goal for us had he not rushed his shot.

Subs:

It was good to see Diaby (7) back in action. His touches and movement were a bit rusty but he did well whenever he got the ball and contributed in defence. He could have also scored had he taken the shot early. Chamakh (6.5) held the ball nicely and contributed in defence. Rosicky (No Rating) had very little time to make much impact, although he did strike the post.

It is a massive massive win no doubt. However, there is still a lot of time to go and we must not lose our focus. We have taken our first step and now we must continue with it in the upward direction. The next match against Wigan is as important and we need to play with the same desire and spirit that we showed last night.

Great things are sure on the horizon!


Wenger’s update on Vermaelen and Gibbs, Diaby and Fabianski are good to go against Chelsea

December 23, 2010

The postponement of the games over the weekend might have left many people fuming, but it has turned out to be a good mini break for us. Most of our injured players are back and better than before as Wenger revealed while speaking to Arsenal TV online.

Diaby, Fabianski, Fabregas and Van Persie are all good to go against Chelsea. Most of them would have been available for the Stoke match but an extra week would have certainly helped them to prepare better and get their fitness levels up.

“We have everybody back. We had them in the squad for Stoke – Diaby, Fabregas, Van Persie. Fabianski too.

They have had one more week to prepare for this game and build up their fitness. That will have helped them of course.”

Apart from them, the ones who have been involved twice a week for the past couple of months will also have benefitted from this postponement.

On the other hand Vermaelen, Gibbs and Almunia are still out injured and won’t be back over Christmas.

“So overall we miss only Vermaelen, Almunia and Kieran Gibbs now. They will not be back in the short–term – over Christmas – but everybody else is available.”

The timeline that Wenger gave on Gibbs is that he will be back by early January.

On Vermaelen’s return, Wenger said that he will be back by late January. At the moment the signs are good from Vermaelen as he needs to build his match fitness. It will take about four weeks to get him fully match fit. Wenger is, righfully, being cautious with him as he already has had a lot of setbacks.

“I would rather say late January. He is short on fitness and we have to build it up. That will take three to four weeks. He has started now and the signs are good. But I have been hit so many times with backlash that I am very cautious with Vermaelen.

“However Gibbs should be available at the beginning of January.”

So, if all goes well we will have the whole squad back by the end of January, provided there are no new injuries, and hopefully till then we will remain near the top and continue with our title charge.