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!

Advertisements

Arsene Wenger geared up for the summer as he confirms there will be arrivals and departures!

May 22, 2011

Arsene Wenger is geared up for the summer as he recently admitted that this will be a massive and important summer on all fronts for Arsenal.

The task is three fold for Arsene Wenger this time. He has to make sure that our best players don’t leave, he has to sell the dead weight at Arsenal for whatever their worth and he needs to sign quality players to strengthen the squad.

The manager is ready for it as he said that work has already started with everyone at the club busy in finding solutions to improve the team. Wenger said that his priority will be to hold the squad together but didn’t rule out departure of some and arrival of new players.

Speaking to Arsenal TV online on Friday, the manager said:

“[That my first priority is to keep my squad together] is true [but it] doesn’t mean that there will be no movement. There will be some movement of players who have played less, who need to play and as well of course we will try to strengthen our squad again but we want to keep the basis and style of play we have.

We are very very busy all over our Club, we are looking, analysing, talking to people. There are two steps in the transfer market during the summer, the first is very early and the second one is very late. In between there is a little bit of no man’s land because people are on holiday, it’s difficult to get in touch so a lot will happen at the start and a lot will happen at the end but I believe June will be relatively quiet. But early end of May, early June could be quite busy.

[One of the most important summers of my time at Arsenal?] Yes, I think so, we had a few important ones but this will certainly be a big one, on all fronts.”

Denilson is the first one to come out and say that he wants to quit and maybe there will be others. Let’s hope Wenger has the right people looking in the right areas and we get to see new faces early in the transfer window.


Andre Arshavin is going nowhere, Denilson is!! And we have made our first signing!?

May 21, 2011

I cannot understand why everyone out in the football world is reporting that we are getting rid of Arshavin this summer. Arshavin has been one of our most important contributors this season in terms of goals and assists. Take away his contribution and see where we would have ended up. No doubt, he had his bad games and he has looked anonymous many times but he still has been producing important assists and goals. And seriously, do we want goals and assist or someone who warms the bench and comes on to make things worse?

There have been reports circulating that Chelsea are looking to acquire his services. Even Zenit St Petersberg has their doors open for him. What I find interesting is that they cite the manager’s frustration with Arshavin not performing well being one of the reasons that may lead to Arshavin’s departure. The other being that Arshavin himself wants to leave as he hasn’t been playing regularly. Both of these reasons are ridiculous because Wenger has many other players to be frustrated with than from someone who has scored 10 goals and produced 17 assists. And to make 51 appearances in a season, I guess, is more than enough.

Andre Arshavin is going nowhere until and unless he or Arsene Wenger says it.

And by the way why should we let him go!? He is a type of player that will produce something out of nothing. He is a game changer and despite looking lazy, he will produce one moment of brilliance that can win games.  Look at the game against West Bromwich. We were two goals down and going for a double loss against a newly promoted team. And bam out of nowhere, he scored the first goal. The keeper didn’t even have time to move. He followed it with an assist for the second and we were saved from another embarrassment. There are many other important goals that he has scored this season and you cannot rule out his assists.

And if I am not wrong, he is the most direct player we have. He is one of the few who will go for goal whenever there is a chance. This habit of his is on the decline though but that is due to the way we play. He is intelligent, he has these sudden bursts of speed and can power away from any defense and he has tricks up his sleeve. This season he might have looked lazy and uninterested but he has done more than some of the others who have played.

And you cannot deny that there has been a positive improvement in his attitude after his bad spell at the end of last year. These last few months he has been doing his defensive duties quite well too. At times he has drifted off but what more can you expect from a player who is nearing 30 and his specialty is playing upfront.

We brought him to score and create goals and that he is doing. Also, this season stats are his best yet for Arsenal in a full season.

We need to improve our team and selling Arshavin is not the way to go.  We can be better off without Denilson, Rosicky, Eboue to name a few but we will go a step back if we let him go.  

And speaking of Denilson, he has finally decided to quit Arsenal (about time too!!) which is the best thing that has happened ever since the win against Man United. He has told The Sun that this has been his worst season ever and wants to leave now for a fresh start in Spain or Italy. Below are some of his words which seem a bit ironic because he was responsible for some of the embarrassing moments in the last three years.

“A footballer’s career is over very quickly so it is time for me to move on. This has been the worst season of my life.  I’ve been to see Arsene Wenger and told him how I felt and he agreed to let me go. I need a fresh challenge and although I’m taking a big gamble, I’m ready to take that risk. So I am flying home to Brazil on Sunday and I’m hoping I can make a fresh start in Spain or maybe Italy.”

I am so upset. I am a winner and I came here to win trophies but I’ve been here for five years and won nothing. There’s something missing at Arsenal but no one knows what it is. Not the manager, not the players – nobody.  But we are still the best footballing side in Britain, we play beautiful football. Only Barcelona do it better. But we don’t win trophies. That’s so frustrating, you can’t imagine how frustrating. Some people say we don’t succeed because we are too young and naive – but that’s no excuse.

I remember leading Liverpool 1-0 and they scored in the last seconds. We were 4-0 up at Newcastle but drew. We also lost to Newcastle at home and West Brom and Aston Villa. We threw it away against Sunderland and Blackburn at the Emirates. Let’s be honest, some of those games were shocking, shameful. We are better than that. But until Arsenal stop throwing away those silly points in those stupid games nothing will change.”

You can read the rest of it here.

So, we have our first positive news for the summer. I think no one will be upset by this because except a few games, Denilson has always been a liability for us. And to be honest, he won’t be missed. My only regret is why he didn’t realise three years back that his time was over at Arsenal!? I will never know!!

Jokes aside, we now have to find a club that will offer the right money for him and then to find a top replacement for him. Bastian Schweinsteiger anyone!!

Another interesting bit of news has surfaced. Fox Sports is reporting that we have agreed a pre-contract with 23-year-old Argentinean, Ricky Alvarez. He will be joining Arsenal after his current deal expires at the end of the Clausura campaign. He is currently playing for Velez Sarsfield’s in the Argentine Primera División.

At the moment we only know that he is a 6’2” left footed attacking midfielder. Reports are that he is a versatile player and can play as a second striker. He has pace and has a powerful shot. He suffered a knee cruciate ligament injury when he started for Sarsfield back in 2008. However, since recovering, he has won the Argentine Primera División title in 2009.

Is this our first signing of the summer? Can’t say anything with certainty, although, we will know in a couple of days how true the reports are. Also can’t say what he can offer us with having not seen him play at all. He is left footed and his pace can only be an advantage. It does seem though that we are going back to old days with pacey wingers and all, if we do sign him.

Hoping for the best. That’s all for now. Have a good day!!

p.s. This post was written in two parts. I had written the part about Arshavin on Wednesday but didn’t get the time to post it. Arsene Wenger in his press conference on Thursday said that he expects Arshavin to be at Arsenal next season.


Arsene Wenger on Djourou and Szczesny’s start against Liverpool and Vermaelen’s return

April 15, 2011

Arsenal will face Liverpool on Sunday, where a win will take them to within four points of Manchester United. Arsene Wenger on Thursday gave the latest injury news ahead of the match.

While speaking to Arsenal TV Online, Arsene Wenger informed that there are no new injuries but there is a doubt on Sagna’s availability, who hasn’t yet recovered from his injury.

Meanwhile Djourou, Szczesny, Denilson and Song all have a chance to be available on Sunday. Wenger added that Djourou and Szczesny’s inclusion will be decided after how they perform in the training session because they have question marks on their fitness. 

The manager also gave good news on Vermaelen’s return as he confirmed that he has joined training. He added that we will need to show patience with Vermaelen as he has just joined the team and isn’t match fit yet.

On Thursday, Arsene Wenger said:

“We have no [new injuries] but we have a big doubt on Sagna. Djourou and Wojciech are question marks. Will they be fit? That all has still to be decided. We have two more days to find out. It could be a possibility that they could be available.

It’s difficult to say [what their chances are]. We have a test today [Thursday], we have a big test to see how they survive the training session. That will be very important. Denilson and Song have a chance to be available as well.

I am not reluctant [to use Vermaelen] but he is not match fit yet. He just joined the team this week so we have to be a bit patient with him.”


Alisher Usmanov will not sell his stake, Szczesny and Djourou back in training and some other news

April 13, 2011

The big news in the past couple of days has been the proposition of Stan Kroenke’s complete takeover of Arsenal. Stan Kroenke increased his Arsenal stake to 62.89 percent by buying the shares of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and Danny Fiszman. As a result, Kroenke has the control of the club and he was forced to make a complete takeover bid. If he can reach 90 percent, he can compulsory buy the rest of the club shares.

However, it seems now that it won’t come to pass due to a new development. Alisher Usmanov, whose RED and White Holdings own 27 percent of the Arsenal shares, has declined to sell his stake to Kroenke by saying that he loves Arsenal and that is the reason he is a shareholder. This is what he said:

“I’m not going to sell my stake. I love Arsenal, that’s why I’m a shareholder”

Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) has welcomed the decision made by Usmanov and have also declined to sell their shares. AST, however, is not against Kroenke’s takeover as long as the fans have a say in the ownership of the club. An AST statement said:

“AST welcomes Red and White Holdings’ commitment to Arsenal and calls on all shareholders to work together. Their priorities should firstly be making Arsenal a successful football team, secondly placing no leveraged debt on the club or taking dividends and management fees out of the club, and thirdly helping supporters be directly involved in the club’s shareholding. Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one man.” 

I don’t know what will happen next but one thing is for sure that Arsenal will not be in the hands of a single owner, which is good news. I don’t want Arsenal to turn into a plaything for one individual. As long as the fans hold some part of the club, Arsenal will remain the club it is.

All I want is that whatever happens next, it doesn’t disturb the way the club is being run. As long as we have the money to sustain the team and buy players, ownership issues won’t matter much. I will also add that the best thing is to wait it out and see how things turn up, and hopefully it will be for the best.

Coming to matters concerning injuries, there have been reports that Szczesny and Djourou have both returned to training ahead of the Liverpool match and both will be available for selection in the squad. The reports confirm what Arsene said in his post-Blackpool comments that Szczesny is not far from returning. So if all goes well, we will have our first choice keeper and  Djourou available for the crunch final run in.

Yesterday there were also reports of a row between van Persie and Diaby at half time during the Blackpool game, concerning the way Diaby reacted before he was booked in the first half. I don’t know if it is true, although, if it is then it is good because it shows that the senior players are taking responsibility to put the wrong things right. It will be better for Diaby to realize that the way he reacted is only going to harm him and Arsenal and no one else. However, I would want that whatever happens inside dressing rooms should remain there because media will always find ways to exploit such incidents.

In other news, Wilshere has slammed the news of a possible move to Manchester City in the summer by saying this on his official twitter:

“People asking if I’m going city? I don’t kiss the Arsenal badge then leave – this club in my heart!”

Denilson is here talking about Shakhtar Donetsk’s Willian and wants him to come to Arsenal.

Champions League quarter finals are also under way and sadly we are having no part in it. Last night Man United and Barcelona qualified for the semi finals at the expense of Chelsea and Shakhtar respectively. Tonight we will find out who the other two teams are, although by now it’s pretty clear which teams will make it.

Till later…


Arsene Wenger’s injury update ahead of Blackburn

April 1, 2011

The International break is finally over and Arsenal are up against Blackburn this Saturday. Arsene Wenger on Thursday gave an update on the players including the ones returning from International duty.

Speaking to Arsenal TV Online, Arsene Wenger confirmed the availability of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Abou Diaby, and Theo Walcott for selection on Saturday. They all have recovered from their respective injuries although Wenger added that the decision for starting them is not yet made.

Meanwhile, Wenger revealed how a few players returning from International duty will undergo tests before a final assessment will be made for their inclusion.   Wenger said that Van Persie, bruised knee, and Bendtner, ankle, both are having a good chance for selection while Ramsey will also undergo test.

The only confirmed player out of action this weekend is Denilson with a toe injury which Wenger informed is short term as he also added that the rest of the squad is available.

Arsene Wenger on Thursday said: 

“[Fabregas, Song, Walcott and Diaby] will all be available. I have not decided if they will start the game yet but they will all be available.

Van Persie has a good chance too. He has a final assessment tomorrow but we believe he will be fit. It is a bruised knee. Nicklas Bendtner is in the same situation. He will have a test tomorrow on his ankle and we’ll see. In fact, we have a few players with tests tomorrow – Ramsey with his groin, Bendtner with his ankle, Van Persie with his knee. I will make a decision after training in the morning.

We just have Denilson out. It is short–term. We have one or two players with question marks but all the other players will be available.”


West Brom vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

March 19, 2011

I had taken some time off from football after what happened last Saturday. The negativity, however, that has followed ever since Arsenal’s exit from three competitions has been immense and highly uncalled for. No doubt the departures have been frustrating and disappointing but to completely overlook what the team has achieved this season on the basis of two weeks result is not logical. No doubt we have our liabilities and I do agree with some of the points that have been raised but the way people have gone about it is not right. And also now isn’t the time to be discussing the weaknesses of the team. When the season is over, there will be plenty to talk about. What we need to do right now is to get behind the team because the media will always find reasons to ridicule us. No doubt, everyone is entitled to their own views but we as fans would do better if we stick to supporting the team.

Coming on to today’s game, it is against West Brom at their home and after what happened the last time we faced them, this won’t be a  walk in the park. The game had plenty of goals the last time and if I am not wrong, Almunia didn’t have a good day. Ironically he is making his return in the League against the same oppositions and after his brilliant display against Barcelona and Manchester United, I am gunning for another good performance.

Today I also feel there won’t be many goals. One reason is that West Brom are under Hodgson and the second because we will also approach the game a bit more cautiously. And with plenty of our regular starters missing, we will have difficulty in the opening them up, as we witnessed the last time.

We will have to be disciplined in the middle of the park and move the ball around with precision and pace and only then we will be able to open them up. Much will depend on how our regulars play. No doubt to win the whole team will have to perform but Nasri and company will have to produce some magical moments that will lead to goals.

At the back too, Squillaci and Koscielny will have to stay alert. These two have had their weaknesses exploited when playing besides each other and with Almunia also not playing regularly with them, the problems can be compounded. Communication among them will be key and the midfield will have to do their job if we are not to concede. And please Arsenal no half hearted attempts in defense and middle of the park, like we witnessed against Manchester United last Saturday. Fight for every ball and close down opposition players early so that they don’t create goal scoring opportunities.

Upfront, we will have to ensure that we don’t waste chances. I don’t want another opposing keeper getting the man of the match.

For the starting eleven, we don’t have many good options as there are a few injuries in important positions. Arsene Wenger again will have to make some bold decisions.

In goal it has been confirmed that Almunia will start. The back line picks it up itself with Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy and Sagna.

In the middle, Wilshere and Nasri are the easy picks. However, with no Song and Diaby, we have Ramsey and Denilson to choose from for the third spot. To be honest, the more I wish for not seeing Denilson in the starting lineup, the more likely it is that he will start. As it will be today because Ramsey I fear isn’t yet ready to start a game.

Upfront too Van Persie and Arshavin are easy picks. On the right we have the options to start with Rosicky, Bendtner and Eboue. Eboue doesn’t add much while Bendtner also doesn’t impress when he starts on wings. And although Rosicky has also been poor, I will start with him on the right because he will help us keep the ball better (if he plays well).

Probable starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Wilshere, Nasri, Denilson, Rosicky, RVP, Arshavin

If everything goes according to plan we will be level on points with Manu by five o clock and hopefully top of the table (if Manu lose their game). We have only the league to focus on and after a weeks break I want to see a good display from our team. Please Arsenal give your best, show that you want the title by winning today and rest of the remaining games. We all are behind you or else it will be hard not only for you but also for us to keep believing in you. 

Keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the game where ever you are. Tonight we start the final lap of the season which hopefully will end with the League title in May (after which we can start sorting out the weaknesses of the team).