Ricardo Alvarez signed! Gervinho not far Behind!?

June 25, 2011

A month ago I did a post in which I said that we may have made our first signing of this transfer window in the shape of Ricardo Alvarez from Velez Sarsfield. The story was first reported by Fox Sports and it took me by surprise because I had never even heard his name. The report said that we had agreed a pre-contract with the player and he would move to Arsenal after his contract expires at Sarsfield at the end of their campaign.  A 23-year-old, left footed attacking midfielder whose pace and ability to play as a second striker stood out and interested me. However, I didn’t take it seriously as there was a confusion related with the name Arsenal (apparently there is a team called Arsenal de Sarandi in Argentina) and I never followed up the story.

The Fox Sports’ story was followed up a couple of days later by many others as it became evident it was us, Arsenal of England that were interested and not the Arsenal club that plays in Argentine Primera División.

With time, however, Alvarez was forgotten as Gervinho, Cahill, Samba and Hazard’s names started circulating around, whom we were targeting. And as these targets were nearer to us, we all took interest in them. Somewhere in between, we did get to see the name of Alvarez.

A month later, now, when it has gone quiet on all other major fronts for us, Ricardo Alvarez’s name springs up again and this time I feel it is a confirmation of the initial agreement that Fox Sports reported.

On Friday, the blogosphere was full of reports that we have actually signed him after apparently Palermo’s President, Maurizio Zamparini, let it slip in an interview with Naples Radio Kiss Kiss that we have acquired his services. His Interview was reported in Tuttosport

“We did have a concrete bid for Alvarez and had him in our grasp back in January. Unfortunately, we didn’t complete the move in time, so we lost him to Arsenal. At this moment he has already signed for the Gunners.”

However, with Corriere, he used the words that ‘Arsenal is interested’.

The question is what to believe or what not to after this as this puts a big question mark on Zamparini’s reliability. Although, I am certain that we may have actually secured his signing behind closed doors. The reason being, we do like our transfer dealings to be hidden these days because as soon we show interest in a player, other clubs hijack that deal. The end result is the price increases exponentially and we lose the target. Also we need a midfielder-cum-winger and a striker and Alvarez fulfills all the requirements. So, Wenger may have spent the asked price on such a talent.

I also believe that Zamparini, being interested in Alvarez, may have approached Sarsfield only to find out that he has been sold to us and in the resulting frustration may have spilled the beans in front of the media.

This brings me onto the situation regarding Gervinho. He was supposed to sign for us by the end of last week or start of this one according to reports. Ever since those reports, it‘s been quiet. Frustration is mounting among the fans. I have a feeling though, that Gervinho’s situation is similar to Alvarez’s. I believe that we have agreed the terms and only waiting for a date to officially announce his signing.

Reports, by the way, have already started coming out that Lille have rejected our bid for Gervinho! Don’t believe them!

Hopefully, when the transfer window opens on 1st of July, we will be announcing both the signings of Alvarez and Gervinho in addition to some others!


Do we need to sign a new keeper this summer?? | Robin van Persie injured, I hope not!!

March 30, 2011

It has been a week since the last time I updated my blog as my final year project and catching up on university work has kept me busy. During this time much has happened in the football world and I can’t make up my mind on what to talk first.

Anyhow, I will be quick and short over here. To start off with, the thing that I feared the most to occur in this International beak, I am afraid, has come to pass, which is an injured Robin van Persie returning to Arsenal. Van Persie got injured in the 5-3 win against Hungary on Tuesday after scoring the opener. He got a knee to his thigh and was substituted before half time. However, Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk believes that van Persie could be back for the weekend to play for Arsenal. He said:

“Robin got a knee to his thigh. With luck he could play for Arsenal this weekend.”

I really hope he does make it and that it isn’t a serious injury because without Van Persie, our chances of challenging for the title will surely be over. We are already in chaos at the back and if we lose our top goal scorer, I can imagine what the results will be in the final games. Last season when van Persie got injured on International duty, which ruled him out for half the season, similar things were said only to be revealed that it was a more serious injury. I hope this time it is not like that and he starts against blackburn.

The other bit is related to the goal keepers getting linked with us. Talks of Ajax keeper, Maarten Stekelenburg and Juventus keeper, Gianluigi Buffon to Arsenal have erupted after what happened in the Arsenal’s game against West Brom. Now, I am not sure if Stekelenburg is as good as he is rated. Although, I haven’t seen him play much except during the Football World Cup where frankly speaking he didn’t impress me much. He wasn’t the only one with Hugo Lloris also a high profile keeper who didn’t impress.   However, these are Stekelenburg’s words regarding a move to Arsenal:

“If Arsenal make an offer, I will leave Holland.”

Will we make an offer for him? I think that is a big NO! And I will leave the matter as it is.

Similarly, Gianluigi Buffon’s agent has also not ruled out Buffon’s move to Arsenal at the end of this season, although, we haven’t yet contacted him. I would have really liked to see Buffon come in as number at the start of this season and even right now when we need a keeper. However, after seeing Szczesny’s performance this season, I am not sure. The question that needs to be asked is that do we need to sign Buffon or any other keeper this summer? No doubt, Buffon is a top class keeper and he is an asset for any team, I feel a move to sign him or any other keeper will hamper Szczesny’s progress. We also have Fabianski, who has done well and we have Mannone in line and they will all be back next season. And hopefully next season we will not be in a similar situation, with three keepers injured, as we are now. Bringing Buffon or any keeper in for a high price I believe will be a waste of money when we can always spend that money to sign players in position we do need to reinforce, defense and defensive midfield to be precise.

The thing about which we should be concerned right now is that we have Almunia in goal and Lehman I feel isn’t yet ready to replace him, after his outing in the reserve game against Wigan. Sadly we cannot do anything but only hope we don’t suffer much because from now on till the end of the season, each game is a must win and if more goals are let in like the one Almunia conceded, it will bring an end to yet another season of ours which promised so much.

In other news, there was talk of Barcelona not having enough money for Fabregas or something similar and Xavi opening his mouth again to show how smelly it is. I won’t link to both the news. There is also talk of Clichy’s contract and him leaving us this summer, I hope he doesn’t because, Gibbs, I feel is not ready to take over. Also Arsenal has decided not to appeal Wenger and Nasri’s ban, a good decision and one I was hoping for. Also, we are going to have Fabregas, Song, Diaby and Walcott back for the Blackburn game. Szczesny and Djourou may yet feature for us before the season comes to an end. The international break is over (almost) and as of now we only have a doubt on van Persie. So, all is not lost yet. A winning streak from now till the end of the season and we will lift the trophy, fingers crossed!!

Have a good day.


Arsene Wenger’s latest injury news ahead of West Brom

March 18, 2011

Arsenal are going to play West Brom at their home on Saturday in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger gave the latest injury news ahead of it on Thursday.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger put the rumors to rest, of an early return for Johan Djourou, as he confirmed that Djourou is out for at least 6 weeks with a very little possibility to feature again this season. He will have arthroscopy on Monday to get more details on the extent of the injury as Wenger hoped for good news.

Cesc Fabregas has also been ruled out for Saturday as Wenger revealed that he will be back after the International break. Walcott is also not available for this weekend and also for England in the International break.

Alex Song with a knee, Wojciech Szczesny with a finger and Abou Diaby with a groin injury are all ruled out for their respective times.  

Arsene Wenger on Thursday said:

“Johan Djourou is out for at least six weeks. There’s a little chance [he will play again this season], he has an arthroscopy on Monday and we will know more about the damage in his shoulder. We hope we will have good news but no matter what happens he will be out for six weeks.

Cesc Fabregas is out for the game on Saturday. He should be back after the international break, maybe, he has a chance, but he is not available for the weekend. Walcott is not available for the weekend and he has no chance [for the international break]. He is not available for England.”