Arsenal fans await Kaka, Hazard, M’Vila, Marvin Martin, Zarate, Jagielka.

August 23, 2011

NOTE: This post is written by, Danish Shahid, a friend of mine. The opinion about every possible target is his own and not of this blog. Also, this was supposed to be published yesterday but due to a couple of reasons, I couldn’t. So, if there has been any new development, it isn’t included. In the light of recent departure of Fabregas and now Nasri, we will need to bring in top talent to replace them. Who will Arsene buy before the window closes is, however, one big question mark!

This is a brief summary of the players that have recently been linked to Arsenal. It enlists the current club of the player in question, followed with the latest updates about the transfer dealings and then my honest opinions about what they shall bring to the gunners’ game in totality.

Kaka

Current Team:  Real Madrid CF

Latest Update:

Arguably, the most sensational bid to be linked with Arsenal is that of Kaka for a loan deal. With Inter Milan also being linked to the Brazilian, he has dismissed the rumours of a move to London, insisting on staying with the Madrid giants. The playmaker desires to stay at the club and fight for his place and was recently quoted as,

My plan is to remain with Real Madrid and to obtain the confidence of the coach

Opinion:

With the above quote in mind there is almost no ground to run on over here with this story, but today’s world of football has taught us that anything can happen at any given instant, so we all may yet keep our fingers crossed hoping that Kaka makes the switch. If this deal is to happen and that is a very huge ‘if’ then it may work for the player, the club and the Premier League as well. Kaka may nail down a regular starting place in the first team which has avoided him now for almost two years; he brings experience to the club like no other player at the club and for the neutrals, watching a player of Kaka’s magnitude play in the Premier League would be an added bonus. It’s a win win situation if only this deal can go through. So, keep hoping Arsenal fans, it might just be the perfect answer to the club’s problems.

Marvin Martin

Current Team:  FC Sochaux

Latest Update:

Reports keep linking Marvin Martin to Arsenal, but, surprisingly there is no indication of the amount in question required to transfer the player to the club. There is constant speculation about this player touting him as the direct replacement for Samir Nasri, but any details of the deal are currently not available.

Opinion:

Any player that is flaunted as a direct replacement to Nasri and Fabregas must be first-class. He’s highly regarded and knowing Wenger’s eye for fine young players, I’m sure Marvin Martin is good at dribbling, creative, has vision and his passing must be suited to that of Arsenal. From what I’ve seen, and dare I say this, he does indeed seem like a tailor made replacement for Fabregas. Of course, his club record of a measly number of goals and assists may not amount to much, but then his three international appearances have resulted in two goals for his country by him. Therefore, with time on his side as it is with every Arsenal player (no pun intended) and Wenger’s guidance, he can be something of a phenomenon and develop into a complete attacking midfielder into the mould of Fabregas and Nasri. 

Mauro Zárate

Current Team:  Lazio

Latest Update:

Reports are indicating that the brother and agent of Zárate, flew in to London recently to discuss possible transfer moves with Arsenal as well as Tottenham. Since the speculation began, it has been claimed by the English press that Tottenham and not Arsenal would be his likely destination while the Italian press on the other hand claiming the opposite. His services would cost in the region of €25 million and it is understood that Lazio would not be interested in going lower so if Spurs can go higher then they have a genuine advantage in this case. But, with the arrivals of Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cisse at the club, the management may decide to do business in a lesser financial region then what is being quoted at the time.

Opinion:

Zárate’s ability can be summed up by comparing him to Arsenal over the last three years – inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, the guy has great technical skill, he has the occasional flashes of brilliance, but that’s only when he’s playing good and that is not the usual case with him. He just fades in and out of the game. Just 15 goals for Lazio over three seasons prove that very fact. So, it’s safe to say that he does not exactly bang in goals for fun. The player has a good physical aspect to his game which can assist the team at times as Arsenal is not physically the strongest side in the Premier League. But, with this comes into question, his temperament which is a very big concern as he has shown that he has quite the ability to lose it at any time during a match. Therefore, at the end of it all, he doesn’t really paint a picture of hope, but stranger things have happened in the world of football and at the age of 24, provided stability at Arsenal, he may yet prove me wrong for one and may peak at exactly the right time for a club which desperately needs it.

Yann M’Vila

Current Team: Stade Rennais FC 

Latest Update:

As it turns out, reports are coming in that Arsene Wenger had failed with an offer of €20 million for the player over the weekend, but he shall now return with an improvised offer for the services of the defensive midfielder. Yann M’Villa is highly rated inside the football circles and combined with the fact that age is on his side or in this case Rennes FC the club is hoping for an amount in the region of €25 million to release him.

Opinion:

The first good thing Yann M’Villa can provide for Arsenal midfield is steel. He’s extremely good at getting the ball back, rotating possession and has good physical presence which can only get better considering his age. The guy is a good player with a great footballing mind as eminent by his performances for his current club, but then again he is inexperienced and a player with just 11 international appearances for France presently does not cut it for Arsenal this season. The reason being, that Arsenal fans have been on the back of Arsene to buy some experience and a proven player at the highest level for a couple of years now which can guarantee them at least one trophy this season. Although, He may prove to be a good buy for the future but I don’t see him winning any trophy with and for Arsenal this season and to top it off Frimpong is a decent player and he’s young too so the defensive midfield area should not be the biggest concern right now. So, knowing Wenger and his cash strapped instincts, it might be a blessing in disguise if Wenger does not buy this player now for the €25 million and rather invests in someone with a more proven background at the premier level.

Phil Jagielka

Current Team:  Everton FC

Latest Update:

Arsenal failed earlier with bids of £10 and £12 million for Phil Jagielka, but with time running out and the money from the Fabregas transfer available, Arsene is going to try again for the defender. Although, Everton are reluctant to sell nevertheless the tune of some £20 million may change their thinking. The lack of transfer activity due to shortage of funds at Everton may force the side to sell one of its prized assets and it may also prove to be the key signing for Arsenal.

Opinion:

Firstly, Phil Jagielka is a proven Premier League player. Over the years, the player has established his position at Everton and clawed his way into the England international line up. He offers the defensive cover at the back that fans yearn for and Arsenal so often crave. His man marking’s pretty good, is pretty solid at the back providing good cover for the goalie, a good header of the ball, offers a fine variety while going forward and the occasional direct shoot on goal can be dangerous as well.  He may not come on the cheap and is certainly against the transfer policy set by Wenger over the years, but, the defensive problems may be solved with his arrival and his arrival at the club might also give him a reprieve with the fans.

Eden Hazard

Current Team:  Lille FC

Latest Update:

Recent reports are linking Arsenal with a £20 million plus approach for Eden Hazard. Wenger has been interested in the player for the last two years and his approaches have been constantly rebuffed by Lille as they did not want to lose one of their top players. This summer saw them sell Gervinho to Arsenal and with things heating up at Arsenal, Wenger may just splash out some serious cash on recruiting Hazard to his cause.

Opinion:

Hazard’s been a top quality player over the last couple of years. His dribbling plus his pace is excellent and combined they can be devastating to any defence in the world. The guy’s a wing wizard, that’s what he is. They call him a defender’s nightmare in the French Ligue and he is one of those players who can just change the pace and course of a game with an instant dribble, cross or goal. Think in the terms of Arjen Robben and you’re getting close to this player’s potential, but, only without the injuries which is a good thing. He is young and has pace to burn on the wings and the challenge for the first team might even force Walcott to turn into a decent finisher of the ball. With this signing, Wenger can certainly soothe the jagged nerves of the fans in the recent years and as always he will be investing in a player for the future.

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Karim Benzema to Arsenal! Agent denies rumours

May 14, 2011

We have got plenty of players getting linked with us at the moment and Karim Benzema, the former Lyon striker and currently playing at Real Madrid is one of them. He hasn’t enjoyed the best of times at Real Madrid ever since his transfer and speculations are rife that he may move to other clubs this summer. Even today there was a report that claimed that Benzema has been given the green light for a £25 million move to Arsenal. He has also been linked with Juventus and Inter Milan. The questions that remains is, Are these rumors true? I hope they are but I am not holding my breath!

The reason being, Benzema’s agent, Karim Djaziri,  recently dismissed all transfer rumours by saying that the front man is going to stay at Real Madrid next season as he is happy.  

“At the moment there is nothing and I think Benzema will stay at Real Madrid even next season as he is happy there. The rest is just talk.”

However, in football things can change pretty quickly. If we really are interested in him, and personally I feel that he will thrive here, then we should pursue him. He is not only talented but has won things and can adapt quickly to our style of play. He is strong and powerful and has an eye for goal. Only recently he had a goal spree for Real Madrid when Gonzalo Higuain was out injured. We were also interested in him while he was still at Lyon before Real paid big money to acquire his services. And the argument that I always give is he is only going to get better under Wenger.

We also need someone who can compete with van Persie upfront because frankly speaking Bendtner and Chamakh have failed this season when RVP has been around. Bendtner still has done somewhat better considering he has mainly played on the flanks and mostly as a substitute.

The only major obstacle in his signing can be the asking price as Wenger is not known to spend this much amount of money on a single player. But then nothing comes cheap these days. If we want to buy quality this summer, we will have to pay the price.

Many other clubs will be looking at how the situation develops at Real and they will be ready to pounce.  

But then again, Real Madrid might decide not to sell him at all as Benzema’s agent has suggested that he will be staying in Madrid.  

Anyhow, I have my fingers crossed but I won’t be surprised if it bears no fruit. I can already see the argument Wenger has in store for not acquiring a forward!

What do you think? Do we need a striker and should we pursue him?

Bonne journée!!


Looking back at the week: Protest, Wenger, Fabregas, Pat Rice and Vermaelen | the story behind the new Arsenal Crest

April 30, 2011

It has been a long and busy week for me but finally I have found some time to update the blog. A lot has happened since the Bolton defeat though. The talks of a protest was a big surprise. Won’t say much about it! If the people who are in for the protest feel that it is the right way to approach whatever they want, good for them.

To start off with, I was really saddened with the result against Bolton. I was very much looking for a win but all we got was what we have seen in the past and in far too many games. I didn’t see the game though as I had a class to attend at that time (yes on a Sunday!) but what I saw in the highlights didn’t do any good. It summed up our season very nicely. As long as we won’t learn from our mistakes and rectify them, we will be forever inconsistent. The manager and players have come under lots of criticism since then, some of which is justified but in most cases people have gone overboard.

The solution to all our problems and mistakes is not to sell Wenger or a complete overhaul of the team as most are suggesting. The solution, as far as I am concerned, is a return to basics, to mix things up, to try new things, bringing up youngsters such as Wilshere and Szczesny and reinforcing the team where it requires. We have become too predictable!

Arsene Wenger has taken all the blame for the failures of the team this season. I feel that more than Arsene, the players are to be questioned, who have let themselves and Wenger down despite doing so good till February.  Wenger is to be blamed for not using players in their favoured position, for believing in some for too long while they have consistently shown that they will never come good, for not strengthening the squad when required, for not blaming the players when they should have been blamed.  The players are, however, responsible for how they perform on the field. They are professionals who are being given insane amounts of money to perform and they should be held accountable for how they play.

However, with all the flaws that Wenger and this team has, for me they are still the best. After seeing how Real Madrid fared with all their money and star power against Barcelona in Champions league, I am convinced that money doesn’t guarantee success and that this team will come up good and deliver trophies. Both the Spanish giants have star power but the way they relied on cheap tactics was a disgrace to football. 

Most of our former players have been quoted as saying that we require at least three players to strengthen the squad. I agree with them on the numbers. To make place for the new comers, we will, however, need to sell a few as we have a few good youngsters also coming up.

Wenger is also saying that we need to keep this squad together. I say, keep it together but put in some experienced players to push the players when things are down. Buying will also help keep the few players who might be thinking of leaving. Will it harm to buy players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Gary Cahill who are only going to get better under Wenger and help us improve the squad? This is the question that Wenger needs to answer this summer and we have a long summer to talk about it. Wenger has won things before and it’s my belief that he will do it again. But he will need to make big decisions this summer.  

There was also the usual talk of Fabregas leaving in the summers.  Seriously! when is the media going to get tired!? Why can’t they just wait and see what happens than to just claim that anonymous sources have tipped them that Fabregas is leaving? And on top of it, every Spanish player claims to have been confided in by Fabregas that he wants to leave. I am not saying that they are making things up but at least have some decency to keep things to yourself. I don’t want Fabregas to leave and it would be great if we can keep him. However, if he leaves us, we can cope without him. And when he does, we will all know. It is doing no one any good by talking about his future every other day.  

One of the better news is the return of Thomas Vermaelen to the football pitch. He played for Arsenal reserves against Manchester United on Thursday. No doubt, it has been a frustrating injury for him and for us but hopefully he will return stronger than before. We might see him before this season ends but I am looking forward to the pre season. Wenger made it clear in his pre match interview that Vermaelen won’t be available on Sunday though. Vermaelen had this to say on his fitness and first appearance in seven months:

“I’m fit at the moment, I feel great and, in training, I don’t feel any problems. So physically I feel good. It’s up to the boss, he makes the decisions. I’m available at the moment so I hope I will be back in the squad soon and that is my target. The injury is fine, I didn’t feel anything today and played the whole 90 minutes without any problems. I’m really pleased with it.

It felt really good today and I’m happy to be back. It’s always good to be back on the pitch and your first game after a long injury is always special. It’s been a hard time, a difficult time and I’m happy to be back now. It’s been really frustrating because at the beginning I thought it was only going to be one week or a few days and I kept getting setbacks. It was a hard time but from these kind of situations you learn a lot. Your mental strength will be better and you always have to focus. It’s just a hard time but in these times you learn a lot of things.

It’s always important for players to have a good pre-season but for me it will be good to be fit before [the] holiday. I can go into the holiday with a clear head and come back fresh. This season was really unlucky for me but I am looking forward to the next months and the next years.”

There was also a Daily Mail report about retirement of Pat Rice at the end of the season.  Don’t know if it is true. Will talk more on it when things become clear.

Today there has been some new development on the crest that has been seen on our new (maybe!) kit for next season. I haven’t been tipped off with the information though. I read it first over here. The main features are:  

15 laurel leaves to the left side of the Club’s crest, reflect the design detail on the reverse of the six pence pieces paid by 15 men to establish the Club – the laurel leaves also represent strength.

The 15 oak leaves to the right of the Club’s crest give a nod to the founders who would meet in the Royal Oak pub.

Underneath the crest is one of the first recorded mottos related to armament and battle – Forward.

Tomorrow we play against Manchester United. A win for us will slightly derail their title chances. A loss will make things worse for us. Will talk more about it in the preview, which I will try to come up with later.  I won’t be able to see the game though due to my class.

Lastly, my apologies to all for not updating the blog regularly this month due to my work. It is going to be the same in May as my final semester is coming to an end but I will try my best to post whenever I get time (mostly on weekends). Hopefully, at the start of June, I will be free.   

That’s all for now.


Arsene Wenger on drawing Barcelona in Champions League

December 18, 2010

Wenger nonchalantly predicted that we would get Barcelona in the round of 16; and we did get them. Most will be dreading the outcome, but in terms of football, it will be a masterpiece. We certainly will be the underdogs but let’s not forget we can beat anyone on our day. We have always been written off in such matches, remember AC Milan and Real Madrid, and we have always surprised the world. Let’s hope we put up a great show when the time comes as Wenger puts it very nicely that it will be difficult but possible.

All teams are difficult to play at this stage and Wenger wasn’t hoping for any particular team.  Although Schalke would have been an easier opposition in comparison to Barcelona, who, certainly are the favorites to win the Champions League.   

“My reaction is very simple – difficult but possible.

I didn’t want anybody really, in that all teams would have been difficult. You could have said that Schalke – a team with less history in the Champions League – would have been easier maybe. But the advantage is that we will be on our toes and we’ll be ready.

Barcelona are certainly the favourites [for the competition] and a famous team but, on their side, they did not want us either because they know they will get a game.”

With almost two months to the tie, Wenger said that he can’t say much on the match and how they will approach it. As far as the team is concerned they will be ready to face Barcelona when the time comes. At the moment Stoke is the priority for Wenger. Wenger although doesn’t have revenge on his minds as he only wants to qualify by knocking Barca out.

We have a realistic chance too as most of our injured players will be back to playing their best by then and we have done improvements in most areas from last year.

Wenger feels that the best possible way to beat them will be to build up confidence by doing well in the Premier League, Carling Cup and FA cup.

“Revenge is not on my mind. We want to qualify and we want to knock them out. So is it difficult? Yes. Is it possible? Yes.

I think we are better than last year and we have a good opportunity to show that. I won’t come out on [how we will make it a different game]. What is on my mind right now is Stoke tomorrow more than Barcelona.

We are in the middle of December and we play at the end of February. So there is a long way to go.

It is too early to speak about this game concretely. You can just speak about the draw. The whole context might be completely different in two months. We don’t know what we will do and how we will feel.

But the best way of going into that game with confidence is down to what we do from today until then. If we do well in the League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup that will give us the best chance of knocking them out.”


Champions League Draw: Arsenal to face Barcelona in the round of 16

December 17, 2010

Champions League: Round of 16 Draw

The draws for the round of 16 in the Champions League were conducted today. The 16 teams were placed in two pots.

Pot A: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Schalke, Shakhtar Donetsk, Tottenham

Pot B: AC Milan, Arsenal, FC Copenhagen, Inter Milan, Lyon, Marseille, Roma, Valencia

The results of the draw are as follows:

  • Arsenal vs Barcelona
  • Olympique Marseille vs Manchester United
  • FC Copenhagen vs Chelsea
  • AC Milan vs Tottenham Hotspur
  • AS Roma vs FC Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Valencia vs FC Schalke 04
  • Internazionale Milano vs Bayern Munich
  • Olympique Lyonnais vs Real Madrid

So it’s Barcelona again for us. The first leg will be at our home and the second leg away.

Last time we were knocked out by them in the quarter finals. This season they are also in top form but as Wenger has said that things change pretty quickly in football. Two months is a lot of time and let’s hope we have our best team available and we can overcome them. But first we have to focus on the Premier League.

Update: The dates for the two-legged match are as follows:

First leg
Arsenal v Barcelona
Wednesday 16th February 2011
Kick Off: 19.45 (UK Time)
Venue: The Emirates Stadium
 
Second leg
Barcelona v Arsenal
Tuesday 8th March 2011
Kick Off: 19:45 (UK Time)
Venue: Nou Camp

Thoughts!


Wenger on the Round of 16 draw in the Champions League

December 16, 2010

The Champions League knockout stage (Round of 16) draw is set to be held tomorrow. The draw will start at around twelve hundred hours (CET) in Nyon, Switzerland. Sixteen teams from eight groups have qualified for the knockout stages. The winners and runners up will be in separate pots from each of the eight groups.

The draw will put each winner of a group against a runner up with the condition that both the teams are not from the same association and from the same group from last round. The runners up will play the first leg of the round of 16 tie at home on 15/16 and 22/23 February and the winners will play the second leg at home on 8/9 and 15/16 March.

For us the possibilities are Barcelona, Real Madrid, last year’s runner up, Bayern Munich and Schalke. Barcelona and Real Madrid are currently in top form and will provide the biggest challenge for us if we are drawn against them. With Bayern Munich currently not doing well in the Bundesliga and Schakle also struggling, both of them may provide lighter oppositions.

But as far as Wenger is concerned, he isn’t thinking much into it as a lot can change in football in two months. When asked about the draw, Wenger said that he is going to take the result of the draw as they are as he doesn’t want to put undue pressure on his team by making preferences.

There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. The German teams are going to enjoy the winter break and return fresher in spring.  And as Robben is going to get better for  Bayern, they can be a changed team. The Spanish gianst on the other hand are dominating but things can change quickly. It will be all down to the draw for who we face as we will find out tomorrow.

“There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. The Germans have a good break in the winter and are fresh in spring.

“The Spanish teams are a bit more favourites at the moment but that can change in two months.

“The difficulty might be more or less but it is part of the draw. We will have to consider what we get and we will see that tomorrow.

“We take the draw as it is and I do not want to put my team in a position where they feel they have had bad luck or would have preferred somebody else.”