Mertesacker signed? We have enquired about Sneijder, need to move in on Cahill, Hazard and M’Vila now! Traore sold to QPR

August 30, 2011

It definitely is a frenzy of transfer activity out there for Arsenal at the moment. With just less than thirty hours for the window to close, players left and right are being linked with us, rather being signed by us.

According to many reports we have signed Andre Santos and Park, they only need to be announced officially.

Moreover, French L’Equipe was the first to report that as of last night we have signed Per Mertesacker for €9 million. It is the same news paper that announced Gervinho’s signing before anyone else, so they are not to be taken lightly. At the moment everyone is running the same story.

If this indeed is true, I am hoping it is, than we are definitely moving in the right direction. Many would prefer Cahill over Mertesacker but he will offer us something similar to Vermaelen. He is aggressive and his positioning is good. He also reads and anticipates the game well and he has height.

Update: Mertesacker is on his way to London at the moment for his medical after leaving his German training camp. German national coach, Joachim Low, expects Mertesacker back at the training camp tonight after signing for a new club.

I would still, however, like Cahill to come to Arsenal in addition to Mertesacker because he has the experience of Premier League and at the moment we only have two centre backs, not counting Djourou and Squillaci.

The other surprising but positive bit of news is that the Daily Mail is reporting we have enquired about Wesley Sneijder. Although, Sneijder himself has ruled out a move to English football at this time, in modern football anything can happen.

His wages will be a big obstacle in the deal though, but if we can somehow manage it, he can be the WOW signing everyone is hoping for. This could bring all the belief back.

I am still hoping for Hazard and Yann M’Vila though. Hazard’s reports have gone quiet while Yann M’Vila has a 30 million price tag put on him. Kaka for 17 million is also a great option but he himself has said he wants to stay at Real. I am sure Wenger and company will be looking at them and making the right offers. We have the money to make these signings. Fingers crossed!

Things are certainly going to get hotter. I want Arsenal to announce the signings of Mertesacker, Andre Santos and Park soon because it might make others want to come to Arsenal too.

In another update, Traore has been signed by QPR on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. I wonder, what we offered QPR to accept the deal in the first place! Good deal for all parties in the end though.


Arsene Wenger’s latest injury update, Miyaichi, Nasri, Frimpong and Jenkinson set to start against Liverpool

August 20, 2011

Arsene Wenger on Friday gave the latest update on the squad that will face Liverpool today.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsene confirmed that Diaby, Wilshere and Gibbs will miss the game due to injury along with Song and Gervinho, who are suspended.

In an update on Djourou and Traore, who had positive tests on Thursday, the manager said that they won’t also be available. Djourou is out with a minor hamstring strain while Traore has a slight groin problem.

Rosicky, whose inclusion was pending a late decision on Thursday, will also be given a rest against Liverpool due to a thigh injury. However, he will be back with the squad by Monday as according to the manager the injury is not bad.

Meanwhile, Wenger announced, Japanese sensation, Miyaichi, and want away midfielder, Nasri, are available and included in the squad.  

Frimpong will also be in contention to start as Wenger admitted his likeness for the youngster and his ability and added only his injury proved a hindrance or he would have played last year.

Wenger also hinted at a possible start for Jenkinson after praising his performance against Udinese.

Arsene Wenger, ahead of the game against Liverpool, said:

“The morale is strong and the belief is strong. I believe we have had a decent start. We have Song and Gervinho suspended. Diaby and Wilshere are injured. Djourou and Traore will not be available and Gibbs will not be available.

We will give Tomas a rest tomorrow. It is not a bad injury and he should be back with us on Monday but he is rested tomorrow.

He [Ryo Miyaichi] came back from Japan yesterday and is in the squad. He [Samir Nasri] is in the squad tomorrow and available to be picked to play.

Frimpong will be in contention when I pick my team tomorrow morning. I like him very much. He is a fighter, he is strong in the duels, has fantastic levels of commitment and he uses the ball well with his feet. He was one of the players who dominated pre-season last year with Jack Wilshere and was stopped through a cruciate. I think he would have played last year.

Jenkinson did really well at left-back the other night [against Udinese]. I believe that he will have an impact and you will fight for him not to play for Finland.”

 


Cesc, Nasri, defending and Wenger: A look into the summer that has passed and what comes next!?

August 12, 2011

Here we are, almost three months after we ended the last season in dismal fashion, at the start of the next. A summer that was promised to be different has so far been the same.

Although a lot has happened since I last posted on the blog but considering what we needed and what was required to be done hasn’t been done yet.

Yes, we bought Gervinho, who looks impressive and give us a direct approach for a change, and we bought Oxlade Chamberlain, who will be a star in the next three years and Jerkinson, who also is one for the future. They all are welcome additions to our squad and in future they will turn out to be great players for us for sure. But in terms of preparing for the next season, we have  been where we ended last season. In fact, if you ask me, we are considerably weaker than before. And before everyone jumps at me, I am not being negative, it is the reality.

The Fabregas saga, the Nasri situation, the way our defense performed in the pre-season, these are proof enough that we have stood still in terms of improving as a team.  

I am not fussed about Fabregas or even Nasri leaving, heck I am because you seldom find a Fabregas. It is just that if they wanted to go, they should have been shown the door at the start of the window. Their replacements should have been bought to gel in with the team. We are less than 24 hours away from the start of our first game of the season and we still haven’t figured out what’s up with both of them. Even now is not too late, sell them and buy the replacements, that is, if we do want to replace them.

I am convinced for sure that we will lose both of them before the window closes, what I am dreading is that we don’t bring in the proper substitutes.

I know most will say that we have Wilshere and Ramsey and I don’t disagree. These two are going to be great players and one day they will be world class. Nonetheless, they still have a lot to prove and for this season they certainly are not the answer to the void that will be left by Fabregas’ departure.

Personally, I don’t blame Fabregas for leaving and don’t have anything against him. I would have liked him to stay. He has given us close to eight years of delightful football. His skill, vision and ability to change games won’t be forgotten and I will always remember him as one of our great players. And I believe we will never truly replace him with any kind of player.

I, however, don’t have many sympathies for Nasri. I know he is a good player and likely go on to be a big player. Still after having one good season where he was close to consistent doesn’t justify his attitude. If he were loyal to this club, he would have signed the contract back in May. He isn’t and he never will be. The best thing is to sell him and get done with it. He isn’t worth more time than what he has already wasted for us.

As far as defense is concerned, I was always on the edge of my seat whenever the opposition was attacking in the preseason games. No matter what people say, we just have forgotten how to defend or just don’t want to.  I know that when we want to defend, we can, the game against Barcelona last season is proof enough. Why don’t we do it consistently is a question only Wenger can answer.

Why haven’t we improved our defense or why haven’t we bought any defender is also beyond me. Squillaci clearly doesn’t know defending, Djourou and Koscielny are known to make the stupidest mistakes, Vermaelen is returning after a year and I hope he starts from where he ended, when he was injured. On the left, the situation is even worse. I know this has turned into a cliché but Gibbs is not ready. I have said before, he is not a defender at all. He can be a good winger and that is all. And his injury record is also not great. Traore is stable but he is not better than Clichy right now and we all know Clichy had his flaws. So why haven’t we got a replacement for Clichy yet? For me this is  relying too much on hope!

The irony is that, at the moment, I myself am desperately hoping for Vermaelen, Koscielny and Djourou to have a great season without injuries. I am also hoping for Traore and Gibbs to pull off performances worth player of the season awards. And, I know I am getting too far, but I am hoping Wenger will buy a defender and a left back.  

I am also off the opinion that the way we defend can only be improved if we change the way we practice. Right now, I am not convinced that what we are doing in training is helping. Is something wrong with our back room staff or is it just that we don’t give too much attention to it? Whatever it is, we need to solve the problem. And considering, we haven’t done it in the last two years, I know it will be much of the same this season, the pre-season showed that clearly. Still I am not giving up, there is always hope!

The thing that I am most pissed off on is that Wenger hasn’t kept true to his word. He said at the start of this summer that he will try to keep the best players and improve the team in places where it requires. He hasn’t done that yet. We have the same disastrous defense, we are about to lose Fabregas and Nasri, we have already lost Clichy. (I am grateful that we won’t be going to see Denilson this season though.)

Also If you remember, back in January Wenger said something about not buying a defender as we have too many of them already or something similar. Considering what we have bought this summer, doesn’t it seem ironic that he has brought in two wingers, when we already have a surplus amount of them but not a single defender which we need the most? And I am not complaining here. We do need them because we still don’t have enough depth in any position. We have many youngsters but they cannot be relied upon for the whole season. He also bought a right back but then went onto selling a left back and we are still stuck with Eboue.

He said that he will only buy players who will improve the team. As we don’t see any defender right now, does that mean there are no defenders out there that are better than what we have? Also except Gervinho, we can’t even be sure that chamberlain and Jerkinson will make it to the next level. I hope they will, but what is the guarantee that they will stay with us then. Nasri hasn’t committed yet after it took three years to develop him. Seriously! Sometimes I get really frustrated the way Wenger gives his justifications for not buying

Why the rant? Because I have to get these thoughts out of my mind. I know all is not bad. I don’t like the way we have dealt with the Fabregas and Nasri situation. I don’t like that we haven’t bought a defender and Left back. I don’t like that we are still stuck with Eboue (or not! a move to Galatasaray is on the cards)  and to some extent Diaby. I am willing to give Chamakh a chance. If I had my way, I would have sold him and played Bendtner in the middle, as there have been no buyers for him.

Despite all this, there are some great things to look forward to. I am delighted by Gervinho’s addition. He is the most direct player that we have bought in recent years after Arshavin. I just hope that he stays that way. He is quick on his feet, he can dribble and he has an eye for goal. He has adjusted nicely into the team and his partnership with Van Persie will be something to look forward to. Ryo Miyaichi has shown that he can play and he certainly has pace. He also got the work permit which is one of better news this summer. Frimpong is another one who impressed during pre-season. He certainly is going to be a great asset in the future. Jerkinson was also impressive and one day can be a replacement for Sagna. The partnership of Wilshere and Ramsey is what really excited me. Wilshere is certainly developing fast and his vision is improving. Ramsey too is doing great but he needs to take more responsibility. Both of them still need time though and they will get it this season. Van Persie is still on his goal spree and hopefully he will remain injury free. Szczesny is doing well in goal and no doubt he is going to get better. We have Fabianski and Mannone after him which leaves our goal keeping in good hands.

There are many other positives from the pre-season. However, for us to challenge for the top, we still are short on players in a couple of positions and if Fabregas and Nasri leave, we will need to add more. I just wish that before the window closes we will get the players we require and hopefully go on to have a great season and come out on top.

This season, the start for us is going to be what sets the tone to our season. With Newcastle, Manchester United, Liverpool and Champions league qualifiers in the next 15 days, we won’t have time to take a breather. We have to start on top from the first game and maintain that throughout the season. If we can get through these games with our heads held up high, than I will be convinced that we are there to challenge for the title. If we don’t, then I don’t even want to speculate on what will happen. Hopefully we will have a great season (I know there are too many hopes in this post but this is the only thing that will see us through the season, if things remain the way they are!)

Before I conclude, it was on this day last year that I published my first post. It has been one whole year for me since then and it has been a great experience. Going through all the games was fun, the wins and the loss, the delight and anger, the ups and downs, the happiness and frustration, it was just amazing. A big thanks to all who have visited this blog and still do and have been a part of it.

I have been busy for the last three, four months due to lots of reasons. However, I will try my best to posting regularly.  I love Arsenal and will continue writing about it. Thank you all once again! I have my fingers crossed for another great season, hopefully….


It is quiet out there, Fabregas might stay after all, Clichy gone? Fixtures shouldn’t be a concern!

June 22, 2011

When I had last posted on my blog we were close in on Gervinho, Cahill, and Samba.  A week later, a week into my vacations, we are still nowhere (or somewhere that only Arsenal can tell). Many have reported that they are done deals and I am hoping this really is the case but the silence from the Emirates is deafening. I have been waiting for an official Statement but nothing has come out yet. Do they want to give us a surprise? Or are they waiting for 1st of July? I do hope it is a good surprise.

Even the tabloids have gotten bored with the stories and now many have started asking questions. I believe in one thing though that if we have reached an agreement on the above players than there can be no stopping them in moving here. If, however, it was all speculation, we can forget them. Expect to see only Gervinho arrive as he is from the French League. While keep everything crossed for Samba and Cahill as their value has gone up and Man City and Tottenham are all also getting involved. And with 8 days to 1st of July, a lot can happen as within football things change within a day.

By the way, what were they thinking when they linked us to Barton, Odemwinge and Taarabt. Eto sounds interesting but I know it will never happen.

Coming to other matters, there has been a positive development for us in the case of Fabregas. Sandro Rosell’s, Barcelona president, comment regarding Fabregas’ value going down clearly speaks that they don’t regard him much and won’t go all out to buy him. Sandro Rosell said

“What is the limit for signing him? We’ll need to see. First we need to know what his salary is and what are his conditions. Everything is in relation to the salary and the transfer fee but, if last year we offered 40 million [euros], a year has passed, it is clear that this year his value is less. Since then there has been wear and tear and now he’s worth less. In the case that we were interested our offer would be reasonable. We would not go overboard.”

And added

“I don’t think he will go to another Spanish club. Cesc is of Barça, and if I were the president of another club I wouldn’t sign a player who holds dear the colours of another team.”

It also seems that they want Fabregas to put in a transfer request so that he can be acquired for less money. Well Mr Sandro, you can forget about Fabregas for now and forever for one, you don’t have the money and two, Fabregas is happy here and he won’t give in a transfer request. And after your comment no sane man will as you don’t appreciate his quality. I hope Fabregas does realize that Barcelona don’t want him and that the best thing to do now would be forget about Barca and play like a true leader for Arsenal and guide us to trophies. And in return Rosell will get to know the true value of Fabregas.

There has also been progress on Clichy’s situation with Roma showing interest in him. The value that is being quoted is £7-8 million. Although this is better than what Liverpool were offering but still in my view it is less. And I am astonished that the value of our players is so less considering a certain striker went for £35 million who isn’t better than Bendtner IMO.

The replacement for Clichy is a bigger concern though. Gibbs is in no man’s land, Traore is not better than Clichy, Enrique, with whom we are being linked, seems fine, Leighton Baines might do well. The rest is up to Wenger as to who he has in his mind. Else force Clichy to extend his contract as I have been saying all along.

Nasri’s situation has also gone quiet. And I still haven’t figured out what the real issue is. Is it money or trophies or is it his position? A month has passed since we played our last game of the season and still we haven’t sorted out one of our best player’s issue. And I can’t help it but ask what the hell are the people at Arsenal doing? We haven’t bought anyone! we haven’t been able to sell anyone! what really are we doing? Maybe I am getting impatient but seriously by now a decision on Nasri’s contract should have been taken!

Meanwhile, the fixtures have also been released for Arsenal for the next season and I had a smile when I went through the list. I was smiling because we have all the difficult fixtures in the first half of the season. No doubt the month of August is difficult but we always have a good start to a season and I am hoping we will be having another good start. However, it is a long way to go and  it shouldn’t be a concern as a season doesn’t depend on the fixtures, it depends on how you play. Before that we need to address the issue of our players and our team. Just over three weeks to our first game of pre-season before which we need to sign players so that they can gel-in and adjust with our style.

Before I end, WTTGT is reporting that Clichy has been sold to Paris St. Germain for £10 million. This seems bizarre to me. For now we can only wait and see what happens in the next couple of days. Have a good day!