I'm hearing news about Gabrielle Obertan, is anyone else?

Hello and a big “hey it’s Sunday” to you all… and remember Sunday is a day of rest… so make sure you refresh yourself for the week ahead.

Today sees a late night game as Trinidad and Tobago take on England at 10.30pm UK time. Way past Theo’s bed time… but in all seriousness, I’m dying to see the youngster in action. With 7 first teamer rested for this game, it is very possible that we will see the Arsenal player in action for some part of the game…

Come on Theo!

Okay, so in transfer news, I’m hearing news about Gabrielle Obertan, a 19 year old striker from Bordeaux. Now, I’m not a bloggist who likes to band about random speculation or go off one about a certain player, but I’ve had a few texts and emails about this player. Supposedly we have been scouting him for a while. He’s a 6 foot striker who has an impressive record in the youth team. He’s only scored 3 goals in all competitions this season and that’s not really the profilic-ness you’d like to see, but he’s highly rated in France.

Obertan has been likened to a young Thierry Henry and has played various times on the wings, although preferring a central role. He’s also been compared to Zidane in terms of his demeanour on the pitch and passing ability. He’s currently playing a Bergkamp role and is definitely an exciting player.

One of the email’s I’ve received says that his agent and himself were seen in conversation with Chief Scout Steve Rowley. Apparently he has also spoken to Real Madrid, Juventus and Lyon.

So with so much speculation hitting me in the last 24 hours, my question to you is… Is anyone else hearing news about Gabrielle Obertan?

P.S. Check out the Euro 2008 Team Preview, if you missed it…

Have a good one!]]>

As an Arsenal fan, who will you support at Euro 2008?

I've been sidetracked by England's progress (or non progress) during the last few tournaments and maybe haven't really enjoyed the other teams and other games as much as I would have normally. This year will be different. This year, I'll go into the tournament thinking about all the other teams and really watching the football (probably in scout mode)... of course, I would swap this for England actually being there, but as my dearest mother always used to say, "there's no point crying of spilt milk".

The tournament starts next Saturday and the opening game will be Switzerland versus the Czech Republic followed by Portugal vs Turkey... so the question that we all have a week to think about is "As an Arsenal fan, who will you support at Euro 2008?“… Will it be someone that plays the “Arsenal Way” like Holland or the team that boasts the most Arsenal players, which is actually Switzerland (not France!)… Let’s examine which players are off to the Euro’s this summer….

Group A

Switzerland

The co-hosts boast two Arsenal players, John Djourou and Philipp Senderos. According to UEFA, there is no “e” on the end of Philipp’s name… strange. Djourou has the number 2 shirt and Senderos the number 4 shirt, both players are starters for country and start alongside each other in central defence. Another player who plays for Switzerland is Eren Derdiyok, a 19 year old striker, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal.

Czech Republic

With Tomas Rosicky injured for the tournament, we have no representatives from the Czech Republic from Arsenal playing. There are however, three other Tomas’s, Sivok, Ujfalusi and Galasek should you really really want to find a reason for supporting the Czechs…

Portugal

With Rui Fonteyet to break into the Portugal national team (and not yet to break into the Arsenal team), we don’t have a Portuguese representative in the Euro’s. But what we do have it many “enemies” – many players who play for Man U or Chelsea. Bosingwa, Paulo Ferreira, Carvalho, Ronaldo and Nani are all players we really want to see succeed, so here’s for an injury ravaged and early exit for the Portuguese, unless Quaresma does rapidly move to Arsenal this week (which is about a 1% possibility!).

Turkey

Turkey have a few Premiership representatives, players such as Emre and Tuncay, but not a Gooner in site. I couldn’t even find a Turkish player in our reserves. Out of this group, you’ll have to hope for Swiss progression.

Group B

Austria

Austria are co-hosting the competition with Switzerland, and although we don’t have any Arsenal players currently playing for Austria, we do have ex-Gunner favourite Alex Manninger holding the #1 t-shirt.

Croatia

Croatia “dumped” England out of the tournament in the qualifiers, so no doubt, a team we’d like to see lose? Or would we? If Croatia went on to win the tournament, would that mean it would have been “okay” for England to lose twice? Only time will tell… But I’d like to see Croatia do well for Eduardo. He’ll be back in time for next season, but will miss the Euros…

Germany

Germany are the third team in this group and our now departed goalkeeper, Jens Lehmannis the current holder of the #1 Jersey. With Jens, we’ll see an annoying Michael Ballackand another 21 other Germans, so I’d pretty much say this is the last team I want to see progress or get a single point. Apologies for all my German readers, but at the end of the day, I am English, I’m sure the feeling is mutual. The worst thing is I actually think they have a very strong squad, with Klose, Podolski & Gomez up front, Ballack, Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Meetzelder & a few others, there is definitely some quality… ouch, that hurt.

Poland

Come on Poland, we have the third choice Polish keeper, Lukasz Fabianski, attending the Euros. Whether he will get a game or not is a different story, but it’ll be good experience for the youngster… And of course, 4th Arsenal choice keeper, who is now 18, Wojciech Szczesnywill be cheering on his compatriot!

Group C

The Netherlands

Although Holland only have one player from Arsenal, that player being Mr Robin van Persiehimself, there is more of an affinity with Holland that some of the other teams here. The Dutch are renowned for playing “total football”, and that’s similar to the Arsenal way. One of our promising Dutch players from our youth team is a player called Nacer Baraziteand he’s a player we could see in the first team. Our ex-Gooners will be a sole Gio Van B!

Italy

Italy have no Arsenal players and strangely enough, have no Premier League players at all in their squad. In fact (Zambrotta, Cannavaro & Luca Toni aside), their entire squad are Italian based. Our third choice keeper, Vito Mannone, unfortunately missed the cut and wasn’t called up – there will be more chances Vito!

Romania

Romania are the probably weakest team of the Group C, dubbed the “group of death”, boasting Holland, France and Italy. We don’t have any Gooneromanians at the Euros and if you decide to support them, be prepared for three losses and an early exit! Sorry all my Romanian readers, but you know it’s true…

France

France are probably the team with the most connection with Arsenal, Arsene being French and a lot of our players from French descent. With ex Gunner, Matthieu Flamini being dropped from the France squad, and Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna failing to make the 30 let alone the final 23, despite being the PFA players of the season in their respective positions, you’ll see no love towards the French management. Of course we have current club captain William Gallas and ex-captain Thierry Henry involved and potential new signing Samir Nasri, so definitely a team we could support. Ex-Gooners such as Flamini, Diarra, Vieira and Anelka make me want some of them to lose too, it’s a difficult one! But I’d probably say, win it for Arsene?

Group D

Greece

Greece are the current holders of the trophy with their shock win at Euro 2004. As far as I can see, we have no Greek players our squad… or our reserves… or our youth… moving swiftly on…

Sweden

Sweden boast two ex Gooners, one in Rami Shaaban, who you may have seen at the Emirates earlier this year when Brazil took on Sweden, and the other in the ageing Ljungberg. I’m sure all Arsenal fans will have a soft spot for Freddie, but how easy will it be for Sweden to get past the reigning Euro champs, a Spain side boasting household names and an emerging Russian team?

Spain

Cesc Fabregas has been given the number 10 shirt for the tournament… and that indicates that he will play and start for Spain in the attacking midfield position. There is a lot of competition in the Spanish midfield so it is a real accolade to Cesc to have the 10 shirt. Although Liverpool boast more Spanish players that any other British team, at the end of the day I’d be happy to see Cesc lift up the trophy.

Russia

And finally, that bring us to Russia. A Russian team who also helped knock out England pre-tournament. A Russian team coached by Gus Hiddink and bank rolled my the Chelsea mafia, Roman Amrbroisbrbivich, the somewhat rich Russian owner of Chelsea… and based on these facts could find no reason to support this team. I know I have a few Russian readers, and I hope Arshavin plays well to show the world what a good player he is…

Summary

There we go, a preview of the 16 teams fighting out for the trophy and an overview of Arsenal players and our connections with these teams… does this help answer the question? Answers on a postcard or in the comment tab below…

As an Arsenal fan, who will you support at Euro 2008?]]>

Wow, that was a short week…

Thursday, Friday. I don’t even know what day it is! These short weeks really do confuse me… well, as my mini-report said eariler, we’re on the verge of the verge of the verge of signing Samir Nasri, but as we haven’t got absolutely everything sorted out there is still a 1% of the transfer not happening. That’s what we’re hearing anyway. What does a 99% chance mean. Either it going to happen or it’s not, and as long as it hasn’t happened, then there is every chance that it may not happen.

The club moved to quell speculation with a nice short and brief statement…

“There has been no signing yet. In line with our usual policy, we will only announce when they are done.”

So that’s that really…. we’re on the verge of the verge of the verge of signing Samir Nasri. Well, let’s hold tight for another day or two and see if there is an official announcement soon.

So Wednesday was the England game and a somewhat disappointing performance to be totally honest, I really wanted to see Theo out there showing what the modern game is all about, instead we had a ageing Beckham and a one trick Bentley – whose trick isn’t really a trick, it’s a cross if you can (regardless if someone is actually in the box) or if not, lose the ball.

I was really excited at the prospect of seeing Theo alongside the established England players, and really couldn’t believe it when he didn’t get a run out! Fabio Capello said that he’ll rotate for the next game, so I think we’ll see Theo in action then!

Whilst we’ve all been thinking about Nasri and Hleb, we’ve kind of forgotten a bit of press by Cesc and one of youngsters, Jay Simpson. The former re-iterating the stance that he wants to stay at Arsenal and win the Premier league with us…

“I will stay at Arsenal. My coach asked me and I told him he had my confidence.  I’d love to win the Premier League and I am one of those players who fight for what they want until they achieve it.”

It’s a common statement from Cesc and I think it’s a statement of intent when sometimes it would seem easier to jump board… good luck for Cescy in the Euros of course…

And talking about people who want to be a part of the future, cite Jay Simpson… some of you will know who he is, some won’t… but he’s a young English striker, who been playing in our reserves and recently went on loan to Millwall. He played a big part in them not being relegated and his performances showed the promise that we believed he could fulfill. I’d expect to see him in the Carling Cup next season and the youngster spoke recently to Arsenal.com.

“I am very high in confidence at the moment and feel that I have learnt a lot, especially playing under pressure. When I first joined Millwall we were playing some good football but did not get the results that the quality of the play deserved.

“I want to be a part of Arsenal’s future. I got a lot out of my time with Millwall and I think I did well for them too, but it reaffirmed for me that I want to play my football at the highest level and I will do everything I can to make sure that I can do that with the Club I have loved since I was a child.”

Exciting stuff from the youngster and some welcomed experience. I know he is highly rated at Arsenal, so only time will tell whether he can continue improving…

Okay, no doubt there will be a lot happening in the world of Arsenal tomorrow, so here’s to a few “big player” signings or at least some mindless speculation and random headlines…

Have a good day and speak soon!]]>

Thursday is Wednesday: Arsenal on the verge on signing Striker Eren Derdiyok? Hleb, a tale of 2 stories…

In some crazy twisted contrast in reports, we've heard two stories, both completely contrasting each other. On Wednesday morning, it broke in the local Barcelona newspaper, El Mundo, that Hleb had agree terms with Barcelona over a proposed move this summer. It commented that a certain Mr Txiki Begiristain, the sporting director of Barcelona, had flown over to Germany to see Senor Hleb...

Let's see what happens over the next few days...

El Mundo reported that the TB said that Alex Hleb was top of new manager Guardiola's list and would be the third summer signing, after signing Gerard Pique from Man U and Seydou Keita from Sevilla. He also went on to say that Barcelona wouldn't pay more that £15m for the player. I'd personally be happy with such an amount for a player who we all think doesn't want to play here. We did sign him for £11.2m a few years ago, and he is "available" if he bought his contract out for about £5-6m.

But after all of these reports today and a large amount of Hleb's agents speaking in the last few days (why has this guy got three agents?), Alex Hleb has come out today to deny wanting to leave Arsenal and also criticising the sources of these reports. Alex, go speak to your agents! This is what our flamboyant midfielder had to say to website Spox.com. Apologies for the non-German speaking guys out there... but good bits have been translated and bolded...

SPOX: Für viele sind Sie schon ein großer Spieler. Für viele fehlen dazu noch die Titel. Wie sehen Sie das?

Hleb: Sie haben Recht. Titel sind das Wichtigste. Du kannst sehr gut spielen, vielleicht einer der Besten überhaupt sein, aber nach der Karriere fragen dich alle, was du gewonnen hast. Titel zu gewinnen, ist auch für mich das Wichtigste. Die Zeit läuft, aber es ist einfach noch nicht passiert. Es ist ganz schwer. In diesem Jahr habe ich gedacht, dass ich zwei Titel gewinne, aber es ist wie gesagt alles schief gelaufen.

They are right, trophies are the very important. The team can play very well, and perhaps be one the best teams, but when your career is finished then what have you won? The team must win trophies and its is also the very important for me. As time runs out, I have to make sure I do not pass without winning. In this year I thought that I could win two titles, but the run at the end of the season was very bad.

SPOX: Arsenal spielt den schönsten, weil schnellsten Fußball. Glauben Sie, dass man mit diesem Stil Titel gewinnen kann oder muss man vielleicht umdenken?

Hleb: Nein, ich glaube nicht, dass man die Spielweise ändern muss. Wir hatten am Ende so viele Verletzte. Wenn Rosicky gesund gewesen wäre, wenn van Persie gesund gewesen wäre, Sagna in der Abwehr, dann hätten wir es mit dieser Mannschaft schaffen können. Und mit dieser Art zu spielen. Diese Spielweise ist die Spielweise von Arsene Wenger. Es ist sein Werk. Er ist der einzige Mann, der die Mannschaft so spielen lässt. Nur er. Wenn er mal weggehen sollte, ist bei Arsenal eine große Ära zu Ende.

No, I do not believe that we must change the play way. We had so many injured players at the end. If Rosicky had been fit, van Persie had been fit and Sagna in defense, then we could have won it with this team. To play and win with this kind of style. This is the way to play and it’s Arsene Wenger’s vision. It is his and our work. He is the only man, who lets the team play in such a way. Only he ever leaves, a massive era will end at arsenal.

SPOX: Sie haben schon angedeutet, was Arsene Wenger für Sie bedeutet. Können Sie “Mister Arsenal” genauer beschreiben?

Hleb: Arsene ist der beste Trainer, den ich je hatte. Was ihn so besonders macht, kann ich gar nicht genau erklären. Dazu muss man selbst mit ihm sprechen. Für mich ist es so: Er holt einen Spieler von weiß was ich woher und ein Jahr später ist dieser Spieler ein großer Star. Und das macht er jedes Jahr. Deswegen ist Arsene für mich Arsenal.

Arsene is a best coach whom I ever had. He has the ability to make it happen, it’s hard to explain. For me is it like that: It gets an unknown player from nowhere and is one year later this player is a large star. And he does this each year, therefore Arsene for me is arsenal.

SPOX: Können Sie sich eine Rückkehr zum VfB Stuttgart vorstellen?

Hleb: Ich weiß nicht, wann es passieren könnte, aber es ist schon mein Traum, nochmal das VfB-Trikot zu tragen.

I do not know, when it could happen, but it is already my dream to wear the shirt of VfB again.

For the entire interview in German, read it here.

So that’s the interview, and it sounds like Alex has a lot of respect for what we are trying to acheive and Arsene especially. Sky sports had a bit more from Hleb:

“I have a contract at Arsenal until 2010 and now only think of the game against Germany. I have also read [that I have said I want to leave], but I do not know who has written it. That is nonsense. I have also read that I wanted to move because Arsenal would win nothing, this too is nonsense. But I would really not like to comment on the issue really because there is nothing more to say, because the club means so much to me. I have learned so much from Arsene Wenger. This man has always supported me and given me the chance to come to Arsenal. I would therefore never say anything negative about Arsenal. If I’ll go, then only in a different league, in any case, in England, there is only Arsenal for me.”

That’s the Hleb low down. It’s all a bit strange; after hearing the recent reports in the media, it seemed we were destined to lose Hleb this summer and believed Nasri was his replacement. I’d love to keep the Belarussian as a fresh, fit, focused Hleb would be an asset. If can renew his contract that would starve off any ambiguity.

Let’s see what happens over the next few days…

In other news, the Daily Mail, which is becoming renound for printing any speculation it finds, has linked us with young Basel striker, Eren Derdiyok. It’s a typical “Wenger profile”. A good youth record, relatively unknown, young and foreign – which means it could be true or it could be a completely made up story! For all of you who vaguely remember this name, Derdiyok scored against England on his debut for Switzerland… he’s also won the “young player of the year” in Switzerland, so that’s a good sign… he would cost in the region of £5m.

Let’s see what happens over the next few days…

A link which is getting more and more frequently spoken about is a supposed bid for Portuguese defensive midfielder, Miguel Veloso. The bid is supposed to be in the region of £16m, which would make the young midfielder our biggest signing, ever, so I really don’t think there is much substance in the link. The recent reports could have been fueled by the players comments suggesting he’s played his current club.

I do not know if this was my last game for Sporting. Let’s see what the future holds for Miguel. England may be a good destination but I do not know anything about the offers.

Let’s see what happens over the next few days…

Okay, in other news, Cescy has been given the number 10 shirt for Spain’s Euro 2008 challenge this summer, and he spoke to Radio Marca about the forthcoming tournament…

It doesn’t weigh on me. You must play in your position as you know how to and with the same self-assurance as normal. Luis has given me an opportunity, and if I get time on the pitch I must use it responsibly and try to play as I do for my club.

Today’s blog is turning into a true quotathon! Lots happening in the world of Arsenal at the moment…

And a final quote today comes from “special” player, Van Persie. Special in Van Basten’s eyes and possibly he sees a bit of him in RVP! RVP has commented on himself, saying he is an Arsenal man, but in order to keep the world’s best players, Arsenal may have pay more… The quote is from the mail on Sunday, so let’s take it with a pinch of salt…

“They won’t pay enormous amounts of money. I think that they should go to a higher level of salary. If you want to keep the group together, you have to keep them happy. If you are 27 or 28, I can understand that you would make the decision to go elsewhere if you can earn three or four times as much. If that sort of money was also paid here, I’m sure that person would stay.”

A quick one for you on the staff side, we’ve signed Norwich City’s physio Neal Reynolds.

And Finally! If you like the business side of the club, Arsenal have also revealed that they’ve agreed a partnership deal with the United Bank of Africa. The agreement, I believe, means that people in Africa will soon be able to have “Arsenal” branded debit and credit cards… hopefully increasing our African following…

So, that’s a wrap, lots of reading for my avid readers. And I’d like to take this moment to say a massive thanks to all my readers who follow the blog daily, it means a lot to me and I get to to share my opinions with a ever growing group of readers whom share the same passion as me!

Remember, Thursday is the new Wednesday and Friday will be Thursday and therefore there will be no Friday.

‘Til tomorrow…]]>

Tuesday was Monday: Signings, Signings, Signings + Mouhamadou Dabo + Blaise Matuidi + Aaron Ramsey + Edu + Hleb + A Plus Sign…

Tuesday was Monday: Signings, Signings, Signings  + Mouhamadou Dabo + Blaise Matuidi + Aaron Ramsey + Edu + Hleb + A Plus Sign… (And A Bit More About Adebayor) + Nasri + Fizman + Arsene + Maybe too long for a blog!!

Morning all, and it was Tuesday today – yes, I know it feels like a Monday as yesterday felt like a Sunday. I can assure you it’s Tuesday. As you can see by the title of today’s blog, there are yet more players linked. Arsene did warn us of this crazy speculation! It was less than 2 weeks ago when Arsene said…

“What is unbelievable is I’m sitting here [at the press conference and it is] like we have killed all the players. Yet when I go to my office I have 220 calls from players who want to come in.”

And the rumour mills are going through all 220 one by one! So, in similar vain, let’s go through them one by one!

Update: Wednesday is Tuesday.

Adebayor to Barcelona?

In a crazy rumour, the Italian and Spanish press claim we are about to sell Adebayor – how can they write this stuff? He’s only been with us for 18 months, was our top scorer this season, is loved by the fans and he loves Arsenal too… so this rumour is utter rubbish!

Ade has completely dismissed these rumours serveral times, but they just don’t go away!

Just before he flew off for Togo’s International games, he said:

“I don’t know why people want to put words in my mouth.

“As I said on Friday, I love Arsenal and I will be here next season.

“I am off to Togo tomorrow but will return to Arsenal for pre-season training in July.”

Pretty much, as far as I am concerned, any rumour about Ade leaving the club is complete rubbish!

Daniel Güiza

Marca, a paper renowned for talking nonsense has linked us with Daniel Guiza of Real Mallorca. He’s a young Spanish player who’s done particularly well in an average side this season. The paper does say that “Coach Arsène Wenger has all but resigned himself to losing Emmanuel Adebayor this summer”, which is an obvious way of saying “we know nothing, but here is some idle speculation!”

For those Spanish speakers, take a look at this link:

http://www.marca.com/edicion/marca/futbol/1a_division/mallorca/es/desarrollo/1127535.html

Mouhamadou Dabo and Blaise Matuidi

Okay, so this player is another random player that we’ve been linked to in the French media… News on Dabo and Blaise hit the sports site last week:

“We are set to sign St Etienne duo Mouhamadou Dabo and Blaise Matuidi. Full back Dabo and midfielder Matuidi are both French U21 internationals.”

Now, it sounds like a bit of media speculation, a believable story. French, young – right up Arsene’s street. But I’m not really sure where this link comes from. I haven’t seen the club or player say anything and can’t even find a quote from a random agent who claims Arsenal are interested… I have severe doubts that these players are even on the radar…!

But, who are they? Well wikipedia says that Mouhamadou Dabo is a midfielder who can also play at full back. He currently plays for Saint Etienne as does Blaise Matuidi, who is a midfielder. We do have links with the club, so it’s possible that we’ve seen them play before… I’m sure we’ll hear more about this if anything comes out of it…

Aaron Ramsey

Well, speculation about this young Welsh kid is rife. Apparently we had a £1m bid for the Cardiff player turned down last summer. For those of you who didn’t watch Cardiff’s run to the FA Cup final, Ramsey is a 17-year old winger (supposedly similar to Ryan Giggs) and Manchester United are said to be interested too.

Gary Lewis, who discovered the player, said back in march:

“I’d love to see him play in the Premiership, hopefully with Cardiff, but he has got everything in place to become a top, top player. Personally, I see him as a Bryan Robson type. Not afraid to put a foot in, but creative as well and, of course, able to score goals.”

And Dave Jones, Cardiff manager, has also commented on the potential of the youngster.

“We have to be very, very careful, we all need to relax on the kid and be aware of his development, progression and age. He now needs to learn to put his foot on the ball and dictate the pace of the game – he is 17 years of age and he is not going to have that skill as part of his game yet. This kid will be bigger and better than a lot of those who have come through at Cardiff City, but I stress it must be done right.”

I saw him play in the FA cup final, and although he wasn’t as good as other rounds, he does have flair and could be a good player for the future. He is 17, so there is more to come from him – will that be in an Arsenal shirt or a United shirt – only time will tell…

Edu

In a rather surprise story circulating the Internet, we’ve been linked with a swoop for former Gunners midfielder, Edu. Loved by the crowd, but not a defensive midfielder, and not really someone who can play on the wings either, so it doesn’t look likely… the story even made the Bloomberg website, although they did source it from the Mirror, which means it’s even more unlikely…

Edu, 29, will complete a loan move in the next week to Arsenal, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham or Middlesbrough, the newspaper said.

Supposedly a loan move, but when a newspaper lists a possible destination of 7 clubs, you know there is probably nothing in it!

Alex Hleb

Well, today Real Madrid said they were “surprised” that Hleb was available and that he wasn’t in their plans, but if he is available, then he will certainly be in their revised plans. It’s clear that Hleb wants out, so it’s down to Arsene to speak with the interested clubs to get the best deal for the club. The fact that Madrid have been sniffing around and Hleb’s agent spoke of their interest means they shouldn’t really be surprised. Their manager recently declaring their interest for all to see…

“There are a couple of positions that we can improve and that needs to be strengthened to have the necessary balance.”

 ”Over the past two months we have had a plan and we know what we want, but now Hleb has been added.

 ”We did not know he could leave Arsenal but in recent days it has been more positive. We were surprised that he might leave there.”

Players such as Ben Arfa and Nasri could ease the inevitable departure of such an influential player.

Danny Fizman

Whilst I’m in my title and story mode, Danny Fizman has commented on the summer transfers and said that the board are in total support of Arsene and there is money for him to spend. He’s also re-iterated Arsene recent comments about signing big players, not big names…

“We’ve never said no to Arsene so I’m sure that, whoever he wishes to bring in, he will be fully supported.

 ”There’s no set amount. But as I said we’ve always supported Arsene, we’ve never said no to him and have no intention of saying no to him.

 ”I think Arsene said it’s not a big name we’re after, it’s a big talent. I think it’s about big talents and committed players.”

Mr Fizman goes on to explain the “huge offer” that was offered to Matty Flamini, saying it was “considerable”, but inevitably not enough to stop the lure of Milan. He also went on to say that we’re up there in terms of wages, and actually spend more on wages than the likes of Liverpool, he said:

“You say we don’t pay the wages other teams do. If you look at our total wage costs you’ll see they’re virtually the same as Manchester United and substantially more than Liverpool.

 ”Of course we’re all a little less than Chelsea who are in a world of their own. But compared to Manchester United and Liverpool we’re good payers.

Which blows water on the fact that we “don’t reward our players”. I think Arsene understands that there is stupid money in the game, where players such as Owen are on £125,000 which is heavily overvalued, whereas the structure does allow us to keep our best players such as Cesc on a high enough wage if we deem necessary. In fact, our offer to the Flamster was a treble your money offer in the region of £60,000. But the grass is greener for the Frenchman, and there was more to it then just the offer.

Arsene Wenger

And whilst highlighting all these names, I thought I’d remind you of a very bold statement of intent that Arsene made a while back… remember this:

“I know what I want and I am very confident. I hope to turn that around in the next two or three weeks. The fans should be re-assured by what they see.”

I am holding tight, the anxiety is definitely there for all to see, but I’m waiting for a Nasri or Ben Arfa to join soon…

Samir Nasri

And whilst we’re talking about Nasri, there have been more quotes coming out of his camp today as his agent confirmed the offer from us! And that it interests the player. This suggests that it’s not done and dusted yet, so that is a mild cause for concern. The positive is that he agent isn’t saying Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea… today’s quotes were:

“He will leave OM. It will be done in the coming days. Arsenal’s offer has caught his interest from a sporting point of view. I think that in his career plan, it is something very interesting for him.”

Although his career plan should end with Arsenal!! Some reports are suggesting that terms with the player in agreed and that we’re finalising the payment plan of how we pay for him with his club Marseille. This was confirmed by their president who said:

“The departure of Samir is not yet settled. It still has to meet certain conditions relating to the recent renewal of the contract. This would, however be in a matter of days …”

I’d classify this as more positive news on the arrival on the youngster, but only time will tell…

For a bit more of Nasri’s recent game for France, take a look at this report… Jamie at Young Guns commented:

“Nasri looks a superb player and was at times this evening fantastic. He has excellent close control and is not afraid to shoot from range on occasions. He is versatile also and despite frequently drifting inside can play on either flank with ease. Bafe Gomis is a similar type of player to Adebayor, and the pair linked up really well on the wings.

“The points i would make on his game is that his passing is a little predicable at times, and when he does come inside it leaves him and his team exposed out wide. But all these things are coach able and overall Nasri looks a top buy.”

I can’t wait to get home and watch the game for myself…

Happy Wednesday

I’ve basically spent a lot of Monday night, Tuesday morning and Tuesday night writing up today’s blog, so by the time you read it, it may be Wednesday…

In that vain, have a good day and speak later….]]>

Bank Holiday Monday Round Up (Nasri, Vela & More)

Well, my scouting mission failed miserably, the wedding I attended on saturday had a free bar and that, my friends, leads to real trouble in the "get up early and go to the game" stakes... I mean, I could do it if it was an Arsenal game, but the travel and beer caught up on me. My plan was to do a bit of scouting, as you know, we've been linked with a player called Delgado who plays for Beşiktaş, so I aptly got the closest hotel to the game. However, by the time I got up, I realised it was the second half of the Beşiktaş game. I could hear the roar of the crowd from my hotel room. By the time I wandered out, I literally took photos of the empty stadium. Scouting mission: incomplete.

Anyway, back to the transfer merry-go-round that is also known as "Summer". It looks like Mr Nasri is set to join us after Arsene confirmed that there is something happening. It's unusual for Arsene to discuss transfer speculation in the news unless it's pretty much concrete. It would be potentially embarrassing for him if it fell through. Arsene said this:

“It is likely to happen. And if it does happen, it will be before the start of the European Championship.”

Exciting stuff from the big man, and if it can be concluded this week, it’ll be great going into the competition being able to watch Nasri as an Arsenal player. For all of you who’ve watched the you tube clips or bought Nasri in football manager, it’s exciting to get such a talent on board (if we do)…

Talking about new talents, as you know, Mr Vela is joining us too this summer. He’s a player that should fit perfectly into the team. Whether or not he plays as regularly as he may like (he is still only 18), he will no doubt bring something extra to the team. He is really looking forward to joining us too, which is awesome to see. After he received his work permit, the young Mexican said:

“Yes I received my work permit two days ago. I’ve been waiting two years for a work permit. Now my dream has come true.

I have to take advantage of this opportunity to stay in England. I hope I’m lucky enough to be at Arsenal for a long time. I’ve achieved a lot in Spain. It has been a useful experience to play for several different teams and move around.

“At Osasuna I had a difficult experience because of the relegation battle but I always had a place in the team. I played well all season. But I expect to have a much better season next year. I’m sure all my efforts will pay off. I’ll be playing in one of the best teams in the world that plays competitions like the Champions League – I want those games as soon as possible.

“I have changed a lot, I’m more mature as a person and player. I feel ready for Arsenal.”

Another exciting player to add to the ranks, I’ll certainly be looking forward to seeing him in action in the Emirates Cup…

Anyway, I’ve got a flight to catch and you’ve got a Bank Holiday Monday to enjoy!

Will catch you all on the blog this evening or in the morning… til then!]]>

Sunday update; Diarra – Gilberto – King Thierry

It is a quiet one out there on the news front. I don’t feel any real need to go into the Nasri and Hleb stories as these have been milked dry over the past week. Nasri’s signing is expected at any moment, and as for Hleb, we will have to wait and see who is going to come in with an offer. I suppose we should be glad that we will be getting a transfer fee for Hleb, who was originally rumoured to be invoking the ‘Webster’ clause which would mean we would get no transfer fee altogether, with Hleb simply buying out the remainder of his contract.

Elsewhere Lassana Diarra has hit back at Le Boss’ claims that he ‘panicked’ in moving to Pompey back in January saying "Portsmouth winning the FA Cup has more than justified my decision to make the move from Arsenal back in January." Keep telling yourself that Lassana.

I think that Wenger is right in criticising his decision to leave so soon after joining. Had he had a little more patience, he would actually have had a substantial role to play for the club. When Flamini was injured in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League there can be no doubt that Diarra will have clocked many minutes on the pitch in his resulting absence. This was also at a time when we were still title contenders.  And next season he quite possibly will have been first in line as the Flamster’s replacement.

So, despite winning an FA Cup winners medal Lassana, it is a dead cert that you won’t be playing champions league football next season in addition to playing for a team mounting a serious title challenge. But I hope you enjoy playing against the Flamster in the UEFA Cup, as well as being involved in the wonderful tussle that is the chase for 5th spot!

Gilberto has called for Arsene to bring in a few signings this summer. I think we can all expect this now, with the boss having already said he will be recruiting two or three top class players. It seems as though the frustration of waiting to see who will be coming extends to the players too! Gilberto also hinted that he will probably honour the final year of his contract next season. I for one would be pleased to retain his services for one more year as his experience will surely help the younger lads progress.

Finally, the Sunday Mirror has a hilarious story about Thierry Henry being talked out of an imminent move to Manchester United. The source of the story was unnamed and you do have to laugh sometimes at the utter crap that the papers come up with during the summer months. Anyone who saw his interview on Football Focus a few weeks ago will know that there is only one English team he will ever play for and you’d have to think he will most probably stay at Barca with Eto’o and Ronnie seemingly on their way out.

For all of those who have emailed me saying you are missing Dev and want him back, don’t worry he should be posting again tomorrow. Enjoy your bank holiday weekend!]]>

Breaking News: Alexander Hleb Is Leaving

“I can officially confirm that a short time ago Alexander decided that he will leave Arsenal and join another club.

“Of course Arsenal and Arsene wanted him to stay but they have accepted the player’s choice.”

“That is his choice.

“He has understood that the right time has come for him to make a change.

“Alex has spent three good seasons at Arsenal and he wasn’t sure he could maintain the same level that he has been showing if he stayed.

“It’s also true that he felt uncomfortable off the field.

“Alexander wants a change of scene. That’s had a large part to play in his decision.

“Alex informed the club of his desire to move to another club.

“We are not using article 17 of the FIFA rule.

“I can’t tell you anything about where he will be playing yet.

“Talks are underway, and I don’t have the right to make them public.

“I think that the issue of his new club will be clarified in the next few days.”

So, there you have it, Mr Spilevski talks and it’s clear that Arsene is ready to let Hleb go. As we’ve always maintained as a club and as fans, if a player is not happy then we would rather see him move on than stay. And it’s obvious that Hleb is not happy.

As things stand, I hope we get the money back that we paid for him. His contract value is approximately £2.5m a year, so if article 17 was used, we’d see a £5m return. However, with a bidding war going on between Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter, it looks like we may something a bit more. We signed him for a reported £11.2m and this is the same amount that we’re supposedly shelling out for French wonderkid, Samir Nasri…

All will surely be revealed in the next couple of days, but Mr Hleb, there are much better ways to do your business and the way your plethora of agents have carried on is a disagrace to your and their profession…

Okay, I know I’ve just posted this, but don’t forget to read today’s original article which looks at some interesting words from Ribery on Nasri and Arsene on Diarra.]]>

"World of Arsenal" in Istanbul + Diarra, Ribery on Nasri & More

The Nasri news has hit it's peak with most Arsenal fans believing that it's a done deal... The Canon has spoken on this euphoria...

This Nasri story has really captured the imaginations of Arsenal bloggers across the world. What started off as a transfer rumour has now become a crazy desperation signing that if isn’t sorted in the next couple of days then we’re all doooooomed! I don’t really know why this is, I think it probably has something to do with our signings over the past few years; because of the stadium fund, Wenger’s chequebook hasn’t been very busy. We’ve had a few decent players in, for sure, but we have had a lot of unproved youngsters. Arsenal fans are now at the point where we crave any sort of exciting signing and hype him up as much as we can. This isn’t good because, a.) One of us is going to have a heart attack one summer, and b.) We expect so much from these new additions that when they do come, and don’t take an instant to settle in, we think they’re shit.

To twist the knife even more, reports today suggest that Monsieur Nasri has confided in French team mate Frank Ribery that he’s left Marseille and signed for Arsenal…

Here’s the french version:

Même si Marseille et Arsenal n’ont pas encore confirmé l’arrivée de Samir Nasri en Angleterre, annoncée mercredi parL’Equipe, Franck Ribéry ne semble pas avoir le moindre doute sur la destination de son équipier.

«C’est bien pour lui. C’est un bon club avec beaucoup de jeunes, a déclaré Ribéry vendredi. Mais le championnat anglais est complètement différent, à lui de s’adapter, de s’imposer. Il est dommage que Samir quitte Marseille, il a fait toute sa vie là-bas. Mais c’était important pour lui de voir autre chose.»

http://www.lequipe.fr/Football/breves2008/20080523_210030_-a-samir-de-s-adapter_Dev.html

And thanks to the boys automated translated machine down at Babelfish, here’s the English:

Even if Marseilles and Arsenal have not yet confirmed the arrival of Samir Nasri in England. This Wednesday a story in L’ Equipe, it is clear that Franck Ribéry does not seem to have the slightest doubt on the destination of its team-member.

«I hope it all goes well for him. It is a good club with many young people. But the English championship is completely different, it will be difficult to impose and adapt. It is a great pity that Samir has left Marseilles, he made all his footballing life there. But it will be important for him to see another league.»

Based on the reports in the newspapers, the quotes from his agent and the constant focus of the story from L’Equpe and La Provence, I think we’re close to signing the youngster.

I’ve had a few comments on earlier blogs that suggest he will be officially revealed on Tuesday, so it’s another step towards signing hysteria, and as The Canon has said above, it’s probably because we’re not accustomed to spending money (as in > £10m) on players, but after a season of player profit last season, it’s time to spend just a little of it…

Talking about players and French players at that, Arsene has finally spoken about the Diarra transfer and how Lassana had no patience to prove his worth to the team. And despite his confidence, he also revealed that he expected Flamini to leave when he signed Diarra, but in the end, they both left…

Here’s a snippet from Arsene:

‘I came to the conclusion that Diarra could not cope with the fact he was behind the other players here in midfield.

‘I thought the best option was to let him go because I already had Denilson, (Abou) Diaby and Gilberto all trying to get into the team as well. It was a congestion.

‘I bought Diarra in the summer because I thought (Mathieu) Flamini might leave at the end of the season and if he was able to be patient, he would get his chance.

‘It turned out he wasn’t capable of that. With Euro 2008 in mind, he panicked.

‘I did explain when he joined that he might have to be patient, and he acknowledged it, but he couldn’t cope with the situation and also did not want to go on loan anywhere, either.’

This story originates from the Portsmouth News and it’s not a source that I’ve used before, so not 100% sure about it’s authenticity, it you can be bothered, check it out for yourself.

Anyway, for some one who’s supposed to be on holiday, I’ve been going on about stuff for rather too long… here’s to a completed transfer or two or at least confirmation of some that have happened if they have happened, by the time I’m back! And yes, I will try my best to track down Delgado and do a bit of scouting…

My fellow Gooner, JAT will be taking over tomorrow and giving you his opinions on all things Arsenal, so here’s a big thanks in advance, and si olmak a iyi gun….

That means “have a nice day” for those non Turkish speakers (yes I used an online translator!).

Cheerio.]]>