Las Vegas Exclusive: Drunken Conversation With Flamini

Sharing the hotel with me is a certain Mathieu Flamini, a certain Shaun Wright Philips and the couple on their honeymoon Mr Wayne Rooney and his missus. After his acrimonious departure from Arsenal, Flamini surely should have been happy with his move, but our conversation revealed some interesting facts. They say you tell the truth when you're drunk and Matty Flamini is obviously upset at his departure.

It’s like a family, I can’t believe I ending up leaving.

Matty, the choices was yours.

To feel unwanted is the worst feeling. They made me feel like I wasn’t worth anything, they were willing to sell me to Birmingham. After that I didn’t want to sign a contract.

It’s not about money, it’s about feeling wanted. Only at the end of the season after I had given everything did they even give me a decent offer. They thought I would sign for little money because they are who they are, but I had to give Wenger back what he did to me.

A bit of a sob story, Matty, we offered you a new contract in August, improved it in October and then gave you a whopping offer in May. But you didn’t sign.

At the end of the season he realised what I could offer to the team. But we were stretched, tired and by being so far close to the title, we blew our chance. I didn’t think I would get a chance in the Arsenal team again to win something. I need to get out, needed to go somewhere where we have a chance to win.

Matty, that’s pathetic, you’ve bailed out. Milan aren’t in the Champions League and finished 5th in the league.

But now I’m going to AC Milan and I will be the star of the team. I will show the world that I am the best. Good luck to Arsenal, I have many friends there. But I will never forgive Wenger.

Suprisingly, he calls Arsene by his surname, like a school teacher relationship. An insight into Matty’s feelings. And he was being very sincere with his words. I made it obvious about my love for Arsenal, but he did feel a little hurt. Ultimately, he wanted more money and that’s a horrible fact of modern day football.

Reports in the papers back in London have declared that Ade wants to move to Barcelona. Up til now, he hadn’t spoken on the matter, but this was his quote today.

“Barcelona have made a good financial offer,” Adebayor told the News of the World newspaper. “Yes, I am still under contract to Arsenal but it is up to the directors to satisfy my demands, otherwise I will leave.”

“You have to take advantage of the moment,” he said. “Why not go to Barcelona if the manager there (Pep Guardiola) already has me in his plans.

“That means there is a big chance of seeing me there.”

He went on to say:

“I had a dream of playing for Arsenal, and Arsenal are one of the loveliest clubs in the world,” he said.

“When I go back to Africa it is obvious that a lot of people love the club. But now I have a chance of playing with one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“I haven’t had a chance to speak to the manager yet. But we will sit down next week and decide what is good for my career.

“We will have to meet with the manager before anything can be decided. But, as you know better than anyone, a lot of teams want me to play for them.

“It will not be a difficult decision. I’m just going to sit down with my agent and with my family and decide what is good for my career.

“If they’re going to get 50million for me and they bought me for 10million, everyone is getting the benefits.

“They have to make a good decision and I have to make a good decision. I have asked Arsenal to look at it and see what they want.

“I have a promise from the manager Arsene Wenger that they will call me next week. I am waiting for their answer and next week I will decide.

“I need to know before I come back to train on 21st July. At the moment, I am in a position that I don’t know where I will play.”

A sad state of affairs when everthing comes down to money. Players have to realise that a good season should be followed up by another good seson and then another good season before a new contract. If it’s true that Barce have offered him a contract then it’s another case of illegal approach.

Arsene spoke on Ade and said:

“He’s under contract and that’s quite simple. I can tell you as manager of Arsenal football club I’m not worried.

“Of course I expect him to be at Arsenal next season – he’s under contract.”

Asked if he was going to meet the striker next week, Wenger replied: “No – I’ve already met him.”

Good words from Arsene. Let’s hope Ade speaks soon in a better way and does “those reports were rubbish, I didn’t say that” and this story goes away…

Anyway, back to the casino’s – I wonder who I will meet today?]]>

It's Quite Sunny In Las Vegas… Friday Round Up

Talking about a drink, I owe JAT a keg of Germany's finest beer without doubt... during my absence next week when I move over to Miami, he will be back to share his views and keep you up to date with everything Arsenal...

So, I hear you say... what is going on in the world of Arsenal...?

I've been talking about our signings in the recent past, looking at what Vela, Ramsey and Nasri will bring to our team... one thing is definitely creativity and attack. But something we need is "defensive steel" and none of the aforementioned players will be able to help out too much in the defensive midfield position... I remember yesterday saying on the blog how I hoped a DM was signed by the time I was back...

Reports today suggest that the DM may be Sporting midfielder Miguel Veloso. We've been linked with the young Portuguese international from the early parts of the summer, but whether it was speculation or real, we haven't really known... well, it looks like we did make contact with Sporting as his agent, Paulo Barbosa, spoke today...

“Actually, we did not have normal contact from the Arsenal board, but from a member of the technical staff at the club. At the moment there is not a formal offer yet, but it is possible that will happen soon as Juventus and AC Milan have shown an equal interest in the player.”

I’d be delighted if we signed Veloso, he looks like a very good player indeed. But with his club asking in the region of £23m, it’s always been an unlikely signing. Let’s see what Arsene does in the next week or so, but the quote above shows that Arsene is definitely planning to bring someone in – who, will remain the question…

Talking about signings, the Marseille coach also confirmed the Nasri transfer to Arsenal, stating that he’s given his farewell and a sad loss for Marseille, but a great addition to Arsene’s revolution…

“It is unfortunate that Samir will leave Ligue 1. I regret seeing him leave and so do his team mates. But it’s good for him to join a big team like Arsenal. He has the mentality to have a great career. “

Well… wish me luck, I’m off to the casino shortly… I’ll let you know how it goes…]]>

Rumour Ridden Thursday and I'm off to Vegas

It's strange because no one really knows the truth apart from Arsene Wenger and those close to the manager. In some reports you hear Arsene saying that Adebayor is not for sale at any price, the Milan president agrees, saying that the player is not for sale, but at the same time you hear that Barcelona claim to have done the deal. It's all mind boggling stuff and who do you believe?

Rumours about Adebayor, fuelled by Barcelona and the Spanish press, further fuelled by AC Milan's pursuit of the player have allowed the papers, the news sources, online authors and bloggists alike to go crazy with speculation and I am one of those people who speculates. My gut feeling is that Ade will stay and that this is an effort from Barcelona and Milan to try their best to buy the player, but I think Arsene rates him highly and believes there is more to come...

Rumours circulating today come from the agent Vicenzo Morabito, controversially in the limelight due to the Hleb rumours and an agent who is trying to make a name for himself. He's been talking to Setanta Sports and claim we're looking for a replacement.

“Until this search is concluded, the deal does not take off. But I am very optimistic because Arsenal are looking for a player. The percentage likelihood of the arrival of Adebayor to Milan, today, is 70 to 80 percent.”

This quote is from an agent, who is looking to capatilise on his position and make as much money as possible – is it reliable, I don’t know – are we looking for another striker to replace Ade to add to our squad, I don’t know… time will only tell, but rumours like this are annoying and unsettling.

The best thing to do is to ignore the rumours, which is what I’ve tried to do, but it’s harder to ignore when every newspaper you read and every story that is publish reiterates the same story.

Okay, more ignoring happening… starting from… now. Let’s hope the rumours go away.

Talking about Setanta… the Barnet vs Arsenal game will be shown live on the channel on July 19th, so all of don’t have the channel, time to prepare to visit your local pub again…

And talking about visiting… I’m off to Vegas on Friday for a whopping 10 days; I also travel to Miami and LA before arriving back in London on the 7th… it’s going to be one hell of a holiday… of course in the interim, the faithful JAT should (although I only asked him yesterday) be around to keep you up to date and of course, whenever and where ever I am, I’ll try my best to keep in touch!

Til tomorrow…]]>

Cesc Fabregas & Gael Clichy: Arsenal Legends In The Making

Gael Clichy has recently signed a 5 year contract to stay at the club, a reward for hard work and determination. Sterling performances which have catipulted the player into being described as the best left back in the world - the PFA left back of the year, a more than adequate replacement for the previous "Arsenal fan" left back... whom we need not talk about further...

When Roma and Juventus enquired about the young Frenchman, he didn't even want to know about what they were offering... his statement shows his passion for the club:

I told my agents that I did not want to talk about anything because my goal was to stay at Arsenal. In my head it was always clear: I wanted to stay at Arsenal so I did not have to look any further or to wonder who wanted me.

Gael, you’ve won the hearts of many, a goal or two next season and you’re surely on the way to becoming an Arsenal legend. (By a goal or two, I mean the winner in the Champions League final, a volley against Real Madrid and a winner against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge which sees us go 10 points clear with 5 games to go)….

And to top it all off, our darling Cesc Fabregas has launched an attack on former club Barcelona about they way they do there business. He’s an Arsenal man through and through isn’t he?

A club like Barcelona must respect a little more the intimacy of a club that never makes ‘noise’ and that tries to do things well like Arsenal.

In the last few weeks it’s come out that Barcelona want at least 7 players from Arsenal and this is not necessary. These things cast doubts on our players and upsets them.

Arsenal do things in a different way. Always in secret. This is much more normal.

Well, Cesc – that really is a sterling statement, especially considering your connection to the club in question. It proves that Cesc is a truly mature man who isn’t lured around by false carrots, but understands how football should be played and how clubs should be run. Future captain, no doubt.

I’ll leave you with those thoughts and let you have a happy day… more later, adios.]]>

Word On The Street Was Premature

http://www.samirnasri.fr/.

The site announced that he’d signed a four year deal, but today retracted their statement:

Nous sommes désolé d’avoir agit précipitamment en annonçant que Samir avait signé avec Arsenal, mais Samir est encore sous contrat avec l’Olympique de Marseille à ce jour.

Which reads something like, “we regret to announce the signing of Samir Nasri to Arsenal ahead of time. Today, he is still a Marseille player”, in a kind of rough translation.

The deal is pretty much there, but the way in which the money is being paid is still in final discussion. Marseille, I believe, want all of it up front, however, we want to pay some now, some later…

I’ll keep you posted…]]>

Word On The Street: Nasri Signs For £15.8m

Personally, I'm very excited. Nasri has been dubbed the new Zidane, by the man himself. He is only 20 years old and there is a lot to come from him. He didn't get to show his skills at the Euros, but I'd rather have him on the wing, a player with pace, creativity, invention and desire than a player such as Diaby, playing out of position...

So, does that signal the end of the road for Alex Hleb, well, I'd say yes. We've brought in two wingers (three if you include Vela, four if you think Eduardo will play there too this season), so surely one has to go.

Barcelona have been heavily linked with the player, and with Nasri and Ramsey joining, surely Hleb's days are numbered... Nasri has signed a four year contract, until the 2012/2013 season...

Paul Doyle, who blogs for the Guardian once said:

The silken touch, the balletic elegance, the majestic strength. The vision. The trailblazing dribbles that begin with the drop of a shoulder and a graceful dash and conclude with a piercing pass or a scorching shot. Or some other alliterative joy.

Yes, Young Nasri can do all that. And is doing so with increasing frequency, which is why Marseille have made him their undisputed playmaker and Raymond Domenech wants to put the boy in blue. Such progress has been predicted for a long time: Nasri was first hailed as the New Zidane way back in 2004, the year he won the Under-17 European Championship with France before making his first-team debut with OM (who’d signed him when he was nine). It’s not a label he wears willingly. “I don’t think it’s fair to put that sort of pressure on a young player,” he told journalists after his call-up for Saturday’s Euro 2008 tryst with Lithuania. “There’s only one Zidane, just as there was only one Platini. I’m me, a novice who’s trying to get better.”

Anyway, congratulations Mr Samir Nasri, look forward to seeing you at the Emirates next season.]]>

Carlos Vela is our new number 12, Ramsey gets #16

Contrary to some reports that young Theo would get the number 14 shirt, Theo Walcott remains as number 32. With Lehmann departing, Almunia takes over the #1 shirt and Vito Mannone takes the number 24.

This is the official list from Arsenal.com:

1. Manuel ALMUNIA
2. Abou DIABY
3. Bacary SAGNA
4. Francesc FABREGAS
5. Kolo TOURE
6. Philippe SENDEROS
7. Tomas ROSICKY
8.
9. EDUARDO
10. William GALLAS
11. Robin VAN PERSIE
12. Carlos VELA
13. Alexander HLEB
14.
15. DENILSON
16. Aaron RAMSEY
17. Alexandre SONG
18.
19. GILBERTO
20. Johan DJOUROU
21. Lukasz FABIANSKI
22. Gael CLICHY
23.
24. Vito MANNONE
25. Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
26. Nicklas BENDTNER
27. Emmanuel EBOUE
28.
29.
30. Armand TRAORE
31. Justin HOYTE
32. Theo WALCOTT

The obvious vacant numbers are 8 and 14. With Nasri supposedly on the verge of joining, will he get Thierry's old number or the number 8?

Well, those are the numbers, back to work...]]>

How nervous were you when Cesc took that penalty?

Chances were made, chances were saved, you kind of knew it was going to penalties... and as soon as it went to penalties, you knew that young Cesc had a chance to make or break it. As soon as the whistle for extra time blew, I had a shiver of nerves run down my spine.

I turned to my friends and said "Cesc better not miss". That was my first reaction? Why? Because it would make me look silly - people would say "Cesc missed" or it's "Cesc's fault", but really deep down, I wanted him to score for himself. I've seen people shattered by high profile penalty misses and I wanted Cesc to have that nerve of steel for himself and ultimately for us. If he tucked his penalty away against Italy, then when we're in the Champions League final next season, I would know - he would know - how to score and the impact it would have. It's part of his training. And he passed.

But as he stood up, the nerves were so high. What if he missed, Spain could be out, what would that do to the lad.

But Cesc is Cesc - nothing seems to faze him.

Up he stood. One deep breath. Next thing we knew, the ball was in the back of the net.

Spain were through - Cesc couldn't believe it. He made the impact, he scored the winning goal and Spain are through to their first semi final in 24 years.

Congratulations Cesc - that was some penalty.

More later...]]>

Will he, won't he, Arsene that is…

Well, that's what Arsene is going through repeatedly time after time. You've got to consider that a 50 million euro offer for two players that we got for 20 million euros within the last three years is a good offer to accept. You got to think that if you re-invest that money back into the transfer market you would be able to increase the overall quality of the squad.

I would like to make one thing clear - I have nothing against Adebayor, I think he's been a great player this year and if he stays will continue to improve - but our goals are team efforts, we create 20 chances per game, so is it possible for one striker who plays every game to at least score once every 2 games, I think so. What I mean by this, is a £20 million profit on a player that many people questioned after 9 months of good play isn't a bad thing is it? We've struggled to compete financially for some of the top players. With 50 million euros, that's a Diogo, Podolski, Villa and Kompany in the bag - and add to that Eduardo, Vela, Van Persie, Rosicky... (the list goes on)....

So what I say to all Arsenal fans is this - if Arsene sells, don't worry, don't presume our team is over and we've blown our chances - believe in the car theory above - sometimes it's all about the moment and the market, the value of what things are worth now.

If Arsene doesn't sell - and part of me thinks he would rather keep hold of both Ade and Hleb - then don't worry either - we know they can improve under Arsene. Believe me, when I say that Ronaldo will not be the player he was at United when he moves to Real Madrid - as much as I hate Fergie, he is a good(ish) coach and all can see the part he's play in Ronaldo rise.

Anyway, it's a mind boggling time for any fan... the friendlies kick off in a few weeks and it's nice to know who's going to be playing for you when you start the season... Arsene has learnt a few lessons in the last five years about loyalty, about player's worth and about squad size. I do expect this summer to end favourably to us no matter the outcome of the future of Ade and Hleb.

Milan have stated that we are prepared to sell, and that they have a 50% chance of signing Ade. They also say we'd rather sell to Barce - a swap for Eto'o plus cash? Hmmm, food for thought.

Before I go, here is a quick snippet from Arsene's last press statement:

“I brought my chequebook but, having looked at the prices, I’ve realised it isn’t big enough. I’ve not been surprised by the quality on show. There is a fantastic young generation of players coming through. But I will use my chequebook first to keep the players I already have.”

The will he, won’t he saga continues…

Spain vs Italy tonight, good luck Cesc, should be a cracker!]]>

What's going on with Adebayor?

Last summer saw us sell a broken and aged Henry for £17m and before that we sold Vieira for over £13m. We've been a selling club and the money we've made has been ploughed back into the club. The players we have now, such as Eduardo, Van Persie, Cesc, Walcott, Clichy and Sagna are all world class players whom are making the club what it is and are the future of the club.

I love Ade, I think he has Arsenal in his heart, but money is a factor nowadays, and maybe it's swayed his mind.

I do not want to speak about this at the moment because of Arsenal. But it is possible there will be something to say in a few days’ time.

Sounds like Ronaldo? Barcelona have reported offered 50 million euros for both Adebayor and Hleb. These are two players, one which we bought for £7m and could make a £20m profit on and the other, a player who wants to leave.

So, if we do accept, we’ve got 50 million euros in the bank and that’s £42 million in the bank, maybe a little of it spent on Diogo, although we’d have to increase our bid and with Nasri, Ramsey and Vela already signed, we’ve been increasing the squad size.

Short blog today, good luck Van Persie, Holland vs Russia.]]>

Arsenal 2007: Flamini, Hleb and Adebayor, 2008: Nasri, Ramsey and Vela

It's been a tremendously long Thursday for me, a long day at the office, a few errands, the Portugal vs Germany game and a trip to the airport... which doesn't give me much time to give you a dose of your daily world of Arsenal summary.

Last year, three players (excluding Cesc, Eduardo, Sagna, Clichy and Toure) stood out as big players for us. When you saw Flamini, Hleb and Ade on the team sheet, you knew we have defensive cover, creatively and the ability to score.

Potentially, if we accept the 31 million euro bid from Barcelona or Milan, Ade may move on. Probably, Hleb will join him for about 16 million euros, possibly at the Camp Nou. With Flamini already gone, that might see 3 big players leave. I'm sure Arsene doesn't want Ade to go, but 40 million euros may twist his arm, if the bidding gets that high. 60 million euros for both, or £50million in UK terms, may be too hard to resist, especially when you start to imagine who we'd buy with that.

Speculation is rife as always, but I know what Ade offers, I don't know what Ramsey, Vela or Nasri will really offer. Of course, there is more to it than that, but I know that Arsene will work in the best interest of the club.

In my heart, I'd like Ade to stay, I've really warmed to him and he has the club in his heart. I'd like to see Hleb go as it seems like he wants to and his passion for the team and effectiveness can be questioned.

Let's see what Arsene has in his mind.

A proper blog tomorrow...]]>