Arsenal Smash Their Record Transfer Fee (3 times over!)

Whilst the club down the roads (ahem, Sp*rs)… broke their record transfer fee 3 times, in typical Arsenal style, we’ve smashed ours by three times! When you think about the fees that are being paid now… £86m for Bale, £30m+ for Willian, £30m for Lamela, £30m for Fellaini……… Mr Ozil looks like good value at £42m.

Personally, I never thought I’d see us spend that much money on one player, but times have changed and we’re back in the big league. Ozil is truly world class and astonishing that Real Madrid let go of him.

Jose Mourinho, had this to say about Ozil when he was manager :

“He is the best number 10 in the world. Everyone loves him and sees a bit of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane in him. He will make history at Real Madrid.”

Well, he’ll make history, but down at the Arsenal instead. Before this week, I knew Ozil was class, but having watched about 20 YouTube video’s I’m convinced that he will be what Bergkamp was to us all those years ago….!

On signing for us, he said:

“When talking to Arsene Wenger, I realise what was missing. This is 100% faith in me. I want to help the club finally win titles again.”

Arsene said:

“We’ve watched him and admired him for some time. He has all the attributes that I look for in an Arsenal player.”

More to follow amigos, more to follow.

 

Transfer Window – Last 24 Hours… AND Champions League Draw Reaction

Today’s blog is a bumper, action packed super blog, filled with two very hot topics… the transfer window delves into it’s last 24 hours and the number of deals done on Thursday was significant across Europe, but I think it will only be more today.

Players Out

Juventus have all but confirmed that Niklas Bendtner will be joining them – the deal initially on loan with a loan fee of £1.2m and with an option to buy for £5m. Despite global interest and so many admirers, it’s been a hard summer for the young Dane. I believe he is talented, that is true, but he head is too far in the clouds. Playing for a top team like Juventus and moving country away frm London / England could be a good move for the boy. He will hopefully get game time. If he improves, then maybe he’ll have a future at Arsenal or be signed permanently. I personally think, if he was ever going to be the world class player that Arsene thought he’d be, he’d be that player by now…

Maroune Chamakh is also very possibly on the way out, no clubs linked really… but he’s been left out of everything we’ve done so far, league games etc, so I think he could be off. I have no idea what it’ll take for him to get off our wage bill or sign for another club – he hasn’t exactly done anything to make people want to buy him – hopefully his previous credentials still have some weight.

Park is very heavily on his way out – apparently he’s been offered to every club in France, but it looks like Celta Vigo is his destination. Despite Arsene’s stance of only trying to sign “special players”, it’s quite clear that there is absolutely nothing special about Park. He literally didn’t get a minute in the Premier League last season and if we get any sort of fee for a sale for him, then it’s good business.

Arshavin has been linked with Zenit, who themselves have nearly lined up a £40m transfer for Hulk. I’m not sure if spending £40m on one player is the best idea for Zenit… but who knows what goes on in the background. If the Hulk deal doesn’t materialise, then it may be the Arshavin deal is more likely…

Players In

You have to consider that if Chamakh, Park, Bendtner or Arshavin leave, then we must have a player or two lined up. We’ve got to the last 24 hours and we really don’t have anything hot to go with. Rumours for Detinho are just rumours… we’ve been linked with half thew Newcastle squad, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Cabaye and Tiote – but if Newcastle managed to sell Andy Carroll for £35m, then it doesn’t seem likely that any of the aforementioned players are in our budget…

In today’s papers, we’ve been heavily linked with a loan move for Essien, and where that may be a useful addition to the squad, no doubt, at the end of the transfer window, it doesn’t look like we have really progressed since last year… already 4 points dropped this season and the squad is getting thinner and thinner.

I hope Arsene proves me wrong and we get the three first team players that our squad needs… but I’m not going to hold my breath…

Over to something a little more interesting… The Champions League Draw… the groups are:

Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris St Germain, Dinamo Zagreb

Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier

Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga

Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund

Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjaelland

Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov

Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic

Group H: Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj

The group of death is surely group D… but even so, you’d have to think Real Madrid and Man City are the two strongest teams in that group. Over to our group and we’ve got a German team, a Greek team and a French team… the same combination as last year and we know it won’t be easy… With a diminishing squad, I really do hope we have enough strength in depth to play in both competitions…

Our schedule looks like this:

Matchday 1
Montpellier Hérault SC v Arsenal FC
Tuesday, September 18
Kick Off: 19.45 UK
To be played at Stade de la Mosson, France

Matchday 2
Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC
Wednesday, October 3
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
To be played at Emirates Stadium

Matchday 3
Arsenal FC v FC Shalke 04
Wednesday, October 24
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
To be played at Emirates Stadium

Matchday 4
FC Shalke 04 v Arsenal FC
Tuesday, November 6
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
To be played at Veltins Arena, Germany

Matchday 5
Arsenal FC v Montpellier Hérault SC
Wednesday, November 21
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
To be played at Emirates Stadium

Matchday 6
Olympiacos FC v Arsenal FC
Tuesday, December 4
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
To be played at Karaiskaki Stadium, Greece

Montpellier away is in about three weeks and will be a return to his former club for Olivier Giroud. I hope he manages to get one over them and push on… but they will not be a pushover – it’s not easy to win any league and last season, Montpellier finished above Lille, Lyon, Marseille and moneybags PSG…

Liverpool were in action against Hearts last night and battled their way to a 1-1 draw, which saw them through to the next round. I really hope they are super knackered, as we’re up there on Sunday. Liverpool preview tomorrow, but for now…

Enter the last 24 hours of the transfer window…

Santa Claus [Santi Cazorla] is coming to town…

Two weeks ago, current Malaga boss, Manuel Pellegrini stated:

“To sell him for 20m euros would be to give him away – I do not believe the club would do that.”

But two weeks later, for a reported fee of £12.5m, the Spanish midfielder has now [virtually] joined the Arsenal 2012 revolution as Arsene bids to change our fortunes and turn our nearly side into a side that can challenge for the title. Just imagine the following line up:

Giroud

Podolski – Cazorla – Walcott

Arteta – Song

Gibbs – Vermaelen – Koscielny – Sagna

Szcznesy

With a compliment of other players to add to the first XI… Wilshere, Gervinho, Oxlade, Diaby, Coquelin, Frimpong, Rosicky and more… Buying three first team players of high quality with the ability to go straight into the team is something we rarely do. This time we have and it means business.

The announcement was made today and Arsene has spoken very highly of the player:

“Santi Cazorla is a great signing for us. He is a player with good experience at both club and international level, who will add significant quality to our squad. He is a versatile, attacking midfield player who can play comfortably on either side of the pitch or centrally. He has good pace, is technically gifted and will be a huge asset to Arsenal Football Club. We are delighted that he is joining us.”

The player himself saying:

“I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal. This is a club with great players, a fantastic stadium and huge support. The Club has one of the best managers in football and their style of play is recognised and admired all over the world. I’m so excited to be joining one of the greatest teams in Europe and also in the Premier League. I will do my best to help Arsenal challenge for trophies and make all the supporters happy.”

It’s amazing to see him join, to see Giroud and Podolski also join and it’s a clear sign of ambition and intent. The squad is very strong now and if we can just get rid of the players who we don’t want and get in a quality defensive signing, then our odds for the title will be slashed without a doubt!

The question is…

Where will he play? How will all our new signings fit it? Great to be talking about this…!

The Wait Is Over…

The wait is over for today’s blog that is!

I originally had started writing about Cazorla, and how he’d integrate into our team, but of course, despite the various reports in media and newspapers, there has been no official confirmation that he has signed. As a result, I have parked that blog – to be reignited when he (if he) does sign. For the moment, it’s time to look at other aspects of Arsenal, starting with RvP…

Robin Van Persie

The saga continues… No resolution for his place in the team, but at least we’re busy spending money despite it. With the new signings, it makes his departure more manageable, but the question is, where will he go? Juventus have been linked, and Man U and Man City have also expressed interest… but Mancini said this morning:

“Van Persie? No, I don’t think he will come here.”

And do they even need him? I don’t think they do and it means that he may not have anywhere to go.

Ibrahim Afellay

Afellay wants to leave Barcelona, simple as that… and he is Van Persie’s mate. Maybe the signing of Afellay may mean that Van Persie stays… who knows…

“Afellay could go out on loan for a year,” his representative Rob Jansen told Italian reporters over the weekend. “Yes, that is a possibility.”

But would we want him on loan? I doubt it.

Andrei Arshavin

Ambitious QPR are looking to sign our diminutive Russian and it’s interesting how the story comes out now that we’re heavy linked with Cazorla. Zenit didn’t really want to pay the fee or wages when it came down to it, so will QPR’s interest mean that a little tug of war starts for the Russian. I would say his days are numbered and even more so if we buy Cazorla… so QPR or Zenit, he’s yours!

Santi Cazorla

Hey hey hey… what’s all this Santi talk? Remember, we’ve got to carry on waiting until he’s announced and when (if) he is, it’ll be time to talk big time… But just to let you know, Maresca and Baptista did let the cat out of the bag…

Maresca saying:

“[Pellegrini] is fundamental for us, just as Cazorla and Rondon were fundamental and who have been sold,”

And Baptista’s tweet:

“I’d like to send a greeting to my two companions who were, Santi Cazorla and a big hug Salomon Rondon will miss you,”

Hmmm, interesting…

Change In Tactics?

A lot of people say that Arsene has changed tact. He’s stopped buying youth and is now buying older players – well, project youth hasn’t failed, it’s been complimented by experience. We have a great crops of youngsters and will continue to do so. However, now, we also have some cash and with cash, we can buy players that we need. Jenkinson has been talking about a subtle change in tactics.

“We like to keep the ball moving and create goals in different ways but crossing is a strength that I like to use when I can. The manager knows crossing is one of my strengths and he has asked me to get as many balls into the box as I can. But, at the same time, he has told me not to cross for the sake of it. It is an asset of my game and one I like to use. The more minutes I play, the more comfortable I am to push on,”

Very interesting and something we need to do – especially if we have more than one forward in the box and especially with the likes of Giroud, Podolski and Chamakh…

Fingers crossed we will hear an announcement soon… and then you can read my real blog!

It’s just an average Arsenal summer…

The Summer of 2007 saw Thierry Henry leave Arsenal in a protracted affair. The Summer starts with hope, but fades into reality. We’ve had ground-hog day every year since, with last season being extremely painful with the departures of Nasri & Cesc and last minute shopping. The latest and to the minute signing, Arteta, proving the most important of them all.

Most of us thought that this Summer would be different – and in honesty, we did get onto a great start with the signings of Podolski and Giroud… but then the momentum halted and we’re now into the new season with a few headaches to iron out. We’ve had the bold declaration from Van Persie that he wants to leave – but he’s still around and still down at training. Theo Walcott has failed to renew his contract and he’s back tomorrow – another unknown issue – will he be sold, will he be kept? Who knows?

Chamakh, Bendtner, Park and Squillaci are still picking up £10m a year between them, and despite global interest in one or some of them, none of them are off the books yet. The season ended in May, it’s now July… how long does it really take to sell someone? We all know that these players are all pretty rubbish and therefore, no-one actually wants to buy them.

Can you imagine any manager in their right mind? Oh, that Chamakh – the one who plays for Arsenal, he looks like a great buy – he’ll knock them in for fun, and only £60k a week? Oh that Park, he’s great, he’s the new Ronaldo, sign him up! Oh that Squillaci, he’s exactly what we need to sure up our leaky defence.

Now, where we are, we really really really need to get things sorted – it would be awesome to have these issues resolved, all the players and all the other players in and we were starting the season with the full squad that we were going to use throughout the season. But instead we have a mismash of people who some will leave and some will come (we hope)… it’s just an average Arsenal summer…

New signing Podolski spoke about the forthcoming season:

I’m looking at a different championship in England now and I hope we’ll be competing towards the top of the table. I don’t know if it will be enough for the title but I want to have a successful season.  I’m raring to go and get started on July 21st and I hope I will have four great and successful years in London.

Now, although there are some positives to be taken out of the quote – quite a worrying sign is that he’s not sure if we can challenge for the title. I don’t know how much of that is Arsene or the team, but I want all the team – the team full of Internationals, to believe that they are good enough to challenge for the title. If you believe you will finish fourth, then you will finished 7th – 3rd… but if you believe you can win the title, then you will challenge. I really hope we get a winning mentality back at the Arsenal, it hurts me to hear players talk about not winning the title before the season has even started…

Hmmm… But… here is something to cheer you up…

Did you see all 18 New York Red Bull fans celebrate?

Til tomorrow…

Stop Bad Mouthing My Club…

Life is a tricky affair.

Sometimes you hit the dizzy heights that everyone wants to be at and sometimes you have the horrible lows that we all try our best to avoid… And in the process, you experience many emotions. Happiness, sadness, frustration, jubilation… you name it. Whatever happens at the Arsenal, I am glad we have the board and the manager we do. As much as I think I know a lot about football, and as much as you do too… in reality, how much do we really know? Managing a real life football club is not the same as managing a club in Championship Manager, that’s for sure.

The emotions that we experience, the highs and the lows, are directly related to our expectations. We expect more and therefore anything less good than more is not good. It’s a silly way of thinking to be honest and I’m afraid most if not every Arsenal fan is currently sitting in a place that doesn’t seem right. None of us are financial experts, or even if we are, we don’t have the financial facts and figures to second guess what has happened and / or is continuing to happen at the Arsenal.

One thing I am certain about – and only if we don’t break it – is that our business model is sound. In the days where you see football clubs going out of business left, right and centre, it’s refreshing to have a club who actually has a desire to manage itself. Other clubs have sugar daddies and whilst this serves a purpose, can you really criticize a business which spends within it’s means… The business model of self-sustainment means that you have to spend wisely – it doesn’t mean you have to spend less or not spend. We’ve spent a lot in recent times – Arshavin, Walcott, Gervinho, Oxlade, Podolski, Giroud etc are all £10m to £15m signings we’ve made in the last few years. We’re competing against clubs who can spend £50m on a bench warmer in Torres.

For me, if Wenger didn’t win anything, and then built the stadium, and then we started finishing 4th and 3rd etc, surely he would be knighted twice! But the problem is, he gave us a sniff of success. It was him who was at the helm when we went unbeaten, it was him at the helm when we won the league & FA Cup. Having a 60,000 seater stadium is all about the challenge that the board set themselves – without a sugar daddy.

Arsene Wenger as manager brought in Arteta when Fabregas left, he brought in Podolski and Giroud to replace Van Persie, Ade and Eduardo to fill in the void when Henry left. The point of the matter is that players have a life-cycle. We begrudge a player if he leaves, but don’t when we sell him. We’re fans of the Arsenal, so of course, we back the club when buying and selling. But in reality, what would you do if you were Van Persie. You have been with a club for 8 years and you’re about to turn 29. You’ve not won anything. You have 3 years to play at this level before you will probably decline. Arsenal aren’t going to splash £100m on players this summer. We don’t need to. We need to assemble a squad that we think is good enough to challenge. Sagna – best right back in the league – cost £7m. Money does not equal value. Sagna is a £20m right back, is he not? We didn’t pay that for him. Vermaelen £10.6m vs Lescott £26m. Yes money does buy you players, but you have to understand that challenging for a title is made up of players, fitness and a bit of luck.

Van Persie has given us a great season, that’s fair to say, but based on history, this is the exception, not the rule. Bringing someone like Giroud is exciting for us – he’s four years younger and very hungry – surely a bit of good business to get rid of your older players and get in younger models. Every guy’s dream.

Yes, not winning is frustrating. But outside of United & City, no one has won the league in a while. Chelsea spend £200m every season or at least every other season, and they finished below us. Sp*rs have a sugar daddy, but our  squad was still better than theirs. As I said earlier, winning the league is a mixture of skill, injuries and luck and had Wilshere not been injured last season, had Sagna, Gibbs, Santos and Vermaelen all been injury free, who knows where we’d have finished last season.

Finishing 3rd, having a great future in players like Szcznesy, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade etc… and having signed players like Gervinho, Podolski and Giroud, why are Arsenal fans so upset? The manager wants to win just as much as we do, if not more, the decisions he takes will be based on the ability to compete both on the pitch and without bankrupting the club.

Everyone may have differing opinions on who we should and shouldn’t sign, but one thing I ask of all of you. Ian Wright, this is aimed at you, Samir Nasri, you too, Robin, you too and of course, Usmanov. Stop bad mouthing my club. The Arsenal have given all of you players a home, they’ve educated you, they’ve paid you bucket loads. Sums that only we can imagine to earn in a lifetime, you earn in a year. Be grateful that you have been given the platform, the opportunity and education that you have been given. Usmanov – the only reason you’re involved is because you see the potential of the manager and players and the ground = potentially massive future and status. Say what you want about whatever you want, but leave the Arsenal alone – all the club have done is try their best to build a team for both them and you to mutually succeed. If you haven’t been good enough, then surely it’s your fault that we haven’t won anything?

All this beating up the board and manager is silly. Only time will tell, but I sincerely hope we don’t do too much damage to our beloved club. Arsenal are taking a beating by the media at the moment, but in reality, there is no other club I’d rather support ever.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Robin: “It has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.”

Wednesday, 4th July 2012, 4pm

Dear Diary,

Today I plan to publish a statement on my site telling everyone I am leaving Arsenal. Having rejected the contract last summer twice I thought they would have guessed, it’s not like I kept it a secret. I rejected the contract again this season and have really really hinted that I’m off. My last statement of the season was:

“No matter what happens, I’ll always love Arsenal…”

Straight out of Henry’s book! I have no idea how this came as a shock to anyone… really, are people that stupid. Mr Gazidis and Mr Wenger did tell me to keep it a secret, but I’m useless at secrets and to be honest, I want to sign for the highest bidder at the highest price. I’ve told Man City I don’t want to sign for them, so hopefully they will up their offer!

I thought I’d be a bit clever and release a statement – you see, the club have signed Podolski and Giroud so the fans are happy. I’ve done whilst Gazidis is on holiday (hehe), I’m a cheeky little one, aren’t I?

That Wenger of ours (well, yours now), is a silly little guy – even yesterday he was saying how I am going to stay. He even said he stood by me when I was injured and that I should stay. Silly boy. Does he not know that there is no such thing as loyalty?

My agent helped me a little with my statement. I originally wrote:

“Arsenal offered me £120k a season, but at Man City, I can get a whopping £225 at minimum, and maybe even £250k if I play hard ball”

But he replaced it with…

“Unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward”

Much better, I owe him another 1% fee for that little one. At least the Arsenal fans won’t think it’s all about money – at least they think it’s about ambition. Full proof.

Okie dokie, about to press publish on the statement, let’s see what happens….

Robin xx

Wednesday, 4th July 2012, 7pm

Dear Diary,

The Arsenal fans didn’t take that quite the way I thought they would. Hey ho, I am going to be mega mega rich, so who cares?

Robin xx

Giroud, Giroud, Giroud Is On Fire…

The title of this blog will definitely be used by tabloids when the man himself scores a brace or is man of the match…

Today, Oliver Giroud has been officially unveiled as an Arsenal player.

 

As a recap… The main man has been signed from Montpellier for £12.8m. He helped his former team win the French Championship last season and he has a very good reputation in the game. He scored 33 goals in 71 appearances last year for the French champions and according to media reports, rejected contracts and offers from 2 other Premiership teams, believed to be Chelsea and QPR and additionally two clubs from Germany. He has signed a long term contract believed to be 5 years.

What Does The Manager Have To Say?

Arsene has been talking about Giroud in the press, his first comment last week confirming the deal was 90% done. He did feel very confident about the player and the deal, and I believe Giroud is being brought in as a first choice member of the team. Arsene spoke this morning and had this to say:

“Olivier has a very good physical presence and is exceptional in the air, with a great work ethic. We are excited about Olivier joining us and he will add an additional dimension to our attacking options next season. He has proved that he is capable of performing at the top level with club and country, and we saw what a big influence he was in Montpellier’s championship-winning side last season. We all look forward to Olivier joining us and seeing him play in an Arsenal shirt.”

Giroud’s influence was just headers and / or plan B, but a more complete player who has pace, aerial ability and a trick or two.

What Does The Player Have To Say?

There has been no secret that Giroud has wanted to join Arsenal. He has stated before that he believed Arsenal was the perfect fit for him.

“I have always admired Arsenal with its great history and reputation, and I now hope to achieve great things here. I am very proud to be a Gunner and I will give my best for all the Arsenal fans. It is a huge satisfaction to join this great club and it has been a dream since I was young to play in the Premier League. I was attracted by the philosophy of football and Arsene Wenger’s ‘touch’ at this club. I am delighted to be here at Arsenal and to be part of one of the great teams in English football.”

Exciting words from the Frenchman – we’ll all be closely judging him in pre-season to see how he will fair…

What Does His National Manager Have To Say?

Laurent Blanc believes that there are two quality French strikers at his disposal. Benezma at Real Madrid and Giroud. Before the Euro’s he spoke about pairing the both of them, but in the end he opted

“Benzema and Giroud can play together. They are two interesting players but they are complementary – I’m convinced of that. “

x

What Shirt We He Wear?

Giroud has been given the number nine shirt – this was worn by Park last season. With Park still on the books, there is now a lot of speculation that the shirt number change means that Park could be on his way out of the club after just one season.

How Will He Fit In?

Giroud is a striker, not a winger. He has to play as the main striker on the pitch. I don’t think he will be deployed on the wing, as it will be a complete waste of his talent. As we’re playing 4-3-3 nowadays, you’d think he’d line up as the central striker in a three main attack.

If Walcott & Van Persie do go, I can only presume that we’ll see this line up:

Gervinho – Giroud – Podolski

If they both stay, then the options are incredible:

Walcott / Ox – Giroud / Van Persie – Gervinho / Podolski

And of course, in a 4-4-2, we’d see him fit in alongside a striker…

With Giroud and Podolski both signed, I am a little worried that Theo and Robin could be off – neither having signed a contract and both entering the final phases of their contract. If we could keep them both and add them to the pool of players, then the six players mentioned above are mouthwatering in terms of options, combinations. It’s interesting to see us do our business so early on in the summer, heck, it’s not even July. We’ll see where we sit in August of course, but keep it up Gazidis / Wenger!

One Last Interesting Fact

Did you know that Giroud and Koscielny played alongside each other in 2010 whilst both at Tours FC?

Adios for now… Mr Tottz is back in the groove tomorrow…

Arsene Speaks…

Howdies Folks…

Things are starting to hot up at the Euros and at the Arsenal… starting with matters closer to home and Arsene has been in the press talking about Podolski and Giroud. We’ve heard through all media outlets that the Giroud deal is virtually done, but not heard anything from the club or manager until now…

“Giroud didn’t play much (at the Euros so far), but he’s going to be an Arsenal player 90 per cent next season. I think he has exceptional potential and will integrate very well in our collective and our way of playing. He is a real team player and knows how to combine with other players and I’m sure he will do well with us.”

It’s sometimes hard to know if a quote is true, but with the quote above, it’s been published in all major football / sports sites, so you’d have to presume it’s true. Giroud has had some game time at the Euros – I was watching when he came on against the Ukraine. He didn’t get much of the ball, but he has impressed at club level…

There’s a nice video on YouTube showing his 2010/2011 goals… and he actually reminds me of Van Persie…

What do you think? People have compared him to Chamakh, for the simple reason that he is coming to us from the French league, but that’s too darn silly to compare someone based on which league they were in… as in that case Nelson Vivas and Messi are both amazing or both rubbish…

Arsene has also been speaking about Podolski, and said:

“Podolski did a great job for the German team, he has superb team work. He plays in a cautious way sometimes, but he’s still scored a very important goal against Denmark for his 100th cap. I am very happy with what I’ve seen from him.”

I watched a re-run of Denmark vs Germany and one thing that is evident is that Podolski is wasted on the left of the forward line – in fact, he was playing more of a left midfielder in a 4-4-2 if you consider Ozil sits quite high up the pitch. For me Podolski is a striker, and he is wasted when he plays so deep.

For Arsenal, it’s going to be interesting. If RvP stays, we will have four strikers who all suit the middle of the pitch – RvP, Giroud, Podolski and Joel Campbell. Whether or not we will end up changing our formation to 4-4-2 remains to be seen, but it may just make a lot of sense.

In other Arsenal news, it looks like Arsenal and Sao Paulo have been unable to reach a figure for Denilson and he could be back with us at the beginning of July… if anyone has been following him then do let me know if he has got any better.

Additionally, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is in line for a new deal. Considering he signed one last summer, I don’t think we really need to give him a new deal just yet… maybe something should be looked at next summer?

And finally, tonight – it’s Germany vs Greece and a chance to look at Podolski once again… Mertersacker will probably not start, and unless Germany need to shut up shop, we may not see him either… Tomorrow sees Spain vs France, which does sound rather mouth watering, and then on Sunday, the big one, England vs Italy… With Ashley Young injured, we may just see our young starlet, AOC, in action from the start of the game…

Have a great weekend folks, and I’ll be back when next appropriate!

All Change…

Morning fellow Gooners,

In case you were wondering, it is going to be a long summer. A very long summer. There is going to be a lot of stories, a lot of opinions and a lot of rubbish. Where sometimes, as a blogger, you have to step away from all the nonsense; at other times, you cannot help but add your own opinion to what you feel is relevant and important.

Robin Van Persie: The Saga

Two interesting stories from two Brazilians to kick off with. Andre Santos came out on Brazilian TV and said that he “can understand why Robin wants to leave after 8 years” – this is based on the fact the two of them talk and text daily. I wrote a piece a while back called, “Why Robin Is Going To Be Sold“. And if you read that then you’ll see why the recent comments from Santos don’t really surprise me.

The problem is that this whole thing is turning into a saga. For us, we need to  to ensure it gets sorted as soon as possible. If Robin is going to sign, then he has to sign now. If he’s not, then Arsenal have to sell him ASAP and then buy, buy and buy. There is some noise that Giroud is on his way to the Emirates, and with Podolski already signed, perhaps if the transfer goes through, then Robin’s departure could be announced.

Ivan did speak about a possible announcement:

“Robin sat down with us at the end of the season and we had a good discussion. What we agreed at that meeting was that we would keep all the discussions we had over the summer to ourselves and make announcements when it is the right time. We have to respect the fact we have agreed to keep that among ourselves. Robin is clearly focused on the Euros at the moment and we wish him well, and at the right time we will make the right announcements.”

What on earth this means is completely your guess! If it was a good discussion that means he has signed a new contract – or he is just stringing us on – put it this way, it sounds fishy! If he has agreed a new contract, why delay the announcement? If he has decided to move on, then why delay the announcement… unless there is an agreement to stay until next summer and then leave on a free? The thing is… your guess is as good as mine.

Getting The Deadwood Out

It does seem like it’s all change this summer. Those players who we thought we tried to get rid off last summer – although, I think we may have wanted to loan them out to see if they became the players we wanted them to be – could very well be off. Denilson, Bendtner and Vela have all been in the press letting the world know that they have deals on the cards.

Denilson has said that he could be signing for Sao Paulo permanently.

“There is the possibility of maybe signing a four or five-year contract. My lawyer talked to Arsenal and they asked to wait to see what happens in the Brazilian Cup before talking again. Anything could happen. Sao Paulo are doing their best to keep me, but I prefer to focus on my work and think about that later. There are two options – a permanent contract or extend the loan deal. I have already done my part by showing my intention of remaining here [at Sao Paulo].”

Bendtner has also revealed that he has been in contact with several clubs, so fingers crossed.

The Defensive Midfielder

Arsene Wenger said a very interesting comment on TV last night:

“Our defensive midfielders at Arsenal are attacking midfielders.”

If Arsene believes this, then surely, it’s as clear as mud that we need to sign a defensive midfielder. We’ve been linked with M’Vila, but I think the asking price and wages have been too much for us, and more recently Anderlecht’s midfield warrior, Biligia, stated we were in contention for his signature:

“Real Madrid and Arsenal have both been in contact. I am still under contract with Anderlecht until 2015 but they know that I plan to leave.  If a club offers the right price, Anderlecht will let me go.”

We’ll see where that takes us, a good player in the DM position will be a welcome addition, that’s for sure.

The Q&A – Tonight…

The Q&A is tonight and there will be a whole host of twitterers attending – namely WOA writer JAT – who has returned from a year in the US, especially for tonight, and will be covering tonight’s events LIVE. Ivan has spoken ahead of tonight and has said this:

“My message to our fans is that we are doing everything in our power to make sure that Arsenal can challenge for trophies next year. That is what this summer is about and that is what we are focused on. We have a good team, we have a good young core of players and we need everybody involved to have belief so that we can push forward into next year and make a run at the Premier League trophy and for the Champions League. We believe we can do that.

With Ivan, you just don’t know if there is anything to what he says. He said we’d sign last summer, and in January and than the RvP situation wouldn’t get to this stage. He’s basically lied to us non stop in a very media friendly way. So take what he says with a pinch of salt. Deep fried salt, that is…

Tottz will be back with his poll results tomorrow… and JAT will be back later in the week with his take on the Q&A…

Til then, adios!

A Bit Of A Rant, A Bit Of A Ramble

There are three major events that are happening this summer.

  1. Euro 2012
  2. The Olympics
  3. Arsenal’s Transfer Activity

It’s an extra-ordinary off season for all of us who live in England as it’s going to be back to back, millions of people will join us post the Euros as London becomes the venue for the Olympics. I managed to get tickets, so I am one of the lucky few… although the Gods seem to like to stunt my variation of sports – I’ve got Wembley, semi-final of the football!

Now, the most important thing this summer is surely how Arsene and his scouting and negotiating team can improve the team. Improve is just one word, but it has a wider connotation than just signing people.

We’ve got to do some spring cleaning. And whilst it’s fun to think of all the lavish new signings we want, it’s important to shift the dead wood. If Arsene can get Denilson, Vela, Bendtner, Chamakh, Park, Squillaci, Fabianski and Djourou off our books, we’ll get some money in, we’ll get them off our wage bill and we’ll be able to re-invest.

For every Denilson and Vela we shift, it will free up wages for a M’Vila; if we shift Squillaci, Park and Chamakh, that’s a new shiny striker in the squad. This summer, Arsene really should have come up with some sort of incentive to get the fans involved. Any fan who manages to successfully get rid of any of the aforementioned players gets a season for life!

I’ve held off writing a blog for the last couple of days, so that Tottz’s WOA Questionnaire could get some airtime… and it’s proved an interesting debate for many. I’ve been added a few replies on to the article too, but still have a lot of questions to answer. If you’ve not done so yet, it’s worth a read and both Tottz and myself would be very interested in the answers.

I’ve been debating the transfer requirements with quite a few top Gooners in the last couple of the weeks, and I have one question for you?

If the squad remained as is, and you could strengthen only one position, which position would that be?

When asked, it made me think, what major difference would one player in one position make to the whole squad. It was a tough one, as there are some areas that are in obvious need of strengthening, and some other areas which we will need to strength for general squad numbers too. But identifying the exact one position that overwhelms others is a very good question.

With Almunia already departed and Fabianski hoping to leave, we will be short in the goal keeping department and for that reason, I do expect Arsene to buy someone. However, the question is more about the first team.

My initial reaction was “we need a defensive midfielder”, a top one – and I think that the general consensus. Song goes forward and leaves Arteta to cover the back four, but without Arteta in the team, no-one mops up, which as we saw at the end of the season, leaves a gaping hole. But, next season, if all goes well, we’ll have Wilshere back, Arteta back and both Frimpong and Coquelin as defensive midfielders. Add Song, Rosicky, Diaby and Ramsey, who out of this group could make way for the likes of M’Vila?

But, shouldn’t we be looking to having a “proper” central midfielder like M’Vila or the like of such a player in the middle of the park – a Tiote – someone who sits in front of the back four, and shouldn’t we loan out younger players like Ramsey and Frimpong until they’re actually ready for the first team?

After that little ramble, the thought process went to the back four – Saga, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs – do we need to replace any of them? Well, we have conceded a lot of goals, that’s for sure. Kos has been excellent this season, and Vermaelen doesn’t need any discussion. Sagna is one of the best right backs in the league and Gibbs has been very impressive.

Wingers? Gervinho, Walcott & Oxlade are three players who will only get better next season, but Walcott was clearly over-used and had no competition for his place in the team. Gervinho had an on / off season and Oxlade, well, is the junior. Another winger would be an excellent addition.

Strikers? We play one striker, and the question above assumes that Van Persie will be with us (despite my thoughts to the contrary) and Podolski has joined. So two top forwards – it sounds very interesting.

So back to the question….

If the squad remained as is, and you could strengthen only one position, which position would that be?

I’ll leave that question with you…