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Gervinho & Afobe in Köln squad, Cesc not + defender speculation 23 July, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
12 comments

Yesterday the team travelled to Germany to face FC Köln in today’s 2.30pm (GMT) kick off. The squad included Fabianksi who has recovered from last season’s injury, new signing Gervinho and youngster Afobe who has returned on loan from Huddersfield. It’s a chance for both strikers to impress, both will be looking to get some game time and both will be aiming to put on a good show.

It’s my suspicion that Benik Afobe will go back out on loan this season, whether it be next month or January but with no resolution on the Joel Campbell situation there’s evidence to support that there’s space in the squad for a young striker. I doubt there’s room for both he and Emmanuel-Thomas so he’ll be battling it out with his reserves team mate for that spot.

Speaking of Campbell, the latest word on the grapevine Twitter is that we might’ve agreed a deal for him to come after the U20 World Cup. There we no concrete quotes to support the story though so it’s still a case of wait and see on that one.

As for Gervinho well he will certainly be in the first team squad and Wenger has backed him to make an impression this season:

“He looks to me like he has adjusted very quickly. Let’s hope it goes quickly for him. You never know, some players take six months and some players take two weeks.

He does seem a very typical Arsene signing; an African forward who’s done well in Ligue 1 ready to step up to the Premier League. After Chamakh’s good start last season I’m kind of hoping Gervinho will have the same impact this season. Marouane was thrown in at the deep end really when van Persie picked up his customary injury and did very well being relied on that early, his form and appearances faded away as the season went on and I don’t really know what to expect of him this year. Here’s hoping that not only can Gervinho emulate Chamakh’s form in front of goal but also Robin can stay fit so we don’t have to rely on him or anyone else!

As nice as it is to see the new additions to today’s squad eyes were always going to be focused on the inclusion, or rather lack of Cesc Fabregas. We weren’t surprised to see he didn’t travel to Germany and the official word is he hasn’t recovered from a muscular injury. Whether that’s true or not only they know but it does seem as if he’s being spared just as he was for the Asia trip.

There has been a number of reports saying Barcelona representatives were in London this week to discuss the transfer. I’m starting to suspect that an agreement might be made as soon as next week and with Barcelona offloading Bojan it looks like they could be getting some funds together. With this dragging out as long as it has I could see us accepting anything over £35m just allowing us to move on from the saga. It would represent a small victory for the Catalan’s picking up a player of such quality for that price and would go completely against the current market but we are not desperate for cash – only for a resolution.

When asked about the possibility of Cesc and the other outgoing transfers this is what Wenger had to say:

“The position at the moment [with Fabregas] is a ‘no comment’ situation because there is no movement at all.

[It is] not completely [sorted that Samir will stay] but I want him to stay. He knows that. Hopefully we can sort that out in the coming weeks.

Alumina has been contacted by a few clubs, Bendtner as well.

As long as the situation is not settled, we have to focus on the coming season with the players we have. The players who are uncertain, it is difficult for them to focus on being completely committed.”

That last sentence is very telling. There are a lot of quotes coming out saying the squad is not unsettled by the rumours of players leaving the club but maybe that’s because they’ve been rather excluded from pre-season preparations. It seems as if Arsene is already preparing for departures by not including the want-away stars in his squads.

As with Fabregas, Bendtner, Almunia and whoever else may be nearing an exit I hope it is done sooner rather than later. I hope for our’s and for Cesc’s sake a deal can be agreed next week so we can just move on and prepare for the new season. It’ll give us time to evaluate our squad and hopefully make new additions accordingly. The longer this drags out the more tedious it gets and the less time we have to look to replace.

As for incomings, Wenger says we are after a defender. Praise the lord! With Clichy left for pastures richer and Eboue also rumoured to be leaving we could really do with a wing back. Not only that but we’ve been crying out for an established centre back for ages now, Squillaci is not the answer and with all due respect we are going to struggle if he gets in the side.

Apparently we’ve made a £10m bid for Phil Jagielka but Everton will be looking for nearer double that. If it were up to me I’d raise that bid to 16 or 17 million and see if that gets money-strapped Everton thinking. It would show ambition to make a signing like that and I’d feel a lot more comfortable about the defence with him included. Not that I think he’s God’s gift as a defender or anything but he’s a lot more solid than some that I’ve mentioned and I think having he, Vermaelen, Djourou and Koscielny as our centre back choices would be a good thing.

As for a wing back well we’ve brought Jenkinson in but he really shouldn’t be in the first team this season; maybe Caring Cup but I would hope nothing more than that. On the other flank I do rate Gibbs and recall rating his as a better option than Clichy at one point last season but we don’t know if we can rely on him yet due to his ongoing injury problems. Behind him there’s just Armand Traore and I wasn’t expecting him to be with us when the season starts.

There’s a lot of transfer business to be done between now and the start of the season, both outgoing and incoming. I tipped this as being a busy week for deals to be done but not a lot has been achieved. Maybe next week is the one, or maybe the one after that, or we’ll be stuck in this endless tedious that surrounds every transfer window nowadays.

Thankfully, we can forget about all that rubbish for this afternoon at least. I’ll be tuning into Arsenal Player this afternoon I hope for the FC Köln friendly, if you’re not lucky enough to have the service I should be reporting from my Twitter.

I’ve seen Gervinho is wearing 22 today, that’s my lucky number – maybe I should do some live football betting on a debut goal.

Pep claims Cesc negotiations – Pay up or piss off 19 July, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
7 comments

“This year Arsenal has agreed to negotiate and we are working on it. Barcelona has made an offer, Arsenal another and we have time until August 31 and we’ll try to reach an agreement.

The club has saved money to try to sign him. We will try until the end to bring him. I hope that eventually everything can be arranged. But sometimes things cannot be done. We will fight to the end to try to get Cesc because we believe he will improve the team and the squad.”

Today saw these quotes from Pep Guardiola revealing that Arsenal and Barcelona are in the slow and drawn out process of negotiating the transfer of Cesc Fabregas. In one respect it’s almost pleasing to know that there is some discussion to try and sort this out but I think most Gooners are of the opinion now where we just want the right bid for the player or they can stop wasting our time.

From what Guardiola is saying there is sounds like they’ve made a bid, we’ve rejected it, told them what he costs and that’s as it’s stood since then. That’s backed up by these quotes from Arsenal chairman, Peter Hill-Wood:

“I am not sure how keen they are. There are still stories in the (Spanish) press, but they don’t talk to us. They’ve made one offer, which works out at around £26m, but that was ages ago.

But at the moment our situation is very straight-forward: we don’t want to lose him. Obviously if they come up with an offer which was a very good offer we would have to think about it. We have told them a number of times that what they are proposing is unacceptable and yet they haven’t moved on it.

I don’t approve of what they are doing, but unfortunately it seems the way of the world right now. It has become a real bore and an unnecessary interruption to what we are trying to achieve,” added Hill-Wood.

Well put, sir. I don’t even need to explain why £26m is not enough for Fabregas, frankly that’s a joke of a bid. We should reply with a £29m bid for Messi and see how that sounds to them. Because they’re of this deluded impression that they own the player anyway and they are the sole bidders for him they can name their own price. The thing is we’re in no hurry to sell, Cesc’s got plenty of time left on his contract and we don’t need the money; unless a proper and decent offer comes in he will remain with us.

Arsenal will sympathise with Cesc and will allow him to go back home where he clearly wants to go but we’re not going to lose out on tens of millions of pounds to do so. So right now Barcelona either need to show just how much they want our captain by paying up or they can fuck off and stop pussyfooting around. These 20 to 30 million pound bids are just a waste of an email.

And this from Guardiola, this you can also shove:

“The position towards Arsenal is with the utmost respect. Also to the player. We always try to approach from positions of utmost respect. We have a style to do things.”

Bollocks do you, you’re only style is to act utter cunts. That ‘more than a club’ slogan is pathetic. Show some class. Their players are constantly coming out talking out our captain and as employees of the club they are representing them so there is no ‘respect’ whatsoever being shown.

Anyway, I hope that the two clubs genuinely are negotiating the transfer and they’re listening to the price we’re setting. It’s insulting to Cesc himself these measly bids, they should get off their high horse and pay what one of the best (and not yet peaked may I add) midfielders in the world is worth or do one.

In other news it looks like the signing of Costa Rican teenager, Joel Campbell is off the cards after he failed to show for our last meeting with the striker. It seems as if his head has been turned considerably by a bid from Man United and we’ve given up on him. It’s a shame but I’m glad we’re remaining strong about this, if he can’t be arsed with us then why should we with him. He might go on to be a good player but if he’s being distracted by money at this early stage then it could be a future bullet dodged.

His father is now saying that no decisions will be made until after the U20 World Cup so basically they’re looking to get a big a payday as possible out of this. Maybe we’ll get back involved then but I doubt it you know.

Who will we chase now instead? I have no idea. I saw on twitter that we could (emphasis on ‘could’ there) be looking at Lyon’s Miralem Pjanic but other than that I don’t know where our scouts are looking now. Gazidis says we’re still very much in the market for players and suggests that signings will still be made so we’ll just have to wait and see. At the end of the day it’s a good thing that there’s not loads of rumours floating about, the more quiet we can keep things the more likely we are to strike a deal for players without the interference of other bids.

I still think we could do with a number of players but I can understand us waiting because we need to see what’s going to happen with Fabregas, Nasri and Bendtner etc. Times running out though, the season is just three and a half weeks away but I expect things will kick off rather soon.

Thanks for reading.

A busy week for transfers? 18 July, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
5 comments

With Arsenal now back from Asia and back in London there is a chance this week for some real transfer business to be done. We’ve all known that Gervinho would be signing for some time now but with Arsene Wenger and the club photographer back in the building he was officially unveiled on the website this morning. He’s signed on the typical ‘long term contract for an undisclosed fee’ but it is rumoured to be around £10m and looks like the replacement for back-door lingering Nicklas Bendtner.

All I can say I’ve seen of him is YouTube footage but he looks like a decent dribbler, has a trick in him and has a good eye for the back of the net. ‘Gervinho’ is a nickname given thanks to this Brazilian style of football and hopefully he can transfer this style of play to the Premier League. He scored 18 goals and made 10 assists in Ligue 1 last season and has been one of Lille’s top players the last couple of years. I’m excited about this signing and hopefully he can ‘do a Chamakh’ and make a difference right away. Our first glimpse of the player might be this weekend in Cologne.

Being of Ivory Coast nationality, he is quite likely to go missing along with Chamakh in January for the African Cup of Nations. We’re looking to fill that void by signing 19-year-old Costa Rican Joel Campbell. If you’ve been reading Gunnerblog this past week you’ll know plenty about him and he looks like an exciting player. And if you haven’t read it, then pop over there.

The latest is that advanced talks were taking place between the player’s agent and Arsenal executive Richard Law the past couple of days and it looked like we were on the verge of shaking hands on a deal when another English club came in with an improved offer. It’s quite likely that this other club could be Chelsea or Manchester City and if they’re getting involved we will struggle to match them financially. However I’m hoping that our record with young players and the fact we’ve had a representative out there for days now will secure us this signing. Unless there is a late twist in this story, I expect a decision to be made this week.

I guess we should check the latest on the Cesc Fabregas saga and last time I checked he’s still an Arsenal player… The Barcelona players have been actively tapping up Cesc with public statements again and last week Wenger declared his disgust for Xavi’s recent comments, you’ve also got Pique coming out saying we should be talking about Cesc by coming out talking about Cesc and there’s also the Mayor of Fabregas’ home town accusing Arsenal of kidnapping Cesc and holding him hostage. It’s almost hilarious.

Officially nothing has changed so there’s nothing to report. Until we get an offer that matches his valuation we won’t sell him and we don’t need to sell him. £40m would be disappointing but acceptable and to quote a banner seen at the Weekend’s game in China vs. H. Greentown, “Barca pay 40 million for Cesc or go home and wank!”

The current captain didn’t travel to China due to fitness problems but I think we all share the suspicion the real reason he didn’t go was to protect him from injury jeopardizing a move. I don’t know, he could genuinely be injured and if he is then it really says a lot about his fitness. Wenger said he’s not sure if he’ll be in the squad to face Cologne yet, it goes without saying it would be nice to see him.

The official word from the club on both Fabregas and Nasri is that they will not be sold although you’d expect them to say that. My understanding is that we’re waiting to see what happens with both situations and we will do everything to stop them both leaving. If we lose one I think we will cope but to sell them both would be extremely damaging to the team. This really could go down to the final day of the window but we’ll just have to wait and see. How terribly exciting…

And finally, Denilson is going home. Or should that be: ‘And, finally Denilson is going home’? Anyway, it looks like he’ll be going to Sao Paulo on loan for the season and then we’ll see what happens from there. On Twitter Denilson said it is a dream come true to be going home and I wish him the best of luck there, I really do. It’s a shame it didn’t work out for him here but it’s the best for both parties if he moves on now. I expect this deal to be sorted out shortly.

That should do it for today; I’m expecting a busy week so speak to you soon.

Football’s Back! – Malaysia XI 0-4 Arsenal – 13/07/11 – (Friendly) 13 July, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
5 comments

Finally, the beautiful game of 22 men kicking a ball round a pitch is back and the bullshit games of transfer rumours, speculations and lies can be forgotten (for 90 minutes). I haven’t been around much recently and that’s largely down to me just being sick and tired of the same old transfer window rubbish. I used to love the summers; the speculation, the rumours the excitement of potential new players but I’ve grown out of it now. I just can’t stand Sky Sports News’ and the tabloid’s consistent and transparent lies and it’s totally put me off. I think I’ve written once or twice since the season actually ended which is kind of sad but that’s just how I’ve felt.

However today was our first piece of action of the 2011/12 campaign and I was glad to get involved again. Our pre-season kicked off in untypical fashion; the traditional pre-season opener vs. Barnet has been scrapped in favour of a money-spinning Asian tour. It’s a shame not to be able to make the traditional trip to Underhill but at the same time nice to see us in a change of environment and hopefully creates a bit of revenue for the club.

Earlier this afternoon we faced a Malaysian XI allowing a run out for the complete 23-man squad. We started with Szczesny in goal and Jenkinson making his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt alongside Vermaelen, Kosicielny and Gibbs in defence. Song, Wilshere and Ramsey made up the midfield and up front it was also a first look at Miyaichi who was joined by Walcott and Chamakh.

We took an early lead with a penalty from Ramsey, Wilshere being brought down inside 5 minutes and Aaron tucking the spot kick away. Walcott had a chance to make it 2-0 but the ‘keeper came rushing out like a mad man and did just enough to put Theo off, thankfully avoiding to break his leg. Theo did eventually make it 2-0 in the 37th minute; Ramsey with a great lofted through-ball and Walcott finished well lobbing the ‘keeper.

There were 8 changed at the break which meant we lined up with the following; Mannone, Jenkinson, Squillaci, Djourou, Traore, Frimpong, Denilson, Ramsey, Miyaichi, Rosicky and Vela. Nice to see Traore, Frimpong and Vela back in the side and all three had decent games I thought. Vela didn’t looked greatly improved from his loan spell with West Brom however he was in the thick of the action for his 45 minutes and it was Carlos who made it 3-0 in the 58th minute. And you’d never guess it, it was a lobbed finish from the Mexican. However just a few minutes later he proved that his chips are his only speciality as he couldn’t guide an open header in front of goal into the back of the net.

Halfway through the second half saw the introduction of Sagna, van Persie, Arshavin and Nasri. They replaced the only remaining starters Jenkinson, Ramsey and Miyaichi, plus Denilson who also made way after a mere 20 minutes. Apparently he stormed right down the tunnel refusing to sit back on the bench with the others. To be honest I was surprised he traveled to Asia in the first place after his quotes at the start of the summer, I thought he would’ve stayed at home with Bendtner and Almunia to find a new club. Well after today it looks like he might’ve had enough. Oh well!

The extra quality from those subs showed immediately and we came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. I was impressed with Nasri who looked like we was trying especially hard to get involved and to get on the score sheet. After the game Wenger hinted that we would keep Samir despite his contract running down, I expect Arsene’s plan is to convince him to sign up over the course of this season but we’ll see.

The 4th came right at the end, a good bit of work from Arshavin from the left resulted in a deflected cross that fell to Rosicky and was an easy headed finish for Thomas. So 4-0 it ended and a good run out for the squad. Our next game is lunchtime on Saturday and hopefully we’ll see a bit more of the likes of van Persie and Nasri in that one.

For the first friendly of the pre-season campaign I was fairly impressed with the performance. There were some nice balls being played and quick attacking moves. It really should’ve been 5 or 6 but you have to be happy with the 4-0. Mannone and Szczesny didn’t have a great deal to do really. However the defence were a little sloppy at times, Jenkinson worked hard but showed there’s still room for improvement and the whole defence could do with a bit of work on their offside trap sharpness. However it’s the first game and you can’t be too critical.

It’s just great to have the football back.

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