With a full two months until the transfer window reopens, the media has decided that now is an apt time to reignite some old Arsenal rumours.
Although we shouldn’t completely quell them, I think we can agree that Wenger is fully behind the current squad. Whether or not he made a few panic buys towards the end of the summer is debatable, but he has faith in every player. For that reason, I doubt Wenger will make a massive buy in January – but circumstances may manifest themselves in such a way that it will be the best time to make moves for our two ‘main targets.’
Lille’s president Seydoux has made comments regarding Arsenal, Chu Young and Hazard:
“We had an agreement hours before Arsenal signed him [Chu Young], and Wenger was not elegant on this subject.
“Arsenal and Hazard? We will see next summer – there are other clubs interested.”
So the Park deal has really pissed off Mr Seydoux, but Hazard is still a possibility. Do we need the Belgian winger? Given some of the performances by Arshavin, Gervinho and Walcott this season, you could argue it both ways. Our three wingers have been very inconsistent, and Gervinho has probably been the pick of the bunch. Gervinho and Hazard played together at Lille last season and were lethal. Imagine those two wingers with van Persie in the centre. I’m already excited.
But we do have a lot of wingers in the squad. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Miyaichi can be added to the list of three mentioned above. In addition Rosicky, Benayoun and on-loan Vela could all be deployed on the wings. Splashing the cash on Hazard, who has a contract running until 2015, may be considered unnecessary. I expect Lille to hold onto the player until the summer at least, when a bidding war will probably ensue for the talented wide man.
Our other target is supposedly Mario Goetze, who was apparently subject to a bid by Arsenal during the summer. His contract runs until 2014, so we might have difficulty prising him from Dortmund’s clutches. The ‘German Wilshere’ showed his class when we faced Dortmund and I’m sure he could fit into our side. But once again, this ‘target’ is a player who might be considered as unnecessary – we have a plethora of midfield talent. Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey, Song, Rosicky, Benayoun and Diaby are all creative midfielders (yes, I included Song – his attacking prowess goes unnoticed too often!), so do we need Goetze?
The Mirror seems to think that Dortmund would like to cash in on Goetze in January, given their poor Champions League form and relatively average Bundesliga form (they sit third but won the league comfortably last year). The newspaper states that Wenger could get Gotze for just £17.5m in January, which seems like a real bargain to me given that we reportedly bid over £30 million for him in the summer.
I think these rumours are just hot air. As for the price for Goetze – it’s a joke, he would be valued much more highly by Dortmund. I hope these two players come to Arsenal given their obvious talent, but if we really want to strengthen the squad, then we need to focus on a back-up striker, a back-up right back and a new left back. We have creative midfielders and wingers in abundance.
Reports from TalkSPORT and Deutsche Presseagentur (German press agency) have indicated that Arsene Wenger is set to make a move for Freiburg attacker Papiss Cissé.
The striker, currently plying his trade in the Bundesliga, is a typical Wenger target – relatively unknown, has a decent but not exceptional scoring record and has spent plenty of time in the French leagues. In fact, he has played in the top three French divisions. In his last 110 matches, he has netted 58 goals, but prior to that his scoring record was less impressive. He also has an international pedigree, with 7 goals in 9 appearances for Senegal since his debut in August 2009.
TalkSPORT exclusively revealed that a host of Premier League clubs are looking at bringing the striker to England, including Sunderland, Fulham, Blackburn and Everton.
The Chairman of Freiburg said the following to the Deutsche Presseagentur:
“We have received three concrete offers for the services of Papiss Demba Cissé.
“All three are from clubs in foreign leagues. We are going to consider these offers calmly, but this doesn’t necessarily mean we are definitely going to sell him.”
If reports are to be believed, a fee in the region of £13 million will be needed to secure his services. This may rise if a bidding war begins between the clubs that are interested, which also includes CSKA Moscow and Bayern Munich.
“We lose Gervinho and Chamakh together [due to the African Cup of Nations] so, first of all, it is important to strengthen up front. It is important that we find one midfielder and one defender as well. So we are still short of three bodies.”
Back to Cissé, and it seems that time is running out for Wenger to make a move. A bid may already have been made, given that Freiburg have had three concrete offers.
Cissé himself said the following:
“I have a contract with Freiburg but I want to play at the highest level. The Premier League is a big league and I want to leave.”
If an acceptable offer comes in for Cissé, then Freiburg will probably have to sell him because he wants out.
The latest rumours to hit the media are suggesting that Arsenal are on the verge on signing three players: Joel Campbell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gary Cahill.
Despite the fact that the Campbell deal was reported to have fallen through, it seems back on the cards. He said that he didn’t want to sign anywhere until after the FIFA U20 World Cup, where he has scored two of his countries four goals in the competition so far. They are in the knockout stages and will play Columbia tomorrow evening. The deal is expected to be completed in the next few days, but if Costa Rica stay in the tournament, the finalisation of the move may take slightly longer.
Arsenal are set to sign the Southampton youngster this week, with a bid of £7 million plus around £5 million add-ons. Alex was close to joining Arsenal in January, but Southampton wanted to have him back on loan for the rest of the campaign, which proved a stumbling block. This time round, The Saints are apparently asking for a 40% sell-on fee to be placed in the contract, which may deter the Gunners. However, plenty of sources have made it clear that Oxlade-Chamberlain is already having a medical at Arsenal today.
Steve Rowley supposedly saw Cahill play as Bolton lost 1-0 to Levante on Friday night. Arsenal are thought to have been keeping tabs on several defenders this summer – Jagielka, Samba, Dann and Cahill. It is also reported that Cahill has been watched on more than 20 occasions. The 25 year old will probably cost over £15 million, but Cahill is young, English and clearly talented. Sources close to the club have revealed that Cahill is likely to sign for the Gunners in the next few days.
Personally, he is my favourite defender out of those that we have been linked with. I will be very pleased if he does complete the deal to Arsenal. Furthermore, if both Cahill and Oxlade-Chamberlain sign, then Arsenal will have added three English players to the squad this summer, which is good for two reasons. Firstly, an English backbone to a Premier League side brings strong communication and the English grit and determination (look at Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd). Secondly, if any home-grown player rules do come into effect in the next few years, we will be ready to accept them.
However, out of these three players, Cahill is probably the least likely to sign for Arsenal. The other two deals are all but done, according to the media and other sources.
TalkSport’s Adrian Durham has announced that Steve Rowley, Arsenal’s chief scout, was at Pride Park to watch Scott Dann in Birmingham’s league match against Derby. He reported that Wenger will be tabling a £10 million bid this morning if Dann put in an impressive performance.
Maybe I’m just sceptical, but when does Wenger choose his transfers based on a Championship match against Derby? If Wenger wanted Dann, surely he would have been in negotiations with Birmingham for a while. Everyone knows that Dann is a decent defender, Arsene doesn’t need to hear that Dann had a good 90 minutes last weekend in order to decide that he’s good enough for our leaky defence!
The 24 year old would be the perfect addition to the squad – he has height, composure on the ball and quite a bit of experience for a young player. He wouldn’t be nearly as expensive as Jagielka, having signed for Birmingham only two years ago for £3-4 million, and his club were relegated last campaign.
This summer has been a painful one for Arsenal fans. As we faltered in the latter stages of last season, achieving 17th place in the Premier League form table for the final 6 games, Gooners were excited for a summer of change.
Undoubtedly, much has changed over the summer. However, a lot of the change has been negative, or at the very least it is shown with a negative slant by the media. Apparently two of our best players want out, a couple of youngsters and fringe players are leaving without replacement and our notoriously weak defence has only been bolstered with a player from League one. Add to that the fact that the fans booed the team in the Emirates Cup, Squillaci has managed to get even worse and Nicklas Bendtner may never play for Arsenal again. Then we take a look at our pre-season friendlies: P6 W2 D3 L1 - hardly impressive, but it is true that such matches are meaningless.
Waking up this morning, I should have expected some anti-Arsenal media stories. Naively, I hoped that the media would forget to mention that we lost, and forget about our transfer problems this summer. How silly of me.
The three Arsenal stories that are circling most media sites and newspapers are in the title: Arsenal lose, Nasri argues with boss, Fabregas to pay to leave.
Of course the media is correct in saying that losing last night was poor preparation for our assault on the Premier League title. But most newspapers are failing to include the positives of last night’s first half performance, which was promising. Add to that the fact that our second half team was full of fringe players, and you can understand how we narrowly lost to a Benfica side with some tricky players.
But there were other negatives from our match in Portugal. Robin van Persie, Vermaelen and Gibbs all have knocks. Wenger said:
“It is an ankle problem [for van Persie], I don’t know how bad it is. Gibbs has a muscular [thigh] problem and Vermaelen has a slight back problem.”
Samir Nasri could be set to leave for Manchester City after an argument with Wenger. Supposedly, Wenger is now considering selling Nasri due to this argument and Samir’s poor performances in the Emirates Cup, although our manager has rubbished the second reason.
Letting him leave for a fee in the region of £25 million makes sense – we would also save around £5 million in wages, which combines to £30 million. Suddenly, a deal for Mata and a centre back seems all the more likely, and we have got rid of a player who doesn’t seem to want to play for the club.
Of the lack of recent transfer activity, Wenger has said:
“We work very hard, we are non-stop working throughout the summer. I am positive because we have good quality and a style of play that is known by the players.
“Ideally I would have finished all [our transfer dealings by now] but it doesn’t work like that.”
He also implied that something might happen next week, but don’t put your money on it. Further to that, making a signing only days before our match at Newcastle means that the new Gunner won’t have time to settle in, so he probably wouldn’t get a game for a while.
The other piece of bad news concerns Cesc Fabregas. The Daily Mail is reporting that Cesc is prepared to give up £4 million in bonuses to force through the deal to Barcelona. Barca’s latest transfer offer is rumoured to be around £32 million, with £5 million in add-ons. Fabregas has not featured in any of our pre-season matches, and Wenger has said:
“He’s not injured. He’s training normally but hasn’t played since Bolton, which is two and a half months. The situation with Cesc is not sorted out but I don’t want to talk about it any more.”
Our manager seems very frustrated with the situation, like most Arsenal fans. If Cesc really does want to pay in order to leave, that will represent a massive issue of loyalty for Arsenal. Our own captain is forcing through a deal to leave – how embarrassing is that?
However, there are no quotes indicating that this story is true. Hopefully it is just media speculation, after all it did come from the Daily Mail.
Let’s hope next week gives us something to smile about.
Arsenal defeated FC Koln 1-2 in an open game at the RheinEnergie Stadion in Cologne. Gervinho scored twice in his 29 minute cameo, and his first goal was a great way to start his Arsenal career.
First half line-up:
Wilshere lifted the ball over the opposition defence and the Ivorian’s run was inch-perfect. He subsequently chipped the keeper with his first touch to score a goal after less than seven minutes. The second goal came within the next ten minutes, as Wilshere fed Walcott, who ran into the box before squaring for Gervinho to tap into the net. Two very different goals from Gervinho, but it showed an array of skills – positioning, timing, composure and skill.
At 29 minutes, Gervinho was substituted for Miyaichi. It could have been due to a knock that the Ivorian received, but also Gervinho hasn’t had a full pre-season with Arsenal, so perhaps he isn’t fully match-fit. Despite this, he was very impressive in his short appearance.
Walcott, Wilshere and Gervinho were combining well with the assistance of Chamakh and Ramsey, although the former was a bit off the pace. Chamakh’s first touch was poor, when only a year ago his ability to link midfield with attack was one of the best in the Premier League. He has lost confidence, but also his awareness has gone haywire – he failed to lead the line effectively.
Wilshere was mesmerising, and made some fantastic dribbles into the Koln box. Ramsey was less imposing than his illustrious midfield partner, sometimes misplacing passes, but generally solid. Song was the same as ever – comfortable on the ball but clumsy in defence. He needs to improve his defensive midfield tactics in order to make the position his own – Frimpong provided a decent performance in the second half which may encourage Wenger to reconsider his options.
At the beginning and end of the first half, Koln caused problems for our defence. Most notable was the mistakes by Gibbs – he needed to use his pace to sort out his poor positioning. Jenkinson started poorly, especially when he and Song allowed Podolski to drift into space for a great chance, but he improved. Unfortunately, he scored a spectacular own goal when trying to clear the ball, which must have caused him some grief. However, he has given decent performances in pre-season, and I am sure he will have an interesting season for Arsenal, with plenty of opportunities.
The main issue from the first half was our defensive frailty – which only got worse in the next 45 minutes.
The second half yielded a totally different team, only Gibbs held his place:
Without Wilshere, Arsenal lacked the cutting edge in midfield. The defence was significantly weaker, and Koln came close to equalising a few times. The closest probably came when Jajalo moved into the box, but Djourou blocked the shot well.
Mannone looked very sharp, and in attack we had shots from Arshavin and Rosicky which were well saved. However, towards the end of the game, it seemed that Koln were accepting defeat. Henderson picked up an injury in the latter stages, but we don’t know the extent of the injury yet. Benik Afobe and Fabianski also featured in the second half, but very few players managed to impress in the second 45 minutes, although Arshavin and Rosicky looked lively.
However, it seems clear from this game that Arsenal’s defence needs bolstering. Fortunately, Wenger said the following the other day:
“Certainly, we will have to find one more defender. We [are] working on it. I don’t want to comment individually because I do not want to destabilise clubs. I do not want to do to other clubs what some clubs do to us so I wouldn’t like to comment individually on any player.
“I can promise we work very hard on it. In fairness, everybody looks for players. Everybody looks for the same area and you see that nobody turns up with magic. It’s all about being steady, working very hard on it and being calm as well.”
This sounds very positive, and it is certainly needed. Some of the defending was appalling and it all stemmed from very high pressing by the whole team. Barcelona manage to press high without causing their defence to constantly be on the backfoot. This could be due to the fact that they rarely lose the ball, but their defenders also stay back and allow midfielders to press. In our case, our back four kept stepping up to press the opposition – which often resulted in dangerous counter attacks by Koln. Whether we buy Samba, Cahill, Mertesacker or Jagielka, something needs to change if we are to challenge for the Premier League next season.
Cesc Fabregas hasn’t recovered from his “muscular injury” in time for Arsenal’s trip to Cologne. Arsenal’s squad flew to Germany this afternoon, but our captain has stayed at home.
Plenty of fans are speculating that Wenger isn’t being entirely truthful about Fabregas’ situation. It is rumoured that the injury is a cover-up, and that Cesc is actually involved in the tense negotiations regarding his future. However, Wenger also mentioned the following in his interview:
“The position at the moment [with Fabregas] is a ‘no comment’ situation because there is no movement at all.”
This could be interpreted as Fabregas is not moving anywhere at the moment, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t in negotiations with Barcelona. All reports indicate that Barca and Arsenal are in talks, which is probably the reason that Cesc isn’t joining the squad in Germany.
Gervinho has been taken to Germany, and he is set to make his debut tomorrow in the 14:30 (GMT) KO against FC Cologne, who finished 10th in the Bundesliga last season. We are excited to see where the Ivorian will play, as well as whether or not he will be able to slip straight into the first team.
Fabianski also returns to the squad, along with youngsters Jenkinson, Afobe, Frimpong, Miyaichi and Henderson.
Almunia, Bendtner, Diaby and Eboue aren’t travelling with the squad. The two former players are rumoured to be leaving, which has been confirmed by Wenger:
“Almunia 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.”
The latter two, Diaby and Eboue, are injured, so will not play in Germany. Eboue has a short term injury, whilst Diaby’s is longer term:
“Diaby is out longer term so that is why I do not speak about him. We do not count Diaby for August. He will miss the start of the season for sure.”
News reports are indicating that Arsenal has been told by Everton to pay up for Jagielka. The fee that is being thrown about is around £18 million. If we can get Cahill for less, why not go for him? Cahill is younger, more comfortable on the ball (from what I have seen + several reports), he is taller and has scored more goals in the Premier League.
I’d like to reiterate the point that no quotes exist regarding an Arsenal bid for Jagielka. Until there is some more evidence, we should take such reports with a pinch of salt. Especially reports that say we have bid a measly £10 million.
In addition, is it not true that Moyes wants Bendtner? If so, I’m sure Arsenal are exploring the option of offering Bendtner as a makeweight in such a deal for Jagielka. Everton really need strikers – Yakubu looks set to leave and Saha has recently struggled for fitness. Perhaps Bendtner will be an important factor if Wenger is serious about signing Everton’s English centre back.
Gibbs to be great
Thomas Vermaelen has praised Gibbs in an interview shown on Arsenal Player. Ever since Clichy left, Gooners have been worrying about the left back position. Wenger has been happy to suggest that Gibbs is our first choice, followed by Traore and Vermaelen himself. Our Belgian star has supported Kieran in this recent interview:
“I think Kieran is a really talented player.
“I played a few games with him in my first year and he impressed me a lot. He’s a fit player, he can run a lot, he’s a technical player as well. He has all the qualities to be a world class full back.”
Wenger’s comments indicate that potential bids for Baines, Sakho and Jose Enrique are merely media speculation. Vermaelen’s quotes will do little to ease the worry of Arsenal fans. Gibbs will have to show his worth on the pitch in order to win some support.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is fined
Arsenal target Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been fined over comments regarding his wish to play for the North London club. The comments can be seen here. According to the Daily Mail, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been fined two weeks wages for expressing his desire to leave.
Southampton’s manager wishes to keep the youngster:
“We believe it’s better for him to stay at Southampton and play his football and keep developing.
“We’ve got to try to make sure we look after a young boy who’s handled himself ever so well but has been placed in a situation with speculation. It’s speculation with big football clubs people always dream about.”
However, if Wenger does offer the reported £10 million, it will be difficult for Southampton to say no.
Transfer speculation is beginning to pick up again after a relatively quiet week or so (relatively being the key word here). But rather than absurd rumours such as Ribery or Benzema, both the BBC and Sky Sports are revealing that Arsenal have bid for English centre back Phil Jagielka.
Sources such as Gunnerblog indicate that Arsenal bid £12 million last summer, which Everton considered derisory for their esteemed defender. Since then, he has had a decent season, playing in 33 of the Toffee’s Premier League matches. He also participated in his first competitive England game last September, in a 4-0 win over Bulgaria. John Cross, of the Mirror, said of Jagielka after that game:
“[Phil] read the game brilliantly on a night when he proved his credentials.”
So naturally, one would assume that Wenger might raise the bid slightly if he is serious about bringing the defender to the Emirates. Far from it, Arsène has apparently just offered only £10 million for Jagielka (you won’t be surprised to hear that it was rejected). Last March, the centre back signed a new four year deal with the Toffees, putting them in an even stronger negotiating position (take note Arsenal, this is how to make sure your best players don’t take advantage of you!).
Phil has credentials from Division 1 to the Premier League. He has played in Europe for Everton and is now stepping up to the international scene. I certainly believe he would be a great addition to our defence, but right now I’m hoping for anything – Samba, Cahill, Jagielka, Dann, Sakho, Mertesacker, Baines, Vertonghen… the list goes on and on. We just need a defender with some experience to prevent the issues that dogged us last season and even in our pre-season draw against Hangzhou Greentown.
Of course, unlike myself, Wenger has a clear picture of precisely which defender he wants and why. However, £10 million for an established Premier League defender is rather low. It doesn’t seem plausible, I just can’t imagine Arsenal making such a bid. I know Wenger would rather get value for money, but everyone knows that English players come with a hefty price tag – look at Young, Downing, Henderson and Jones. There isn’t a single quote on the internet which indicates that we actually have made a bid. No comment from Arsenal, Everton, Jagielka, his agent or even someone ‘in the know.’
Basically, this sounds made up. I still reckon we will get Samba or Cahill. Well, I hope so anyway.
Pep Guardiola claims that Barca “will fight to the end to try to sign Cesc because we believe he will improve the team and the squad.” It doesn’t seem that Guardiola understands the way transfers work, and neither do the rest of the Barca squad. The constant comments to the media regarding Fabregas’ proposed transfer only serve to make their club seem less and less impressive. They play great football, have great players and win loads of trophies, but there is a clear lack of class. He says that the Catalan club will continue to try to sign him until 31st August. However, I reckon that Wenger will want to get his transfer deals done before the season starts. With such a busy beginning to our campaign, Arsène should look to have the squad sorted well before our trip to Newcastle.
Apparently Arsenal are set to hold out for a £40 million offer, although Barca only offered around £27 million earlier in the summer. That bid was rejected, and rightly so. In my opinion, and that of many Gooners, Cesc Fabregas is worth far more than £40 million. He should probably be valued closer to £50 million, especially when we consider that he has a few years left on his contract.
Both Wenger’s and Guardiola’s comments, along with Cesc’s silence, and our captain’s “injury” (which, as was commented on the blog yesterday, will surely disappear the moment he signs for Barca) all indicate that Fabregas will be leaving the club this summer.
Likeliness Rating: 4.5/5
As we revealed earlier in the week, the deal for Joel Campbell seems to be slipping away. Although he is yet to sign elsewhere, he has been contacted by another Premier League club as well as Fiorentina and possibly some clubs in France. Deportivo Saprissa’s President was not happy that the Arsenal deal wasn’t finalised, saying that “it’s a shame that Costa Rican football could not have a player at Arsenal at this time.”
Some sources say that Joel will wait for the Copa America to finish until he makes a decision on his future. After missing out on Ricky Alvarez, Wenger would not be pleased to lose out on Joel Campbell. His stats are impressive, and Campbell’s rise to first-team international football has been spectacular. This deal is far from out of our reach, but it is becoming less likely by the day.