According to theDaily MirrorWigan are looking to take Ryo Miyaichi on a season-long loan as a replacement for Victor Moses, who is refusing to sign a new contract and is being heavily linked with a move to Chelsea. Roberto Martinez is said to have been very impressed with Miyaichi’s performances for Bolton in the second half of last season and is keen to add the Japanese starlet to his squad.
Miyaichi is one of the hottest young prospects at Arsenal, but with the likes of Gervinho, Walcott, Podolski and The Ox all ahead of him he will probably go out on loan this season to gain more playing experience. The suggestion is that Arsène Wenger would prefer to challenge him at another Premier League club rather than send him to the Championship or to another European league. Ryo had a very successful loan-spell playing under Owen Coyle last season and I am sure that there are more than a few Premier League teams who would love to take him for the coming season.
I can’t say that I wouldn’t be disappointed if he went out on loan for another season (if he stayed then he might get a few outings in the Carling Cup etc…), but the experience he will gain from playing at another Premier League team will be invaluable.
According to reports in Russia (although I am not exactly sure how reliable this really is…), QPR are looking to take Andrey Arshavin on loan for the 2012/13 season. QPR have already signed Robert Green, Samba Diakate, Ryan Nelsen, Junior Hoilett, Andy Johnson and Park-Ji Sung this summer, but apparently Mark Hughes is not finished and see’s Arshavin as the perfect addition to his squad. Andrey’s contract expires at the end of the season (the same time as van Persie and Theo Walcott), but most Arsenal fans don’t seem to be that bothered.
Arshavin was sent out on loan for the second half of last season to his former club Zenit St Petersburg, who are now also in the mix. Arsenal fans were giving him a lot of stick for being lazy and it looked as if he had almost given up on playing at the Emirates. 11 appearances in the Russian Premier League, 3 goals and 4 assists later and Zenit are apparently looking to sign him back on permanent basis. There is also interest from Fulham, who are rumoured to be offering as little as £1 million for a player that we signed 3 years ago for £15m.
The suggestion is that QPR and Fulham are the most likely destinations for Andrey; Julia Arshavin is expecting their third child and the couple are keen to send all of their children to school in London. There are rumours circling on Twitter linking the Russian with a move to Leicester, although these can be tracked back to an account called @fakerumours and can be immediately discounted.
Other Transfer News:
In typical Arsenal style, there has been no official news about the signings of Santi Cazorla or Nuri Sahin. The Cazorla deal looked to have been completed last week, although the club will (as usual) wait until the very last minute to announce anything because they are a stickler for paperwork and bureaucracy. A loan-move for Sahin looks to be very promising, and we will have more on that later in the week.
According to Talksport, FC Schalke are prepared to offer Jefferson Farfan to Arsenal as part of a player-exchange deal for Andrei Arshavin.
Farfan has scored 30 times in 119 games for Schalke since joining from PSV Eindhoven for €10 million in 2008.
Schalke are almost being forced into selling their talented striker in January. The Germans do not want to lose Farfan on a free transfer in the summer. His current contract runs out at the end of the season, and it seems that he is not going to sign a contract extension.
Schalke are said to be desperate to find a replacement for the Peruvian forward, with Andrei Arshavin said to be top of their list. Arshavin has been heavily linked with a move away from North London following some poor performances of late, with Juventus and Zenit St Petersburg both said monitoring the situation. Andrei has even admitted that he knows that his recent form has not been to the high standard that Arsenal fans expect, but seems determined to stay at the club and to fight for his place in the starting XI.
Farfan is 27 (3 years younger than Arshavin) and would come with a lot of experience. He has made 42 appearances for the Peruvian national team, and won the Eredivisie in 4 consecutive seasons with PSV. As much as I want Andrei to stay at Arsenal (although it could be suggested that the 4 goals that he scored at Anfield are hugely distorting my opinion of him), I think that this has the potential to be a deal that Wenger surely cannot refuse.
Speaking to Arsenal player Thomas Vermaelen has insisted that he is ready to face Chelsea on Sunday following his return to first team football in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.
Vermaelen was forced off the pitch 4 minutes from time against Bolton with a minor calf injury, which proved to be nothing more than cramp.
Having our star centre-back back in the squad will be a further boost to a squad that seems to be gaining confidence.
Despite our awful start to the season, the team have won 7 of the last 8 games as our new recruits have had time to adjust to the physical demands of English football. However, Vermaelen has yet to play a single game with Per Mertesacker (with the two centre-backs believed to Wenger’s first-choice defensive pairing).
“I feel great. I trained [on Monday] with the team and I felt good straight away so I felt confident [to play against Bolton]
“If I come back from injury after a long time I don’t believe in coming back and getting rhythm.
“I think it is just in your head and a mental thing – if you are a football player you have to be there straight away.
“It was great to be back and to get time on the pitch.
“I felt fresh, I’m okay and am available for Saturday.”
Thomas Rosicky is a major doubt to travel to Stamford Bridge after he suffered a groin injury in training on Monday. Rosicky has been in great form so far this season, with his display against Sunderland as a replacement for the injured Aaron Ramsey typical of his recent performances.
Andrei Arshavin spoke of Rosicky’s injury following his man-of-the-match performance against Bolton. Arshavin was apparently not supposed to be playing, with Rosicky Wenger’s first-choice to add some experience to the team.
“To be honest, yesterday Tomas Rosicky was preparing for this position.
“He was supposed to play today. Unfortunately, yesterday he got injured. I had to replace him.”
Theo Walcott’s current Arsenal contract expires in 2013, but the winger has finally said that he plans to sit down and negotiate a new deal.
Arsène Wenger is desperate to avoid a repeat of the situation which saw Samir Nasri move to Manchester City and, with Robin van Persie stalling his contract negotiations, Walcott’s comments will come as a huge relief.
It has perviously been suggested that Theo may use his current contract situation to force a move to Italian giants Juventus, but these rumours were quickly dismissed by his agent.
Speaking to The People, Walcott also said that the Gunners are looking to move past their poor start to the Premier League campaign, insisting that the mood within the Arsenal camp remains positive following our 1-0 win over Marseille in mid-week:
“I will listen to what Arsenal have to say.
“Hopefully we will sit down with the club soon and talk things over.
“The team morale at Arsenal is great – the best it’s ever been.
“To be honest, we have forgotten about the first few games. There is no point in dwelling on it.
“All we can do now is look at what is coming up. And it is looking very positive at the moment. Everyone needs to be alive at what is going on during the game.
“In the Champions League, you want to at least draw the away games, but we managed to sneak it in the end.
“We were very solid at the back and we need to do that more often – dig deep and win games 1-0. It was nice to see that in Marseille.
“Now, hopefully, we can start climbing the Premier League.
“This can still be a big season for us, although we are not looking too far ahead.”
“Draw your away games and win your home games” is the winning formula when it comes to the Champions League group stage; 12 points will almost always see you in good stead as you search for a place in the first knockout round, normally topping your group.
With this tried-and-tested theory of European football clearly in mind, Marseille boss Didier Deschamps has told Uefa.com that his team will accept nothing less than a win when Arsenal visit the Stade Velodrome this evening.
“I won’t be satisfied with a draw. We have two games against Arsenal and need to take points as these six points could be decisive.
“Arsenal are a competitive team who can upset any team in Europe.
“[Despite losing Fabregas and Nasri] They’re still a top European club and they qualify systematically for the Champions League.
“Their squad is full of quality. They’ve had problems in the Premier League but they’re still a top team and they’ve played in this competition every season for a good while now.
“The situation will be a bit clearer tomorrow; if we can take three points it would put us in the ideal position to reach the knockout rounds.
Arsenal have never played Marseille in a competitive match before, leaving us with no way to analyse past games in order to attempt to predict how this game will play out. However, L’OM will be looking to continue their fine home form against English opponents, having only lost twice in 10 home games against English teams.
Despite their poor league form, Marseille have a 100% record so far in this European campaign and will be looking to further extend their lead in group F with a win in front of their home crowd. Arsenal drew 1-1 at Borussia Dortmund and then beat Olympiakos 2-1 at the Emirates, but Marseille won convincingly against both sides without conceding any goals. These two games (home and away vs Marseille) will most probably decide who tops the group. As far as Arsenal are concerned, a draw away from home would be a pretty good result.
It will be a exciting game, with both teams known for playing high-pace attacking football. Whilst Koscielny and Mertesacker will have to work very hard to deny André Ayew, Loïc Rémy and André-Pierre Gignac, I am sure that RvP, Arshavin, Walcott and Gervinho are more than capable of causing the French side a few problems.
According to numerous reports, Arsène Wenger remains hopeful that Theo Walcott will pass a fitness test ahead of our Champions League game against Olympiakos on Wednesday evening. Walcott pulled up towards the end of our win over Bolton on Saturday and it was initially thought that he had suffered a hamstring problem which would keep him out for several weeks. However, a club spokesman revealed yesterday that it is only a “minor” knee problem.
Walcott was hugely important in our win over Bolton, grabbing an assist for Robin van Persie’s second goal and making a fantastic run which led to David Wheater being sent off.
Photo by Ronmac on Flickr
Although his finishing still needs work (he missed a 1 on 1 with Jaaskelainen), Theo combines well with Robin van Persie and provides a constant attacking threat. He scored 13 goals in all competitions last season and has already notched 3 in this campaign, most importantly in both the home and away legs of our Champions League qualifier against Udinese.
Even if Walcott is not fit to face the Greek Champions in midweek, he should at least be included (through may not start) in the squad that travels to White Heart Lane on Sunday. I would not rush him back for the Champions League if we don’t have to. We have both Gervinho and Arshavin to play in the front three, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is more than deserving of a place on the bench.
Straight Talking Gooners will continue to keep you up to date on Walcott’s injury. The club should release an official statement on the injury within the next few days (possibly during Wenger’s pre-match conference on Wednesday morning).
Bearing in mind that the Arsenal team produced two very different performances in the first and second half, we have decided to give each player two ratings. The first-half saw Arsenal give the performances that we need if we are going to get anywhere this season. The team passed the ball well and moved forward well as a collective entity. The second-half saw a rather more lackluster performance.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of our match against Swansea this afternoon Arsène Wenger reported the following team news:
Kieran Gibbs & Theo Walcott
“They are available for Saturday.”
“He is not completely match fit, but is in the squad.”
“He has a chance to be available for Tuesday night, he has a knee injury. He got a kick during the internationals.”
“He will very quickly knock at the door. At the moment he is injured and is just coming back – he should join in again on Monday or Tuesday.”
“We have the players with long-term injuries out like Wilshere and Diaby of course; then we have players suspended like Gervinho, Song and Jenkinson as well; we have an injury from the internationals in Rosicky and finally Vermaelen, who had surgery on Monday and will be out for a month.”
It is also worth noting that Park Chu Young is still waiting for his work permit and is therefore unavailable. I am unsure whether he will be able to play against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Predicted team line-up:
For a full analysis ahead of the match against swansea click here to view our match preview.
Szczesny to start in goal as per usual.
Laurent Koscielny will most probably partner Per Mertesacker in the wake of Thomas Vermaelen’s injury. Sagna has recovered from his illness (he played the full 90 minute for France mid-week) and as Wenger said above Kieran Gibbs has recovered from his injury.
Alex Song is suspended, so Emmanuel Frimpong should start as our defensive midfielder. With Jack Wilshere and Thomas Rosicky both injured, I would imagine that Aaron Ramsey will partner Mikel Arteta in midfield with Benayoun on the bench.
Walcott has fully recovered from the injuries that he picked up on international duty and will be included in the usual front 3 (with Arshavin and RvP).
FC Anzhi Makhachkala – The Russin Man City. This club was founded only twenty years ago, but it had a groundbreaking moment in January 2011 when it was bought by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov. The 45 year old investor has a combined wealth of around $5.5 billion. Having finished 11th in the Russian Premier League last year, the title is now the club’s aim, as can be seen by the purchase of Yuri Zhirkov and rumours of bids for Eto’o and Arshavin.
However, Andrey rubbished such rumours, saying that if he did leave Arsenal for Russia, he would only return to his former club Zenit.
“These are just rumours. I’ve always said that I’m playing where I want – in a top European club.
“If I ever decide to come back to Russia, Zenit would be my first priority. As for Europe, there’s only one club I would never go to – Real Madrid, because I’m a Barcelona fan.”
Of course he’s a Barcelona fan. Most Arsenal players seem to end up at Man City or Barcelona these days. Seaman, Toure, Adebayor, Vieira, Henry, Overmars, Hleb, Clichy… Fabregas, Nasri?
Talking about our famous duo of Cesc and Samir, Chamakh’s latest interview wasn’t particularly encouraging. The Moroccan said:
“I think Cesc and Nasri will probably leave the club. I do not believe that the money available for these two players is really the crux of the problem. I just think the manager wants to find reliable replacements.”
Although this comment is probably spot on, it doesn’t make for good reading if you’re a Gooner. We know that it’s not only about money, despite cash possibly being a factor, especially if City are really going to offer Nasri around £180k/week. The main issue for Cesc and Nasri should be about trophies and ambition. That is what a true sportsman really wants – to win. Then again, perhaps I’m giving the latter player too much credit. With Cesc, it’s clear he wants to go to his home club. With Samir, it’s not so obvious what he wants.
Arsenal are set to continue their pre-season tour of Asia with a game against Hangzhou Greentown in China this afternoon. 2 years ago, Manchester United also visited the 51,000 seater Hangzhao Huanglong Stadium as part of their pre-season tour, winning 8-2. Hopefully the Arsenal team that are visiting the region will be more than capable of winning by a similar margin.
It is almost impossible to accurately predict the starting line-up for the game. Arsène Wenger will want to look at as many of the players as possible, and with unlimited substitutes, it is probable that the majority of the players included in the squad will feature at some point. I would imagine that both Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson will play the majority of the game, as it is one of the first opportunities that Wenger has had to see them play.
Speaking to the Arsenal website, Andrey Arshavin said that he is really enjoying the Asia tour because it is different to regular pre-season training, offering the players a change of scenery and the ability to learn about a fans who have a different cultural background.
“Normally pre-season is the toughest time of the year for every player. But I think a trip like we are doing at the moment is really good for everyone – for players, for staff, for fans, for the whole club…
“Out here we have had the chance to travel, meet different people, see the reaction from the fans, and see a different culture. For players, that’s really good.”
As much as I am glad to hear that the players are enjoying their pre-season, I am starting to think that this process may not be as vigorous as it has been in previous seasons. As Arshavin said himself, the team is “travelling a lot and there is no time to train twice a day.” That said, the tour does open up a plethora of other opportunities for the club. Manchester United has a big Asian following for a reason. The extra shirt sales and media interest can only enhance the club’s reputation and global standing. I would suggest that this tour will have significant benefits for the club in the long-term.
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