Speaking to French sports magazine L’Équipe, QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt confirmed that Arsenal and Chelsea have both made enquiries about a potential transfer, but admitted that the situation with both clubs is extremely difficult.
“QPR will demand £10 million pounds for me… I had contact with Arsenal and Chelsea, but it is a little muddled. Arsenal have not yet sold Fabregas, and as for Chelsea, they do not yet have a coach, so we will see.”
Taarabt’s performances last season (during which he made 44 appearances in the Championship and scored 19 goals as QPR won promotion to the Premier League) have attracted the attention from some of the top English clubs, and it is known that Arsène Wenger is a keen admirer of the 22-year-old. It is also suggested that Wenger even tried to sign Taarabt from Lens in 2007 before he joined Spurs. Taarabt only made 16 appearances for Tottenham before he was sold permanently to QPR in 2010.
In my opinion, this transfer is quite unlikely. QPR have just been promoted to the Premier League and will no doubt be desperate to hold on to their star midfielder. However, it is understandable if Taarabt wants to move to Arsenal in order to bolster his chances of silverware.
Likeliness rating: 2.5/5
Speaking to the club website, West Brom sports director Dan Ashworth rubbished the reports that Arsenal are close to agreeing a deal for Peter Odemwingie, insisting that the Nigerian international is not for sale.
“Our aim is to retain our core players and try to strengthen around them. I want to make it clear that Peter is not for sale and remains a key member of our squad. We have not received any offers for Peter and we have placed no valuation on his head.”
Odemwingie scored 15 goals in 32 Premier League games during a season in which West Brom avoided relegation. This has led to interest from a number of bigger European clubs. However, a source close to Odemwingie told the Daily Star that while Arsenal were able to meet West Brom’s asking price, they had failed to agree personal terms with the player.
“Peter is not happy that, while the Gunners are willing to meet West Brom’s transfer fee, there will not be much change in his personal terms. The club are proposing what he considers to be peanuts for him.”
In my opinion, Odemwingie would still make the move even if the personal terms were similar to those at West Brom. Players of that calibre just don’t turn down the chance to play for Arsenal. Such an opportunity is unlikely to occur for the player in the future. However, as far as I am concerned, the source is seems rather unreliable. I should also point out that Dan Ashworth made it very clear that Peter is not for sale, so it is extremely unlikely that this transfer would materialise.
Arsène Wenger looks set to miss out on Argentinean attacking midfielder Ricardo Álvarez who, according to the Metro, has also attracted the interest of Roma.
Álvarez currently plays for Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, and the 23 year old admitted that he is aware that several clubs have been monitoring his progress over the past few seasons.
“I know I’m being followed by some major European clubs, and I hear the rumours about me, but I just try to stay calm and down to earth.
“For me it would be an important leap to arrive in Europe, and it is what I aspire to do. I am ready to play in Europe, I’m the right age to make this leap and I’m waiting for this opportunity.”
Valez have apparently put a £12 million price-tag on Álvarez – a fee that I don’t think that Wenger would pay for a player who currently plays in the Argentine Primera División. That is not that only reason that this transfer is extremely unlikely. Alvarez’s agent is this week told the press that the player ‘would be proud to wear the Roma shirt’.
Likeliness rating: 1/5
There are rumours in the Italian press reporting that Roma are planning to offer France winger Jeremy Menez in a part-exchange deal for Gaël Clichy. Menez, who can play across the midfield, is currently looking for a move away from Italy and Roma are apparently ready to cut their losses and offer him to Arsène Wenger.
Wenger is believed to have been a long-term admirer of the French international, and had been tracking Menez while he was at his previous club Sochaux. However, his agent (Alain Migliaccio), who is also the agent for Samir Nasri, was quick to dismiss any speculation about a move to the Emirates:
“I read of A.C. Milan but there are no negotiations going on. At the moment [AS Roma] are yet to decide whether or not to extend the contract of the player or release him.
“I think it depends on new manager Luis Enrique and then they will call us. For sure is that he still has one-year left on his contract.
“Swap deal with Arsenal’s Gael Clichy? I’ve known [Arsene] Wenger for a long time, he’s a friend but I know nothing about this.
“All I can say is that at the moment we are waiting for AS Roma to contact us to let us know about the future of the player.”
Arsenal have been linked with two of Saint-Étienne’s most talented players, who are both rumoured to be considering their options having drawn interest from many of Europe’s top clubs.
Saint-Étienne striker Emmanuel Riviere has welcomed suggestions that he has attracted the interest of Arsène Wenger. Riviere, dubbed the “new Thierry Henry”, has been linked with a move to the Premier League by both Goal.com and the Daily Mail, who believe that Arsenal and Liverpool are the clubs most likely to attain his services.
“I am flattered to be linked with the clubs mentioned. I am a young player, so to be linked with Arsenal is fantastic for me.
“If Arsene Wenger is interested in you it means you have potential to be a very good player. People compare me to Thierry Henry, and that is a big compliment. If I can achieve half of his career I will be happy.”
On 22nd July 2010, Rivière signed a three-year contract extension with Saint-Étienne (despite interest from Toulouse and Hoffenheim) which should keep him at the club until June 2014. Then again, we all know that contracts seem to be worth very little. If Riviere wants out then the chances are that he will be able to negotiate a move away from the club. However, with Arsenal now close to landing Ivory Coast star Gervinho, this transfer looks extremely unlikely.
Likeliness rating: 1/5
Saint-Étienne president Roland Romeyer has reiterated that midfielder Blaise Matuidi will only be leaving the club for the right price. It is thought that Matuidi, 24, would welcome a move to England and the ability to play European football. The Daily Mail have reported that Arsenal are the most likely suitors as Matuidi desires to play for a club which has qualified for the Champions League.
Speaking to The Progress, Romeyer said:
“The right fee is €15million (£13.2m). We will not discuss anything lower.”
Romeyer was also quick to criticise Paris Saint Germain, another club interested in the midfielder, who are thought to have approached Matuidi himself without first clearing it with his club.
“The rule is that you contact the club to which he belongs before the player himself. Paris does things backwards.”
If Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leave in the summer then Arsène Wenger will need to find a replacement who is proven at the highest level. However, I really don’t feel that Matuidi is that player. If anything, Wenger needs to buy a player who has Premier League experience. France is currently ranked 5th in the list of UEFA coefficients, and I don’t believe that Matuidi has the strength and presence to play in the most physically demanding league in the world.
Lille have confirmed that the club will hold talks with Arsenal over the proposed sale of striker Gervinho within the coming weeks. 24-year-old Gervinho was one of Lille’s most important player’s during an extraordinary season in which they won the French league title and domestic cup. However, it seems that Gervinho, whose contract expires next summer, has decided that the coming transfer window would be an appropriate time to move to a bigger European club.
Arsenal have always been favourites to land him ahead of the likes of Newcastle, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool – who are all thought to be interested in signing him over the summer. Last week, many of the tabloids reported that Lille turned down an offer from Spurs, but it has now emerged that Arsenal have entered into negotiations with the attacker.
Speaking on French radio station RMC, Lille general director Frederic Paquet revealed that the Ivory Coast international is already in advanced talks with the club:
“He [Gervinho] wants to leave the club and is in advanced talks with Arsenal.
“We have developed contacts with Arsenal. We will soon discuss with them to see what they want. He has expressed his desire to move to England. We’ll see what happens now.
“Paris Saint-Germain have made an enquiry, but we have no intention of selling to domestic rivals. Gervinho chose to leave for England, so that limits the options. We will soon meet with Arsenal and see what they offer. He clearly is a player of value.”
Paquet also revealed that Lille have reached an agreement with their other star striker Eden Hazard, who will most likely remain at the club for at least one more season. Arsenal had been linked with a move for Hazard, but Lille made it clear that they would only let one of their strikers leave this summer. Gervinho was always the most likely of the two to leave the club after refusing to sign a contract extension.
“Today it’s clear, and we’ve agreed with the player [Hazard]. We want to be together next season. On the other side, it would be a lie to say that we would not be made to think by an indecent sum. There are no numbers.”
Arsène Wenger is thought to have been a long-time admirer of Gervinho; it is widely believed that the club had made an offer Gervinho while he was playing for K.S.K. Beveren in Belgium during the 2006/07 season (before he transfered to Le Mans). The statement from Paquet means that this transfer is looking even more likely. There is no reason for Gervinho to move to any of the other Premier League clubs he has been linked with because none of them offer Champions League football (except for Man City), which he would have access to if he were to stay at Lille.
Athough the purchase of Gervinho would be a great signing for the club, Arsène Wenger must follow it up with other quality signings. One player alone is not enough to carry the club forward, no matter how great a potential he may have. Hopefully this signing will be the first of many as Wenger looks to rebuild the squad and prepares to mount a serious title challenge next season.
On Friday 13th May, we brought you news that Arsène Wenger was considering bringing Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro to the club. At the time the deal seemed likely; we had a good link with Lorient following the purchase of Lorient Koscielny last year and Gameiro was looking for a club that could provide him with Champions League football. With 22 goals scored last season, Gameiro attracted many of the top European clubs and a move seemed likely.
A month on and Gameiro has signed a 4-year contract with Paris Saint Germain in a deal reported to be worth €11 million with add-ons. Although he is no doubt moving up the echelons of French football, the move to PSG does seem strange when you consider that Arsenal, Spurs and Valencia had reportedly all shown interest in signing the 24 year old French international. Lorient even confirmed that Valencia had made a bid, but they felt that the offer from PSG was more appropriate. PSG finished 4th in Ligue 1 last season, meaning that they missed out on Champions League football and instead make it into the 2011/12 Europa League Play-off round.
That said, at only 24, Gamerio remains one to watch. It is unlikely that he will remain at PSG for the remainder of his career and we will no doubt be hearing more about him in the future.
Player sold to PSG – potential move to Arsenal fails to materialise.
According to SportsVibe, Arsène Wenger is the most likely manager to secure the services of Birmingham City midfielder Sebastian Larsson when the transfer window officially opens on July 1st. Birmingham will be playing in the Championship next season and, as we reported yesterday, Alex McLeish said that he was looking to offload some of the club’s best players. McLeish then resigned late yesterday evening. Birmingham did not offer Larsson a contract extension and confirmed that he will be leaving the club when his contract expires in a few weeks time.
Larsson played in Arsenal’s youth system but went on loan (and was subsequently sold) to Birmingham in 2006. With the potential of loss of Samir Nasri and/or Cesc Fabregas, it would seem that Wenger is looking to bring some new midfielders to the club over the summer. Wenger has always been a fan of Larsson, despite letting him leave Arsenal after only a handful of appearances for the first-team.
Speaking this week before Sweden’s World Cup qualifier, Larsson told the media:
“I will contact my agent in the next couple of days to see what alternatives I have.
“I haven’t spoken to my agent since we played our last game with Birmingham.
“That’s the way I wanted it, but now its time to get things rolling and we will see what happens.
“[Arsenal,] it’s the club that partly raised me, but a rumour is just a rumour.”
As a rule, Arsène Wenger is rather reluctant to re-sign any of his former players. The signings of Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann are the only exceptions to this rule. Both of these re-signings were made more recently, perhaps indicating a change in policy from our stubborn manager. Larsson had a solid season for Birmingham but I didn’t see enough to convince me that Wenger is likely to change his previous strategy. As far as I am concerned, Larsson couldn’t be more right – “a rumour is just a rumour”.
Arsenal have tabled a bid for Radamel Falcao according to his agent Claudio Mossio.
Falcao, who has a €30 million (£26 million) buy-out clause, only has two years left on his contract with Porto and has reportedly turned down a contract extension in order to force a move to another club.
“Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are the two clubs that are keen to sign him, and have already tabled an offer for Falcao.”
‘The club that matches that clause has a good chance of signing him. Porto want to open contract talks and offer him a new and improved deal to insert a higher minimum fee release clause.”
Falcao has scored 73 goals in 85 appearances for Porto since he joined from River Plate two years ago, helping the Portuguese club to win the treble this season – including going an entire league campaign unbeaten. At the age of only 25 (and considering his goalscoring record in Portugal) he would be a fantastic acquisition for the majority of top teams in Europe.
In the currently inflated transfer market, £26 million does not sound like too much for a world-class striker (especially when you consider the price of Andy Carroll). However, Arsène Wenger is not known for splashing the cash and may be unwilling put up that sort of money unless he is absolutely certain that Falcao can return the club to its glory days. Saying that, Wenger may also feel the pressure to spend more than usual this summer if he wants to ensure that the club retains Champions League football.
In my opinion, Falcao would make a brilliant strike partner for Robin van Persie and I am looking forward to seeing how this transfer plays out over the next few months.
Likeliness Rating: 3/5
Arsenal look set to sign French striker Moussa Sow in the Summer. Sow (who is the leading goal scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 22 league goals for Lille) has attracted the attention of several clubs, with The People claiming that Arsenal are close to bringing him to the Barclays Premier League next season.
One season of good form in Ligue 1 does not necessarily mean that a player is ready to play in English football and I think that Sow needs another few seasons in French football before he can be considered a reliable and consistent enough forward to play for Arsenal.
However, the fact that he is French and is relatively unknown makes it increasingly likely that Wenger is interested in signing him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him at the Emirates next season.
We are assured Champions league football, but how will we get to the group stages?
Arsenal face the very real possibility of finishing fourth. We have to better City’s result on the weekend to stop this happening. Frankly, although it is possible, I doubt that we will. Even if City do drop points, our recent form suggests that we will not be able to take advantage of it. So, what happens if we finish 4th? We will (like 2 seasons ago) enter the play-off round of the Champions League. We will play two legs against an opponent from the following list:
It is worth noting that this list is not finalised. These are the teams that are expected to make it to this stage of the competition. Bayern Munich is clearly the team to avoid. Amidst the doom and gloom of our frustrating end to the season, there is a silver lining. We will be playing champions league football next year, and we will not have to face the likes of Robben in order to make it to the group stages. Once the teams are confirmed, the UEFA coefficient will seed the top five teams. Each of the top 5 teams each be matched against one of the bottom 5 teams. Arsenal’s coefficient will only be bettered by that of Bayern’s, so we will definitely be seeded. Hence, it is not possible for us to play them. This means that it is highly likely that we will play one of the following teams:
Udinese/Lazio, Rubin Kazan, Twente, a team that has progressed from a previous champions league play-off round, and one from Marseilles/Rennes/Paris Saint-Germain/Sochaux.
This information makes for better reading. That said, even if we are to face a team such as Twente, this does not necessarily grant us automatic entrance to the group stages. We still need to win the tie, and if we fail to do so, we will enter the group stages of the Europa league (surely not…). Of couse, a lot of what I have said in this article is rather hypothetical. For all I know, we could still finish third and not have to worry about any of this. Let’s hope that we can finish the season with a win and overtake CIty.
Manchester United look to have secured a record-breaking 19th league title after they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford. The Gunners lost 3-1 to Stoke, having beaten United at the Emirates last week. There have been many highs this season (such as beating Barcelona in the first leg of our Champions League tie), but losses to West Brom, Newcastle, Bolton and Stoke prove that we are the most fantastically inconsistent team ever.
The scoreline today just shows that the team lack the physical presence and aggression needed to win when we are not playing well. Lower-placed teams are no longer scared of us. They have developed a way to beat us – letting us keep the ball and soaking up all the pressure. It is unlikely that we will shoot from outside the box, with the players content to pass around the area. This is all very well until we lose the ball and are hit on the break.
A mixed end to a spectacularly average season proves that changes are needed. The team now have 2 games to fight for second place. Most Arsenal fans would admit that we wouldn’t have deserved to win the Premier League this season anyway.
A few days ago, people were waxing lyrical about their superb Champions League performance against Chelsea. However, Sir Alex’s team fell apart in the semis of the FA cup earlier today, and that treble is no longer a possibility. This Man Utd side is not as good as the treble-winning side of 1999, but it is brimming with confidence, experience, youth and pure talent. But most importantly for us, a defeat for Arsenal tomorrow would all but gift them the title.
Manchester City showed us how to stifle Man Utd. I don’t think it was a guide of ‘how to defeat Man Utd’, given that City got pretty lucky for their goal. Uncharacteristicly, the Red Devils were sloppy in defence, which allowed City to score. Chances were rare, but Yaya Toure took his with great power and skill. Arsenal will not be able to stifle Utd in the same way when we play them on 1st May, but we will need to copy their high-pressing technique (as we did vs Chelsea), because when Scholes and Carrick get time, they can pick out perfect passes. The fact is that I cannot see Arsenal defeating Man Utd, even at home. We can’t play like City, especially without Vermaelen.
There was another result today which is relevant for Gooners. Chelsea won, which could put pressure on us for second place. Chelsea sit third with 61 points, and Arsenal are second with 62 (and that game in hand). Should we fail to grab all three points against a resurgent Liverpool, the 2009/10 League Champions could overtake us.
WWDDDW – 12/18 points
DLWWLW – 10/18 points
Liverpool’s victory against City was mesmerising. Carroll and Suarez were excellent, although it does seem that Carroll’s first touch is quite loose. Every Liverpool player was enthusiastic, determined and played with confidence. Kenny Dalglish has galvanised them, and fifth place is not beyond them.
Arsenal’s last game was at Blackpool, in a thrilling, end-to-end match which ended 1-3 to the Gunners. Our attacking brilliance was clear, as were our defensive frailties.
We brought you news earlier this week that Djourou and Szczesny were likely to be available for Sunday. Although Song is still a doubt, I can see Wenger putting him in the starting line up – even with the Spurs match on Wednesday. Liverpool will need to be stopped in the midfield due to their strength in attack, and Wenger must realise that Denilson will be unable to fulfil such a role.
2-2 draw – Such a result would probably end our dying title hopes, but Arsenal are on a poor run of form, which is going to coincide with Liverpool’s confidence boost from the City game and Carroll’s debut.
As we approach the end of the season, it is important that we have as many players fit as possible. Often, teams that could/should have challenged for the title fall short due to injuries (as we have seen many times over the past few seasons). Sunday’s game against Liverpool represents the first of a series of important games which will define our season. Three of our next 4 games are against other “top 6″ sides. We face Liverpool on Sunday, Spurs on Wednesday and Manchester United in just over 2 weeks.
The good news is that Wenger is welcoming back some important members to the squad. Wojciech Szczesny, who has not featured since our Champions League exit to Barcelona, could replace Jens Lehmann in goal. However, I thought that Lehmann had a great game last weekend against Blackpool and if Szczesny is not fully fit then I would prefer to rest him for an extra game as a precaution.
Johan Djourou is also back in full training following a dislocated shoulder suffered in our FA Cup tie at Old Trafford. I have been hugely impressed by Djourou this season, especially given the extent of the injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of last season. His return to the squad is extremely important as I do not feel that Koscielny and Squillaci make for a particularly effective defensive partnership, especially against the likes of Luiz Suarez and Andy Carroll.
Alex Song did not feature at Bloomfield Road due to a knee injury, but is expected to be back in the starting eleven for the game against Liverpool. Denilson also missed the game against Blackpool and has a small chance of being available. Unfortunately, Bacary Sagna has not recovered from his knee injury, so Emannuel Eboué will continue to play as right-back.
Thomas Vermaelen is also back in training, but is unlikely to feature for the first team during this campaign. Vermaelen has not played since the Euro 2012 qualifier for Belgium at the beginning of September, and Arsène Wenger has indicated that he will not risk our first choice central defender unnecessarily.
“I can understand my manager when he says that my season is over – I have been out for seven months and I must fulfil a complete ‘pre-season’, so it’s logical that he won’t take risks.”
Had Vermaelen been fit for the whole season, I think things could have been different. He was a revelation when he joined the club last season, adapting to the fast-paced Premier League with ease. It was unfortunate that he picked up an injury when he did, but it seems that he is now well on the road to recovery and will be available to play week-in week-out next season. We have also been unlucky with injuries to our goalkeepers this season, but it is clear that Szczesny will remain Wengers first-choice for next season.