Football Trumps Transfer Dealings For Gunners

After the events of the last few days it was nice to get back to the part of football we enjoy the most – the football on the pitch. The closing of the transfer window presented an unwelcome distraction as at first the lack of transfer activity was followed by the questionable caliber of acquisition to the squad which then led into the revelation of the injured condition of a certain Kim Kallstrom.
Granted the whole saga involving the Swede has caused much embarrassment to fans and employees of Arsenal Football Club but until the results on the pitch are affected I couldn’t care less.
An Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain inspired performance ensured that Crystal Palace were dispatched without too much effort moving the club back to the top of the premiership table. Despite a quite flat first half as we all know games are won over 90 minutes and any apprehension to the success of Tony Pullis’s ‘park the bus’ strategy were swiftly dismissed when Oxlade-Chamberlain found the back of the net two minutes into the second half.

oxlade chamberlain
Given the recently publicized reduced midfield options at the club Arsene Wenger chose yesterday to back up his claims that Oxlade-Chamberlain could eventually develop into a top central midfielder by giving the young Englishman a start there. He certainly did not disappoint and refreshingly gives Arsene a selection dilemma for our massive game next week at Anfield.
After so-called successes in the transfer window didn’t work out quite so well for other clubs it’s nice that the Arsenal were able to exhibit their strength in-depth despite having nobody walking through the Emirates doors… well, uninjured. The injuries are temporary, same with the bans being served, so the players will return eventually to help the cause.
My personal regret is not having a striker join the ranks but I suppose if Nicklas Bendtner can build upon his new-found commitment to the club then we just may have a ready-made player to share the central attacking burden placed upon Olivier Giroud’s shoulders.
The tough run starts from now so it was important to get maximum points against Crystal Palace yesterday. It is going to be a bumpy ride so strap in and hopefully by the end we will all be smiling.
On a final note Arsene in his own words explained the events of the Kallstrom signing. As speculated he was aware of the injury to the Swede’s back and admits the deal would not have gone through if more time was afforded to the club to find another player. Always best to hear straight from the horse’s mouth, it may not be enough to calm all Gunners’ Fans but hopefully at least knowing the truth we can move on from the debacle.

Enjoy your day people.

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Will Arsene make key signings part of his New Year resolution?

So Arsenal start the New Year in 1st place, a hard fought victory over a stubborn Cardiff team ensured they stayed there. The proud record of being the best performing team of 2013 can be seen as the perfect springboard to continue the improvement into 2014 and hopefully reap the benefits come the end of the football season.

The fans are happy (well most of them) and will no doubt be settling back into their normal routines following all the festive fun. As the majority of us tend to do in the New Year goals are set, a chance to put right the wrongs of the previous year with new gym routines or money saving tactics. We all enter into these with the best of intentions unfortunately the motivation dies before March is with us.

It would be nice to think that Arsene has incorporated some resolutions to help Arsenal for the second half of the season. The ideal resolution would be to make some key January signings.
As we all know Arsene isn’t a big fan of January buys, the Frenchman has a lot of faith in his squads and doesn’t tend to put his hand in his pocket at this time of year unless his hand is forced or a super bargain is available. One of the main requirements this season is a top quality striker to share the burden with Olivier Giroud. Will Arsene buy or will he see the recent change in Bendtner worth waiting for him to recover from his recent injury rather than purchase a player? Although whilst still an Arsenal player I’d back Bendtner 100% every time he goes out on the pitch I don’t see Bendtner part of any long term plans and for that reason it may suit both parties that he finds new employers during the transfer window.

bendtner

Arsene is also a big fan of adaptability in his players and he has said it in the past that Walcott and Podolski are very much able deputies to the central striking role. The recent return of Podolski has already prefilled the possible quotation of “like a new signing” though the German hasn’t quite grasped the opportunity in that role with both hands. His goal in the West Ham game reminded us of his valuable contribution to the team though his starting role in the Cardiff game in the central striking position was slightly underwhelming.

Podolski is one of the best finishers at the club and certainly offers a goal threat but at the times he has played in the central striking role it hasn’t quite clicked. This is taking into account times he played there before his injury also. One game does not condemn a player and you never know he could well grow into the role; he also didn’t have the luxury of the creative talents of Ozil and Ramsey at his disposal. Flamini has been a great acquisition to the Arsenal team this season but his performance in an advanced role on New Year’s Day was rather limited in the attacking third whilst Arteta covered.

Walcott also offers a goal threat though question marks will always remain over his effectiveness with his back to goal as opposed to the outlet of pace he offers on the wing. What we gain in Walcott playing central we lose from him not playing wide.

Taking all this into account a striking addition to the squad would be the best option, a loan or permanent transfer? If a top quality player can be brought in on loan I don’t see why not. A permanent arrangement can be readdressed in the summer. If it’s the difference between playing over the odds fees for a player and assessing a potential signing up close in the short term for peanuts then we all know which option our manager would rather take.

In addition to that a central defensive signing would be reassuring, beyond the excellence of the Koscielny/Mertesacker and the cover from Vermaelen there aren’t much options at all. Given Arsenal’s injury history it would be foolish to rely on the current partnership not receiving another injury for the rest of the season. Vermaelen is an able deputy but in recent times the Belgian has hardly been injury free himself.

per and kos

Arsene has never been one to recall players from on loan during injury crisis’s and so if the worst was to happen the next step would be to rejig the whole defence by slotting Sagna into the middle or calling upon the services of Isaac Hayden. Not ideal given the massive chance the club has of winning the title this year, the last thing Arsenal fans would want to do is feel regret at the missed opportunity of strengthening to enhance the clubs chances for silverware.

Well, Arsenal has a month to hopefully make the right signings and give the rest of the season a good go. Signings for the future are not required at present, focus really needs to be on the now, it’s the clubs best chance in years to bring in a trophy.

Enjoy your day people.

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Deadline Day!! Bendtner,Essien gos.ECL,CapOne Cup draws – AFC

Big big day today, arsenal fans across the country (and world) expect some transfer action today. Arsene Wenger has hinted, he has teased the press that transfers will be made, he has kept his cards so close to his chest that we have no indication of who may be coming through the emirates door before the window closes. In the past few days Wenger has stated that any players coming in will be top top class players, no average players but top top class players. I hope he sticks to his word as nothing will be more frustrating than seeing us sign a couple of players who are the best players around for their age and have potential to be the best. We really need players ready to be leading lights in the first team now not youth who will jump ship as soon as they reach the required level.

All I know is I along with many other fans of all clubs will be glued to some sort of media awaiting news of players coming in whether it’s watching sky sports news, refreshing various football websites or listening to radio updates. We all get hooked in by the fever of the deadline day deals; I wonder who will be spotted in their private helicopter hovering over the football ground of the team they are going to sign for this time?

I really don’t think any genuine names have been thrown into the hat for potential arsenal signings, many have been mentioned without any solid proof to back it up. I personally have a feeling Clint Dempsey could be a potential signing, my reasoning for this is the silence, nothing has been mentioned from the American’s camp. This kind of silence could be because of the typical arsenal style of keeping everything hush-hush. Sorry guys that’s as far as my theory goes and it’s a pretty weak one. But never fear as I can guarantee you anything that does happen will be done TODAY.

With the incoming players not being so transparent we at least have some light shed on an outgoing player. It looks like Nicklas Bendtner has finally found a club that meets his 3 important criteria with news that Juventus are the most likely destination for the striker. After Dimitar Berbatov pulled a sly one on the club they turned their attentions to the big Dane to lead their line and he is known to have had a medical for the Italians and will probably have his move announced today. Good luck to him, he managed to get a move to a decent club (despite being Juventus pan B) after his agent’s phone refused to ring all summer.

Apart from the awesome excitement whipped up from today’s deadline day activity Arsenal were involved in some draws for a couple of tournament’s yesterday. In the domestic corner the draw was made for the third round of the capital one cup when we received a home tie against Coventry. A great draw and another brilliant chance for fans to obtain tickets at a discounted price to see some of the stars of the future grace the emirates pitch in first team duty. That game will happen in late September and I hope we can go on a good run in that competition with a nice balance of youth and experience.

In the slightly larger more important draw that happened yesterday the groups were decided for the champions’ league. Read into it as you may I think we received a reasonable draw considering some of the teams we possibly could have drawn. In our group we were paired with Schalke, Olympiacos and Olivier Giroud’s old club Montpellier. We will have to be on top of our game and the early season cobwebs totally blown away to ensure safe passage from the group.

There is slight relief that our group did not resemble that of Manchester City, truly a group of death. We’ve been in this competition long enough to not take any opponents lightly, no games are easy enough that we simply need to turn up. A good result in our first group game which is away to Montpellier would be a nice start.

Overnight The Mail and The Express have run with stories which link us with snapping up Chelsea’s Michael Essien on loan for the season. Now we are just being teased, I for one am not a fan of the football equivalent of ‘blue balls’. The awesomeness of such a signing would be off the scale, Essien would be the type of ready for now player that would fit the quality of player we need. How true the story is I don’t know, the logic behind Chelsea letting a player like Essien move to a rival is enough to confuse Spock. Understandably the Ghanaian hasn’t hit the heights recently of his days when Mourihno was still in charge but he would clearly be a quality addition to any team. The loan transfer of Yossi Benayoun last year was a different proposition; he clearly wasn’t part of AVB’s plans and needed Arsenal as much as Arsenal desperately needed him at this time last year. Don’t get too excited on this news yet Arsenal fans but take comfort in the fact that all will be resolved before we reach September 1st.

Enjoy deadline day today people, it will come with many twists and turns. hopefully that hot presenter on sky sports news will work double shift today.

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Almunia a hornet, Chamakh in Besiktas link, Arshavin talks with Wenger – AFC

Former goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has found a new club in Watford FC. Our former number one has made the short move across London to sign a one year deal with the hornets. Manuel was one of the high profile free departures from the gunners at the end of last season and most gunners will join me in wishing the Spaniard well at his new club.

At least Almunia’s departure was a smooth one and hopefully he won’t have any bad words for the gunners once he has his interviews and settled in at vicarage road. A number of players at the club have been dragging their feet upon leaving the club despite declaring their intentions to leave the club a while back now. Players that fall into that bracket are Denilson and Niklas Bendtner, although Denilson managed to engineer another season loan at Sao Paulo a clean break from the club would have been a more feasible arrangement for all. The manager’s door was hardly being knocked on repeatedly  full of prospective offers and Arsenal in the end were forced to succumb to Sao Paulo’s terms.

Bendtner another player on his way out is hardly trying his best to attract the masses, the big Dane was fined by the courts after a non-appearance to answer charges of driving without a valid driving license. He apparently chose to go on a shopping spree rather than turn up at court yesterday. Its such petulant behaviour that tarnishes the strikers reputation, he is starting to be known for a number of pointless misdemeanours and needs to get his head together and make his football be the only thing people talk about, well… the good points of his football be talked about. At the moment the news of an imminent move has not exactly been filtering through. Though he will eventually move on it seems quite clear the big clubs around Europe he believed would be his destination are yet to be convinced of his star quality.

Maroune Chamakh has been linked to Besiktas in Turkey, their manager Samet Aybaba has gone on record to say that he has targeted the Moroccan and Tucay Sanli as the players he would like to lead their attack in the coming season. No comment has so far been released by Chamakh himself so it is not known if the admiration for the striker is mutual. He has previously gone on record to express his happiness at arsenal and his determination to succeed at the emirates this season. I don’t think many gooners would be too distraught if the striker made the move. He will find it hard to win back the belief from the arsenal fans who have noticed his progress move in a backwards direction ever since he lost the snood. With new signings Giroud and Podolski in the mix opportunities will be limited for the striker, Van Persie will be gone so there’s no need mentioning him in the equation.

According to the Daily Mail Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out the possibility of Andrei Arshavin staying with the gunners next season. he admitted he could have talks with the Russian this week about his future. Arshavin staying would be no bad thing for the Arsenal, on his day he can be unplayable and his performances at the recent Euro 2012 tournament showed how effective he can be when played the right way. Its down to the player himself I guess; if he wants to try to make it work this year. Bridges appear to have been burnt with Zenit St Petersburg after his comments received negative press in Russia after a defeat in the Euros. I’d be happy for him to stay as our squad still requires strengthening and as the season draws closer no signings look a possibility apart from potentially Santi Cazorla.

Enjoy your day people

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Benayoun farewell, players in/out as transfer window opening looms – AFC

When the 1st July arrives it will signal the cut off point where many a deal ends for footballers. 1st July is primarily set as an end point to contracts to coincide with the opening of the summer transfer window in England. Despite the high number of transfers announced by clubs since the season ended and in some cases towards the end of the season while it was still being contested; the deals do not officially kick in until 1st July.

Arsenal took the opportunity to re-confirm the professional players that will be released come this date and there have been no new additions to the names mentioned at the end of the season; Manual Almunia still being the most high profile name. A few second year scholars have also been released while a number have been offered professional contracts. Some names of the new professionals will be known to arsenal fans already, young players such as Hector Bellerin, Kris Olsson and keeper Reice Charles-Cooke.

Another set of players have 1st July as a significant date and that is the loanees who were on season long loans. In that category for Arsenal will be the loss of Yossi Benayoun. The Israeli became popular amongst Arsenal fans because of his contribution to Arsenal’s run of form in the second half of the season gone. He scored some important goals at times and proved to all he had the passion and ability to fit into the Arsenal team. Unfortunately it seems with no word of any negotiations between Arsenal and Chelsea that Yossi will return to his parent club.

Benayoun even took to twitter yesterday to give his thanks to the Arsenal players, staff and fans for his time spent over the past 11 months at the emirates.

He tweeted:

“My loan spell with arsenal will be officially over tomorrow… I want to say again a big thanks to the fans and the club for the opportunity and the great support and I wish this club all the very best!”

Very nice words from the midfielder towards the club and I’m sure all Arsenal fans will wish him the best in wherever his career path takes him (with the exception of games against us of course). It could be that with a new manager at Chelsea he could feature in Robert Di Matteo’s plans for next season or he is holding out for an offer of a more secure longer term contract; something Arsene doesn’t throw out freely to over 30’s very often. Whatever the reasons are behind the scenes Yossi will leave the club on good terms.

Whilst signaling the end of season long loanees to Arsenal in the opposite direction the doors will open once again to a number of players who spent the last season elsewhere. The likes of Bendtner, Denilson and Vela will all become property of Arsenal again. It will be fair to say that neither of these players will be returning with the intention of starting the new season playing at the Emirates. Each has been quite vocal in their insistence that they see no future at Arsenal; Bendtner has been putting himself in the shop window at Euro 2012 and his agent has been talking up his demand across Europe. Vela and Denilson have enjoyed productive loan spells at Sao Paulo and Real Sociedad respectively and look towards potentially making permanent moves to those clubs.

Only sticking point is with Denilson, the Brazilian club is pushing for an extension on his loan rather than a permanent deal. Not ideal for us and we really need to stick to our guns and push for a permanent deal at the right price for a player who doesn’t want to return to Arsenal.

Young players returning which are very much in Arsene’s plans for the future are Joel Campbell and Ryo Miyaichi; however their involvement next season depends heavily on work permits and whether Arsene feels their experiences gained has made them ready for the first team.

A player at crossroads will be Henri Lansbury, its unclear whether Arsene will finally give him a run in the team next season, he had a mixed season on loan at West Ham as he was hampered by injuries and struggled to get back into the first XI after a long spell out on the sidelines. Arsene has spoken highly of Henri in the past and he has been one of the standout players in the England u-21 set up. Time will tell how that pans out though it would be a shame for him to not get a fair crack of the whip. Oguzhan Ozyakup has gone after he confirmed via twitter last week will Henri follow him out the door?

Enjoy your day people

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