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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Van Persie mess, Denilson back on loan, why? Nigeria tour postponed – AFC

Well the past 48 hours have been a bit of a PR disaster for Arsenal football club haven’t they? The biggest hammer blow being the Robin Van Persie revelation that he has made the decision that he will not extend his current contract and therefore signalled the end of his Arsenal career. This news was excellently summarised by my partner in crime Cdrive77’s blog post yesterday.

Arsenal fans are used to losing their top player (and captain) year on year, when will this trend stop? For all the talk of self sustainability that gets spewed out to the arsenal fans time and time again when will this policy transpire into a top team unrivalled by all? We the arsenal fans have had the patience, stuck by the team and manager as we await the new dawn of Arsenal reaping the benefits from the being ahead of the rest when the Financial Fair Play rules kick in.

I admit the financing from a sugar daddy rich owner doesn’t sit well with me, a team should build their own success and buying titles is a major cop-out. I would not like Arsenal to win things that way and besides it’s a bit too late in the day as the F.F.P rules are just around the corner.

What the other big clubs seem to be doing now is building their teams with a strong core that when such rules come into play it will take minor acquisitions to add to the core to continue and grow. This is the part where Arsenal needs to catch up with the rest, if the overall plan is for the future when exactly does the team itself come into the reckoning?

Ever since the new stadium was built the one area that suffered was the playing team, I believe the general plan at the time was minor additions to a highly successful core. What wasn’t in the plan was for the team to disband as rapidly as they did. Many of the players from the invincible’s era were happy winning things, we put the money in for the right players and reaped the benefits. This stopped and so then did the commitment of the players who got us to that standing. They were used to being the best and then suddenly changed to carrying the team as lesser players came in. The emphasis was heavily leaned on the youth and many young players needed nurturing; the bigger players did not favour rubbing shoulders with and carrying the young. The opportunity to rub shoulders with the best as they were used to was more tempting. Once we peaked and conquered the premiership back in 2004 the next step would be to attack Europe and bring in the champions league trophy instead we reached a plateau and concurrent regression.

Winning team

It is from this stage where a team which should have been growing has weakened with each year, the bigger marquee players have moved on year after year and the team itself has suffered as we have had to rebuild to fill voids of those who have left. The key eye for spotting talent from Arsene Wenger has ensured that with every gem that has moved on another gem surfaces and becomes invaluable.

The problem I have is that such a policy cannot last forever; the signs were there last season as we were so close to finishing the season outside the top four for the first time in Arsene’s era. This is the wakeup call the club needed, the scare that would open the eyes of the money men at arsenal that the team needs to be the focus and has to grow. If we lose a massive cog from the team we end up going back to the drawing board. I’m not advocating purchasing players we could not afford in the long run but im happy in the knowledge that everything was done in our power to keep a player. And if those players do not want to be a part of the team then we move on, we don’t honour their wishes and send them on their way with a handshake and a smile. Our focus should be on Arsenal and Arsenal alone. The timing of Robin’s announcement was all wrong and in a way didn’t show respect to the same men who honoured Van Persie’s silence. They protect him while he pissed over them without a second thought; and this is what irritates me as it makes the club look like chumps. We are Arsenal football club and we should call the shots, if a player wants out then we play hardball. Too many players have left over the past few years wrapped in cotton wool only for the club to reveal the bad points of the players long after they are gone. Why tell us at the last AST meeting that Fabregas refused to play for us last season as he wanted to play for Barcelona only? what benefit is there in telling us this last month and not at the time? They might as well have taken that story with them to the grave.

The Arsenal hierarchy need to start doing things differently to avoid turning us into a laughing stock. The team needs to be the focus from now on, do everything in their power to keep the players we build the team around and keep the core together. Let the Robin Van Persie saga be the last year this happens. Self sustainability may be the way forward but without a team you risk falling out of the top four places and that’s where the money stops and trouble starts. We are no longer guaranteed top four and our new acquisitions already have the burden of needing to hit the ground running to ensure we stay there.

Go away…

In other news that further dents the fans relationship with the club is the news that Denilson has signed another season long loan with Sao Paulo. It is well known Denilson had no intention of returning to Arsenal. The club have put the player up for sale however it is alleged no offers have come in for the player. We were in negotiations with Sao Paulo to turn his loan last season into a permanent deal. We were adamant on a price but the Brazilian club wouldn’t budge and in the end we succumbed and granted the player another season long loan. This is the kind of thing that infuriates fans, myself included. Why is the player calling the shots? If Sao Paulo didn’t want the player they wouldn’t be negotiating with us. If there is no budge then the player returns and rots in the reserves until his people can organize a transfer to someone willing to pay for him. I would not be surprised if we are footing the majority of the players wages, it is claimed Arsenal have a clause to cancel the loan if an agreement for his sale can be arranged with another club. We all know that isn’t going to happen so we end up with the Brazilian who doesn’t want to play for us still on our books picking his big wages. Why are we so soft when it comes to transfer negotiations?

In more embarrassing news on the Arsenal front it was announced last night on the official site that the tour of Nigeria is now postponed till possibly next summer. In the announcement the club stated:

“We could not get comfortable on everything needed to satisfy our requirements, so we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the team’s visit”

To be blunt these kind of things should be looked into long before announcing any possible tour and game. This is a major own goal by the club and again sends the PR team into the spotlight. I only hope not too many fans have made arrangements and booked flights for the sole purpose of this tour. If so should the club make an effort to reimburse those who possibly could lose money if they attempt to cancel their bookings?

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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Arshavin, Denilson back for good? Giroud as good as in – AFC

Andrei Arshavin may have talked himself out of a move from Arsenal to Zenit Saint Petersburg after his comments that were leaked earlier this week. The Russian schemer reacted acrimoniously when questioned on the failure of Russia to beat Greece and advance to the quarter finals. Although his comments were caught without his knowledge on a mobile phone during a heated exchange with a fan it was the wrong words at the wrong time. Fresh from the defeat the fact that the captain of the team deflected blame from the players to the fans caused a major storm in his country.

“Calm down peoples”

As expected Arshavin has been forced to release a statement in which he apologised for the performance of the team. The Arsenal no.23 said:

“As team captain, on behalf of our players and myself personally, I would like to apologize for our performance and the result that we had.”

“It’s not right to shy away. That’s why I took this moment to say something on this subject. I will do it only once and will not talk about this any further,”

Could it be a case of too little too late? We will have to wait and see. Arshavin has really turned his public popularity in Russia onto its head, what started out as a promising tournament with a man of the match performance against the Czech Republic he is left fighting to restore his status in the public eye after the comments he most probably regrets saying. Upsetting officials who own Zenit is not a good omen.

Another player who could also be returning to Arsenal indefinitely is Denilson. The midfielder has already spent the whole of last season on loan at Brazilian club Sao Paolo and although the club is keen to sign the him they are clearly in disagreement over the valuation of the player.

They seem to be calling Arsenal’s bluff by stating:

“Arsenal wants £4.9million for him, but we won’t pay that so we expect him to leave soon”

A fair price in my opinion for a player at a prime age of 24, he clearly impressed on his loan since the club have shown intention to purchase the player. A bit more negotiating will need to be made before the clubs are in agreement on price. What we want to avoid is the mooted possibility of another year out on loan. If the player has no part in Arsene’s plans for next season then there is no need to send the player on loan. Cash in now and move on.

As you have probably heard by now Arsene Wenger has given the biggest indication yet on the acquisition of Olivier Giroud from Montpellier. In an interview on French television Mr. Wenger was reported to have admitted that the deal for Giroud is 90% complete. I presume the final 10% will be concluded once France’s participation in Euro 2012 is over and the player himself can meet the relevant people negotiating the transfer.

Exciting news all round, now if Arsene can give an update on Yann M’vila and Robin Van Persie then we will leave him alone to enjoy the rest of his summer.

Enjoy your day people

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