Ramsey wanted by Fulham, Giroud deal agreed – AFC

News started circulating yesterday that Aaron Ramsey is on the radar of Fulham. It has been suggested that the west London club are preparing a bid for the Welsh captain as they look to find a replacement for Danny Murphy who yesterday signed for Blackburn rovers on a free. Murphy has been a big player for Fulham over the years and it would be no surprise that Fulham would look to a big player to fill his boots. Ramsey hasn’t had the best of times in the season gone; Arsenal fans were divided in support for the Welshman as his form fluctuated throughout the season.

In Ramsey’s defence it was his first full season at Arsenal after his horrific leg break, he was not rushed back into the side as Arsene Wenger took on the cautious approach to his rehabilitation. A couple of loan moves in the 2010-11 season helped him along the way and with a full pre-season behind him he seemed ready to work his way back to the level he reached before the long term injury.

One thing that wasn’t in the plan was the long term injury to jack Wilshere which disrupted Arsenal’s midfield options through the season. This in turn led to Ramsey playing a lot more games than planned. In a season where he should have been eased back into the team he was thrust straight into the heat of the action and probably didn’t get the chance have the break he clearly needed. He clearly has the talent to feature as an important cog in the arsenal midfield for years to come and taking into account his young age he is still learning his craft. He was such an exceptional talent at a young age that many forget that he is far from the finished article at the age of 21 especially with the last 2 years disrupted so badly.

The question is what will Arsene have planned for the midfielder? I certainly don’t think Wenger would be mad enough to sell Ramsey to anybody however a loan move would not be out of the question. If Ramsey could get the opportunity of a loan playing at premiership level it could help him sharpen up his game again. The duration of that loan? I’m not too sure if a season long loan would benefit Arsenal, maybe a 3 month loan would be more realistic. He just needs a change of scenery for a short while then a return back into the arsenal team.

Whether Fulham are prepared to accept a loan we will have to see but the figures of £5.5m rising to £9m based on appearances etc are laughable.

To be honest more evidence is required for this transfer rumour to gain credibility, Fulham have indeed been previously in for the player trying to take him on a season loan at the start of last season but Ramsey’s name could just be a knee-jerk reaction to the loss of Murphy.

Olivier Giroud’s transfer to arsenal has moved even closer as the Frenchman was snapped in the UK apparently on his way to complete a medical. Very good news indeed though announcement of the official transfer will probably be held off until the full photo shoot and interviews are conducted with the striker.

His club Montpellier in the meantime have confirmed the transfer after the club president told French radio station RMC:

“The negotiations have gone very well” “we’ve agreed within the last few days”

You can’t get more conclusive than that.Montpellier do not have reason to keep the deal quiet if they have agreed everything

No point in wondering if the transfer will happen but more a case of when will the deal be announced.

With the Giroud transfer wrapped up now all we need is Yann M’Villa to get a move on. Once we wrap up the signing of our targets and Robin signing a contract extension then we can focus on offloading those who are surplus to requirements.

Update: He has officially signed for the gunners. Good times

New number 9

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Is Ox the trump card vs Italy? Santos defending questioned – AFC

That’s three quarter finals out-of-the-way now, one more left. This one being the game which carries the most interest for me being England. Why I’m getting excited I don’t know, the football hasn’t been the most entertaining but I suppose once there’s representation from our own in the form of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain I get that sense of willing them and the team to do well like a pushy parent watching their child in an under-8 match.

Italy is going to be a daunting match; anyone who does not follow either team will struggle to find any positives in a match between two sides whose strengths have been keeping it tight at the back. The match will be as close to a chess game as you can get, there’s no wonder that there has been talk of penalties as this game has stalemate written all over it.

Each country does have an ace up their sleeve to turn the game on its head and provide us with moments of magic to be remembered. In the blue corner is the unpredictable Mario Ballotelli, this guy is such an enigmatic free spirit that he could win the game single-handed… if he feels like it. There is such a fine line with this guy that he has as much chance banging in the winning goal as he has doing something brainless and getting himself sent off, let’s hope its Mr. brainless today. In the white corner it’s our very own Oxlade-Chamberlain. Young Alex has shown so much maturity in this tournament so far, thrust into the starting line up for the opening game against the French he did not let his teammates down.  He has done everything asked of him when he has come on for England as Roy Hodgson has laid down strict instructions to each player to maintain his tactical plans and ensure results are ground out.

Could this be the time that (excuse the copyrighted Wengerism) the hand brake is taken off?  Arsenal fans know what the Ox can do with the ball at his feet and we have witnessed at the Euros so far his unfamiliar restraints as more focus has been on keeping shape, playing it simple and not giving the ball away cheaply.

As these two defensive teams set up against each other it will need the intervention of a special player to make that difference to win the game. Why cant that player to make the difference be Mr Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

As much as I think Theo Walcott has earned an opportunity to start and be more involved in the England team I can’t see him getting much change out of the disciplined Italian defence. They won’t leave gaps to exploit and have the nous to play on his weakness: the physical battle. With that said I hope I am completely wrong, I want to be wrong on this front as I hope he can leave as big an impression as he did in the Sweden game.

It really is an opportunity for both our Arsenal starlets to make a real name for themselves. All eyes with be on Italy and England tonight, only one team can win and so someone has to play a part in getting their country through.

It was nice to see Laurent Koscielny play 90 minutes for France last night against Spain. Although Spain came away with a 2-0 win our centre back had a good game and wasn’t overawed by the occasion. Overall there were some undertones coming from the French that all was not well and just like what we saw with the Netherlands it affected the team performance. Nasri started on the bench and despite how much I dislike the mercenary I have to admit he has been one of the better performers so far for the French. The alleged disagreements that have gone on behind the scenes in the French camp had a knock on effect on Laurent Blanc’s team selection resulting in Nasri not starting the game. Even when he did come on in the second half his body language was one of disinterest as his true colours shone through; pretty glad that type of personality is no longer at our great club, good riddance. Let’s hope Giroud and M’Villa weren’t part of the infighting though I believe it revolved more around the senior members of the team. With France now out I’m hoping that the potential deals for the two players can now be concluded.

The Brazil national coach Mano Manezes made a statement this weekend that is unlikely to send ripples of disapproval through everything linked with Arsenal. When questioned about why Andre Santos has lost his place in the Brazil team the manager confirmed his reasoning for this was because Andre Santos is a little bit rubbish at defending. Not in those exact words I admit but the manager did say:

“The problem with Andre Santos is tactical. He turned my hair grey when we were still at Corinthians” “Why? Because he is tactically irresponsible, but he did score 20-goals and it was worth it in the end. It was value for money and with the Seleção (Brazil squad selection), you cannot pay this price”

Sums up his time with Arsenal last season, great going forward he adds that little bit of class to our play with his immaculate touch and control. He certainly scored some important goals for us at times but he also left us Arsenal fans biting our nails through nervousness with some of his defending.

Steve Bould will surely have defending on his radar this season and will ensure as a unit we will be stronger defensively. It will be interesting how Santos takes the news since this directly affects his international opportunities. Unlike Stewart Robson whose only audience should be the Samaritans hotline; Manezes words carry more power and would need to be adhered. He knows Santos from their time together in club football and has probably told the player this a million times. Quotes can look more serious than they are at times and the managers comments could  have been said more light-heartedly for all we know. Though as the saying goes: “many a true word spoken in jest”.

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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.

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