This oughtn’t be about revenge

Arsene Wenger is insistent that today’s game against Hull is not about revenge (for this, if trauma has blocked it out):

“On Saturday we just want to continue our progress, it is not about revenge at all. We feel we are on a good run so we want to be quiet and focus.”

Abou Diaby might not neccessarily agree, as arseblogger points out, but unsurprisingly I believe that Diaby is wrong and Wenger is right.  Wanting “revenge” on Hull City would make us seem somewhat pathetic, like a lion declaring a vengeful war on the mouse that bit it.  Today, as Arsene says, is about continuing our progress and, in doing so, asserting our dominance. 

One would imagine it’ll be the same team that faced Bolton, with Kolo Toure skippering the side alongside Johan Djourou, and Diaby and Denilson playing in the centre.  Robin van Persie will start with Emmanuel Adebayor, who Arsene is hoping can recapture the form of last season.

I know I said I wouldn’t be talking about Andr*i Arsh*vin until Monday, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be interested to read this.

I’m confident today.  Hull seem to be playing without the freedom and fortune their start granted them, whilst our own decline seems to have halted.  Three points might not be ‘revenge’, but it’d still do very nicely indeed.

I will not be mentioning any potential signings until MONDAY MORNING

As I type, reports are suggesting that Kaka has signed for Manchester City. Everyone, it seems, has their price.

There isn’t a vast amount of Arsenal news around today – Arsene insists he has transfer targets other than Arshavin, but he might well just be trying to put one over Zenit.  They’ll be more likely to sell if they believe he has deposited some of his eggs in other baskets.  Howevr, Arsene did confirm that Brede Hangeland and Jimmy Bullard of Fulham are not on the radar.

I need a break from the transfer window – it’s doing my head in.  Tomorow and Sunday’s blogs will be all about this weekend’s tricky looking game at Hull.  They’re not in the best of form, and we certainly owe them for what happend at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season.

That’s all for now.  Don’t forget, you can catch more regular updates over on Twitter (I don’t get paid for plugging that.  I just really really like twitter).

Happy Friday to you all.

Alex Song could be like a new signing

Hello all.  I’ve had a truly miserable day.  I won’t go into it, but suffice to say if the tone of this blog is a little down-beat, then you can blame the world for its barely-disguised conspiracy against my being.

Arsene Wenger has revealed that Andrei Arshavin’s protracted move from Zenit St Petersburg is not imminent, saying:

“We know what we want to do, but we are not close to signing today because I would tell you. But there is no basic news. There again, we are in negotations yes but we want to respect our principles.”

It is unclear if he means our principle of not making public any impending signings, or our principle of not really buying anyone at all, ever.  Still, he does describe himself as “very hopeful” of a deal.  Interestingly, the BBC have downgraded that to just “hopeful” in their headline.  Such curmudgeons, the beeb.  Arshavin’s highly infuriating agent claims there could be some movement “early next week”, which leads me to believe that’s when our next official bid will be tabled (and inevitably rejected, when Zenit receive a fax offering them £10 of Woolworth’s vouchers and a tangerine).

Arsene claims the injured quartet of Fabregas, Walcott, Rosicky and Eduardo are like new signings.  I don’t know about you, but I happen to think some new signings would be a lot more like new signings.  We can but dream.

It’s quite lucky we’ve managed to put this run of seven league game’s unbeaten together, otherwise people would really be panicking.  But many of those results have hardly been convincing – we’ve scraped 1-0 wins at home to Wigan, Portsmouth and Bolton, and showed our defensive frailties in the game at Aston Villa.  Our problems may seem to have evaporated, but even my small knowledge of the hydrologic cycle tells me that stuff that’s evaporated eventually condenses and comes pouring down as horrible, horrible rain.

Still, at least Alex Song could be fit for the game at Hull.  He’ll be like a new signing, I suppose.

Oh, so THAT’s why City aren’t in for Arshavin…

Manchester City last night threatened to blow the transfer window wide open by making a £91m offer for AC Milan’s Kaka.

It’s ludicrous.  It’s crazy.  And most remarkably of all, it seems to be true.

£91m is obscene.  No footballer is worth that amount of money.  But then, Robinho wasn’t worth £32m, and Wayne Bridge wasn’t worth £12m.  The money doesn’t matter to City, and whilst Mark Hughes has been trying to add Premier League experience, haggling over a £12m fee for Craig Bellamy, Sheikh Mansour has had bigger fish to fry.  Whether or not Milan would cave in to such a huge offer (almost double the current world record of £48m for Zinedine Zidane) remains to be seen.  If they do, it sets a dangerous precedent – and just how long before the £60m offer for Cesc arrives?

Back in the real world, we continue to pursue that Russian fella, who is proving to be as elusive to our clutches as he is to most defenders.  Thanks to Dublin Adam, who provided a translation of this article which fuels us with the following information:

  • Arshavin was verbally promised he would be sold if an offer of €15m arrived, but Zenit are now holding out for €18m
  • Arsenal offered €10m rising to €13m, but this, as we know, was rejected
  • Zenit want all the cash upfront
  • Arshavin’s agent, the thoroughly infuriating Dennis Lachter, is reported to want €5m in fees for the deal
  • Arshavin has informed Advocaat he will not play for Zenit again, and has refused to travel with the squad to a camp in the UAE

We’ve seen situations like this before.  Sylvain Wiltord infamously went on strike to secure his move from Bordeaux to London.  It seems Arshavin is prepared to do the same.

It’s really difficult to see how this one will end up.  The key factor for me is that I just can’t think of another player of Arshavin’s quality who would be available in this window – unless, that is, you happen to have £91m to throw around.  It’s hard to see how Zenit could reject an offer in the region of €15m, though whether we are able or willing to go that far remains to be seen.

It’s at that point now where I feel invested in it.  I’m succumbing to the temptation of checking NewsNow in the hope that a fee will have been agreed – or even to hear that negotiations have broken off so I can begin the inevitable mourning process. 

I suppose if I had more of a life, this probably wouldn’t happen.  But then that seems like such a lot of effort.

Oh, almost forgot:

Congrats to two on-loan Young Guns who did well last night: Jay Simpson scored a cracking goal for his first in a West Brom shirt, whilst Armand Traore’s blistering run down the right (yes, the right) set up Peter Crouch’s goal in Portsmouth’s victory over Bristol City.  Both players will be hoping to make enough of an impression in the next six months to get an opportunity at Arsenal in 2009/10.  The goals may well appear on 101greatgoals today.  Ciao for now.

Zenit negotiating with “a number of English clubs”…?

Today’s blog is a) brief and b) late.  Apologies for both.

Zenit St. Petersburg’s General Director, Maxim Mitrofanov (who, incidentally, looks somewhat like a fat schoolboy), has suggested that Arsenal are not the only club in the frame for Andrei Arshavin’s signature:

“With regard to the transfer of Andrei, we are negotiating with a number of English clubs.  Zenit negotiates with potential buyers directly, this corresponds to the interest of foreign clubs interested in buying Arshavin.”

That second setence really doesn’t seem to mean anything at all, but a one-line quote would’ve looked a bit rubbish, so I left it in.  The good news (assuming, as this blog does, that the signing of Arshavin would be a ‘good’ thing), is that negotiations with Arsenal are still ongoing.  Allow some other Russian, Alexey Petrov, to explain:

“From Manchester City no documents have been reported in our club.  In recent times the only offer for Arshavin was from Arsenal, proposing £10 million. However the leadership of our club considered that this amount is insufficient for a player of this level.

Negotiations with Arsenal are not finished, they are continuing, but you cannot say there is anything definite.”

If City aren’t in for him, it’s hard to imagine another English club who might have made a bid.  Spurs spring to mind, but I’m not sure he’s quite what they need.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Mitrofanov is trying to make it appear as if there’s competition to force Arsenal’s hand in negotiations.

What could make the difference is that Arshavin himself is in little doubt about what he’d like to happen:

“In some games last season, we played football which was very similar to that of Arsenal.  I would prefer my present No 10 but in the team where I hope to move it’s not vacant. So I’m ready for any number they are going to offer me.”

Well, at least the shirt number aspect of negotiations shouldn’t be too problematic.

We’re almost halfway through the transfer window now.  One wonders how long Arsene will persist with this deal before he begins to move for other potential targets.

Nicklas Bendtner apparently gave away the starting line-up for the game against Bolton.  Frankly, even if he did, I can’t see what difference it would have made: it wasn’t a particularly revolutionary selection, and I’d be surprised if the Bolton management gaped in shock and awe and what Bendtner allegedly made public.

Finally, you have to love the committment of some Arsenal fans.

Back with more tomorrow.