Archive for August, 2006

Deadline Day: Return of the Beast?

99 comments August 31st, 2006

When I say “return”, I don’t mean the return to Arsenal. He never came to Arsenal. I mean the return to the headlines of Arsenal-based blogs everywhere. And when I say “Beast”, I don’t mean a mythical animalistic terror, but Julio Baptista: the Real Madrid powerhouse.

It’s just over a year since Baptista turned us down in favour of Real, but with their President, Ramon Calderón, desperate to beat Athletico Madrid to the signature of Jose Reyes, he has reportedly offered Baptista plus around £2m in exchange for the Spain winger.

Some British reports say the deal could be an inital year’s loan for both players. Either way, I’d be happy: there’s no point keeping Reyes when his heart so clearly isn’t in it. Even if the Real deal doesn’t come off, I’d be content to see him join Athletico, whose £13m offer is still on the table. Happenability? A generous 8/10.

So what about the other possible leaving player, Ashley Cole? Well, for my money, a deal won’t happen. Personally, I’d love to see the back of him, but it seems that there is a genuine stalemate in negotiations. It’s weird, because surely Arsenal realise his value will only decrease? As he gets older and his contract runs down, Chelsea won’t be inclined to pay any more than they’re offering now. It’s also a shame because I would have absolutely loved to get William Gallas as part of the deal. As much as part of me suspects they might come in with a huge eleventh hour bid just to make sure we can’t spend it, I have to give this one a happenability of 3.

Next up, Carlitos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. Despite yesterday’s hysteria, I still find it hard to believe that we’ll be getting either of these two, especially considering the more-likely-to-happen Baptista can play in both of their positions. However, Tevez would be a more natural replacement for Reyes, as he can occasionally play wide, whilst Mascherano is certainly a tougher proposition defensively than Baptista. The Times reports that the two may join a Premiership club on loan, possibly Portsmouth. I have to say I believe it to be more likely that they’ll join us: how will Tevez get in ahead of Kanu??? This also makes a move to United a genuine possibility. Nice though it would be, a £30m outlay on these two just seems so unlikely. Happenability: 4.

Last but not least, Steven Naismith, who having been “wined and dined” by Arsene awaits the call. I feel, though, that he may have to wait another year – there’s no point bringing him in now when he’ll barely get a game. Happenability: 6.

One thing I can guarantee is, it’s going to be a long old day. Do try to not get your hopes up too much. I know this article won’t have helped, but we all know Arsene: he’s hardly Elton John when it comes to spending money.

However, as I talked to arseblogger yesterday, we both couldn’t help but recall Wenger’s head, held sadly in his hands as Arsenal slumped 1-0 to Manchester City. Was that moment a turning point, when Arsene decided to do something about his lacklustre squad?

Today’s the day we find out.

Update: West Ham??? What the…

Update 2: I have it on very good authority that Peter Kenyon is currently locked in talks over the transfer of Ashley Cole. Also, Julio Baptista was absent from a Real Madrid training session for “personal reasons”

Update 3: It seems the Baptista deal is done.  Reyes has gone the other way, both on a season’s loan.  It’s expected Jose will wear number 19 for Madrid.

Just when you thought it was safe: Tevez & Mascherano…

178 comments August 30th, 2006

As we all prepared for the transfer window to slam shut in our face, a tantalising breeze crept in, carrying the scent of two Argentinian stars. Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano are being heavily linked with a move to Arsenal by most of the world’s press, critically including the South American newspapers. And to think we thought it was all finished.

Now don’t get too excited: some of these publications quote The Sun as a source. However, there seems to be an acceptance in the Brazilian media that a deal is done. I quote:

“The transfer of high profile Corinthians pair Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano will exceed the English transfer record stated last period. Both players will head to Arsenal for an initial payment of $35 million. The fee can rise by up to an additional $17.5m based upon Arsenal’s success and whether the players sign follow-on contracts. The president of Corianinths went to London on August 25 to strike the deal.

Both of the players have passed medicals and Arsenal are only waiting on work permits for the pair before announing the signings.

The Brazilian club now start their search for Tevez replacements in Spain.
Blanco of Kepa of player who colloquies start.”

Tantalising, eh? But it just seems too logical. I mean, the fact that the two players are in London is fairly meaningless when one considers the upcoming Argentina friendly.

Of the two, Mascherano would make the most sense. He would add much needed bite and steel, and genuine competition to Gilberto in the defensive midfield role. We know that Wenger tracked him when Vieira looked like leaving, and since then his stock has only risen.

Tevez would be a very different signing, and a replacement for Jose Reyes. Although not an out-and-out winger, he could certainly play wide in a 4-3-3, or as a partner for Thierry Henry. His signing would represent a luxurious one, but it would improve us.

Anyway. About 36 hours to go. The countdown is on. Just keep salivating…

Big Update: Okay, okay, so maybe the above quote is a fake. But this is from the Official Corinthians Website:

London, 29 of August of 2006

The executive direction of the Corinthians/MSI partnership informs that:

– the controllers of the Corinthians/MSI partnership started the first meetings today disucussing several subjects, including the current situation involving the player Carlitos Tevez;

– the Corinthians/MSI partnership today sent a proposal of seven million euros in the direction of Sevilla to acquire the federative rights of the player Luis Fabiano.

Tevez going to a London club with Fabiano replacing him? That’s got to be seen as promising…

Man City + Transfery bits

22 comments August 30th, 2006

I’m back from Edinburgh. That means Gunnerblog will be returning to it’s daily form. That’s the good news. The bad news being that since I saw you last, we’ve lost to Man City. It was a strange game: despite dominating the first-half we went in behind thanks to an error from Justin Hoyte. Hoyte was fairly terrible in defence, whilst up-front Henry conspired to miss a string of chances. The second half brought yet more frustration as City held on for a 1-0 victory. It seems out boys just hate playing in the north-west of England. To be honest, I can’t blame them.

Now attention turns towards the transfer deadline in two days time. The big story is that pretty much everyone has a “scoop” on the Ashley Cole deal collapsing. Personally, I feel we’ve heard so much about this one that it’s almost impossible to believe anything the papers print. However, I for one am very keen to see Cole go. Let’s just take a look at the protracted timeline of this transfer:

Jan 2005 Cole meets Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and chief executive Peter Kenyon in London’s Royal Park Hotel.
May 2005 Scores penalty in shoot-out win over Manchester United in FA Cup final, widely believed at time to be his last game for Arsenal.
June 2005 Premier League investigation rules that the hotel meeting was planned and fines Cole £200,000 – later reduced on appeal to £75,000. Chelsea sign left back Asier Del Horno.
July 2005 Cole signs £70,000 a week contract extension saying he is “100 per cent committed to Arsenal”.
May 2006 Renewed reports of Chelsea’s interest in Cole. Chelsea balk at £30 million tag.
June 2006 Wins apology and damages from News of the World over claims of gay affair.
July 2006 Marries Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy.

And now, August 2006, and the deal is apparently off, once and for all. Shame: I’d far rather William Gallas than Cole.

Our other wantaway star, Jose Reyes, might well get his wish amidst news that Athletico Madrid have increased their bid from £8.1m to an initial £11m rising to £13.8m. To be honest, at that price, I feel we’ll accept.

And if we do, The Sun say we’ll replace him with Carlos Tevez. However, don’t be too excited by news that he’s “flying into London”: so are the rest of the Argentinian Squad ahead of their game against Brazil at the Emirates. It’s like joining up the dots for journalists sometimes. Intriguingly, however, this Times article quotes the club’s president as saying “negotiations are advanced” with an English club.

It’s probably Chelsea.

Don’t worry, if we don’t get Tevez, we might get Steven Naismith: contain yourselves, please.

Finally, Irish starlet Anthony Stokes has joined Falkirk on loan.

Nice to see some transfer activity, at least…

Arsenal, Porto, CSKA Moscow, Hamburg

93 comments August 24th, 2006

Not too bad.  Chelsea have Barca again, which is hilarious.

Oh, and looks like Arsene was telling the truth about Reyes.

Arsenal 2 – 1 Zagreb: Theo helps make the difference again

17 comments August 24th, 2006

Two things about this game are important: 1) We are in the Champions League, and 2) we have our first win at the Emirates Stadium. Everything else is pretty inconsequential, and that’s probably for the best. It enables to put our several things to the back of our mind: notably our nervy defence, Cesc’s stuttering passing, and Emmanuel Adebayor’s shocking miss. This was not a classic performance, and for 77 minutes one couldn’t find much argument against a Zagreb lead earned by a typically effective counter-attack.

Then a Robin van Persie cross was headed in by Freddie Ljungberg, which will hopefully set his goalscoring ball rolling. Finally, in the very last minute of the game, substitute Theo Walcott’s cross was stabbed home by Mathieu Flamini, from a position where it would’ve been easier to miss (except, arguably, for Adebayor).

2-1 it was and our passage into the group stage had been assured. Like I said, not a memorable performance, but one that helped to get back some of the sharpness we’ve been lacking.

Jose Reyes was absent with an “injury”, and today is being linked with Athletico Madrid. However, Arsene’s comment that the bid is “nothing serious” leads me to believe that they too lack the funds to meat Arsenal’s asking price. For now, Jose’s homesickness goes on.

Oh, and Chelsea lost, which is always a good note on which to end.

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