Archive for June, 2007

Next week had better be better than this one

389 comments June 30th, 2007

Monday: Thierry Henry leaves


Tuesday: Nothing happens


Wednesday: Nothing happens


Thursday: Nothing happens


Friday: Rumours emerge that Wenger will extend his contract and appoint Grimandi. Excitement builds. Then nothing happens.

Wicked. At least the weather is good.


When/if Arsene ever comes back from holiday, he’s got plenty to do. Arseblogger makes the point that when/if Gilles Grimandi is appointed Director of Football, he’ll be keen to make his mark by bringing in a few players when/if we ever have any money.

Hopefully I’ll have to more to write next week, when/if anything ever happens.

Wenger & Grimandi to sign up today?

795 comments June 29th, 2007

Last night, BBC London reported that at an “emergency” board meeting today, Arsene Wenger would extend his contract, whilst ratifying the appointment of a Director of Football: Gilles Grimandi. Whilst arseblog reports that these stories may be “premature”, it would correlate with the information I’ve recieved from elsewhere if something happened in the next few days.

Getting Grimandi signed up would enable us to head out on the transfer trail. His first port of call might be Auxerre, where Barkary Sagna resides. His Vice-President has come out and spoken on the subject, bleating about Sagna’s desire to leave. Frankly, if you really wanted to keep hold of a player, you wouldn’t keep going to the press and saying, “Oh dear oh dear, I hope Arsenal don’t come back with a multi-million pound offer, because then we’ll definitely sell…”. Auxerre always have, and always will be, a selling club. If our interest is real, Sagna is a definite possibility.

However, he’s hardly the sort of player who will appease our disgruntled fanbase. One name that would, perhaps, is Carlos Tevez. Tevez yesterday turned down a move to Inter Milan, and his slave-driver Kia Joorabchian said of the decision:

“Inter put a deadline on the decision and Carlos’ heart is really in the Premier League.”

Throw in the fact that Joorabchian is an Arsenal fan and Tevez has previously spoken openly about wanting to stay in London, and we’ve got to be in with a shout…

Cesc Fabregas has been named our Official Player of the Year. Gilberto woz robbed.

ps. Congratulations to Spurs on getting Bent. For £5m more, they could’ve had Michael Owen AND Obafemi Martins. I don’t know if that says more about the stupidity of Newcastle or Spurs.

Has Wenger confirmed the Anelka interest?

456 comments June 28th, 2007

Good News: The Independent claim that Arsenal are “stepping up” their interest in Obafemi Martins.

Bad news: Their primary primary evidence for this extraordinary claim?

Last November he also made reference to Martins in his programme notes for Arsenal’s home game against Newcastle.

Great. When’s the press conference?

Seriously though, I don’t think we’ll be signing anyone this week, if only for the simple reason that Arsene is on his holidays. Ken Friar can certainly begin negotiations with clubs (and if Gilles is as close to being appointed as is being reported, then there’s no reason for him not to be involved), but for the nitty gritty of personal details we need Arsene to be on the scene.

Another reported target, Florent Malouda, seems to be on his way to Chelsea: French sportspaper L’Equipe yesterday reported that they had agreed a hefty £17m fee. Although I’d love us to buy a genuine wide player, that’s a hell of a lot of money.

Finally (and I only have this info second hand), but Xavier Rivoire, the ghostwriter of Pires’ autobiography, was interviewed by the BBC last night. He claimed he had spoken to Wenger, and gave three pretty exciting bits of info:

  • That Arsene will stay and sign a new contract
  • That the interest in Anelka is real, but United are also after him
  • That the interest in Eto’o is real, but Chelsea are also after him

Feast on that, my pretties.

“As you were”, says Hill-wood

382 comments June 27th, 2007

Peter Hill-Wood’s quotes have caused a bit of a stir in the press, even leading L’Equipe to go with the headline “Hill-Wood has doubts about Wenger’s future”. Well, let’s break it down:

“I am really hopeful he will extend but at this moment I am only in a position of hoping. I’ve no reason to think that he won’t but at the same time I have no reason to believe he will say yes.”

Well of course. They’d like Arsene to stay but are yet to discuss it – no cause for concern. His conviction that the manager will remain in place is underlined by this quote:

“We certainly don’t think Thierry Henry going and Arsene Wenger’s contract situation are in any way linked. That was just an excuse.”

An accusation that arguably has more weight when you read the snippet of the Spanish press that arseblogger pulled up today:

One afternoon in April, Ferran Soriano, vice-president of Barcelona, received a phone call. It was Darren Dein, son of the ex Arsenal vice-chairman and Thierry Henry’s personal advisor. “Are you still interested in Henry? I believe there’s still a possibility…”, he said

Why, the little…

Finally, on the prospect of players coming in, Hill-Wood says:

“We would like to find another player or two. But what he is not prepared to do is just go out and spend the money if he doesn’t think it is going to improve the squad. He is not going to buy a player in order to appease the fans. He is going to buy a player who he thinks will improve what he has.”

That does not mean no-one is coming in – it means Arsene will not overspend. That always has and always will be the case.

Still, signing £1m Cardiff ace Aaron Ramsey will not appease the fans, especially with Liverpool locked in talks for Fernando Torres.

Mathieu Flamini has once more declared his intention to leave. * TUMBLEWEED *

Finally, thanks to ArsenalShorts for making me laugh with their story and banner today. You have to laugh. Or you actually will cry. No jokes.

Signings: My predictions

613 comments June 26th, 2007

Before you go on, you should probably know that this article is pretty unsubstantiated. You already know that it’s entirely pointless. What I write here will have no bearing on Arsene’s actual transfer policy. Furthermore, I haven’t even got a good record with predictions: don’t forget, I was almost certain that we’d be signing Franck Ribery this summer. No; the main reason I am writing this article is “for fun”. “Fun”. Remember that? It was something we had before Thierry went. And I’m bringing it back. Starting now.

So just to make clear, this is not what I want to happen, but what I think will happen.

Signing #1: Bakary Sagna; £6m
Arsene Wenger is in France at the moment, primarily on holiday, but it wouldn’t surprise me if his presence there has a little to do with Sagna, the Auxerre right-back who earned his first International call-up last month. It’s well documented that we’ve had problems in the position, and the fact that we will lose Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue, two possible solutions, for six weeks or so at the African Nations might be what will prompt Wenger to make his move. Sagna’s arrival would also free up Eboue to play further forward, cancelling out the need for a new right-winger. Much as we all like Justin Hoyte, pretending he’s the solution isn’t going to help us challenge for the title.

Signing #2: Nicolas Anelka; £10m
I’ve always had a feeling about this one, and with the options narrowing all the time, I am more convinced than ever. Sure, he’s no Henry, but he would provide pace, power, and a raw finishing ability that is often underrated. Throughout his career, he has scored all kinds of goals. With the supply generated by Fabregas and Rosicky, he could finally fulfill his potential and become a regular goalscorer at the top end of the Premiership and in the Champions League. At 28 years of age, he’s certainly got three or four more years at his peak. However, it might make sense to bring in another young forward, such as…

Signing #3: Ryan Babel; £6m
OK, so this is the one I’m least sure about, considering that I’d heard our scouts were less than impressed with him at the U21 European Championships. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen – plus, I couldn’t think of anyone else who fitted the mould: a young forward who is also comfortable on either wing, with pace, trickery, and an eye for goal. Throw in the fact that he’s great mates with Robin van Persie, and it’s a match made in heaven. I remember when I first saw Babel playing in the same Dutch youth side as our own Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (who, incidentally, was last seen weeping on a substitute’s bench in Russia). He was absolutely breathtaking, but he hasn’t quite made the impact at Ajax that was expected of him. If there’s anyone who can take a rough diamond and polish it into gleaming brilliance, it’s Arsene.

So there you are. That would give us a new right-back, a new striker, and a promising winger/forward. It would also enable Eboue to challenge Hleb and Rosicky for a starting position on the right of midfield. And all for the price of £22m (Henry + Muamba + Aliadiere + Stokes). Not bad, eh?

I doubt it would make us title contenders. I personally think we need more experience, particularly wide in midfield. But like I said – this isn’t what I would do, but what I suspect Wenger might. What do you reckon?

Hopefully it’s distracted you from thinking about yesterday, at any rate.

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