Archive for June, 2011

Transfer update: Cesc, Alvarez, Diaby & Gordon

63 comments June 28th, 2011

Hello all.  Quite wanted to write this blog yesterday but, frankly, London was too hot.  It was muggier than the room containing the world’s largest collection of mugs, and I was sweating like I had hyperhidrosis.

Today, however, things have returned to normal somewhat with the promise of thunder, lightning, and lots and lots of rain.  And, of course, with a story about Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona all over our back pages.  Yesterday the BBC published an article quoting a ‘senior Arsenal official’ as saying:

“The offer was made formally in writing to our chief executive (Ivan Gazidis), and we said no straight away.”

Asked if the club expected another bid, the source said:

“Possibly. If it’s enough I expect we’ll have to sell.”

Which is as close to an admission of availability as you’re going to get, and rather different in tone from the bullishness of twelve months ago.

It looks to me as if we’re trying to smoke out Barca’s interest early in the summer.  If their second offer is in the region of £40m, a deal will be done.  If it’s not, they can forget about it for another twelve months.  Cesc is privately insisting he has no interest in agitating for a move, so the ball is firmly in Barca’s court.  With their bid for Alexis Sanchez seemingly stalling, perhaps there’ll be some movement on this one within the next seven days.

The latest on Ricky Alvarez is that our interest is definitely concrete.  There has been contact between the player’s agent and Arsenal executives, and negotiations with his club, Velez Sarsfield, have begun.  It still seems an odd signing, but at this stage it’s impossible to guess how many could leave the club this summer.

One who looks like staying is Abou Diaby, after sources close to the player told me Arsenal had rebuffed a £10m offer from a Turkish club for his services.  I’m sure that’ll drive some of you potty – it seems like a good deal to me, too – but perhaps with the possibility of both Denilson and Fabregas leaving this summer Arsene feels the need to hold on to the remaining central midfielders.

Finally, a few people on Twitter have been linking us with Sunderland’s Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon.  It’s nonsense.  I’d be surprised if we bought a goalkeeper at all this summer.

For now, I don’t know anything more about Gary Cahill, Gervinho, or others.  It might be of interest to you that have launched our 125th anniversary away kit, which instead appears to be a 124th anniversary Wycombe home kit.

Tata for now.

Ricardo Alvarez agrees contract with mystery club

375 comments June 24th, 2011

Supposed Arsenal target Ricardo Alvarez has agreed a deal with an unnamed club.

Sources close to the player have told Gunnerblog that any club entering negotiations at this point is wasting their time – Alvarez has an “agreed commitment” to a mystery club.

Intriguingly, an hour or so after I posted this news to Twitter, journalist James Horncastle quoted Palermo chief Zamparini as saying he has missed out on Alvarez as he “has already signed for Arsenal”.  The full story, in Italian, is here.

Whether or not this turns out to be true remains to be seen.  Zamparini is not the most reliable of sources, and the newly wealthy Malaga are also rumoured to be on the case.

Alvarez holds an Italian passport, so would not require a work permit for any move.

I’d be lying if I said if I knew he was any good, but nonetheless, here’s some video clips so you can get unduly excited about the possibility of his arrival:

Barca are wasting Cesc’s time

23 comments June 21st, 2011

One almost has to admire the gall of Barcelona.  They doth bestride the narrow world of European football like a colossus, and occasionally they behave as if they’ve got an ego to match.

Speaking to Catalunya’s TV3, club President Sandro Rossell revealed:

“I don’t know if Cesc will sign or not. We’ll offer less than €40m and if Arsenal don’t agree, then Cesc will not come. Have no doubt, he has a great desire to come here.

We have €45m for signings, plus money from sales. There is no more money.”

The immediate retort is that Cesc is worth more than €40m, so Barca’s offer is redundant.  Further analysis suggests that they’re about to spend €35m+ on their primary summer target, Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez, leaving no money for Cesc.

I’m sure at some point this summer a derisory offer will whirr through the fax machine at Highbury House.  And at that point it will, rightly, be dismissed out of hand.  Barca can tell their fans they tried, Arsenal can hold on to a player whose contract runs until 2015, and we can all wait while this tedious saga drags on another twelve months.

That’s currently how I see things panning out.  At the end of last season I thought Cesc would go, but I overestimated Barca’s desire to sign the player.  They’ve made it clear that Sanchez is more of a priority, with talk of a move for a centre-half (perhaps Milan’s Thiago Silva) also overshadowing any bid for Fabregas.

The only thing that could change things is Cesc forcing a move through by handing in a transfer request, and I consider that extremely unlikely.

It’s a good job it looks like Cesc is staying, as there are a whole load of other players heading towards the exit door.  We’re just a matter of days away from the end of June, which was seen by many as the deadline for Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy to sign new contracts with the club.  Neither has, and Clichy is now being heavily linked with a move to Serie A and Roma.

The likes of Bendtner and Denilson will also be on the move imminently – the former has been linked this morning with Newcastle, which is a move that’d make a lot of sense: they have money to burn and a vacant number nine shirt following the sale of Andy Carroll.

Meanwhile, QPR playmaker Adel Taarabt says he’s being tracked by both Arsenal and Chelsea.  I’m sure we watched him a few times last season – his form was so good it would’ve been neglectful not to – but his comments read like a ploy to extract more money from his current billionaire owners than a hint at a realistic possibility of a move.

I’m a little surprised that Arsenal are yet to do any major business.  Perhaps it will all happen in a flurry.  Perhaps it won’t happen at all.  Eek.

Video: Lee Dixon answers Gunnerblog’s questions

631 comments June 16th, 2011

Thanks to Lee Dixon and I AM PLAYR for answering a few questions put to him by you, the Gunnerblog readers.  I should point out that’s not me in the video.  He doesn’t have the trademark perm, for one thing.

Former England and Arsenal full back and BBC football pundit, Lee Dixon is a script and storyline contributor for I AM PLAYR, the first-ever point-of-view football online game.

I AM PLAYR puts you in the boots of a professional player at River Park FC, allowing you to experience the life of a footballer, through the eyes of a footballer. Players have to balance both sides of the modern footballer’s life. Their challenge is to be the best they can on the pitch by training hard to develop their skills and earn the respect of their peers, whilst off the pitch building their profile and earnings by navigating the maze of endorsement deals, appearance opportunities and glamorous parties… possibly at the cost of their football playing career.

After starting with a cameo pundit role in I AM PLAYR’s talking heads show GOAL MOUTH Dixon became a huge fan of the game and subsequently signed up to bring his own on and off-pitch football experience to the fast-growing online game by advising on scripting and new storylines. Dixon is also is also investing his own money in the company behind the game, We R Interactive.

I AM PLAYR is in the final stages of Beta testing and has already attracted over 200,000 monthly users.

Nike is I AM PLAYR’s Principal Brand Partner, Ginsters is the shirt sponsor for River Park FC and Alfa Romeo is the club’s official sponsor.

Cesc: “I won’t step forward and say I want to join Barca”

15 comments June 15th, 2011

Cesc Fabregas has spoken for the first time this summer about his future:

“I’m very happy, I’m an Arsenal player now, and that’s it. Wenger knows what I want and he’s the boss, he decides.

It’s frustrating not to win trophies. Barcelona are a great club, the best in the world, and playing there is a guarantee to win.

I won’t step forward and say I want to join Barça. After 8 years at Arsenal, I won’t harm the club. That’s not my way of being.”

As ever, Cesc has conducted himself in a classy manner.  The world, his wife, and Bacary Sagna all know he’d love to go and play for Barca, but that doesn’t give the Catalans a divine right to take him at a reduced fee.  By refusing to request a transfer, Cesc has kept the ball (doesn’t he always?) firmly in our court.

Thanks to @barcastuff for the quotes.  The comments were made this morning at the launch of a new fragrance in Madrid.

ps. Don’t forget, this morning saw the publication of the Gunnerblog End of Season Awards 2011.  Check them out.

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