Archive for August 12th, 2011

Official: Joel Campbell to jet in on Sunday

433 comments August 12th, 2011

Hello all.  In the broader scheme of things at the club, this is not big news, but having followed it all the way I wanted to carry on the story: Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell has confirmed he will fly to England on Sunday, when he is expected to sign for Arsenal.

Campbell gave the news to website, who initially broke the news of Arsenal’s interest.  Although Campbell has not yet explicitly confirmed that Arsenal are his destination, he laughed and joked with the presenters when wished luck wearing the red and white shirt of the Gunners – and confirmed to journalists off-record that he would be joining Arsenal during the u-20 World Cup.

He is saving the announcement itself for a press conference which will be held by his club, Deportivo Saprissa, at 1am UK-time.  Spanish speakers among you can listen to the interview here.

Arsenal would like the player to become part of the first team squad immediately, but that will be dependent on whether or not he receives a work permit.  There are some rumours flying round that he has Irish grandparents: he doesn’t.  He is as Irish as Ryo Miyaichi (ie. not very), so like the Japanese winger would most likely have to be awarded an ‘extraordinary talent visa’.  There is also a rumour you cannot only make one application for an extraordinary talent visa per season; this is also untrue.  It’s one application per season per individual, if that makes any sense.  Anyway, Campbell will have his day before the FA panel, and that will decide whether he stays in England or goes out elsewhere on loan.  His caps for Costa Rica will certainly stand him in good stead.

UPDATE: Arsenal just confirmed the deal on the official website.  Arsene said:

“Joel Campbell has already shown that he is a player with great ability, and has also performed well on the international stage at a young age. We look forward to the formalities of the transfer being completed and working with Joel when he joins us at Arsenal.”

Why have the club chosen to announce the deal now?  Well, partly because they knew the press conference in Costa Rica was about to steal their thunder somewhat.  But there is an amusing sub-plot: Barcelona officials are currently waiting in their offices for an email confirming the deal for Cesc after the clubs reached verbal agreement this morning.

Catalan journalists close to the club have told me that Barca leaked news of an agreement and are now left feeling embarrassed and concerned that an official agreement has not been forthcoming.  Arsenal, meanwhile, are presumably enjoying making them suffer a little.  Announcing Campbell now shows we have staff on call – we’re just letting them stew.

Petty, but amusing.

Right.  The rebuilding continues.  Till tomorrow.

Afternoon update: Arsene’s press conference, Cesc, Dann, Mata, Eboue

288 comments August 12th, 2011

Greetings all.  Wipe away those tears and sit down for your second blog of a big day for Arsenal.  It’s been busy for me too, but I’ve managed to keep an eye on the traumatic events at our beloved club.

First up, at 9am, was Arsene’s press conference.  Reading the quotes coming in I was quite sure that our manager had cracked under the strain and gone completely mad.  A couple of choice quotes:

“I expect nobody to leave the club.”

“At the moment we have too big a squad – We are not in a position where we are short of players.”

Naturally the twitterverse was up in arms about this.  It seemed for all the world as if The Emperor was indeed well and truly naked, and frankly it was becoming a little awkward and embarrassing.

Until, that is, I saw the video.  You can have a watch of it here.  It proves that, as ever, context is everything.  The familiar curl of the lip and the twinkle eye instantly give an entirely different reading to what Arsene says.

He’s playing a game.  And the aim of that game is “give nothing away; disturb the squad as little as possible before the Newcastle game”.  And, on reflection, he does it rather well.

Of course it’s frustrating for us as fans – when Arsene communicates with the press he communicates indirectly with us, so when he tries to pull the wool over their eyes he simultaneously deceives supporters – but he has his reasons.  What’s very clear to me is that Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri due to depart imminently.  Both players have accordingly been left out of the squad for tomorrow’s game at Newcastle.

If you believe some reports, the Cesc deal is already done.  There are conflicting stories coming out of the two clubs on this one, and the smart money is on the move being finalised on Monday.  I for one won’t be saying my goodbyes until he’s definitely off.  We’ve put up with this one for so long that another 48 hours or so isn’t going to hurt.

In Manchester, Roberto Mancini said still were “still working” on a deal for Nasri, but conceded it was “not easy”.  I’m sure a few million pounds would smooth over any difficulties there.

In his pre-game interview for, Arsene was asked about Birmingham centre-half Scott Dann.  He said:

“He is one of the centre-backs we look at.”

We know Phil Jagielka is one of the others.  Hopefully Arsene’s ultimate decision is driven by quality rather than value.

According to The Guardian’s Richard Williams, Arsene later told the newspaper journalists there was no deal for Juan Mata and none was likely, whilst reports of an agreed fee for Jadson are premature.

Finally, the club today announced their squad numbers for the 20011/12 season.  New boy and possessor of “exceptional qualities” Alex Chamberlain inherits Denilson’s 15, suggesting the Brazilian probably won’t ever be back, whilst Ryo Miyaichi takes 31, Jenkinson 25, and Szczesny downgrades his 53 to a 13.  One the major reasons for the delay in announcing the numbers was that Gervinho wanted compatriot Eboue’s 27, but the club were waiting for the right-back to be sold.  Now, they’ve decided to just give it to him anyway, leaving Eboue without a squad number.  It’s safe to assume he’ll be joining Cesc and Nasri in leaving the club before August is out.

Right. Tomorrow I’ll be back with a piece more focused on the Newcastle game and the season ahead.  Till then.

Jadson identified as Cesc’s replacement

542 comments August 12th, 2011

Tomorrow is the first day of a new season.  Ordinarily, I’d be hugely and embarrassingly excited about that.  Today, it feels like a speck on the horizon as compared to the impending horrors of the transfer market.

The trio of Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester City have been very quiet about the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, until last night, when released this small clip. Give it a watch.  Arsene doesn’t say much, but he doesn’t have to.  It’s clear that Cesc Fabregas is on the way out, possibly as soon as today.

The player himself has maintained his silence, breaking it only to say:

Presumably it’s a new work phone.  Or perhaps this was the clincher in negotiations.  €29m + €6m + €5m + blackberry bold 9900.

Joking aside, it looks like I’ll have to roll out the ‘Cesc’s Arsenal career’ obituary imminently.  I might start pre-writing them for any decent player we ever have.

On Nasri, meanwhile, Arsene says the situation is “stable”.  Stable how, exactly?  Even if he’s not sold he’s still at most ten months away from leaving.  My increasing feeling is that both players will indeed be sold, and probably over the next few days.

As worried as you are about Jadon coping in the Premier League, he looks far more worried himself

The surest sign yet that the pair of playmakers are on the verge of leaving the club comes in the form that Arsenal have already identified his replacement: the Brazilian Jadson.  The Independent go as far as to say a £12m fee has been agreed – and my information is that this deal is very much on Arsenal’s agenda, with the only concern surrounding the playmaker’s eligibility for a work-permit.

With all the talk about Juan Mata, I was reminded of what happened when we lost Thierry Henry.  The expectation was that we would move for a big name, like Nicholas Anelka.  Instead, Eduardo da Silva appeared from nowhere.  It’s much the same with Jadson, who ironically now plays alongside Eduardo currently for Shakhtar Donetsk.  Some papers are suggesting Arsenal would like to sign both Mata and Jadson, but I’m not convinced Arsene will move for more than one dwarfish attacker.

Jadson is even smaller than Mata, standing just 5’6″ tall.  To put that in perspective, it’s an inch shorter than Arshavin.  His age would also make him an unusual Wenger signing – he’ll be 28 in October.  Yesterday he tweeted:

“If everything goes to plan, I’ll have some news for everyone at the start of next week. Hope it works out. #happy”

If Jadson does arrive, I hope it’s as part of a concerted spending spree in order to restore morale and strengthen our ever-weakening squad. Joel Campbell, another potential signing from across the Atlantic, is due to hold a press conference in the next 24 hours at which he will announce which club he is due to join.

Speaking of press conferences, Arsene will step before the media at 9am UK-time before travelling to Newcastle.  The chances of taking Cesc or Nasri with him have got to be slim to none.  The rest of the team news is here.

For more on Cesc, Nasri, Newcastle and the season ahead, keep your eyes peeled on Arseblog for the first Arsecast of the season, with myself and Goonerholic.  I won’t, I hasten to add, be rapping.

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