A lot of transfer talk since my last post…
First up, Karim Benzema. He says he is “honoured at the interest from Arsenal“, but has spoken to Mourinho and thinks he will stay. He feels he has something to prove at Madrid, so it doesn’t look like Benzema will be coming to the Emirates. I did, however, read somewhere that Real will sell one of Kaka or Benzema, and with Aguero most likely coming in it could be Benzema. On the other hand, they’ve got a lot of midfielders, so I’d think it would be more likely to be Kaka on his way out of the Bernabeu.
The next story is Chris Samba. wearethenorthbank has the exclusive once more – we have tabled an £8 million bid for the Blackburn centre half. I’d absolutely love it if we signed Samba, although I’m a little unsure if he’d be good in our high line. I think we’ll be able to prise him away from Ewood Park, as he said he will have to consider his future.
After 73 goals in 85 league games, Radamel Falcao is a hot prospect. According to the Porto striker’s agent, us and Tottenham are willing to meet his £26 million buyout clause. He’s an absolute fox in the box, one of, if not the best headerers (is that a word?) of the ball in the world. He’d be a signing of real intent. However, for now, I’d just put this down as agent talk, only attempting to big up his client and get himself more money.
The ever-reliable Young Guns reports that Arsenal representative Richard Law has met up with representatives of Ricky Alvarez’s club Velez to discuss a transfer. Early reports that Alvarez was out of contract seem to be false – and it looks like Velez want something in the region of £8 million for their player. I think it’s a risk worth taking; he seems like a quality player. Right now I’d rate the deal as 50-50 to go ahead.
Eden Hazard says he doesn’t think he’ll leave – although he did say “we know that if a big club comes in with a big bid, I’ll be off”. I’m not sure if we’re able to make that big bid, but he’d certainly want to come here if we did. It depends on how much Arsene wants Hazard. Personally, I’d go all out to get him, he really is a huge talent. His comments seem to rule Liverpool out though – he said he wants to play in the Champions League with Lille or a big club next season.
As for departures, Arshavin is staying, which I think is good news. If we can get Hazard and Alvarez in and keep Arshavin and Nasri, we can rotate and keep all four wingers sharp – a little like what United do with Park, Valencia, Nani and Giggs. Carlos Vela’s agent says he’s still wanted by club, and I think we could do worse than be patient with the Mexican. The ever-reliable Marco Silva says Inter Milan are preparing a £6 million bid for Gael Clichy, and that Almunia has offers in Spain.
Interestingly, he also says Nasri will only sign a new contract when new signings are guaranteed. He claims that this is the reason for Wenger telling us to expect signings in “late May or early June”. It would be good to get all our business wrapped up early this year, so there’s a lot of time for the new players to gel with the team before the new season starts. (update: 20/6/11: Marco Silva turned out to be a fake account)
Finally, a little news on the youth front. Sky Sports say we’ve secured the deals for Barcelona youngsters Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin – apparently both had numerous offers from other top European clubs (and Aston Villa) but chose Arsenal to continue their development. More good academy news comes in the form of Oguzhan Ozyakup signing a new contract at the club. It had seemed like he was off, but it looks like he’s decided Arsenal is the place to continue his development.
Before I go, there’s a campaign to get a Sunday league manager as the next Chelsea boss. Apparently Martin Grisley is the “Mourinho of Abington Park” and has taken Dynamo FC to new heights. While it’s not a very real prospect, Coral have him at 100-1 to be the next Chelsea manager, and will give betting proceedings to Help for Heroes, which is a nice touch. Here’s the Facebook page, and there’s a bit about him on the Coral site here. All for a good cause.
I have a couple of transfer stories to inform you all of today.
Firstly, via Marco Silva, we have said the following about Ricardo Alvarez following speculation linking us with the Argentine midfielder: “I am afraid it is against Club Policy to comment on any transfer speculation surrounding individual players”. However, I can confirm via Marco that it is the English Arsenal that the Argentine press is linking Alvarez with, not the Argentine Arsenal.
Marco also tweeted a quote from Nicklas Bendtner’s father and agent, Thomas, who said: “Nicklas is 100 percent determined to change club immediately”. His exclusion from the squad against Fulham pretty much confirmed that he’s on his way out. I’ll be disappointed to see him go, but that’s football. (update: 20/6/11: Marco Silva turned out to be a fake account)
wearethenorthbank have exclusively revealed that we had scouts at Villa Park to watch Stewart Downing play against Liverpool, who he has also been linked with. Apparently we look like we’re going to join the race to sign him. While I think he’s a decent player, and that we lack wingers, one big concern of mine over Downing is that he seems unable to use his right foot at times. And by “at times”, I mean “always”. However, I’ve been proven wrong in the past by similar players like Adam Johnson. If we signed Downing I’d love for him to prove me wrong.
The final story I’m going to cover is the exclusion of Jack Wilshere from the England under-21 squad for the tournament this summer. It’s a big victory for the club, as we’ll be able to have a fresh Jack ready and raring to go when next season starts. I don’t think he’ll play as big a part as he did this season – he’s notably very tired now, and Ramsey is back in the frame. As well as that, there will certainly be some reshuffling of the squad.
I’m avoiding talk of on-pitch matters, as our season clunked to an uninspiring halt on Sunday. There was reason to celebrate though – often our scourge, Birmingham City have been relegated to the Championship. Sadly, Blackpool have gone down too, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
I’ll try and publish more news just as soon as I hear of it.
A little more ‘news’ has emerged on the potential signing of Ricky Alvarez.
Argentine journalist Manuel Olivari tweeted this yesterday: “Ricky Alvarez no firmó ningún precontrato con el Arsenal, es información falaz”. Loosely translated, this means: “Ricky Alvarez did not sign pre-contract with Arsenal, is false information”.
Where this leaves the deal, I’m not sure. Whether Olivari means that the entire deal is made up, or that the deal just isn’t as far ahead as people think, I don’t know. However, any news that I get I’ll get it up here as soon as I can.
In the mean-time, however, if you want to watch Alvarez play, check out this YouTube video.
Two major stories for me to cover today, both involving transfers. Huzzah, I hear you say!
And most people have been happy about both of them. The first story to break today involved Denilson, who has revealed he wishes to leave Arsenal. He claims to have decided roughly eight months ago that he wants to quit – I’m not going to reel off all the quotes, as you can find them in the link above.
Really, I think that if he was a winner, he’d stay and fight for his place in the team, instead of quitting when the going got tough, which is what he’s doing. And on the basis of that, I deem him a quitter, not a winner as he claims. Furthermore, if you’re a winner, you chase players back when we have few players back when being hit on the counter, especially against Manchester United!
To be fair to him he’s put in some decent performances and I feel he’s had some over-the-top criticism, as well as being made a scapegoat for the club’s failings. He does give us a good long range shot but he has had some poor games for the club recently. I wrote an article about how he’s become the forgotten man at Arsenal a month or so ago (wasn’t published) and it becomes clear why – he’s just not wanted to be here, and if that’s his attitude, then good riddance to him.
That seems to have shown in his performances; this has been a much worse season for him than in previous years. Perhaps, instead of his footballing incompetence, it was because he didn’t want to be here. He says he hasn’t caused any disruption off the pitch by asking to leave (until now) but his below-par performances have caused some disruption.
It looks like he’ll be off to Spain – I can’t claim to have any sources but my instinct tells me he’ll be at Sevilla next year. Based on that, put your entire life savings on him signing an 8-year contract with us tomorrow. Seriously though, he’s had some good games and scored some great goals. He had a lot of potential so I’m a little sad it’s not worked out, and I wish him all the best.
After that story had come out, the “news” filtered through that we had reportedly signed Ricky Alvarez from Velez Arfield in Argentina. After further investigation, it seems that Alvarez is a 22 year old attacking midfielder/winger who has really had a break through season this year. Those that I know who are into Argentinean football have spoken glowingly of him, which can only be good – the supposed transfer of Alvarez was described as a “coup” for us by one person.
It appears that we’ve signed him on a “pre-contract”, so it would be free. Having watched a little of him on YouTube, he seems a decent player, but obviously so would Susan Boyle with some fairly clever editing of clips, so it’s difficult to judge just from YouTube. Still, the clips looked fairly promising, and hopefully he’ll bring something to the club if he does sign.
The news had no internet source – apparently Fox News reported it on their television channel. However, those that reported it on Twitter are very reliable, so I believe them. If Alvarez does join, I look forward to seeing him in an Arsenal shirt. Remember; Javier Hernandez was barely known when he joined Manchester United!
That’s all for today, more later in the weekend. Hope you all have a terrific one.