Is Afellay the man to change RVP’s mind?

16 07 2012

There is a lot of buzz around at the moment that Barcelona are looking to off-load Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay for the meagre sum of £6 million in order to free up funds for their acquisition of defensive midfielder Javi Martinez.

Not only have the club let the player know his days are numbered, they have even gone so far to offer the former PSV Eindhoven player on a plate to Inter Milan and Arsenal.

Whether Afellay will be pulling on the red and white next year remains to be seen, but if I were Arsene Wenger I would be doing all I could to make it happen for one very good reason. He just might be the signing required to make RVP change his mind and “do a Rooney”.

Van Persie is very much on the record with his displeasure at what he sees as the club’s lack of ambition. It is barely 2 weeks since the Dutchman had this to say:

“I personally have had a great season, but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.”

Personally with the early capture of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud I beg to differ, but then it isn’t me that needs convincing it is Robin.

At just £6 mil Afellay would represent another canny buy for Arsenal and would be a very Wengeresque signing.

After making his first team debut at the tender age of 17 Afellay went on to have 8 impressive years with PSV picking up 4 league titles before joining Barca in January 2011.

Since arriving at the Nou Camp, Afellay has seen his playing time limited due to a nasty cruciate injury which kept him out of the game for seven months. That said, Afellay seems to have put his injury woes behind him, he featured for Holland in Euro 2012 and looked to be back up to speed.

Quick, powerful and with an eye for goal (he has scored 40 times in 251 appearances) the signing of Afellay coupled with that of new boys Giroud and Podolski would once again make Arsenal a team more than capable of challenging on all fronts.

As an added bonus, the arrival of another winger would really make the likes of Theo Walcott and Gervinho have to up their own games for fear of losing out on their places in the current pecking order.

Barring any further injury set backs at 26 the energetic winger has his best years ahead of him and if anyone knows how to get the best out of pacey, attacking players it is Wenger.

So, Fair enough he is a talented player who would bring something to the side. Why should this make RVP suddenly sit up and decide that Arsenal have some measure of ambition to match his own?

Simple – RVP really, rates his international colleague.

“He’s developed into a real class act in the past couple of years. We all knew that he’s a great player, but he has taken his game to the next level recently.”

What better way to show your captain you mean business than to buy the players he recommends?

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Mikel Arteta joins Arsenal

1 09 2011

I tend to avoid having the television or radio on during Transfer Deadline Day (henceforth called TDD)  Being an Arsenal fan it is often a little bit of a let down and more to the point it seems to be an excuse for Sky to bring the most annoying twats ever out of the woodwork.

This year was no different, I avoided even peaking during work and then had to drive to collect a new car and due to a number of factors was not through the door until about 11.15.

As such imagine my glee when I discovered that more or less out of the blue Arsene Wenger had pulled off one of the coups of the current window.

Gone was the signing of the usual unknown African child for half the defecit of the third World, instead I was greeted with the news that Mikel Arteta had been signed for a mere £10 mill. Talk about pulling a rabbit from the hat!

Arteta is a proper signing, a genuine midfield talent with years of Premier League experience… added to recent additions Santos and Mertesacker the season is starting to look up a little.

For those of you who have lived under a rock for a while here is a potted history of Arteta’s playing career to date –

“Arteta started out as a trainee with FC Barcelona but could not break his way into the first team and was eventually loaned to Paris Saint-Germain in the French league. He was then signed by Scottish Premier League giants Rangers with whom he would win the domestic treble of the league, Scottish Cup and League Cup in the season of 2002–03. After success in Scotland, Arteta moved to back to Spain to play for Real Sociedad but failed to establish himself within the first team and was loaned to Everton for the remainder of the 2004–05 season. He would then sign a permanent transfer.

Arteta has represented Spain at under-21 level, but he has not played for the senior national team.”





Goobye Cesc, thanks for everything.

15 08 2011

We all knew it was coming, but even so it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.

Arsenal club captain, Cesc Fabregas, has completed his move to Barcelona the club he signed from back in 2003.

During this time we Arsenal fans have been lucky enough to witness Fabregas’ emergence from being a talented but raw 16 year old into one of the absolute top midfielders in the World.

Once again Cesc, thanks for everything, you will be a tough act to follow.

 





10 Replacements for Fabregas

2 08 2011

As seems to always be the case these days us Arsenal fans are having to face the spectre of talismanic club captain Cesc Fabregas being lured away from the Emirates by boyhood club Barcelona.

If you compare the stance of the club this Summer with that taken in previous years it does look as if the end could well be nigh for Fabsters 8 year tenure at the gunners, that is assuming of course that Barcelona are willing to cough up more than the £2.50 and some Panini stickers they are currently offering.

The big question is of course who would / could be the best replacement for the talented Spainard, will it be one of Wenger”s homegrown wonderkids or will “Le Prof”  be forced to break the habit of a lifetime and spend big in the transfer market.

For what it is worth here is my pick of ten of the best possible replacements:

 Jack Wilshere:

Young, superbly talented and no fee to pay….on paper Jack Wilshere would seem to be Arsene Wenger’s dream signing, throw in the fact that he is already an Arsenal player and firm fan favourite to boot and it would seem that Jack Wilshere is the perfect man to take on Fabregas’ role within the team.

Over the past season Wilshere has emerged as a tenacious box-to-box midfielder like former Arsenal legends Patrick Vieria and Emmanuel Petit, albeit a much more technically gifted midfielder than either.

The only downside for me is if you replace Fabregas with Wilshere than who do you replace Wilshere with, that is how important this young lad has become for the Gunners.

  Samir Nasri:

Following what has been his best season to date in an Arsenal shirt I personally will be more than a little saddened if want-away Frenchman, Samir Nasri, manages to secure a move from the Emirates this summer.

I think he has the quality to be a really great player for the club and rather than adopting the role of the pantomime villain this Summer (NasriBayor anyone?) I for one think he should be focusing on showing the World just how good he can be, especially as it was only really half a season that he managed to shine for and after Christmas looked rather lacklustre on occasion.

With the impending departure of Fabregas and the arrival of new boy Gervinho should Nasri stay he would be well placed to earn himself the spot in the centre of midfield that he craves and could one day find himself mentioned in the same breath as club heroes like Dennis Bergkamp or Thierry Henry. Surely that is preferable to joining the likes of Adebayor or Ashley Cole?

 Xabi Alonso:

A World Cup winner and a great attacking midfield option, Xabi Alonso can play anywhere in the middle of the park and impress greatly.

Out of any of the options from outside of the club Alonso with his experience of the Premier League could well the quickest to find his feet and make an impact

His price wouldn’t be terrible either; Real always sell their players on the cheap to make room for shiny new ones.

Turning 30 this November, Xabi Alonso would have the age and experience that the Arsenal midfield sometimes seems to be crying out for.

 Danielle De Rossi:

 Tipped by many as the man Arsene Wenger had lined up to replace Fabregas should he leave Danielle De Rossi would truly be a World class signing for Arsenal fans to get their teeth into.

 The 28-year-old, who has made over 350 appearances for Roma, has less than a year to run on his current contract, and the clubs new owners are desperate to tie him down to a new deal before he is able to sign a deal with another club in January leaving them high and dry.

I would love to see De Rossi in an Arsenal shirt and should he fail to sign a deal with Roma this just might happen, but not until next Summer as I just can’t see Wenger spending money on a player he knows he can get for  free later, Chamakh anyone?

  Aaron Ramsey:

Having recovered from the horrific injury suffered at the hands of Ryan Shawcross, young Welshman Aaron Ramsey, rounds out the list of possible replacements from within the club.

Ramsey has adapted quickly to the Arsenal style of play and can become an Arsenal great, especially when you consider the fact that he is much more mature than pretty much everyone his age, a testament proven by the fact that he is Wales’ captain—the youngest player in history to captain Wales—and one of the youngest national captains in history.

After coming back from injury, Ramsey was almost instantly back to his best form, scoring against Man United and helping Arsenal win their first game  in two years against the Red Devils. He has continued his rich run of form in pre-season where his determination and skill has marked him as one of the stand out players during Arsenal’s friendly matches.

Juan Mata:

 If  internet rumour is to be believed we have more than a passing interest in Mata and have even gone so far as to make a £17.5 million bid which cash strapped Valencia have rejected.

 I seriously hope that Wenger digs a little deeper and ups his bid as Mata is a very tidy player who can play either out on the wing or through the middle. His passing seems to be good  and with a decent return of goals, 33 in 129 appearances for Valencia, it  looks like he could be the sort of midfield option we have sometimes lacked since the departure of the free scoring Pires and Ljungberg.

  Eden hazard: 

Until seeing Gervinho play I did wonder if we had signed the wrong Lille player, (luckily that isn’t the case) the tricky young Belgian international would suit Arsenal’s style of play, and he would complement players like Nasri and Wilshere on the pitch wonderfully.

Sadly Lille aren’t interested in losing their star player just yet and even if they were a reputed transfer fee of well over £20 million would probably make this a most un-Wengerlike signing.

Marek Hamsik:

 At nearly 24 years of age Marek Hamsik would be a fantastic addition to the Arsenal midfield.

 He is a really classy player who could would add some real creative spark, something the side lacked on occasion when Fabregas was absent last year.

Another plus side is that he looks strikingly like Frankenstein’s monster and would most likely strike fear in the hearts of opposing players… handy for the likes of Stoke and their team of lumbering inbreds.

Yoann Gourcuff:

Should Arsene Wenger decide that he needs to look outside the club to replace Fabregas then many people think he could do a lot worse than to consider a bid for French international Yoann Gourcuff.

His ability to split a defense in half, along with his technique and his eye for goal, would make him the perfectreplacement for Fabregas and a perfect signing for Arsenal.

Gourcuff is one of the most talented players on the planet, but he has never had much of a chance to really shine and is almost always away from the spotlight. If any coach could bring out the best in him and make him into the superstar he could be it is Arsene Wenger.

That said Wenger would have to nearly double the current transfer record at the club in order land his man and I’m sure I am not the only person who just cant see that happening.

Riccardo Montolivo:

 Fiorentina and Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo  is widely regarded for his excellent passing and vision, there have been some concerns in the past regarding his mentality and lack of character, but we are hardly talking Joey Barton here.

Fiorentina management have admitted that they expect to sell the 26 year old Italian international this summer after the midfielder refused to open new contract talks. Who knows this could even drive his price down to one that Arsene Wenger would be willing to pay





Wilshere and Rooney on FIFA 12 cover

29 07 2011

Please don't steal my hair Wayne

A rather worried looking Jakc Wilshere will share the cover of this year’s FIFA offering with Shrek Wayne Rooney, no doubt that is the source of his slight look of fear.

For those  of you who might not be aware  when Rooney isn’t having hair sewn into his scalp or sleeping with geriatric prozzies he can occasionally be seen scoring goals for Manchester Utd.  

FIFA 12 is out in September and fans of the game can look  forward to the collision engine and  improved online gaming. The new features which will allow online players to choose between Chelsea, Barca, Man City and Real Madrid and will now make it easier to fake losing your internet connection 1 minute before you would otherwise have lost.





Arsenal 2- FC Koln 1

24 07 2011

Those of you living under a rock may not have noticed that there was a match yesterday…

Granted it was only a pre-season friendly against FC Koln but I for one was very pleased to find that somewhere along the line Sky have decided to gift me ESPN without telling me…Thanks lads 🙂

The final result on the day was 2-1 to the Gunners and it was a fairly pleasing game to watch. Now I am sure that some smart arse (or two) is going to jump in and remind us that Cologne are hardly Barcelona; that may well be the case but this is a side that finished 10th in the Bundesliga and can boast the likes of Lukas PodolskiMichael Rensing and Milivoje Novakovič so by the same token they are hardly Hangzou Greentown either…

We started with what looks like it could be pretty close to our first X1 minus a couple of obvious absentees – Sagna and Fabregas. Nasri played and didn’t look too pained to be there earning his miserly wages and more interestingly I got to have my first proper glance at new boys Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson.

Jenkinson had a pretty good match throughout and to my mind looks like he should be stepping straight into the first team, he looked good on and off the ball, is tall (6’2 ) and strongly built and unlike a certain Mr Eboue seems more than able of delivering a good final ball into the box. The only thing that marred his otherwise great performance was an unfortunate own-goal that he is not likely to forget in a hurry.

I’m sure mos fans will agree with me that Gervinho looks like he may well be the real deal… well actually they probably wont, what with being the bitter, miserable sorts that most gooners are these days.

His movement and positioning were very good, he has pace to burn and unlike certain member of our team actually knows how finish, his first goal came thanks to a superb pass from young Jack Wilshere who turned in yet another excellent performance furthering yet again my own view that he could well help bridge the gap should Cesc head off this year.

For his second goal in the red and white shirt it was Walcott who turned provider with a neat pass which Gervinho did well to finish whilst bundling himself over the keeper in the process.

Watching Gervinho’s pace and movement reminded me just how much we have a missed a certain TH14 in recent years both for the aforementioned movement and hopefully the shedload of goals that he is going to bang in with reckless abandon.

In the words of the manager “He has shown his qualities. He has quick movement behind [the defence], the timing of his movement is great and he is easy to find. We have seen what he can bring to the team and he contributes to the high pace we have in the team.”

Roll on next weekend and the Emirates Cup….





Dear Barca

18 07 2011

Dear Barca,

I could write a lengthy, witty piece about how your attempts to unsettle and sign our club captain are not only insulting but are reaching a point where you are just starting to look like repetitive fools.

However I am not going to do any of that, there have been tens of thousands of words written about your sneaky underhand behaviour and the coverage is getting almost as tiresome as your attempts. Nothing I am going to write here would change things a jot.

However it has often been said that a picture paints a thousand words; as such I am going to hand things over to some Chinese Arsenal fans who have managed to capture my sentiments perfectly.

Barce pay £40m take Cesc away or go home to wank’

 








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