Hello Gooners. I have had to stay away from the blogosphere for a couple of days, as I have had to jumble precariously between a hectic work and study schedule.
There’s been quite a bit happening on all fronts, and it really feels like the season has well and truly kicked in. Just 11 games have been played, and we have seen newly promoted Southampton and Reading provide mighty challenges to the oil barons of Manchester City and Chelsea respectively. And what’s more, the boy within, who urged a move away from London to Manchester, ended up being on the losing side, after an inspirational performance by Fellaini and Co.
We have our own news as well, and nothing better than to start off with our lovely little Brazilian Andre Santos. He was caught speeding at nearly 130 mph (Yes, 130 mph) on Friday morning, as he was making his way to the training ground. He, however has been bailed and will have a hearing later in September. We all know how Arsene Wenger likes his players to keep a low profile, and this will surely not go down well with him. Probably, the gay may have to sit out a few games as punishment, or play Darlington in the reserves. But, we won’t know anytime soon. If found guilty, he could face up to two years in prison.
The biggest news of the week, and has been going round and round, for quite some time now, is the protracted transfer saga of Turkish international midfielder Nuri Sahin. There have been countless reports in the press regarding this, and there seems to be a new twist almost everyday.
It started around a couple of weeks back, when Arsenal first registered interest, soon after Cazorla was snapped up from Malaga. The rumors got stronger, when Jose Mourinho revealed to the player, he would have to go out on loan, if he wants to see some playing time. This of course, like it always happens with us, attracted interest from a host of other clubs, for the Bundesliga Player of the Year 2010/2011.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham were all linked to the former Dortmund man, but it has finally boiled down to a Liverpool and Arsenal battle to secure the services of the player. While there has been no clear statement from the player as of yet, it seems to parallel the long saga of Eden Hazard’s transfer.
He first wooed all the top clubs in Europe, and teased everyone on Twitter with his pathetic tweets on his decision making process. Of course, Sahin is no such twat, and though some reports indicate that the deal between the clubs have been agreed, only minor details regarding clauses, options and player agreements remain.
One report suggests that Arsenal want an option to purchase the player to be included, for a reported sum of £14 million, but clearly the player wants to have a future at Real Madrid, and the club themselves do not want to sell him, after paying £7.8 million last year for him, and putting him on a 6 year contract. Other reports suggest that Sahin was persuaded by Mourinho and Alonso to join Liverpool, due to the duo’s past allegiances with Rodgers and the club respectively.
Sahin however expressed a desire to play in the Champions League. However, when it seemed like Arsenal could wrap up the deal any moment, more snags hit the player’s transfer regarding who would pay how much of his wages. Sahin is on £120,000 a week, and Arsenal were willing to pay a reported £70,000 while Liverpool agreed to pay £90,000 of the wages, slowly tipping the balance in their favour.
And last night, BBC reported that Arsenal had all but ended their interest in the player, paving the way for Liverpool to complete the transfer. Of course, none of these statements have been made officialy by either club, though Rodgers did reveal that the deal could be done in 24 hours time, irrespective of which club he joins.
If we have really stepped out of the race, then I am pretty sure Arsene Wenger will have a couple of other targets in mind, and there is still a week of negotiations left. I would have liked to see Sahin at Arsenal, simple because he is in the mould of a typical Arsenal player. Anyways, all we can hope is for some good news in the coming days.
Moving on from the long Sahin drama, Spanish paper AS reported that Arsenal are interested in Spain international winger Jesus Navas. While the deal does look a bit overpriced on paper, reported at £27.6 million pounds, there is no doubting the player’s talent. He has been Sevilla’s real marquee player over the past few seasons, and there is no surprise the club value him so much. The player himself has been quick to brush aside the rumors in a tweet.
He had been very close to joining Chelsea, but cited possible homesickness as a reason not to make the move. We have had a very similar case in the past with Jose Antonio Reyes, who came in 2004, yet left by 2006, after reporting homesickness several times. Should he join, we can probably expect Theo Walcott to leave, as Navas is primarily a right winger. The manager has admitted difficulties in tying Walcott down to a new contract.
One player who is almost definite to leave the Emirates this time round, is South Korean Park Chu-Young, who looks close to joining newly promoted Spanish side Celta Vigo. Other possible movers could be Ignasi Miquel and Conor Henderson, who are looking for loan moves.
Apart from the above, there is very little in terms of news to give you. Arsene Wenger has revealed, though, ahead of the Stoke clash that the club is working very hard on new deals, in players coming in and players going out. We could yet be witness to some crazy last minute drama like last season, when we snapped up 5 players in one day. Of course, we wouldn’t be signing 5 per se, but I have the feeling we could be signing another defender, a defensive midfielder, and probably even a striker, funds and Wenger permitting.
The transfer market has gone absolutely bonkers, according to me. Steven Fletcher has been slapped a price of £15 million, which is quite enormous for a player who netted 12 times last season for Wolves. Yes, he did that for a really piss poor team, and could probably fare much better at Sunderland, who look favorites to sign him, but he would be nearly £5 million more than what was paid for Lukas Podolski, a seasoned international, with a zillion Germany caps. And more startling is the fact that Darren Bent was transferred to Aston Villa for £24 million for roughly the same price as Podolski and Giroud. (So, in Arsene we trust!)
And finally, there is this wonderful article that I read, and has been doing quite the rounds around the social networking spheres. There is the hybrid Dortmund-Arsenal model, which has been repeated over and over again on the site, but still is a really good read.
Some early team news ahead of the weekend. Laurent Koscielny is definitely out, but is expected to return for the Liverpool game next weekend. I would have preferred him to start at right-back instead of Jenkinson. Last season, owing to the terrible spate of injuries, the French defender put in a good shift there, particularly the games against Norwich City and Manchester City. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to be back, and hopefully will give the manager a pleasant headache.
That’s it for today. Hopefully, I will be back tomorrow with a preview for the Stoke game, with lineups as usual.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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