Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal negotiating for Andrei Arshavin

03
Feb
09

How Arsenal got their Hleb back.

[THIS SPOT RESERVED FOR IMAGE OF ARSHAVIN HOLDING UP AN ARSENAL SHIRT]

After a hectic final 24 hours of the world’s most protracted transfer deal, we’re only slightly more certain of seeing Arshavin in red and white than we were yesterday. Which is just about the most frustrating thing I can imagine.

That’s not true, I can imagine being a Spurs fan; firing the best manager in your club’s recent history, selling off all your best players, firing the guy who got you your only trophy in several years, because he couldn’t motivate a team of losers, and then buying back 3 of your former players in what can only be a desperation move to save your Premiership season.

I can imagine that.

I guess it’s like they say “cream rises to the top — and if you’re Robbie Keane you drop back down to Tottenham.”

I guess in some way, the Arshavin transfer saga is equally incredible. Last year when Spurs were flushed (get it? Spurs? FLUSHED???) with cash, they made an £18m bid for the diminutive playmaker and were rejected by Zenit. Today there are reports that Arsenal paid somewhere between £10 and £15m for him. Hey, if all those shenanigans yesterday saved us £7m then it was all worth it.

I really like the Daily Express story linked above there: it’s so fantastic that it’s sort of magical. In that story, Arsenal paid a mere £10m for Arshavin, his picture has already been taken, the paperwork is all signed, Andrei took a huge pay cut, paid for his own flight in, AND paid off his signing bonus out of his pocket. Oh yeah, and he expects to play Tottenham on Sunday! He also rides a unicorn and can fly on rainbows, I don’t know why they didn’t report that bit.

best.deal.ever

I don’t know what really happened yesterday, the closest we’ll get to the truth of this matter is probably over at Gunnerblog. There are more twists and turns than a M. Night Shamalan screenplay. I can’t wait for the reveal: Arshavin is actually an alien and he melts if he gets wet. Why did they come to a planet that is 90% water? ARE THEY THAT DUMB!!?!

And finally, it was being reported yesterday that Arshavin will wear the number 13 for Arsenal, which was the number that Hleb wore and generally considered a cursed number. If you add in that he’s kind of small, and dribbly, it made me think “wow, Arsenal are buying Hleb back!” And then I watched some videos of him and it got me thinking that he’s more like Rosicky than Hleb, mostly because he scores goals. So, as for the title of the blog, I couldn’t really say “how Arsenal got their Rosicky back” since we still have a Rosicky.

Rosicky’s only like a new signing after all.

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23
Jan
09

Arsenal on the verge of signing?

Arsenal travel to Ninian park on Sunday for an early FA cup match but all that anyone really cares about is the Andrei Arshavin signing saga.  Well, that’s not true some of us care about that, the FA Cup match, and Arsenal signing someone better than Alex Song to anchor the midfield but if you read the papers all we care about is the Arshavin deal.

Well, let’s put it to bed: according to Zenit, Arsenal have increased their offer and the deal will be done on Sunday. Never mind that Peter Hill-Wood said just yesterday that Arsenal made their last offer, Zenit is claiming that Arsenal have increased their bid!

I’m pretty certain that what we’re seeing here is a Zenit club that are basically rank amateurs when it comes to negotiations. Their very public attempts to increase interest from people outside the negotiating room was distasteful and unethical. But worse, they now look like a bunch of clowns as they change their tune every two days. One day it’s “we want £20m, Arsenal are being too cheap, no deal” and the next day they are saying “Arsenal have offered us a good deal we should conclude this in 2 days.”

I say screw this story, there’s too many known unknowns and even some unknown unknowns to report anything as fact. If Arshavin signs anything I’ll report it, if not, f*ck it. I’ve got to put this story down before I lose my mind. I mean, if you thought I was vitriolic against Zenit before for their overt racism and hiring discrimination I am now at the point where I just want to strangle the whole lot of them.

And if you want to go absolutely bat shit insane, all you have to do is listen to Wenger say all the things I said he’d say yesterday.

I am very happy with the squad I have and will only add someone who can give us something special. For the rest I have good players and believe strongly in them. Should we not get what we want, we will accept it as well because I believe we are strong enough with what we have.

I really wish he would have mentioned the fact that they are a young team here but he didn’t, instead he said that Arsenal aren’t really buying anyone because…

At the moment I am more focused on doing well with the players we have than being frenetic about the transfer market. I am convinced there is enough quality inside here to achieve that target.

Wait for it…

We are not close to signing anybody else, but what I see in training is a very determined team of top quality.

Wait for it…

Also the players coming back, like Fabregas and Walcott, there is a little chance that Rosicky will play again before the end of the season, so we have plenty of players coming back who are like new signings.

They are like new signings! If by “new signing” you mean “players who are currently under contract but who have been out for up to a year due to freak injuries and would be coming back into the team but won’t actually be signing anything nor are they new.”

Sometimes I want to strangle Wenger too. I’m in a strangling mood today I guess.

You should also know that Arsenal supposedly have rejected offers for Bendtner and Eboue. Now, before you get too excited, both of these stories come from the players’ respective agents. Moreover, both agents are claiming that the respective clubs contacted the agents and made an offer for the player. Unfortunately, for me, that all adds up to this being the biggest hot air story of all hot air stories.

Anyway, Arsenal have Cardiff on Sunday in the FA Cup, which is something real, something that we all know is going to happen and not some agent’s fantasy. The actual kickoff is 5am and the match is only available on Setanta or one of the P2P sites, which as you all know means a trip to the pub to watch the game!

Doyle’s (listed in my blogroll) is showing the match on a delay because they don’t want to get up at 5am (I don’t blame them) and that’s where I’ll be on Sunday, 7am-ish.

A match will be a welcome respite from the fantasy world of transfer windows, what with all the candy colored Kaka’s and champagne Arshavins.

14
Jan
09

City goes for £100m Brazilian, owch.

The funniest story this morning is that City offered £91m for Kaka, Gattuso, and Dida.  Gattuso is injured and Dida is shite, so, let’s be honest and just admit that this is a $100m bid for Kaka. Now, depending on who you read, Kaka is either willing to talk to City or has rejected them outright. City is trying their level best to get to the player by offering him an after tax salary of £13m but when Kaka’s agent publicly says

Kaka wouldn’t do anything based on money. He would never do something like Robinho, who, just to earn more, contented himself with a solution that was not a winning one. (emphasis added)

I rather doubt the player will be tempted.

Honestly though, it’s not the money, it’s not that City are struggling to stay in the Premier League, it’s that established Italian players do not want to come to England in the prime of their careers and have their legs broken by the Mathew Taylor’s and Kevin Davies and Joey Barton’s in this league. Add in that the pace of the game and demands of English football are harder than in Italy, that the English refs are biased against foreigners, and the food and culture is continuously a sore spot and really, even £14m after tax isn’t enough.

In Italy he’s a god. In England, he’s a great player on “the other Manchester team.”

Which leads us to Arsenal target Andrei Arshavin. Sadly, news reports are circulating now that say Inter are getting involved in the bidding and if true I think we have to say our hopes for landing the player have diminished. I really wish Arsene would just look elsewhere for a player. Dealing with Zenit is distasteful at the least and at best it’s starting to look like they are using Arsenal to get the max they can from Inter or City after the Kaka deal falls through.

The team would be better served if they would spend their time on getting a player in, for a reasonable fee, who would shore up the defensive end of the squad. Hangelaand is often linked, a defensive midfielder maybe, you know, that kind of player. Maybe if you want to get realy crazy, recall Traore from Pompey and have him compete for Eboue’s spot.

Cesc Hates Football

Ok, not really, but Cesc did make a rather incredible statement in the match program on Saturday against Bolton and rather than cut it up, let me just give it to you whole

Of course I love watching Arsenal, and I will never miss a game when I can help it, but apart from that I’m just forgetting about everything to do with football. Even my girlfriend is surprised because it’s unusual for me, but to be honest when it comes to football at the moment, I am off it until I can start to get fit again.

I just have to be patient and try to enjoy a holiday. In the last five years I haven’t been able to take any type of holiday because even during the summer I have been playing for the national team, so it’s been constant.

I think in six years I’ve only ever had three consecutive weeks without football. That’s not normal for a 21 year-old. For Arsenal and Spain at all levels I think I have played 270 games – for a 21 year-old that’s not normal so I guess at one stage this had to happen. I want to relax as much as possible, and I’m sure I will come back stronger

Wenger gave Cesc some time off to start the season but clearly it wasn’t enough. I think we all saw a dip in form for Cesc at that time and now we know why, he’s burned out on football. I don’t know what Cesc is thinking but it looks to me like the burden that Wenger put on the young man, playing him 250 times before the age of 21 has started to tell. We all have to hope that these 4 months off see him return refreshed and hungry.

I’d also hope that Wenger sees this statement and understands that we need to bring in some experienced players rather than just throw Wilshere, Vela, and Ramsey out there to the wolves.

Yes, for those keeping tabs, I have changed my mind here.

Rapid Links

Simpson is doing well, winning matches, and earning plaudits from W.B.A. He supposedly scored a great goal, anyone have a link? I’d love to see Simpson help W.B.A. stay up this season and then be recalled back into the Arsenal team and give Ade some competition for his target man spot up front.

Spuds are being cautious with Appiah and will test him out tonight in a friendly to see if they want to sign him permanently.  I have to think that there’s something really, really wrong with him if the normally profligate Spurs are being so cautious. So, erm, good job not signing Appiah, Wenger!

Howard Webb admits he was wrong. No, not about the piss poor refereeing at Old Trafford but about his piss poor refereeing in a Wolves/Birmingham FA Cup match where he admitted that he failed to give a penalty for a clear violation. Now, if we could only get him to admit that he’s Wayne Rooney’s bitch we’d all be better off. “Best ref in England?” That’s an insult to England.

09
Jan
09

Arsene in for Arshavin plus one

arsene

In his usual pre-match press conference and Arsenal TV Online interview, Arsene presented us a four course meal with the starter being the match against Plymouth last week, moving to transfers in and out, then to injuries, and for “pudding” the Bolton match tomorrow. Let’s dig in, shall we?

The Importance of the FA Cup

Arsene basically reiterated and expounded upon his statement of last week that the FA Cup is one of the major targets of the first team. Thus, as far as team selection, for Wenger the FA Cup team will be the same team that might play in any Premier League match.

This is a huge boost to players like Ramsey and Fabianski who until now have not been seen as first team players and yet featured against Plymouth on the weekend. There has been a lot of talk in the team about Fabianski pushing Almunia for his starting spot and his featuring in the FA Cup is Wenger’s signal to Almunia that his starting spot in the Premier League is not guaranteed.

Wenger also sees the FA Cup run as a way of strengthening team morale and getting our defensive confidence up. When asked about the 5 match unbeaten run in the context of possibly winning the FA Cup Wenger rightly said

We want not to talk too much now and put performances in and then I believe people will change their minds about our team. They mean business, they are serious, they work hard, and I want this team to be rewarded for that.

Agreed, Arsene, all Arsenal fans want Arsenal to be rewarded for their hard work.

The next FA Cup match will be away to Cardiff and should provide a very tough challenge. Let’s hope the squad are up for it, Wenger seems to think they are.

Arshavin in, no one out… oh and MAYBE another midfielder

I really enjoy watching the actual interviews of Arsene instead of reading about them in the press. For example, when the interviewer said “the other story this month is the transfer window” Arsene got this sly grin on his face before he answered. That’s something you don’t read about in the papers and gives us some insight into the man. Frankly, I kind of think he likes taking the piss out of the speculators, at least that’s my impression with that little smile.

Anyway, when asked point blank where Arsenal are in the Arshavin deal he responded with his normal straight faced “Just like on Saturday, don’t talk too much and deliver on the pitch… At the moment I cannot announce any good news and in this job, as well, no news is good news.” Then he cracked a big old shit-eating grin and said “[I mean] Nothing has fallen through as well!”

When asked again, point blank if Arsenal are talking to Zenit over Arshavin, Arsene said “We are tal… uhh… We are on alert on the transfer market.” And cracked another sly grin.

It’s safe to say that Arsenal are in negotiations with Zenit over the transfer of Andrei Arshavin. This doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal, but that negotiations are ongoing.

Then came the crucial moment, the thing we’re all been talking about — he’s asked “Are you in the market for a defensive midfielder” and he responded with this gem

I believe we have to go first to the priority and then to go for a  second target. At the moment, I believe that with the players coming back, and the players moving within the team since the start of the season in the defensive area (Song, Denilson) I don’t think we are in a big need. We are in the moment short because I think we planned at the start of the season to have a player like Rosicky available to play in 80% of our games. He has not played at all and I feel we need someone more in this area.

So, Arshavin is coming in because Rosicky is injured and will be expected to fight for the right wing spot with Theo and company when they all get healthy. While this might be a bit harsh for some, the reality is that with Rosicky and Theo out Arsenal have struggled to find width, which in turn puts a lot of pressure on the central midfield, allows teams to box Arsenal in, and then leaves the defense vulnerable to counters at the back when the inevitable turnover happens. I couldn’t agree with him more, since it’s exactly what I said Arsenal needed a few blogs back (pats self on head).

As for the defensive midfield position, Wenger sees that as a secondary consideration. We all will have to take solace in the fact that at least he’s considering it because when asked if he’s in the market for a keeper he flat out said “No. No.” I suspect he has a target for that spot and is keeping his cards close to his chest. If you have the scratch, put money on Wenger signing someone like Sagna who will come in and give Song and/or Djourou a real challenge for his midfield/center half starting place. Yes, I really did just say that the player could play in all those positions: Wenger always buys utility players, right?

When asked about Kolo he sighed a bit and his shoulders slumped and he responded “No, that’s finished. We will not sell any player at the moment.” So, no one is leaving which, given all the injuries in defense and everywhere else, just makes plain sense. Now, this summer will be a different story.

Injuries

Kolo and Denilson are available for tomorrow’s match but, as CaribKid pointed out in the forums yesterday, Gallas pulled a hammy in the Plymouth game and along with the thigh injury to Silvestre, both players will be out for 3 weeks. Meanwhile, Fabregas and Rosicky are not expected back until March but Walcott is expected back at the end of February. With Wenger saying that “Walcott is the quickest one to recover because he’s started to run already.”

Wenger hinted at Dudu playing against Cardiff but his recovery is going slow owing to the fact that the reserves team match was canceled this week and so he’s not getting any match competition. Wenger is going to take Eduardo slow and warns everyone off thinking we’re going to just throw him back onto the field. No less than anyone should expect.

Arsenal v. Bolton, Saturday 7am (PST)

On Bolton tomorrow, Wenger is cautious saying that the differences between teams in the league are very minimal and that as soon as you drop confidence or focus, you lose points. Of course, he doesn’t want Arsenal to suffer another setback and told us to expect this Arsenal team to come out strong and not let Bolton get any confidence.

This means scoring an early goal.

Wenger also warned about Davies, that he’s strong in the tackle, strong in the air, strong in the challenge and that we’ll need to contain him. Also with Nolan out Muamba will be left to patrol the midfield and seeing him clash with Song should be rather insightful. I always thought Muamba might make the Arsenal first team but having watched him play for Bolton I can see why he didn’t. Watch that matchup tomorrow and see how Song plays.

Wenger is also wary of Bolton new boy Johan Elmander, saying it looks like he has adapted well to the Premier League and is almost ready to settle in.

There’s a funny slip there at the end, where he’s asked about the Chelsea v. Man U match on Sunday and he talked about Arsenal needing to pick up the three points first and then this would be an opportunity for us to catch up to the “three teams” in front of us. The interviewer reminds him that there are four clubs and Arsene smiles and says “I mean four, four.”

I’m worried that it seems like he’s dismissing the Aston Villa threat outright. They are at least as much a threat to Arsenal as Tottenham was in the 2005/2006 season, so it’s dangerous to rule them out of the top four. Let’s hope that was just a one off slip.

And finally, Gary Megson had a moan in the press about how Arsene supposedly whines about Bolton’s playing style. In the interview I saw, Wenger simply stated that Bolton know how to disrupt Arsenal’s playing style and that it’s important for us to dictate the style of play or else Bolton will basically smash and grab and get away with some points. This isn’t moaning, this is a factual statement.

Nor is it moaning to point out that Bolton have the third worst disciplinary record as a squad and individually they have the top most disciplined footballer in the Premier League (Nolan, who is suspended for this match) and two other players who are in the top of the bad boys club (McCann and Steinsson). That’s not moaning, that’s making factual statements about a team that is a pack of dirty players. It would be like Arsenal saying that Bolton is moaning whenever they mention that RvP is a threat to score goals.

But my favorite moment of every Arsenal pre-match is when Bolton trot out the old “Kevin Davies is the most fouled player in the league” canard. Of course he is! He’s the most fouled player because he’s been the top fouling player in the league since, what, 1903? This is a player who commits, on average, 90 fouls a season, complaining that he receives fouls. It’s incredible to mean to hear them piss and moan about the number of fouls that Davies receives.  To give you some perspective, Arsenal’s “Bad Boys” are Denilson (45 FC) and  Song (35 FC), both of these players average less than 2 fouls per match while Davies is closer to 3 fouls per match.

All of which is beside the point. The point is that Kevin Cyrill Davies is a cunt and Bolton are objectively a dirty team. It’s not whinging to point that out, nor is it whinging to ask the refs to call the game fairly and to pay attention to the fact that Bolton are a dirty team.

ZOMG this is a long post, Tim.

Meh, it was a cool interview so I wanted to give you the meat of it. You’ll live.

Tomorrow’s match is live on Setanta, which always means a trip down to Doyle’s, so I expect to see a full house tomorrow — if not then I will disown you all.  As for the blog, unless there is something special to report I will be skipping the 7am blog and instead give you a Good, Bad, and Ugly right after the match. So, look for a post around 11am PST tomorrow — or whenever it pops into your RSS feed.

One last thing, I’ve gotten a Twitter account for 7amkickoff stuff only (updates on Arsenal football club, etc. I’ll try not to tell you about my toilet breaks) and you should subscribe to my feed, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I’m trying to add the widget to this WordPress page but failing miserably so if you know how to add the widget please send me a PM (tooth.timmy.1each at that Google based email account) and help a brother out.

Right, see you tomorrow.




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