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Arsenal | Anorak - Part 7

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Arsenal football club news, Arsenal transfers

Arsenal sign Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno

Arsenal have agreed to spend 22m euros (£19.3m) on Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The 26-year-old German’s arrival will hasten the departure of Petr Cech and / or David Ospina.

Arsenal are also hoping to parade 22-year-old Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira before his next match for Uruguay at the World Cup. The midfielder has been offered a 5-year-contract.

Exciting times at the Emirates.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal will miss Jack Wilshere if the go-to Gooner leaves for Crystal Palace or West Ham

More Jack Wilshere news now. The Arsenal midfielder is wanted by Crystal Palace. Wilshere might take the offer. He wants to remain in London, and confronted with the choice of playing for vibrant Palace or desperate West Ham the choice should be simple.

Palace wanted to take Wilshere on a season-long loan in 2016. He opted for Bournemouth. Should he move to Palace, Wilshere will once more hook up with former England manager Roy Hodgson, who picked him to play in the Euro 2016 championships. Hodgson reasoned that a not fully fit Wilshere was still better than anyone else. England were dire. Wilshere’s performances were in keeping with the trend.

But he might stay at Arsenal. He’s been offered £110,000-a-week – plus a £65,000 win bonus at Arsenal. He won’t start many matches, but the money’s not too shabby for player so often out through injury; and surely playing for Unai Emery offers a restart of sorts. Wilshere’s career has been stalled by injury and a sense that he has long considered himself to be the finished article. He can move to West Ham and keep chugging along; head to Palace and be the fulcrum in Hodgson’s exciting team, but not learn much; or adapt to new regime and new team-mates Arsenal.

One thing: behind the scenes at Arsenal, Wilshere is the go-to Gooner. Henry Winter has a word:

It never gets publicised but frequently after home matches Wilshere goes straight from the dressing room to a private meeting with young Arsenal fans suffering from sickness, some with cancer, others wheelchair-bound.

Wilshere talks away, giving them shirts or other match-day mementos, and patiently satisfies all the selfie and autograph requests. Away from the ground, he is an assiduous backer of the life-changing Arsenal In The Community, assisting initiatives with Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Centrepoint homeless charity, among others.

After the Carabao Cup final humiliation to City, Wilshere was one of the few players who made the effort to go over to salute those lingering stoics in the Arsenal end. Wilshere leaned over the advertising boards and threw his shirt to a kid. Few of his team-mates ventured near, fearing a deserved slating.

When Arsenal won the FA Cup against Aston Villa in 2015, Wilshere celebrated on the pitch and then went back inside to continue the party in the changing room. An Arsenal official was alerted to a poorly young fan still waiting in the deserted stadium with his father, hoping the players would return. The club knew which player wouldn’t think twice about heading back out to see the fan. Wilshere grabbed his playing shirt, ran back out and gave it to the boy.

Wenger’s gone. He was the only Arsenal manager Wilshere, 26, has played under, having joined the club age 9. Time’s changed. Will Jack, tipped as a future Arsenal coach, stay, learn and fight?

 

Posted: 18th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal fans rejoice: Jack Wilshere is leaving

Jack Wilshere is leaving Arsenal on a free transfer. TeamTalk says Arsenal manager Unai Emery has told the player he’s  not a guaranteed starter. The website says this means Wilshere’s Arsenal career is coming to a “heartbreaking close”. Grab your little violins, readers, as Wilshere rejects a derisory £100,000-a-week contract to remain at the club of his youth and his dreams. We read that “given his love and affection for Arsenal” Wilshere has sat on his sun lounger and thought long and hard about accepting the deal.

The Mirror also has the “exclusive” news that Emery has told Wilshere –  injury prone; largely ineffectual in the penalty box; predictable; talented but lacking in pace; can’t beat a man which is why he gets fouled so much; and years since his debut as 16-year-old still talked about as having potential – that he won’t be a regular starter. This means, says the paper, Wilshere is off to West Ham, Wolves, Everton, Sampdoria, AC Milan or Juventus.

The Sun says the Hammers are favourite to sign Wilshere with a pay package worth £130,000 a week. Wilshere hasn’t improved at Arsenal for years. He won’t improve at West Ham.

Arsenal fans won’t miss him. Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieron Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were first XI players full of promise who too rarely delivered.  Wilshere is the last of that clutch of England journeymen. Arsenal can do better. They need to if they are to compete for the league title.

Posted: 17th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal fall foul of GDPR

One Arsenal fan received a season ticket renewal form featuring the details of a stranger. “Richard’s” letter about his gold season ticket listed another fan’s full name, date of birth, address, home and mobile phone numbers, email address and membership number. Whoops! The error is in breach of the new GDPR rules on customer data. Of course, it’s pretty much what Facebook knows about its users. But no-one cares much about that. And one form sent out by Arsenal is “worrying”.

An Arsenal spokesman (name withheld) tells the Telegraph: “We are well aware of our responsibilities under the GDPR regulations and apologise to the fans who were impacted. We launched an investigation as soon as this was brought to our attention and have established that this was a manual error by a supplier. There is no suggestion this was a system issue.”

Reports are that around 4 fans received the completed forms.

Note: At least it makes a change from Arsenal’s usual behaviour at season ticket renewal time: when fans start to hear rumours that Wenger will leave and a superstar – last season it was some tosh about £90m for Thomas Lemar – is on his way. At least this time there’s genuine hope…

Posted: 16th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal and Liverpool both favourites to sign Mario Gotze

With two Borussia Dortmund players already on the books, and another scheduled to be announced on July 1, Arsenal are looking at recruiting Mario Gotze. The  Germans want £18m for the 26-year-old Dortmund – the kind of money Arsenal can afford. The Mirror says Everton and West Ham are “among the clubs keeping tabs” on the man once hailed as Germany’s answer to Lionel Messi.  The same paper then adds in a separate story that Gotze wants to play for Jurgen Klopp again. We’ve been here before:

 

Liverpool Gotze klopp

The Daily Express got it wrong

 

 

This latest story of Gotze to Liverpool is rooted in the players words on the DAZN documentary Being Mario Gotze. Gotze left Dortmund for Bayern Munich in 2013. He made the reverse trip in 2016, picking Dortmund over Liverpool.

Says Gotze: “I decided to leave Bayern and Jurgen Klopp was interested in getting me to Liverpool. And I was also interested in working with him again.. He is a world-class coach and that’s why it’s always an option. I decided to join Borussia Dortmund, but it was not a decision against Liverpool or Jurgen Klopp.”

Churn that through the journalism mincer and the Metro can declare: “Mario Gotze drops Liverpool transfer hint and reunion with Jurgen Klopp.” “Mario Gotze still keen on reunion with ‘world-class’ Jurgen Klopp,” says Goal.com. “Liverpool transfer news: Mario Gotze talks up reunion with former manager Jurgen Klopp,” yodels The Independent’s clickbait factory.

In March 2016, the Guardian told its readers: “Liverpool confident of signing Mario Götze because of Klopp connection.”

Liverpool are confident of completing the marquee signing of Mario Götze this summer with the World Cup winner understood to be keen on a reunion with Jürgen Klopp.

 

Liverpool Gotze

The Express got it wrong…again

 

gotze klopp

Gotze ‘snubs’ Liverpool in 2016 – the Sun

 

This dire reporting on a player being touted round the Premier League by his agent is summed up on Google, where a search for ‘Gotze Liverpool’ guffs out these three top stories:

 

mario gotze liverpool

 

Liverpool are favourites to sign Gotze, says the Express – because, er, Gotze, who turned Liverpool down in 2016, says Klopp is a good coach. Liverpool should not want Gotze says the Liverpool Echo. Liverpool and Arsenal both want Gotze says the Star.

Type ‘Arsenal Gotze’ into the world’s largest search engine and you get:

 

arsenal gotze

 

The Metro’s news that Gotze wants to play in the Premier League is a “boost” to Arsenal but, oddly, not a boost to Everton and West Ham. The Guardian just wonders if the Gunners will sign him. They don’t know.

In other news, ESPN says Arsenal not Liverpool are favourites to sign Gotze:

 

gotze arsenal liverpool

 

Such are the facts…

 

 

Posted: 15th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Jack Wilshere hints at Arsenal stay

Jack Wilshere has lots of time on his hands. Not picked for England’s World Cup squad, the Arsenal midfielder is posting things on the web. The Telegraph reads one of his missives and creates a story around it. “Jack Wilshere hints at Arsenal exit with cryptic social media message,” says the paper of record. Wilshere is cryptic? The player who asked Arsenal fans what they thought of Spurs and replied “Shit!” has now taken to talking in codes. What did he say?

Daniel Zeqiri writes:

Jack Wilshere has hinted he could leave Arsenal for pastures new this summer with a suggestive late-night message on social media.

Wilshere is out of contract at the end of June. Arsenal have offered him around £100,000-a-week to carry on playing for the club he loves. He’s thinking about it. Feel the love, eh. On Wednesday, Wilshere told Instagram: “There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.”

Some books are too boring to bother with. Aside from the books, what did Jack says about lacing Arsenal? Nothing. That was it. That is the long and short of his “cryptic message”.

Look out for another story in the Telegraph based on Wilshere’s message:

Jack Wilshere has hinted he could stay at Arsenal with a suggestive late-night message on social media.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 14th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal transfers: Torreira agrees Leno sought and Papastathopoulos signs

How much money do Arsenal have to spend in the transfer window? The BBC says Arsenal “are close to spending their £50million summer transfer budget”. The Gunners are in for Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The trusty Beeb is relaying the Standard’s news:

Arsenal are close to spending their £50million summer transfer budget on Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

The Gunners are closing in on the £26m signing of Sampdoria midfielder Torreira and they have approached Bayer Leverkusen over a £20m deal for German goalkeeper Leno.

Arsenal are expected to sign Borussia Dortmund defender Papastathopoulos for £16m… Unai Emery will be under pressure to sell players if he wants to bring more new arrivals in.

So says the paper’s James Olley. He should have a word with his colleague Alex Young, who tells Standard readers Arsenal have £60m to spend:

 

transfer arenal alex young

What’s a mere £10m?

 

And when one clickbait factory reports the £50m budget being spent on three players, another does just the same. The Express has the same story as the Standard:

 

transfer arsenal

‘I read it in the Express’

 

Is the Arsenal transfer budget £50m, £60m or…£70m? Michael Hunks told Sky Sports readers Arsenal have £70m to spend this summer:

 

transfers arsenal sky

Do we have any advance on £70m?

 

Unable to agree on the budget, the Standard might be expected to get other facts right. Wrong. The £26m Arsenal have earmarked for Sampdoria midfielder Torreira is to be paid in instalments. Perhaps half will be paid up front. So that’s £16m for Papastathopoulos plus, say, £13m for Torreria and £20m for Leno. That equals £49m – leaving Arsenal with, £21m left over. As for selling players as the Standard says they “must”, well, Arsenal fans will not mourn the sales of Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, Joel Campbell, Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson and David Ospina.

Posted: 14th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal play Chelsea in Dublin in readiness for European super league

Arsenal will play Chelsea on 4 August in a pre-season rubber in Dublin as part of the – get this – International Champions Cup (ICC). Neither club is the Premier League champion. Other Premier League clubs in the competition are: Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool. The so-called ‘Big Six’ are all in the ICC to play one another in the same month as the PL season proper begins. When you know the other teams in this marketing campaign are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Roma, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Benfica it becomes clear that the whole thing is a precursor to some European Super League.

It’s billed thus:

It boasts the two largest crowds in U.S. soccer history, the only Clásico ever played on American soil and a list of former champions as regal as any tournament in the world: Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, Barcelona. A roster of top scorers that includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Franck Ribéry. This year, it includes 18 of the world’s most iconic and influential clubs, 90 out of 100 of the world’s top-ranked players and all eight of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinalists.

How long before the European Cup final is played in the USA or China?

It’s the International Champions Cup, the summer’s biggest club competition, and its mix of megastar glamour and debutante mystery is as compelling a proposition as the game has to offer.

Want more of this tosh?

The ICC, now in its sixth edition, is a crucial component of the soccer calendar for both the game’s luminaries and its next generation of stars. It’s been a launching pad for numerous emerging standouts over the years. Christian Pulisic—aged just 17—scored an injury-time equalizer for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City in 2016.

He did?

American Julian Green registered a hat trick against Inter Milan that same summer, just weeks after his twentieth birthday. Sergi Roberto, then a Barcelona reserve, scored the decider in Barça’s 2015 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 93,000 at the Rose Bowl. Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Ousmane Dembele each took their ICC opportunity to announce themselves as global footballing forces, and Marcos Asensio—perhaps most famously—did the same by finishing off a stunning end-to-end move to score for Real in Miami’s spectacular 2017 Clásico.

It is utter balls. These are brand-building matches played after the the World Cup before the teams’ domestic seasons begin. The only point of it must be the get us used to an elite league of European sides.

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal agree deal with Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira

Arsenal have agreed to splurge £26.4m on Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira. The Gunners are working to secure the hard-working 22-year-old Uruguayan on a five-year deal.

Torreira is in Russia for the World Cup with Uruguay. His agent is in Milan talking to Arsenal’s deal makers about wages, image rights and deals on a new right-hand drive car.

Arsenal paid over the odds. They could have bought Torreira by triggering the €25m (£21.4m) release clause in his contract but offered an extra £5m to see off competition from Napoli. The Gunners will pay the fee in tranches over three years. This allows the club to stretch a relatively slim summer transfer budget. Arsenal have also recruited Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus.

Fun Fact: Torreira signed a contract with Pescara in early 2014. The Guardian notes: “While there coaches thought he might have a minor foot injury and sent him to a specialist, who discovered seven warts on one of his feet.” The verruca treatment deal is his for the taking.

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Torreira is Arsenal’s new one-man midfield

In what TeamTalk calls a “boost” for Unai Emery, a “€25m Serie A star” Lucas Torreira has  “agrees” to transfer to Arsenal.

 

Lucas Torreira

Done deal!

 

Teamtalk says Lucas Torreira’s arrival jeopardises Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal future. Why Arsenal would replace a man who likes playing higher up the pitch with a defensive midfielder is moot. Another site says Torreira will replace Elneny. The Mirror says: “Why Lucas Torreira can be Arsenal’s very own N’Golo Kante.” Presumably because like the Chelsea harasser, The Uruguayan is short.

In other news away from Torreira being as good as three players and goo enough to constitute the entire Arsenal midfield: no deal has been done.

And in other Arsenal transfer news, Portuguese newspaper A Bola says Arsenal “insist” on signing Sporting winger Gelson Martins. Gelson, we read, if willing to buy out his own contract in order to secure his transfer to Arsenal, who have offered €30m for the winger.

 

Posted: 11th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Higuain and Lewandowski to Chelsea; Arsenal still waiting

Whenever Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain pop up in transfer chatter, we laugh a little. It’s been five years since the Sun told its readers that Arsenal had “smashed their transfer record” and signed Higuain from Real Madrid for £23m. On 27 July, Napoli signed Higuain.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

Today’s Higuain transfer news comes to us via the BBC, which hears the player say the Premier League “fascinates me a lot” and links him with move to Chelsea.

The Mail reports:

Gonzalo Higuain has fuelled the speculation that he could be leaving Juventus by saying he ‘would love to play in the Premier League’.

The Argentina striker has been on Chelsea’s radar this summer and has already reportedly been offered to the west London club.

This news stems from what said Higuain told ESPN in Argentina. It tells us: “In the next few days the Argentine striker could receive a formal offer from a European top-level club.” The Sun has him saying: “I am relaxed. I have a contract with Juventus and no one has told me anything about my future. Right now, I am happy in Turin and I think my daughter will grow up here, but one day I would like to play in the Premier League, where the games are all spectacular.”

What he said was: “I am calm, I have a contract with Juventus and nobody has told me anything about the future, I am happy in Turin but someday I would like to play in the Premier League.”

Italy’s Corriere dello Sport says Juventus will let Higuain leave if they can sign Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. But that won’t happen because one Spanish website says the Pole has agreed to join Real Madrid. But the Sun says Lewandowksi’s decision to leave Bayern “is a massive boost” to Chelsea.

Which means, presumably, that Higuain stays at Arsenal?

Posted: 8th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Yacine Adli joins Arsenal at 18; Higuain still missing

Have Arsenal signed Yacine Adli for just £223,000? The Metro and Sun says they have.

 

Yacine Adli arsenal

 

The media seem confused. The Sun says:

RMC Sport claim he has penned a three-year deal, with the option of two more, with the Gunners to become their second signing of the summer.

Neither Arsenal nor PSG have confirmed the move, but the report states it will be announced when the teen turns 18 next month.

Over on RMC Sport, we learn (via Google Translate):

Yacine Adli in Arsenal, it’s done!
It’s official, the PSG has lost Yacine Adli. While three weeks ago, the young 17-year-old midfielder was close to signing his first pro contract with the champion of France, it is for Arsenal that he signed a three-year contract with two other optional. Adli, who was in touch with the Londoners even before the arrival of Unai Emery, was seduced by the Gunners project.

But there’s been no announcement? Why can’t Arsenal announce the transfer until Adli turn 18? Seems odd. What are the rules on minors?

FIFA bans the international transfers of players under the age of 18 unless their parents have emigrated for reasons not connected to football or both the player and club are based within 50 kilometers of a national border.

The only other exception is for transfers within either the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), where the minimum age is 16.

In those cases, clubs must still ensure that the player continues his education and studies for an alternative career, as well as making sure he has a high living standard.

Caution should be exercised when dealing with transfer reports. RMC also has few words today about Gonzalo Higuain, the Juventus striker:


Gonzalo Higuain arsenal

 

Yep. That’s the same Higuian who, according to the Sun, plays for Arsenal:

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

 

Such are the facts. No deal is done until the player is photographed kissing the badge.

Posted: 6th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal: Papastathopoulos and Fellaini reject Manchester United; Lichtsteiner joins; Gunners go tall

Who will be Unai Emery’s first signing at Arsenal? If media chatter is any guide, it’ll be someone tall. The large Sokratis Papastathopoulos looks to be on his way. The centre-back should complete a £16m transfer from Borussia Dortmund very soon.

And the still larger Marouane Fellaini is also tipped to be become a Gunner, having rejected the chance to remain at Manchester United.

Papastathopoulos has also turned down an offer to play for José Mourinho’s team. The defender’s father, Charalambos Papastathopoulos, told Greek radio station 24/7: “There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them. United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.”

 

Transfer-News-Arsenal-Stephan-Lichtsteiner

 

But wait a mo… Arsenal has just signed Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus. It’s been over a week since Wikipedia announced  Lichtsteiner was a Gunner. And now he is one.

Lichtsteiner is 6ft tall. Papastathopoulos is a hair under 6ft 2. Fellaini is closer to 6ft 5 than he is to 6ft 4. Arsenal are going big.

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal have £88m for Dembele; Liverpool have tea with his mum

Arsenal are using Borussia Dortmund as a feeder club, chasing the German side’s former star Ousmane Dembele. The Gunners want the forward to play with his former teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ex-Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat is now head of recruitment at the Emirates. The Gunners have offered Dortmund £16m for their 29-year-old centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Demeble joined Barcelona last summer for £97m. News in the Sun is that he ‘could’ be on his way to Arsenal for £88m. Arsenal fans will know huge money buys get mentioned around the same time season ticket renewal notices go out. Last season Arsenal wanted to splurge £90m for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. The Liverpool Echo now says of him: “The demise of Thomas Lemar – from nine-figure bids to being on the fringes of the French national team squad.”

“I’m very happy to be here, said Dembele when he joined Barcelona on a five-year contract. “It has always been my dream to be at Barcelona and now I’m here I’m very happy. It is the best club in the world with the best players in the world.”

What’s he going to say when he joins Arsenal? And where were Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal scouts when Dembele joined Dortmund from French side Rennes on a five-year deal in May 2016 for £13m?

Liverpool also want him. Sky says former Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp “will attempt to meet Dembele’s mother to help convince the player his future lies at Anfield”. Dembele’s mother Fatimata “is who will decide Ousmane’s future,”, says the player’s agent.

To say nothing of Barcelona, who hold the player’s contract for four more seasons…

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal move to sign Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Arsenal are closing in on Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The fee for the 29-year-old in the final yea of his Dortmund contract: £16m. With the imminent arrival of Stephan Lichtsteiner, 34, on a free transfer from Juventus, Arsenal finally look like adding defensive nous to the side.

If Papastathopoulos arrives at the Emirates, he will the third former Dortmund player to join Arsenal since Sven Mislintat became head of recruitment. Under Mislintat, the formerly chief scout at Dortmund, Arsenal have already bought former Dortmund players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. It also means Arsenal will have seven first-team players – including Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolašinac – who played in the Bundesliga. Why is that? Is it simply the players coming for the money? And Arsenal knowing their money will tempt the players to join?

Papastathopoulos was AEK Athens’ youngest-ever captain, at 19, and his country’s Young Player of the Year in 2008.

In January, Arsenal bought centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos, 20, from PAS Giannina. The future is looking promising – although not everyone will be delighted:

Posted: 28th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Joe Hart to Manchester United unless Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea get there first

Spare things are not as good as the first choice stuff: second homes, the assistant manager, that old spare mobile with the crack in the screen that might be useful should the lovely new iPhone break. So should the superb David Dea Ge get injured, Manchester United will call up their spare goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The 31-year-old former England goalkeeper still sat on Manchester City’s books, the anti-dandruff campaigner who plays with all the calm authority of a drunk on the night bus and is as mobile as said bus, has “emerged as a contender to join Manchester United as back-up to David de Gea” says the BBC. Jose Mourinho is “resigned to losing current reserve keeper Sergio Romero”.

The Sun agree that Hart to Man United is being considered. But fans of the club can quell the rising panic in the knowledge that neither the BBC nor the Sun come up with single fact to support their claim. After season-long loan spells at Torino and then West Ham United, Hart and his agent are scouting round for a club to take him on. A year go, the Mail told its readers that Arsenal were going to pay £15m for Hart. The Mail reported:

Arsenal are interested in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they consider replacements for Petr Cech. It could lead to a tug-of-war with Liverpool, who have long been linked with the England international. The Gunners are going to look for a new goalkeeper after this season, with 34-year-old Cech to become their No 2 if he stays.

Cech stayed as Arsenal number 1. Liverpool went with Loris Karius. And Hart went to West Ham, who paid half his £130,000-a-week wages. There he spent much of the season on the bench.

Hart’s contract at City lasts until June 2019. The Star tells us: “Joe Hart not waiting forever for Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea to set up summer move.” That story is rooted in an anonymous source, who told the Sun:  “Joe will do what is right for him and his young family. He long accepted his Man City career is over and values playing above everything else. There is still some chatter Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea could be interested but he’s been around long enough not to be waiting by the phone.”

If the media is to be believed, the player who was Number 2 at West Ham and Number 3 at Manchester City is wanted by Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Five of the top 6 Premier League clubs, then, are all after Hart. And the only top six club not interested is Spurs – which, oddly enough, pay their top performers much less than Hart earns.

It’s going to be busy few weeks for Hart’s agent…

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal sign Stephan Lichtsteiner (on Wikipedia)

Arsenal are making moves to sign Juventus right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old Swiss is out of contract very soon. Lichtsteiner, who joined Juventus from Lazio in 2011, has played 250 times for the Italian champions, winning the league title every season. is Lichtsteiner the player who will show current Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin how to defend?

Who else wants  him?

Lichtsteiner has said he will never play for Borussia Dortmund, who wanted him, nor in China –  “I definitely never go to China,” he said earlier this month. “I do not run after the money and also need next to the place quality of life. My wife and children need to feel good, that would not be the case in China. And I do not need more money.” Arsenal sound like the right fit.

 

asrsenal Stephan_Lichtsteiner_(2)

 

So Lichtsteiner is likely to be Unai Emery’s first signing as Arsenal manager, right? Well,  according to Wikipedia, the DIY online encyclopaedia the deal is done. “He signed for Arsenal on a 2 year deal,” says Wikipedia.

 

Stephan Lichtsteiner arsenal

On Wikipedia – Stephan Lichtsteiner already plays for Arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Emery appointment in keeping with Arsenal tradition

More insight on new Arsenal manager Unai Emery from the Daily Mirror’s John Cross, who tweets: “It does feel like a departure for Arsenal. In new stadium with new manager with no club connection. Different times for a club based upon and proud of its tradition and history.”

Do Arsenal always recruit from the Both Room, then, or pick an old player to manage? No.

Thomas Brown Mitchell was Arsenal’s first professional manager, joining the club in 1897. Mitchell moved to Arsenal from his native Scotland in 1867. He resigned the post in March 1898. In 1919 Arsenal appointed Leslie Knighton as manager. In 1913, Arsenal had relocated from South London to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London. Knighton got the job after stints as assistant manager at Huddersfield Town and Manchester City.

In 1925, Knighton was sacked. Herbert Chapman, who’d managed at Leeds City and Huddersfield Town, arrived. He’d played at: Kiveton Park, Ashton North End, Stalybridge Rovers, Rochdale, Grimsby Town, Swindon Town, Sheppey United, Worksop Town, Northampton Town, Sheffield United, Notts County, Northampton Town and Tottenham Hotspur.

The next time Arsenal moved stadium, they were led by Arsene Wenger, who’d joined the club in 1996. Like his aforesaid predecessors, Wenger had no links to Arsenal whatsoever.

Wenger’s immediate predecessor was Bruce Rioch. He’d been a player at: Luton Town, Aston Villa, Derby County, Everton 30, Birmingham City, Sheffield United, Seattle Sounders and Torquay United. Before Arsenal, Rioch managed: Torquay United, Seattle Storm, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Bolton Wanderers.

Arsenal have recruited from within, of course: Bertie Mee, who led Arsenal to their first Double in 1971, had been an Arsenal physio before getting the top job; Don Howe, George Graham, Jack Crayston, George Swindin and Terry Neill all played for Arsenal before taking over as manager. But to argue that Emery represents a departure from Arsenal’s tradition and history is absurd.

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Unai Emery commits Arsenal to aggressive, entertaining football

Unai emery twitter

 

The Guardian was live blogging Unai Emery’s fire press conference as Arsenal manager. Arenal fans were invited to watch it via the club’s website. But the paper can add a bit of bite and humour with a running commentary. Our narrator tells us: “Emery’s range of expression in English isn’t great, you might discern, but he’s giving it a go.” A bit like the paper. Highlights are:

Emery: “My English is not the very best now and I want to make an effort to speak with you to explain my ambition.”

Guardian (typos: paper’s own):

Ivan Gazidis: “I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new ehad coach. I know that came as a bit of a surprise, perhaops there were one or two rewrites necessary. But those who know won’t spek and those who speak won’t know… “

Their English is not the best.

As for the recruitment process, Gazidis told a packed press conference that Emery was on an eight-man shortlist. We’re not told who the eight were.

“I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new head coach. I know that came as a bit of a surprise, perhaops there were one or two rewrites necessary. But those who know won’t speak and those who speak won’t know. I’ll give you a little insight into the process. We formed a three-person committee of me, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi. We had some clear criteria: aggressive, entertaining football; personality that fitted with Arsenal’s values; also a record of developing players through detailed tactical instruction and also cultural demand, pushing players.

“We looked through and analysed on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested in this position. We don’t believe any position in world football is more attractive. We created an eight-person longlist. All of them were interested and took part in extensive, in-person interviews. None of them at any stage withdrew their interest. So we were in a fortunate position to make our first choice, and that’s what we did. Our first interviewee was conducted on 25th April, our last was conducted on 15th May and we interviewed Unai on 10th May.”

Emery was the right fit. Arteta never was fist choice. “The thing that distinguished him above all that was the chemistry between us and the feeling for football in the room, Gazidis added. “He has a feeling and competitive energy and it is this passion, love for football and will to win that made us feel it as exactly right for Arsenal.”

“Success next season would be developing, but how?” asked Emery. The question was rhetorical.”By battling for every title. It’s very important for the club, after two years outside the Champions League, to work to be the best team in the Premier League and also in the world That’s in Arsenal’s and my history.”

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal turn up the heat for Seri and his ingrown toenails

Transfer news in the shape of the BBC’s tory that Arsenal are in for Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri. Negotiations won’t be simple. In 2017,  Seri was off to Barcelona, having agreed a 4-year-deal. Barcelona’s Josep Maria Bartomeu and Nice’s Jean-Pierre Rivere then tried to explain why the deal collapsed. “Julien Fournier, the general manager [Nice], called me early on Wednesday [August 23], at about 9am and said: ‘Jean-Pierre, I do not understand, I received a call from Barcelona and they told me to stop the Seri transfer’. In the afternoon, Bartomeu called me, a little embarrassed, and said to me: ‘This is the first time that it has happened to us. Our staff have decided not to sign Seri, but it is not a financial issue’.”

Or as Seri put it: “Nice did not deliver on their promises, I’m very hurt. I’m not going to lie – I feel awful. I did not play for Nice this weekend because football should be about joy and I did not feel this. My dream of joining Barcelona has been broken and this is terrible for me… From what I understand, the deal did not go through because of financial reasons and that makes me very sad. I was stunned to hear negotiations had broken down after my talk with Barcelona officials the previous evening, I was shattered. It was incomprehensible to me so the next day I went to the offices at Nice and I exploded with anger, honestly, the walls were trembling! The leaders of my club could not tell me anything, they could not even look me in the eye. I played against Napoli out of loyalty to my teammates, this was not their fault but honestly I don’t know what will happen now.”

So, er, how about joining Arsenal?

“I have ingrown toenails and when it’s cold I need special treatment,” Seri reportedly told Le Point. “I don’t see myself playing in a country where it’s cold. I hurt everywhere and I struggle to train.”

They have undersoil heating at The Emirates.

The Mail says Seri’s contract allows him to leave if Nice receive an offer of £35million. Arsenal should make their move ahead of Liverpool, who are said to be in for Seri, too. For one thing, unlike so many of the current Arsenal squad, Seri is vocal:

“Even though it’s Barcelona, I don’t want to play second fiddle. I know what I’m capable of on a football pitch and I think I’ve shown that I have quality,” says Seri (via Sport). If they choose me, I want them to treat me well, to make me a priority, not a complement. That’s why my head is focused on football. I dreamed of playing for Barça, but the message was clear. Many would have waited longer. Some would have spoken with the media. For me, a player speaks on the pitch, not in the media. Those that speak in the media are mediocre players, who need to be known. On the one side, there was a club for whom I was not a priority, and on the other side, a club that wanted me. It would have been stupid to get angry over a club that didn’t want you over one that gives you everything and loves you.”

Good job he’s over it.

Posted: 23rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Emery to Arsenal is like when AVB went to Chelsea

Behold! Unai Emery is at Arsenal and every football hack worth his mince is parroting the same old guff about this being a selection from “left field” (Guardian). It’s an appointment so lacking in direction that “a little bit of Arsenal dies” (John Cross, Daily Mirror). Emery, serial winner – three European titles in four seasons; Arsenal 2 in 50 – caught the nodding heads cold. Arsenal have form here: the Press never saw Ozil, Wenger and Sanchez coming to Arsenal. And Cross, well, he knew Wenger was leaving – it’s just his timing that was off:

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017…

 

The Sun has its own news on Emery:

SunSport understands Emery blew Arsenal’s recruitment team away with a stunning presentation a fortnight ago. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis along with head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat were staggered by the forensic analysis of every player in Arsenal’s squad and his exact plans on how he would improve them.

Yeah. That’s what I thought: it’s too much like Andre Villas-Boas, the manager who had lots and lots and lots and lots of facts at his fingertips when in charge at Chelsea and then Spurs. If you wanted a top-notch powerpoint presentation, AVB was yer man. In 2011, The Telegraph said of AVB:

Football consumed him. He started on the ‘gateway drugs’ football magazines and Panini stickers before slipping down the slope into full-blown Championship Manager addiction. This computer game, with its endless statistics, simulated being a football manager and destroyed the social lives of a generation of football geeks.

Villas-Boas was hooked. He used to carry notebooks around with him, in which he scribbled tactical ideas and stats about players and every Monday, the normally reserved ‘Cenourinho’ (Baby Carrot, because of his red hair) would debate with his friends the weekend’s games. “I remember for one school project he handed in an exhaustive report on Porto and their tactics and substitutions with lots of statistics,” said Eiro, his PE teacher.

The Sun continues – and, yes, of course it’s padding, but this is wonderfully enjoyable balls:

A source told TheSun: “He knew more about the Arsenal squad and every relevant detail about their career path and injury histories than people who had been at the club for years. They’d no idea where he had gathered his information but they were mesmerised by the vision he put before them.”

If only there was something where anyone could call up all manner of facts and data on a footballer – you know, a big book stuffed with information you could cross-reference with a variety of sources; or a magic telly that plays old clips on a device held in the palm of your hand. Until then, how Emery knew anything about the Arsenal side can only be put down to his obsessive attention to detail, spying, an insider and the supernatural.

Emery as AVB II, then? When Owen Coyle left Burnley in January 2010, Villas-Boas wanted the job. He gave the bosses a hi-tech presentation. In Magical: A Life In Football, former Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher tells all:

“Mickey Walsh, an old playing colleague of mine, got in touch with me to describe Andre as being a real up and coming hot prospect. He sent a very detailed and lengthy application for the job. His CV and Powerpoint presentation were amazing. Even by today’s standards there was some complicated stuff in it, with some things that I didn’t understand. Tommy Docherty used to say he never said anything to his players his milkman wouldn’t understand. I don’t think any milkman would fathom the meaning of a lot of Andre’s presentation. The language and jargon of football gets worse by the day. Villas-Boas uses a lot of it. Would Burnley players have ever understood what he wanted if he’d told them to ‘solidificate’ or some of his other terms?”

Will Emery solidificate Arsenal?

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal becomes Emery’s illness

News of Unai Emery’s appointment as Arsenal manager has amazed and astounded former Gunners striker Ian Wright. “What’s going on at Arsenal? Where’s Unai Emery come from? I can’t get it out of my head.” Poor, Wright, labouring under the impression the media know what they’re talking about. Nothing is ever done until the contract is signed and the new man is kissing the badge. “You’d have thought that by now they would have known exactly what’s going on,” continues Wight.

It’s the Press that are clueless. As Emery was being fitted for his blazer, the Times reported yesterday:

Arsenal are expected to appoint Mikel Arteta as their head coach this week. Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has named who he wants to form his coaching team in the past few days…

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri… Luis Enrique and Joachim Löw were also on the shortlist…Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, were also considered.

No mention of Emery, an experienced winner who cuts an animated figure on the touchline and measured presence in press conferences. “He’s obsessed by football, it’s practically an illness,” said former player Joaquín of the Spaniard.“When I look back at winning the Europa League, the real pleasure and the success was the road that led us there,” he said in 2016. “Constructing your team, going through difficult moments, seeing the team getting better step by step: this is the beauty. Not the final. It’s the day by day work that renders happiness.”

Emery has won five major trophies in 3 years at PSG; he has 3 European trophies in the last 4 years – Arenal have won two in 50 years. He’s 46. – the same age as Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose won nothing as a manager. In the 2016 Europa League final, Emery tinkered the formation, turning a 1-0 half-time deficit for Sevilla into a 3-1 win over Jurgen Klopp’s side. His meticulous attention to detail paid off. And he’s streetwise. At Valencia – who between 2010 and 2012 he led to three third-place finishes in La Liga – Emery produced videos for his player to watch at home.  “Did you watch it?” Emery asked of one player he thought had not been watching the videos. “Yes, don’t worry boss,” came the reply.

At Arsenal he’ll find a more compliant and willing squad then the bunch of egoists at PSG who play for the brand but not the fans. Arsenal fans should be excited. A winner’s arrived…

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s new manager is Unai Emery

The new Arsenal manager is Unai Emery. Is is not going to be Mikel Arteta, the former Arsenal player and Manchester City coach who was for six seasons part of the leaderless drift in the second part of Arsene Wenger’s 22 seasons at the Gunners. Arsenal need a leader. Arteta was never all that vocal on the pitch. How would cope as manager?

Emery, the 46-year-old Spaniard, is available without compensation after leaving Paris St-Germain where he won one Ligue 1 title and four domestic cups in two seasons. Before that he was mighty at Sevilla, leading them to three consecutive Europa League wins between 2014 and 2016.

Not that everyone saw Emery coming. Just today the Sun screamed:

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Metro:

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Times reports today:

Arsenal are expected to appoint Mikel Arteta as their head coach this week. Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has named who he wants to form his coaching team in the past few days…

Anyone else in the frame?

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri but the Italian said that he is committed to Juventus for another season. Luis Enrique and Joachim Löw were also on the shortlist but the former Barcelona coach’s wage demands were too high and Löw extended his contract with Germany. Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, were also considered.

No mention of Emery. Emery it is, then.

UNAI WHO?

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Arteta accepts the manager’s job

In the rush to say they got the scoop, the BBC declares: “Ex-Arsenal and Spain midfielder Mikel Arteta has agreed to become the club’s new manager.” He has? Because elsewhere on the BBC we can read: “Should Manchester City assistant Arteta leave Etihad Stadium to move to the Gunners, City boss Pep Guardiola’s preference is to bring in 34-year-old Spain and former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta as player-coach.” But Arteta to Arsenal is “agreed”. We read it on the BBC.

And as for Iniesta joining Man City, well, Iniesta said in April this year: “I will make a decision to stay at Barcelona or go to China before April 30. I have to assess what is best for me and it will be the most honest for the club.” The BBC reported that.

And then Man City manager Pep Guardiola went on the record: “There is a lot of fake news about the transfers… Andres had to decide his own future and he has decided to go to China to play there. He is going to finish there and after, he has to come back to Barcelona for the next generations, to help us be the club we are. We cannot offer him what he had in Barcelona here. He decided for other reasons, not just football terms.”

On May 9, Iniesta added: “I said that I would not go to Europe and apart from that all possibilities are open. They said I’m not going to China, now they say Japan is an option and I’ve also heard Australia.”

The BBC is wrong. Iniesta is not heading to Man City. So what’s the source of the Arteta to Arsenal story? It’s Goal.com.

 

arteta

 

As soon as someone shouts ‘first’, the rest pile in:

 

arteta arsenal

 

arsenal arteta manager

FIRE!

 

Goal thunders:

The former Gunners midfielder’s return to the club is set to be announced in the coming days as he prepares to replace Arsene Wenger. Mikel Arteta has agreed in principle to replace Arsene Wenger and become the new manager at Arsenal.

In principle? Coming days? Any more facts?

Goal understands that, while no contract has yet been signed, the announcement of Arteta’s return to the Emirates Stadium will be made in the coming days.

Utter guesswork, then. But – yep – Arteta’s looks like the only name on the list (and he’s relatively cheap!).

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Mertesacker outlines his Arsenal vision

Per Mertesacker, Arsenal’s new academy manager, is the German known as the ‘BFG’. He’s written a book. In it he advocates yoga and using both eyes.

…I was a big fan of yoga from the beginning because I had seen that it improved stability and flexibility.

Even at the age of 33 I was one of the most flexible at Arsenal when it came to my back muscles. Hardly anyone came to the yoga sessions that the club offered. Often there were only four of us: Héctor Bellerín, Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky.

The youth players who were promoted to the first team smiled at these exercises. They thought we were meditating. They were happy with the ball at their feet but for everything else there was a lack of desire. “I play football and go to training. That’s enough.”

But no, it isn’t enough when you want to maintain a certain level for a long time or want to improve.

Either you are learning from scratch, from your parents and the teachers and coaches around you, to take responsibility, or you don’t do it at all. This is the kind of dumbing down we must fight against.

The well-rounded Per:

When I injured myself against Sunderland [in the 2011-12 season] I started working with Lars Lienhard. A former athlete, he is a sports scientist as well as a pioneer when it comes to neurally controlled training.

Working with him was a huge success. We always assume that we can run and see properly because nothing hurts. But that is a mistake. Lars showed me that our eyes are a big factor in everything, above all when it comes to our timing.

On my right side my timing was super but I had the feeling my left eye was not really up for it. Why was that? And was it possible to train and improve [the left eye] so that I didn’t have to turn my whole body in order to look left? It all meant that in 50% of the times the ball came towards me my brain said: “Hey, I can’t really see that ball so I’m not going to jump for it.”

And as my left eye was not really looking at the ball I was always twisting my neck to use my dominant right eye.

Football doesn’t really deal with those things, despite the fact they can be decisive. Players would rather lift weights, stand on their own with their dumbbells – but how does that help me on the pitch?

During the exercises with Lars one could see quite clearly that my eyes were moving differently when an object was approaching me. My left eye always remained in the middle rather than focusing on the object.

He showed me how to make my left eye stronger. I had a patch on my right eye, forcing my left eye to focus on the objects. And after a few weeks I could really notice the difference in games. If there was a high ball from the left I had a much better feeling for where it would end up.

With Lars’s help I stayed injury-free for four and a half years. Meeting him changed my life as a footballer.

 

The important thing was to do exercises myself before games as well to adjust the eyes. One example was a kind of push-up for the eyes. You bring a pencil in towards your nose and force your eyes towards the middle. When you do that at the training ground a lot of people think: “What is he doing now? Is he completely stupid?”

Mainly I was doing it at home or in the hotel room. I had six or seven exercises that I did, sometimes just before kick-off in the dressing room. I didn’t care what the others thought or if they laughed. But you saw again that something new, something unknown, led to laughter rather than people asking: “What are you doing there?”

The Idlers:

Footballers are used to working only three hours a day. And out of the three hours they are at the training ground they are on their mobiles for half of that.

We have all the money in the world but do not realise how important the body is. A player on average has a seven‑year professional career, 10-15 if everything goes right. You have to do everything possible to be at your maximum.

Weltmeister ohne Talent by Per Mertesacker. Via: Guardian.

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Books, Sports | Comment