And so it begins.

May 22, 2010

Yesterday saw us officially confirm and unveil our first signing of the summer. Marouane Chamakh was unveiled as an Arsenal player and has signed on a long-term contract, which I suppose we can assume to be for four or five years, given that he is twenty six years old. The music in the video at the above link is a bit cheesy, to say the least. Clearly music isn’t a forte of ATVO.

 

 

The player, of course, said that he is delighted to be joining us.

“This is a dream come true and a great joy to be joining Arsenal. My goal was always to play in the Premier League and Arsenal was the choice of my heart. Without any hesitation, Arsenal was my preferred club. The team and history of Arsenal, they make me dream. My goal was to join Arsenal out of the all the English clubs because it is a club that makes me dream and I have been a fan since I was a child.

“I’m very excited about playing at Emirates Stadium in front of the Arsenal supporters. I have heard many great things about the stadium and I cannot wait to be playing there in an Arsenal shirt. I will give my best to this Club, the Club that I used to support. We have many great players at Arsenal and I will be giving everything to help the team win trophies next season.”

 

Wenger, naturally was very happy to have gotten his man and had this to say:

“We are delighted that Marouane Chamakh has joined us. He is a player we have admired for some time now and I know he will provide our squad with great quality. Chamakh has proved he is a great player with his performances for Bordeaux and Morocco in recent seasons and we’re all looking forward to him joining us.

"Chamakh is a striker of real quality and has all the attributes suited to come to England and do very well. He is also a fighter, not only a good football player, but a fighter as well. He is very good in the air and also a good team player. He is a great addition to our squad.”

 

I must admit that I haven’t actually seen him playing, as Bordeaux’s Champions League games weren’t enticing enough to drag me out of bed to watch at 03:45 on a work night. But, he can’t fail to provide more goals to the team than both Vela and Eduardo combined did last season.

 

We can now crack out the songs “Boob, boom, Chamakh(alaka) boom!" and “Chamakh my bitch up!”

 

He will wear the no29 jersey and will provide good competition for both Van Persie and Bendtner. It does seem that one, or both, of Vela and Eduardo may be surplus to requirements. Hopefully it will be Vela that goes first because I would like to see Eduardo get another chance to regain his form next season. It really would be a shame if that Taylor tackle ruined his Arsenal career.

 

Perhaps this whole ‘Cesc to Barcelona’ bore-fest will give an extra incentive to Arsene to get the finger out and sign some more proper players that have both experience and proven quality. One thing is for sure, if we do manage to keep Cesc for another year or two, we will have no chance of him staying any longer if the squad isn’t significantly strengthened with quality players. Not necessarily big name players, just quality players. Three more signings along the lines of Vermaelen would do nicely.

 

Speaking of Cesc and Barcelona, the latter seem to be on a damage limitation drive now that they have seen their attempts to get Cesc to agitate for a move have only served to strengthen Arsenal’s resolve to keep him and reject all overtures. The c*nt-buckets are now saying that they will respect our wishes and not negotiate anything behind our backs. Someone should tell them that those are the actual f*cking FIFA rules. C*nts. I’m sure their financial situation is a factor in this renewed stance, too. However, I’m also sure that it won’t prevent them from using the Spanish papers to do their underhanded unsettling work.

 

It’s great timing to announce the signing of Chamakh, given the week of doom and gloom that we have just had. I just hope that Wenger now looks to address the defensive side of our squad. Give Ivan Gazidis the names he wants to sign, let Gazidis get on with agreeing a fee and personal terms for those players while Arsene goes about convincing Cesc that Arsenal are still the right club for him to be at. I wonder will there be another signing before the World Cup kicks off, or will we have to make do with this until after the tournament ends?

 

I see West Ham have made a bid to sign TH14. You would seriously have to question the way a club is run when the chairmen are trying to sign players before they have actually appointed a new manager.

 

Anyway, that’s about that for today. I’m happy that we have confirmed our first signing. Come on Arsene, make hay while the sun shines and build on this signing as quickly as possible.

 

Have a good Saturday, folks.

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Friday musings.

May 21, 2010

Just a short post today as there is absolutely nothing new to talk about. I talked about the obvious one yesterday. But, last night, I was wondering would the sale of Cesc make the share price of the club drop?

 

If he were to be sold and the share price subsequently drop, that would make a potential takeover move much more attractive and therefore prompt an earlier than planned move by Kroenke. Of course, that is assuming that Kroenke Tonk Stan actually intends to make a full takeover bid for the club. I can’t imagine him building his holding to 29.9% and then not make a takeover bid at some point.

 

If Cesc leaves, I am fairly sure that it would adversely affect the value of the club as we would have lost our best player and therefore have a smaller potential to be successful, depending on which players that Wenger signs between now and that point.

 

It’s all a bit speculative, I know, but what with Lady Nina whoring her shares to investors in China and Asia, it seems that a takeover attempt could come sooner rather than later. Adding to this is the fact that Kroenke Tonk Stan can now pay £8,500 per share, instead of the almost £10,500 premium he paid a little over 12 months ago.

 

Key to the takeover battle will be the destination of both Lady Nina’s and Danny Fiszman’s shares. I am certain that Danny would only sell his holding to Kroenke Tonk Stan. Would Lady Nina even entertain the thought of selling to Kroenke given the way that she was ousted from the board in order to allow for the integration of him into the club?

 

We find ourselves hip deep in a pool of deep uncertainty right now, both on and off the field. I am worried that, to a certain extent, Barcelona may be throwing Cesc to the wolves. They seem to be getting him to agitate for a move, which in turn is making Arsenal more resolute to stand their ground. Also, it is debatable over whether or not they actually have the cash available to push through the signing of Cesc this summer. One thing I know is that they can go f*ck themselves if they think that they can sign him on the cheap just because he was at their club until he was 16. That makes no difference whatsoever to his value now. Arsenal have made Cesc the player that he is today. If he moves, then Arsenal should receive a fee that is reflective of both the current level and future potential of a player that, at 23yrs old, has his best years ahead of him. Anyway, we will see what the weekend brings in terms of more endless speculation about Cesc and the usual lazy journalism transfer gossip in the weekend papers.

 

Have a good weekend. I’m going to go outside now and enjoy the 30C Friday afternoon sunshine.


Tantric Cesc?

May 20, 2010

It’s been quite a week so far. Chamakh has been in town to have talks with the club and is set to sign with us as soon as his contract expires with Bordeaux. No word on if he has signed an actual pre-contract agreement, but it seems like it’s a done deal.

 

The big story of the week, of course, has centered on the future of Cesc Fabregas. At this point, we don’t really know what will happen. It appears that our captain has told Wenger that he wants to rejoin his home club. Now, it’s all well and good saying that he has made this request, but nobody else was present at the meeting between Cesc and Wenger so, we have no real idea what was actually said.

 

The fact that he was flying in for a meeting with Wenger just a few days before he is due to meet up with the Spain squad ahead of the World Cup could be interpreted as a bad sign. It certainly doesn’t reassure you over his continued future at Arsenal. But, until something concrete like a bid is made or a firm rebuttal issued, we are just going to have to live with all of the speculation and uncertainty.

 

I don’t feel like now would be a good time for Cesc to leave, in terms of the number of games that he would play at Barca next season. Xavi is still only 30, so he has a few years at the top left. But, the lure of Cesc’s boyhood club may prove too hard for him to resist this time around.

 

I’m not sure how much there is to the talk of Toure being included in part of any proposed deal, but he would certainly give a much stronger and more solid presence in the centre of midfield, alongside Song, which we haven’t really had since the days of Vieira and Petit. It would also allow us to revert back to a 4-4-2 formation. The linking of Hleb as part of the deal is ridiculous, why would we want to resign someone that left because he said London was too hectic for him? Also, he never had any real end product, despite all of his skill…oh, wait, maybe we will sign him. Balls.

 

Anyway, it’s all swings and roundabouts at the minute as we are still waiting to hear when/if anything official materializes. As the title of today’s blog is meant to suggest, I am hoping that this whole saga won’t drag on for as long as one of Sting’s sex sessions.

 

I really hope that Cesc will stay as he is the heartbeat of our team. He is the player that the team pivots around, not to mention the fact that I have his name and number on the back of my yellow away jersey. However, he should only stay if his heart and head are 100% focused on, and committed to, Arsenal.

 

There is a good article in The Mirror today talking about how Arsenal are right to dig their heels in over the proposed transfer of Cesc.

 

But, that’s about that. I’ve tried to stay silent all week about the whole Cesc thing as there really isn’t an awful lot of substantiated information to work with. Anyway, that’ll do for today.


Sunday round-up.

May 16, 2010

I’m a bit knackered today after a ten hour marathon beer session during and after a Yokohama Baystars game yesterday, so this post will probably be shorter than usual. Well, I say that, but what with my propensity to waffle it could be the usual length.

 

A quick look at the papers today, and when I say papers I mean their websites as I don’t have access to the papers themselves here in Yokohama. Nasri revealed that he doesn’t talk to Gallas and that he isn’t the only one to not hold El Crapitain in the highest of regards. If, as looks increasingly likely, Gallas moves on when his contract expires, then maybe some harmony will be restored to the dressing room. It’s just a shame that we won’t get any money for him, but at least we will get his high salary off our wage bill. That’s a saving of something like 4m a year, money which can be reinvested in the likes of Chamakh and whoever else we sign in the coming weeks and months.

 

Jack Wilshere says that he’d be happy to go on loan to Bolton again next season and I hope that he does. It would be great experience for him and he would certainly play more games there next year than he would if he stayed with us. That would take him a step closer to our first team when he returns at the end of next season. It would be good for him to have another year at a club that isn’t as big as Arsenal, that way he will appreciate the club more when he comes back.

 

We’ve also been linked with a move for Jagielka and I think he’d be a decent signing for us. He’s experienced and is the right age. It would be good to have one or two English players in the team, too. Who knows, we could have Gibbs, Walcott, Jagielka and Hart in our starting eleven next season. Of course, that’s assuming that Arsene relents and actually goes out and signs a keeper…

 

I could talk about the Cesczzzzzzzzzz, but I have said all that I am going to say on that matter already but, if an when something concrete happens, I will comment on it if necessary. Until that time, it’s not worth commenting on. Right now I have it filed away under the double heading of ‘Tabloid shit-stirring & Barca presidential campaign candidate pandering.’

 

We have, yet again, been linked with a move for Gourcuff, though how much truth there is in the link remains to be seen. He’s good, he’s French, so it is inevitable that he gets linked with us.

 

I’ve seen a mention of plans for a protest at the Emirates Cup should Wenger fail to sign a quality goalkeeper before then. Seriously, is that a route that we want to be going down a few weeks before the new season gets underway? We should be starting the season with an air of positivity around the club, not under a cloud of pessimism and protests. If Wenger does sign a quality keeper, I’d be delighted. But, if he doesn’t then we will just have to suck it up and get behind our team and our keepers. If fans get involved in protests about not signing a keeper, that’d destroy the already fragile confidence of our current first and second choice keepers. Plus, if we start holding protests, that puts us at the same level as ManUre fans. We should strive to be better and more dignified, more Arsenal.

 

Right, that’s about that for today. Take it easy.


A quiet Friday. No sensationalism here.

May 14, 2010

Where to start today? I’m not wondering that because of the plethora of news doing the rounds regarding Arsenal, quite the opposite, in fact.

 

Of course, I could talk about the whole Cesczzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It’s the same nonsense that crops up every summer, especially so when there is a presidential election at one of Spain’s big two. We all know that Cesc will return to Barcelona someday, but I would be pretty confident that it won’t be this year.

 

Therefore, like all of the years gone by, I am putting this story down to two things; the first being the Barcelona presidential election and the second being that newspapers generally print anything that they think will sell papers and when there is little else in the way of real news to print they invariably pull out the old reliable ‘Cesc to Barcelona’ story. Of course, if they do it enough, they will be right someday, but I think we will see Cesc in the Arsenal shirt for at least another season. Hopefully he will stay for many more seasons.

 

This whole story erupted again this week when Cesc was asked something along the lines of “If you leave Arsenal will it be for Barcelona?”, to which he replied “Yes,” no surprises there. Then, pressed further, they asked would he only leave Arsenal for Barcelona and he said ‘yes.’ Again, nothing new there. Only a fool would doubt that he will rejoin his boyhood club someday.

 

Of course, the part where he said that he is happy at Arsenal and is in no hurry to leave was overlooked or omitted from these reports, because that doesn’t stir any shit and, as we all know, shit stirring sells papers. It also leads to stupid websites printing sensationalist headlines in order to get hits. Well, if the type of people you want frequenting your site/blog are the ones that happily click on those sensationalist links, then good luck to you.

 

Right, that has helped me exorcise the lazy journalism and sensationalist websites anger that has been churning within all day.

 

Apart from that, there really is nothing else going on, not that I have come across anyway, so that’ll have to do for today.


The Thursday after the season before.

May 13, 2010

It already feels like a long time since the season ended, I suppose part of that can be attributed to the fact that, for Arsenal at least it ended a few weeks ago. At least there is the World Cup to look forward to and take our minds off the fact that there is no Arsenal again until mid-July.

 

There should be some news or announcement in the coming days over the signing of Chamakh. Let’s hope it comes sooner rather than later and that Arsene can try and get a second player in before the tournament kicks off. When pressed in his post-Fulham press conference with regard to signings he said that we’ll see in July. I’m hoping that we will have signed more than just Chamakh by then. However, I fully expect us to be sitting on deadline day refreshing websites like mad in the vain hope of seeing us get a last minute bargain, as this is what Arsene likes to try and do.

 

I see that the ‘Transfer Linked’ page is still up on the main site. That’s is the mother of all stupid ideas. Every time I see that link on the home page I can’t help but imagine that if I was listening to the Ricky Gervais podcast, the meeting in which the decision was made to put that page on the site would appear as part of Karl Pilkington’s ‘monkey news’ segment. That’s how ridiculous I think it is. Why is the club’s official site peddling pointless tabloid speculation? Shouldn’t the main site be above that kind of thing, seeking to deal only in fact? (Adopts Droopy voice*) You know what? That makes me mad.

 

This is set to be a very interesting summer as there is the issue of squad rebuilding and also the continuing saga over who will make the next move in the club ownership issue. Things have been a bit quiet over the Lady Nina shares. Would she consider selling them to Usmanov, to get back at the board for ousting her? Or would she be willing to sell to Kroenke. I suppose a more important point would be whether Kroenke or Usmanov have the money to buy her stake without borrowing to do so. We know that they are both very wealthy, but do they have the cold hard cash readily available? Whatever happens, we don’t want to see any kind of move that would be leveraged against the club.

 

Despite the plethora of players linked with us so far, and considering the number that will over the the coming weeks and months, it is worth remembering that we will have Djourou returning to the first team next season and he will be like one of those new signings that Arsene likes to trumpet. That would leave us with Vermaelen, Campbell and Djourou in the centre, assuming that Silvestre and Gallas leave as expected. At this point, I hope that both of the latter two leave. Silvestre is a given with regard to wanting him to leave, but I hope Gallas also goes as his attitude isn’t suited to The Arsenal Way (TAW), so replacing him with someone that is less injury prone, more mentally sound and a bit taller would hit the spot, for me. Judging by the comments Peter Hill-Wood made in his favourite paper, the club are going to hold firm in what they have offered Gallas, and rightly so.

 

One player that has been linked with us is Toulalan (if that’s how you spell it), who I must admit I haven’t really had much of a chance to see on TV here in Japan, but if Football Manager is anything to go by…hehe. If we did sign him, I’m sure we could shoehorn his name into that Trolololololo song…..’Toulalalalalala-lalalalalan!’

 

The Q&A session with Gazidis recently was fairly interesting, if not entirely earth-shattering. The video, in three 30-odd minute parts, is available to watch for free on Arsenal.com. Just click on the following links if you are interested and have the time: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

 

I’m wondering how frequent my posting will be during the summer, I think I will post two or three times a week from now until the World Cup squads head off to their respective training camps, thereby signaling the end of any chance of signing anyone. During the World Cup itself I don’t see any real point in making posts as there will be very little (read nothing) in the way of Arsenal news.

 

The BBC quote Wenger as saying that he will add one player to the attacking side of our squad, Chamakh(alaka) Boom I assume, and also look to strengthen the defense. Let’s just hope that he does the latter through signings rather than gym work.

 

Finally, commiserations to Fulham for their defeat to Atletico in the second half of extra time last night.

 

Right, that’s that for today. Take it easy.


A brief Monday.

May 10, 2010

This is going to be a very short post today as I am shattered after staying up late to watch the game and then having to get up early for work, too. Not a good combination. Thankfully, yesterday saw us secure the third place that we really ought to have secured a week or two ago. But, at least they made it over the finish line and, as it turned out, didn’t actually need a result out of the game at all as the Spuds were turned over by Burnley.

 

I won’t go into the game in too much detail as it has already been pretty well covered on Gunnerblog, so there is no real need for me to get into it today as time is at a premium, unfortunately. However, as you know, the points were secured by goals from Arshavin, Van Persie, a Baird own goal and Vela. A nice result to wrap up the season, though it doesn’t go far enough to make up for the disappointment and frustration of the last five or so weeks.

 

Elsewhere, some isolated speculation today links us with an aborted move for Akinfeev in January, where we apparently withdrew from the deal after terms had been agreed. To be honest, I find this kind of rumour a bit hard to believe as given the time Wenger puts into watching someone before ever making a bid, once he makes his move it would be extremely unlikely that he would pull the deal after personal terms have been agreed. But, you just never know.

 

Arsene said one or two scary things in his press conference, the most notable of which being that he believes that Lukarse has the required skill and ability to be an exceptional goalkeeper. Hmmm, unless he has gone a bit mental like the guy in the song ‘Turning Japanese’, I am not sure where he has noticed this hidden ability.

 

One journo said to Arsene that Arsenal fans want him to sign big name players for big money this summer and would that be likely to happen? Arsene rightly took a slight issue with this and I haven’t heard any sensible Arsenal fan saying they want him to sign big names for big money. I believe that the majority don’t care about the name or the fee, just so long as the player is quality and improves the team. I’m sure the marketing and merchandising department at the club would love a big name in order to flog club merchandise off the back of it, but I don’t feel most fans want a big name, just big players. I think I would cry out my brown eye if we signed a big name, such as Ibrahimovic, for big money. Arsene made a good point in that big names don’t necessarily mean big players. I agree. Another two or three players of the caliber of Vermaelen would do nicely.

 

The Sun links us with Wright-Philips, great, another short-arse is exactly what our team of giants needs…

 

The Mirror is reporting that everyone’s favourite ex-captain is demanding a pay rise if he is to sign a new contract. Is he off his rocker? With the amount of time he has spent out injured and given his age, does he really expect a pay rise? Eh, thanks but no thanks. Bye, bye William.

 

Anyway, that’s all for today. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Fulham all the best in their Europa League game this week. I hope they win it.