Arsenal chase the ‘German Messi’, Marko Marin  

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

German international Marko Marin's future remains unclear but reports in both the German and Bosnian media suggest Arsenal are the leading contenders to secure the 21-year-old's signature. Currently with Werder Bremen, the Bosnian-born midfielder has been linked with a host of clubs in recent months but the Gunners are rumoured to have moved ahead of the field.

Dubbed the "German Messi" by some people - probably his agent - Marin cost Bremen £7m when they signed him from Borussia Monchengladbach last year, but German reports suggest that his evaluation has now increased to around £15m. Whether Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could ever bring himself to part with such an amount, given that he's as tight as Cesc Fabregas's hamstring, isn't known but if he doesn't make a bid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester United might make an approach for the player who's made 15 appearances for Germany since his debut in 2008.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear the Blues have no interest in signing Liverpool's ailing striker Fernando Torres. The Spaniard's goalscoring form has gone into recession this year and Ancelotti has no plans to initiate a rescue package for the 26-year-old. "I always said that Torres is not our aim for the future because we have trust in a lot of our young players," Ancelotti told reporters, adding: "We have fantastic strikers in Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, and we have Salomon Kalou, fantastic young players like Daniel Sturridge and Gael Kakuta... if everyone stays fit, we won't need anyone else. I think we have a fantastic squad."

According to German rag Express (not to be confused with its British namesake), Manchester City are looking to spend their way out of their current malaise, which has seen then suffer back-to-back Premier League defeats to Arsenal and Wolves. Apparently City intend to bring winger Renato Augusto to Eastlands to strengthen their existing overpaid and underperforming squad. The 22-year-old Brazilian is plying is trade with German outfit Bayer Leverkusen this season, though a gammy knee has sidelined him recently. Nonetheless it's alleged City are preparing a £17m offer for the player. The Express quotes Leverkusen's sporting director Rudi Voeller as saying: "This shows that we have a good team here in Leverkusen. However, we cannot compete financially with the big European clubs."

And the Daily Mirror claims that City are also pursuing Blackpool keeper Matty Gilks as they seek to find a long-term understudy for Joe Hart. That role is currently filled by Ireland shotstopper Shay Given but with him rumoured to be leaving in January's transfer window, City boss Roberto Mancini is already eyeing replacements. The Mirror says that Mancini has been to watch Gilks in action for Blackpool and with the keeper's contract set to expire next summer, the Tangerines are keen to cash in on him while they can.

Finally, Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has dismissed as ludicrous reports suggesting Manchester United are about to pounce for Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani. If the rumours are to be believed United boss Alex Ferguson is about to loosen the purse strings as he looks to strengthen his squad but not as far as de Laurentiis is concerned. In an interview with Italian radio station Radio Marte he said: "I've read that Ferguson would like to buy Hamsik and Cavani for €40m (£35m) and I started to laugh.

Read more:,sport,football,transfer-talk-arsenal-chase-the-german-messi-marko-marin-chelsea-not-interested-in-fernando-torres#ixzz14DFOmdhr

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Arsenal Chasing German Defenders Benedikt Hoewedes & Per Mertesacker - Reports  

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Benedikt Hoewedes has joined the growing list of German defenders linked with a move to Arsenal. According to widespread sources in England, Germany, Italy and Spain, the Gunners are interested in signing the Schalke centre-half, and could soon table a bid on the order of €9.1 million.

Hoewedes' current contract runs until 2014, but with Schalke struggling in both footballing and financial terms, the Gelsenkirchen outfit might jump at the opportunity to make some much needed cash.

Other reports suggest that Arsenal have renewed their interest in Werder Bremen centre-half Per Mertesacker, and are mulling over an offer of €16m for the Germany international.

Whether Schalke or Bremen are open to releasing their star defenders during the January transfer window is still in question, as is the players' interest in a move abroad. In addition to Hoewedes and Mertesacker, Arsenal have previously been linked with Stuttgart centre-half Serdar Tasci.

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'New Cesc Fabregas' Sergi Samper, 15, to spark Arsenal-Barcelona battle  

Monday, 25 October 2010

Barcelona are set to face another transfer scrap with Arsenal, but this time the boot is on the other foot as the Gunners aim to snatch top-rated Sergi Samper - dubbed the 'next Cesc Fabregas' - from under the Catalan club's noses.
According to reports in Spain, Samper is holding out over a contract offer from Barca with Arsene Wenger tracking the wonderkid midfielder as he approaches his 16th birthday.

The saga could come to a head in January, with Arsenal rumoured to be considering making their official offer when the transfer window reopens.

And it has echoes of the situation that saw Fabregas, who is now Arsenal captain, turn his back on Barcelona to pursue a career in London at a similar age in 2003.

Samper is considered to be one of the 'next big things' in Spanish football, and could be offered a tempting four-year contract by the Premier League club as well as assurances of regular first-team football from a relatively young age.

And, according to Spanish sources, he is tempted to follow in the footsteps of Fabregas, who, after developing his skills in the Arsenal set-up, is now one of the world's most sought-after midfielders.

If Samper does move, it would be a bitter irony for Barca, who thought they'd won an ill-tempered tug of war over Fabregas in the summer before the Catalan-born 23-year-old opted to stay at the Emirates Stadium instead of moving back to La Liga.

Read more:

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Wenger: Eastlands Victory Just the Start for Arsenal  

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that yesterday's impressive 3-0 win away to ten-man Manchester City will ignite a realistic title challenge for his side. Speaking afterwards, he was understandably delighted with the fighting nature of the performance at the City of Manchester Stadium.

"It was important to get a win in a big place to strengthen belief and continue our march forward," said the 61 year-old.

"I think that collectively, we completely dominated the game and I hope it will translate into confident performances in later fixtures."

The home side had Dedryck Boyata sent off five minutes in after his clumsy challenge clearly denied striker Marouane Chamakh a goal-scoring opportunity and from then on, Roberto Mancini's charges were always underdogs.

A crisp passing movement mid-way through the first period saw Andrey Arshavin put Samir Nasri clear on the right and the Frenchman beat Joe Hart at the near post to net his fourth league effort of the season.

In a feisty contest, there was still time before the interval for Mark Clattenburg to hand out five bookings and for Hart to save a penalty from Cesc Fabregas.

City started brightly in the second half, and the Gunners' goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was called upon to make some impressive saves, as the Pole looked to stake a claim for the starting berth even when Manuel Almunia returns from injury.

Having weathered the storm, two more typically well put together attacks saw Alex Song and substitute Nicklas Bendtner put some flattering gloss on the scoreline late on.

Following the win, that sees Arsenal move up to second in the Premier League table on goal difference, their boss continued to praise the concentration of his team.

"It looked to me from the bench that it was a sending off and the referee had no option," Wenger, who last week admitted to harbouring an interest in Bolton's Gary Cahill, went on. After the sending off it became electric and we got some yellow cards quite quickly. It was very important that we did not get a second yellow."

"I asked the players at half-time to focus on playing football and not just defending our advantage."

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Ryo Miyaichi 'set for Arsenal transfer' as Wenger beats rivals to wonderkid  

Friday, 3 September 2010

The 17-year-old striker is to be offered a long-term deal at the Emirates Stadium after impressing on trial - as well as turning in some star performances for his country's Under-19s team recently.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is thought to have sent officials out to Japan to finalise the details of a deal with Miyaichi, which would be confirmed in January.

The teenager, who was also said to be on the radars of European giants AC Milan and Ajax, currently attends Chukyodai Chuyko High School.

But he would be eligible to move to England to continue his footballing education when he turns 18 in December.

Miyaichi, who played for Japan's Under-17s at the World Cup in Nigeria in 2009, is currently out injured with a broken leg but is expected to return to fitness before signing for the Gunners at the turn of the year.

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Montpellier defender Spahic nears Arsenal move  

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Montpellier defender Emir Spahic has claimed Arsenal are in negotiations for his signature.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed he is looking to bring in at least one more defender before the close of the transfer window and reports over the weekend suggested Spahic, 29, was a possible target.

"The most important thing is that so far the negotiations go as planned and that the transfer could be completed soon," Spahic told

"Arsenal is a great club, I'm an admirer of Arsene Wenger and I hope that Montpellier will cooperate."

Spahic, the Bosnia and Herzegovina captain, is under contract with Montpellier until 2014.

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arsenal win Emirates Cup  

Monday, 2 August 2010

Carlos Vela, Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri found the net before Celtic hit back with late goals as Arsenal won the Emirates Cup with a 3-2 win.

It took Theo Walcott, who looked fresh from a summer's rest, just three minutes to open up the Celtic defence as Vela swept the Gunners into the lead.

Arsenal doubled their advantage just before half-time when Celtic failed to clear a corner and full-back Sagna blasted an 18-yard angled drive inside the near post, before substitute Samir Nasri swept the Gunners into a 3-0 lead on 51 minutes following more good work by Walcott down the right.

Jack Wilshere, who produced an all-action display which was almost capped by a goal when his stunning first-half volley smashed against the crossbar, showed his inexperience by wrestling Celtic substitute Fortune to the floor in the penalty area on 69 minutes, but was let off when former Manchester City striker Georgios Samaras ballooned his spot-kick over the crossbar.

Manuel Almunia, who had not had much to do, pulled off a fine one-handed save to deny Efrain Juarez, but was beaten on 73 minutes when Daryl Murphy, a summer signing from Sunderland, knocked the ball in after it rebounded across the six-yard box.

The Arsenal goalkeeper denied Murphy when, with eight minutes left, the reshuffled home defence was opened up again, before Ki Sung-yueng eventually made it 3-2 with a close-range effort.

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Sunday, 25 July 2010

RUSSIA goalkeeper Igor ­Akinfeev has told Arsene Wenger: I’d love to team up with Andrey ­Arshavin at ­Arsenal.

CSKA Moscow star Akinfeev, 24, is a target for the Gunners and Manchester United after ­ impressive Champions League ­displays last season.

But Arsenal are the favourites to grab his signature after Emirates ace Arshavin gave the Gunners a glowing reference.


And Akinfeev said: “Arsenal and Manchester United are two of the very best clubs in the world.

“If both of them are going to be ­looking for keepers this ­summer – or even the next summer – then of course I am interested.

“I have spoken with Arshavin about Arsenal and ­London life.

“He has only had good things to say about the club and the city.
“He said some very nice things about me going on to be the best goalkeeper in the world – and that he would like me to reach that goal at Arsenal with him.

“They are a great club with a great manager. Of course there is every chance this will be the last season for Edwin Van der Sar.

“To be the No.1 for Manchester United would be a great honour too.

“They are the biggest football club in the world and, to be their No.1 for a length of time, you know you will have success.

“Juventus have also expressed ­an interest in me – but Arshavin has sold England to me very well.

“My contract doesn’t expire until 2013 but I have a great relationship with my president.

“If the right offer, both for me and the club came in, I don’t think ­anybody would stand in my way.

“I have been in Russia for a lot of years now and feel ready for a new challenge.”

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Football jersey Muslim should not wear  

Thursday, 22 July 2010

KOSMO! carried a report about Muslims who wittingly or unwittingly wear football jerseys which display images of crosses, liquor brands and devils.

Johor Religious Council adviser Datuk Nooh Gadot said wearing such jerseys were forbidden in Islam.

“It is as if Muslims are worshipping and exalting the symbols of other religions. Islam does not compromise on this matter, regardless of whether it is worn for fun, fashion or sport,” he said.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria agreed with Nooh and said although Islam did not forbid its followers from participating in sports or dressing up, it has to be done within the boundaries of Islamic law.

Among the football teams whose crests carry images of the cross are Brazil, Portugal, Serbia, Barcelona and Norway, while Manchester United carries the “Red Devil” slogan on its team crest.

> Metro Ahad carried an expose on a “beautician” who performs botox injections and liposuction in a hotel room in the Klang Valley.

Two reporters went undercover as a couple and managed to set an appointment for a botox treatment with the “beautician”, named Lim.

The reporters described the room as cluttered with cases and bottles of botox and used needles strewn on the bed.

The price quoted for the services ranged between RM60 and RM800.

Lim, who claimed to be a doctor with five years’ experience, said the price is cheaper for a jab with shorter needle and more expensive for a jab with a long needle as the effect will last longer.

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EXCLUSIVE: Wenger weighing up move for Honda  

Tuesday, 20 July 2010 understands that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is considering a possible offer for Japanese international Keisuke Honda. Liverpool, however, who were previously linked with the player are yet to make any contact with the attacker's representatives.

The 24-year-old CSKA Moscow striker has been subject of intense speculation since his successful World Cup campaign with Japan although thus far no formal bids have been launched.

The Japanese international started his career at Gamba Osaka, the same club as former Arsenal player Junichi Inamoto, before moving onto Nagoya Grampus Eight, the club from whom Arsene Wenger joined the Gunners in 1996.

Moving to Russia in January, the player's star has continued to rise with agent Kees Ploegsma revealing to

“A few clubs have contacted me about the situation and asked me questions about Keisuke but no club has made a serious offer for him. No one has contacted the club to make a formal offer.

Responding to suggestions that Arsenal and LIverpool were leading the chase, Ploegsma stressed:

“Liverpool have not been in contact regarding him.”

Asked if Arsene Wenger's praise of the player at the World Cup would leed to any movement on the part of the Arsenal coaching hierarchy, the representative continued:

“I don’t know yet. There are several clubs interested but so far nothing has happened regarding a formal offer.

"I don’t know if CSKA Moscow will let him leave, or what sort of money they will be asking. Discussions will take place when a club makes a formal offer for the player.”

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Arsenal - Sebastian Giovinco again linked with Emirates move  

Arsenal are once again being linked with a move for Serie ‘A’ star Sebastien Giovinco.

The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to the Emirates on several occasions over the past couple of years, and now Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is ready to move on his interest for Juve’s forgotten man.

A product of the youth team at the bianconeri, Giovinco made his debut in 2006 before building on his reputation during a season on loan at Empoli the following season.

On return to the Stadio Olimpico, Giovinco began to feature more in the side, but the addition of Werder Bremen playmaker Diego last summer coupled with the arrival of a new manager has seen Giovinco struggle to make a major impact on the first team.

Having lost his place in the Italian national setup, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the player is keen to gain first team action somewhere, news that has put the Gunners on alert over a possible switch.

Wenger faces competition for the player's signature though, with Parma reportedly making a bid for the player early on Sunday morning.

Tuttosport reports that the Italian side have made a bid in the region of €3.5 million, news that will force Wenger's hand if he does wish to make a move.

Bari are also thought to be interested in 'La Formica Atomica', but the lure of Premier Leaue and Champions League football could be a deciding factor should the north London club attempt to sign the player in the coming months.

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Vermaelen, Djourou, Koscielny and now...  

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Arsene Wenger is thought to have identified Udinese centre-back Cristian Zapata as his next recruit after admitting that he was on the lookout for further defensive cover.

Despite recruiting French-Polish defender Laurent Koscielny from Lorient last week, and having Thomas Vermaelen and Johan Djourou on the books, the Gunners are still short on options at the back. Philippe Senderos quit the Emirates to join Fulham earlier in the month while Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas are out-of-contract and Sol Campbell is shopping around for a lucrative final contract with the likes of Sunderland and Celtic interested parties.

Speaking last week in the aftermath of his second summer signing Arsene Wenger told

"We identified Koscielny as a very, very strong centre half.

"He can be an outstanding addition to our team. But it is not over, we are still open to buy.

"We are still on the market for another defensive player because we have the need for one more."

The Daily Mail now claims that Columbian international Zapata, who has been linked with a move to England in the past, is now one of Arsenal’s top transfer targets despite retaining a value around £15 million. At 6 ft 2 inches tall and still only 23-years-old, the highly experienced Zebrette star is also being monitored by the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Fiorentina.

It is not the first time the Gunners have been linked with one of Udinese's stars. Swiss midfield enforcer Gokhan Inler was contacted by Arsene Wenger in the aftermath of Euro 2008 and has been consistently tipped for an Arsenal adventure in the future.

West Ham United's Matthew Upson, Bolton's Gary Cahill and Fulham's Brede Hangeland are further names linked with the Gunners although their respective Premier League owners appear unwilling to do business aith Arsenal.

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Arsenal: Barca shirt stunt a 'joke' says Cesc Fabregas  

Cesc Fabregas insists nothing should be read into his donning a Barcelona shirt amid Spain's World Cup celebrations.

The Arsenal skipper has long been linked with a return to the Catalan giants, where he spent six years as a youth team player before moving to North London in 2003, and Barca have already had a 35million euro bid turned down this summer.

Barca defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique - helped by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina - fanned the flames over a possible move by forcing a Blaugrana jersey over their Spain team-mate's head as La Roja celebrated their triumphant return to Madrid on Monday night.

But Fabregas has laughed off the matter, saying nothing more should be read into what was simply a practical joke.

"These are things that happen at special moments, and I don't think it should be gone on about much more because it was just another anecdote of a great night, a great celebration," said the Arsenal midfielder.

"There are times we do not even know what we do, so everything can be forgiven,.

"Pepe took me there (to the front of the stage), the truth is that I didn't know anything like that was going to happen and so I was a bit surprised.

"At first I thought it was a flag or something, but it's nothing.

"You had to enjoy it and if it's a way to have fun, it's nothing."

Fabregas grew slightly more serious when questioned further about where he will be plying his trade next season.

"I think now the less said about the subject much the better, because these things are worse for everyone when they come to light and people talk more about the matter," added the 23-year-old.

"Right now we have to be very calm and what will be will be."

Fabregas has five more years on his contract with the Gunners but has made no secret of his desire to return to the Nou Camp.

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Sunday, 11 July 2010

ARSENAL will go for Bordeaux’s Yoann Gourcuff as a £20 million replacement for Cesc Fabregas if their captain finally moves to Barcelona this summer.

And even if Fabregas remains at The Emirates for at least another season, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will continue his pursuit of Gourcuff, who is also on Manchester City’s list of targets.

Gourcuff is regarded in France as the new Zinedine Zidane but like the rest of the French squad, he had a nightmare World Cup.

But that hasn’t altered Wenger’s view that playmaker Gourcuff, 24 today, is a special talent.

Wenger has already made one signing from Bordeaux this summer – striker Marouane Chamakh, snapped up on a free transfer as he was out of contract.

And last week, he paid £8.5m for centre-back Laurent Koscielny, 24, from Lorient, who are managed by Christian Gourcuff – father of Wenger’s latest target.

Fabregas has made no secret of his desire to return to Spain to sign for Barcelona.

But even the Catalan giants have cash-flow problems, which could be a factor in delaying a deal.

Wenger certainly doesn’t want to lose Fabregas.

But he knows what he will try to do if he fails in his battle to keep him.

And despite big-spending City’s interest in Gourcuff, the French connection could help Wenger get his man.

Meanwhile, Spanish midfielder Fran Merida has revealed he was unhappy at Arsenal and did not think twice about signing for Atletico Madrid.

Merida, 20, who was once described by Wenger as “an absolutely amazing player”, made just six league appearances for the North Londoners.

And the midfield schemer, who came through the youth system at Barcelona, opted for a move back to Spain with Atletico, the club he had supported from a young age.

He said: “I’m an Atletico fan and I feel enormously proud to be here.

“Atletico is a big club as is Arsenal but there were some circumstances there, particularly on the sporting side, which I wasn’t happy with and I couldn’t fit in.

“I made Wenger aware of that and as soon as I knew that Atletico were interested, I didn’t think twice about switching.”

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Jan Vertonghen 'set for Arsenal reunion with Thomas Vermaelen'  

Monday, 14 June 2010

Arsene Wenger is hoping to tie up a summer transfer move for Ajax centre-back Jan Vertonghen, as Arsenal hope to reunite him with former team-mate Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the Gunners' defence

Vermaelen has been a revelation at the back for the north Londoners since his arrival from the Dutch league last summer - with many pundits picking him as the best Premier League signing last year.

And Wenger is hoping to enjoy similar success with the Dutchman's countryman Vertonghen, 22, who could be tempted to swap the Eredivisie for the English top-flight this summer.

The two enjoyed a solid partnership at the Amsterdam Arena before Vermaelen's move and Wenger is preparing to make a big-money move for the 22-year-old as well as highly-rated full-back Gregory van der Wiel.

The Dutch international, who is currently in South Africa at the World Cup with his national side, could be part of a £25million package deal to take both players to the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger is currently weighing up his options to rebuild his back-line with veterans William Gallas, Sol Campbell, and Mikael Silvestre all due to leave on free transfers this summer.

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Arsenal ready to splash 30 million to end silverware drought  

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, criticised by fans after his young side failed to win a trophy since 2005, is to splash out £30million on building a squad to end the drought.

Wenger will make the club's biggest impact on the summer transfer market for more than a decade, with Everton defender Phil Jagielka the latest target, along with Chelsea's England midfielder Joe Cole, Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and Lorient defender Laurent Koscielny.

Wenger is finally ready to make major signings after almost 10 years of being constrained by the club's move to the Emirates Stadium.

And Everton centre-half Jagielka, controversially left out of Fabio Capello's 30-man preparation squad for the World Cup finals, is the latest player to be targeted by the Frenchman, although Everton manager David Moyes will fight to keep the 27-year-old defender at Goodison Park.

But Arsenal now appear to be confident of adding Cole and Schwarzer to the squad after the World Cup finals, even though negotiations with Cole's representatives have yet to reach a conclusion.

Fulham have rejected an initial inquiry for Schwarzer, but the Australian goalkeeper has only one year left on his contract at Craven Cottage and, at the age of 37, he will want to seize his last chance to play Champions League football.

Arsenal remain in talks for centre-half Koscielny but, with William Gallas out of contract and leaving the club, they are committed to signing another experienced Premier League defender.

Jagielka is their first choice and Wenger has been cleared to spend, with around £30m at his disposal plus any more he receives if Cesc Fabregas leaves for Barcelona.

Arsenal have rarely been major players in the summer transfer market since committing to building the Emirates Stadium 10 years ago, a project completed in 2006 at the cost of £380m.

But the club made £45.5m profit last year, making them one of the few in the Premier League to enjoy a substantial return.

Their financial outlook is much brighter than Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, with more profits expected this year as stadium debts fall.

Read more:

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Arsenal Hope to Beat Manchester City to £20m Playmaker: Wenger Battles Mancini for Everton Ace Arteta  

Manchester City are looking to flex their spending muscles once again by offering £20million for Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta.

City’s interest in the 28-year-old former Barcelona trainee is in addition to their hopes of landing Aston Villa’s James Milner.

They will face competition for the Spanish midfielder from Arsenal, who regard him as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas, now looking certain to return to the Nou Camp.

Manchester United are also monitoring Arteta, who has developed into one of the Premier League’s hottest properties. (Mail on Sunday)

There is no doubting Mikel Arteta’s class, the Spaniard has spent the last five and half year seasons wowing the Goodison Park support and has been targeted by potential suitors for some time now, could there be any chance either Arsene Wenger or Roberto Mancini could persuade the former Rangers man to leave the Toffees?

The 28 year old amazingly is still without a full Spain cap and may feel his chances of getting a call up would improve if he was playing Champions League football and maybe a move to the Emirates would be tempting. Is Arteta the type of player the Gunners need though? In many ways the abilities and assets the attacking midfielder offers are much the same as Cesc Fabregas, hence many reports suggesting that the north London club could turn to the Everton man if they do indeed lose their skipper to Barcelona.

Manchester City will of course be able to offer obscene amount in wages but perhaps that won’t be enough to convince Arteta to leave, clearly he loves playing for the Toffees and he may feel he could fulfill his ambitions at the Merseyside outfit.

David Moyes will again be hoping not to lose any of his top notch talents this summer and as always the Scot will hope to be given sufficient funds to help the club push onwards towards the top four next term.

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Arsenal line up £10m bid for Palermo defender Simon Kjaer - report  

Monday, 3 May 2010

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to attempt to reinforce his defence this summer by bidding for Palermo's Danish international centre-back Simon Kjaer, according to a report from The People.

Wenger has targeted the Dane after identifying him as the ideal partner for Thomas Vermaelen.

The 21-year-old has a fixed price clause in his contract of €10 million and is open to the prospect of a move to England, having almost joined Tottenham Hotspur in January.

That deal broke down as a result of Kjaer's wage demands, with his request for a salary of £100,000 a week proving to be a major snag for Arsenal's north London neighbours.

The report indicates that the Gunners may be willing to pay him that, but only if Kjaer commits to them before this summer's World Cup finals, when a good performance from the payer could increase competition for his signature.

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Hazard: I will go to Real or Arsenal  

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Lille teenager Eden Hazard has listed Real Madrid and Arsenal as possible future destinations should he ever leave the Stade Metropole.

Hazard, 19, is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in Europe after emerging as the creative force behind Lille's Ligue 1 title challenge and their run to the round of 16 in the Europa League.

Former France playmaker Zinedine Zidane said of the young Belgian on Thursday: "He can become a great footballer. He is a star of the future."

And Hazard admits following in Zidane's footsteps and playing for Madrid is a possibility.

He said: "Such praise makes me very happy, especially from Zidane. If one day I leave Lille, I will go to Real or Arsenal."

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Premier League Ratings: Arsenal 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers  

Gunners leave it late to keep title hopes alive...


Manuel Almunia - 7 - Had to be on his toes on a handful of occasions to thwart the Wolves attack but all in all, a comfortable afternoon for the Spaniard.

Bacary Sagna - 7 - Was given freedom to attack thanks to a non-existent Wolves left midfield, and the Frenchman linked up well with Theo Walcott. Managed to deliver a couple of probing crosses and overlapped to limited success.

Sol Campbell - 6.5 - Had little to cope with, but looked calm and composed. Like the Campbell of old.

Thomas Vermaelen - 7 - Rarely tested by a limp Wolves attack, and enjoyed a decent partnership with Sol Campbell at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

Mickael Silvestre - 7 - Had to deal with the tricky Matt Jarvis - who was Wolves' most effective player - and was found wanting on a couple of occasions. Nearly got himself on the scoresheet but shot right at Hahnemann in the first half.

Emmanuel Eboue - 6 - A quiet game for the Ivorian, who cut a frustrated figure at times, much like his manager on the sidelines.

Alexandre Song - 6 - Failed to shine in a game with plenty of possession for the home side.

Denilson - 5.5 - Most fans will have hardly noticed the little Brasilian, as the game mostly passed him by without any sort of knowing impact.

Theo Walcott - 8 - Took it upon himself to try and win the game for the Gunners, with a series of marauding runs down the right. Often found Elokobi in resolute form, but managed to get in a handful of crosses.

Eduardo - 7 - Looked far from fit or sharp enough to be the match-winner he has been in the past.

Tomas Rosicky - 8 - Looked sharp and inventive as Arsenal looked for a goal and had a number of shots but found Hahnemann in fine form.

Nicklas Bendtner - 7.5 - Put himself about but did little before nodding in Sagna's cross to win the game for the Gunners. It was an excellent header and saved Wenger's blushes.

Samir Nasri - 7 - Was thrown on in an attacking move, and the little Frenchman looked neat and tidy, slicing Wolves open with a couple of neat flicks.

Carlos Vela - n/a


Marcus Hahnemann - 9 - Man of the Match by a mile, thwarting Arsenal on numerous occasions. The pick of the bunch was a left-handed claw of the ball from an Eduardo placed shot.

Ronald Zubar - 7 - Tried to press forward but mostly found himself camped in his own half dealing with the runs of Rosicky and Eduardo.

Jody Craddock - 7.5 - Dealt with most things Arsenal chucked his way, especially in the air, and marshalled his defence well.

Christophe Berra - 7 - Stood strong against the tricky Arsenal forwards and gave Eduardo little space to work with. A few last ditch tackles nearly earned his side a point.

George Elokobi - 7.5 - Given a tough task when Mick McCarthy asked him to deal with Theo Walcott's jinking runs, and the left-back was often found wanting, but managed to put in a few knowing challenges.

Karl Henry - 6.5 - Had little impact on the game, and his afternoon was rounded off with a silly red card for a rash challenge on Roscky.

Kevin Foley - 7 - Spent most of the match chasing the ball, but worked hard to thwart the Gunners midfielders and limit chances.

Michael Mancienne - 8 - Snapped at Rosicky's heals and protected his defence well with a hard-working display. Used the ball well when he did find it at his feet.

David Jones - 6 - Quiet game from Jones, who had little impact.

Matthew Jarvis - 7 - Tried his best to tie the Arsenal defence in knots, and often had joy against the sluggish Silvestre, but found clear chances hard to come by.

Kevin Doyle - 6.5 - A lonely figure up front, chances were very limited for Wolves' main goal threat. Was taken off midway through the second half.


David Edwards - 6 - Worked hard against the Arsenal midfield but was left behind by Rosicky and Nasri on a few occasions.

Andy Keogh - 6.5 - Put in a good shift up front on his own, but found chances very limited.

[+/-]

Champions League - Barcelona held after Arsenal fight back  

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Arsenal fought back from two goals down to hold holders Barcelona to a barnstorming 2-2 draw in their Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Emirates.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's brace gave the visitors a deserved two-goal cushion before the hour mark, but the introduction of Theo Walcott gave Arsenal a new dynamism and goals from the England forward and Cesc Fabregas gave the hosts parity on the night.

Barcelona take the away goals advantage into the second leg, although they will be without captain Carles Puyol, who was sent off for a foul on Fabregas that gave him his goal from the penalty spot.

Fabregas will also miss the return tie at his boyhood club after picking up a third booking of the competition, although it is doubtful he would have been able to play anyway after ending the match limping around the field injured with the Gunners having used all three substitutes.

Indeed, it was a poor night for the Premier League challengers on the fitness front, with William Gallas and Andrei Arshavin both taken off in the first half.

Their replacements, initially wowed by the free-flowing Catalans, more than impressed with their fight-back although the injury to Gallas was key as midfielder Alexandre Song - forced to move to centre-half - lost Ibrahimovic for both goals.

But the Gunners showed great resolve to draw level and by the end they were all over the visitors, reduced to 10 men and reliant on calm goalkeeping from Victor Valdes.

Much had been made of Ibrahimovic’s failure to shine in the Champions League, particularly against English opposition, but he answered the doubters with a superb salvo early in the second half, having looked a touch nervous in the opening 45 minutes.

A similar level of hype accompanied the threat of Lionel Messi, but the Argentine - widely regarded as the best player in the world - was anonymous in one of his worst performances for the Blaugrana in recent memory.

Ibrahimovic’s finishes were majestic: the first, 25 seconds into the second half, was a delicate lob from an angle over the onrushing Manuel Almunia, while the second on the hour was blasted into the roof of the net after Arsenal’s defence parted for the Swede.

Pep Guardiola’s side dominated the opening exchanges, racking up 12 efforts and a possession ratio of 70-30 in the first half hour, with Arsenal restricted to a sole shot when Samir Nasri sent a curler just wide of the far post.

The Gunners stayed in it thanks to some poor shooting from Ibrahimovic and an inspired first-half performance from Spanish goalkeeper Almunia.

Almunia, who has expressed an interest in playing for England after nearly six years in the country, made a series of top-class stops including one remarkable triple save to deny Ibrahimovic, Xavi and Messi.

Arsenal largely shackled Messi, and in the latter stages of the half Arsene Wenger’s side grew into the game and were a match for Barca, pressing higher up the pitch and going close on two occasions.

On 35 minutes, excellent wing-play by Niklas Bendtner culminated in a brilliant cross for Abou Diaby, who beat Gerard Pique and Daniel Alves to the header only for the ball to bounce wide.

Two minutes later, the blushes of both Bendtner and Alves were spared by the linesman’s flag when the Brazil full-back missed Nasri’s cross and the Denmark striker first fired against Valdes before putting the rebound on the post.

Fabregas started despite carrying a knee problem and looked off the pace before, just before the break, he picked up a harsh booking for a challenge on Sergio Busquets that ruled him out of an emotional return leg to his boyhood club.

Things went from bad to worse for the Gunners as, 23 seconds after the second-half restart, Song allowed Ibrahimovic to get between him and Thomas Vermaelen with Gael Clichy pulled wide, while Almunia was perhaps a little quick to race off his line to head off the danger.

Ibrahimovic, off form in recent months, spotted the half chance and lofted an inch-perfect chip over the onrushing keeper that curved delicately inside the far post.

Arsenal were desperate for a goal and almost levelled when Bendtner powered a header on target after good work from Clichy on the left.

But Valdes was well-placed and Barca nearly got another on the counter as Xavi headed wide from close range after Alves exploited Clichy’s up-field position.

They bagged their second five minutes later when, after Clichy was pulled wide, Vermaelen was dragged away from goal by Messi and Ibrahimovic was given the freedom of the penalty area by the ball-watching Song.

His finish into the roof of the net was as emphatic as his first was deft and the match looked out of sight for the Gunners.

They battled gamely enough though and, soon after coming off the bench, Walcott raced away from Maxwell and rifled a low shot in off Valdes to give Arsenal hope.

Pressing higher up the pitch and right in the tiring visitors’ faces, Arsenal were cutting Barca apart and, after more good wide-play by Walcott, Bendtner cleverly nodded the ball down to Fabregas, who collided with Puyol to earn a penalty.

A bewildered Puyol was given his marching orders, and will miss the return, while fellow Catalan Fabregas rifled the spot-kick into the bottom left with five minutes left, his last act in the tie.

It was effectively 10-a-side though, as Fabregas appeared to injure himself and returned to the field after receiving some treatment, barely mobile in the closing stages.

Arsenal still had the edge though, with calm keeping by Valdes keeping them at bay, and a topsy-turvy first leg ended in a compelling draw that - while giving Barca the advantage - is finely balanced for the return a week on Wednesday.
Reda Maher / Eurosport

[+/-]

Ten-man Arsenal go top of Premier League as West Ham miss penalty  

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Arsenal climbed to the top of the English Premier League with a 2-0 victory over London rivals West Ham despite playing half of Saturday's clash with only 10 men.

Arsene Wenger's team moved a point above champions Manchester United, who host Liverpool on Sunday, while Chelsea dropped to third ahead of their trip to Blackburn. Carlo Ancelotti's side can join Arsenal on 67 points with victory in that game.

Gianfranco Zola's West Ham team were left to rue a missed penalty as the defeat left them just three points above the relegation zone.

Arsenal, who on Friday were handed a chance to avenge 2006's Champions League final defeat by Barcelona in the upcoming quarterfinals, took the lead after just five minutes in the rain at the Emirates Stadium.

Brazil midfielder Denilson fired in a low shot for his sixth goal this season, having dispossessed Valon Behrami and then played a neat one-two on the edge of the area with striker Nicklas Bendtner.

But Arsenal could not turn their dominance into further goals, and West Ham should have leveled just before halftime when Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen was sent off as his nudge in the back of Guillermo Franco saw the Mexico striker tumble in the box.

But Alessandro Diamanti saw his penalty saved by Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, and the hosts also escaped in the second half when substitute striker Carlton Cole saw his fierce low shot hit the outside of the post.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas made the points safe on his return from injury five minutes after that with a penalty on 82, as England defender Matthew Upson paid the price for deliberately blocking the Spain midfielder's clever little flick with his arm.

[+/-]

Hull 1 Arsenal 2: Nicklas Bendtner scores stoppage-time winner to keep Gunners firing in Premier League title race  

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Nicklas Bendtner struck in stoppage time as Arsenal kept pace with Chelsea at the top of the Barclays Premier League with victory at 10-man Hull.

The title-chasing Gunners went in front when Andrey Arshavin prodded in after 14 minutes but Jimmy Bullard levelled with a penalty after 28 minutes following a clumsy Sol Campbell challenge on Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

Arsenal struggled to break down Hull following the 45th-minute dismissal of George Boateng but Bendtner earned a fifth straight win by netting after Denilson's wicked swerving shot.

[+/-]

Wenger in pole position to sign Bundesliga ace  

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Egyptian international Mohamed Zidan has revealed that Arsenal are leading the race for his signature. Zidan has been linked with Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotpsur, Manchester United and Barcelona, however according to the player’s agent Arsenal are eager to speak to the Egyptian international following the Borrussia Dortmund forward’s strike at Wembley last week.

The Premier League trio of Manchester United, Arsenal, and Barcelona are all reportedly confirmed as tracking Mohamed Zidan, according to the player’s father. Abdullah Zidan told Dream TV that Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Pep Guardiola have all made contact with Zidan’s agent and are interested in signing the African Cup of Nations winner in the summer.

Zidan said yesterday: "My agent spoke to me after the game and told me about Arsenal’s interest. He asked me to try to impress them, and become the first Egyptian to play for the Gunners."

The player’s father had revealed that Spurs, Manchester United, Barcelona and Arsenal were the clubs monitoring the player before his Wembley goal against England.

"Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona have talked to Mohamed's agent," he told Dream TV. Zidan’s father also revealed that his son has a clause in his contract in which allows Mohamed speak to these three clubs. ??

However, international teammate and West Ham’s Mido believes Zidan’s style would suit either Arsenal or Spurs, but the former Middlesbrough hitman admitted Zidan could succeed in the Premier League.

Mido Said:?? “Zidan is one of the great players for my country right now," the former Tottenham, Middlesbrough and Wigan man said in The Sun.

??"He is a second striker, more of a link man than an out-and-out goalscorer. ?He is very quick, confident on the ball and of course when the chance comes, the guy can score goals. He has done very well and is getting more and more attention.??

"Zidan could be successful in England if he goes to a good footballing club.?He needs to be in a team that plays good football, beautiful football like Arsenal.?? If he goes to a club who play a more physical game, it would not be so good for him.??Maybe he could even fit in at one of my old teams, like Tottenham.?? They have some excellent players like Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar and Tom Huddlestone."

??The 29-year-old Zidan has spent the majority of his career in the German Bundesliga with time at Werder Bremen, Mainz 05, Hamburg and Borrusia Dortmund all under his belt. Zidan has netted on nine occasions in 45 appearances for Dortmund and has been capped 33 times for his country hitting the back of the net seven times.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was tracking a forward in the January transfer window while Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott, and Robin Van Persie were injured, however the Frenchman could not find a suitable target with Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh joining in the summer on a free transfer, and negotiation’s with FC Cluj target Lacina Traore breaking down.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a number of forward options at United with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen competing for the first team forward berths.

While Fergie also has three world class prospects up front with 22-year-old Mame Biram Diouf, 18-year-old Federico Macheda, and 19-year Danny Welbeck currently on loan at Preston North End expected to compete next season for a first team spot.??Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has a number of forward options with Roman Pavlychenko finding form, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and on loan Celtic forward Robbie Keane.

Zidan, 28, has scored five goals in 21 appearances for Borussia Dortmund in 2009/2010 and also chipped in with five assists.

[+/-]

Arsenal 5-0 Porto  

Nicklas Bendtner grabbed a hat-trick as Arsenal cruised into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with an emphatic victory over Porto at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners were trailing 2-1 from the first leg and had to do without injured captain Cesc Fabregas.

However, Arsene Wenger's young team rose to the challenge as a first-half brace from Bendtner - who missed a string of chances against Burnley here three days ago - was followed by fine goals from Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboue before the young Dane slotted home a penalty in the final minute to secure a place among the last eight of Europe's elite once again.

The result also broke Arsenal's unwelcome near 32-year run of failing to overturn a first-leg deficit in a European tie since beating Hajduk Split in 1978.

Arsenal had started brightly, with Nasri's shot blocked in the six-yard box before the lively Andrey Arshavin saw his far-post header saved following a deep cross by Bacary Sagna.

The Gunners went ahead after 10 minutes.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, standing in as captain, booted a long clearance up field, which Arshavin nodded back for Nasri.

The Frenchman knocked a quick pass between the centre-backs for the Russian to run onto.

In tracking back, Porto defender Fucile clattered into his keeper, and Bendtner was first to react, stabbing the loose ball into the empty net.

Helton needed treatment for a head injury, caught accidentally by Arshavin, but after a short delay, the Brazilian was able to continue.

With the tie now level, Arsenal looked to go ahead, as Abou Diaby hooked a 12-yard effort over.

Porto continued to pass the ball crisply, but were undone again on 25 minutes.

Fucile's poor clearance was latched onto by Arshavin.

The diminutive Russian weaved into the left side of the penalty box, before pulling the ball back along the six-yard box to Bendtner, who, despite what he showed here on Saturday, just could not miss.

Arsenal were somewhat fortunate when Brazil forward Hulk - who is serving a four-month domestic ban for a fracas with a steward after a match against Benfica - capitalised on a mistake by right-back Gael Clichy and cut in towards goal, but stabbed his shot into the arms of Almunia.

Helton touched Bendtner's curling effort around the post.
From the corner, Diaby's downward header was clawed away by the Porto keeper, who also denied Nasri in stoppage time.

There was a scare at the start of the second half when Tomas Rosicky gave the ball away to Hulk, but fortunately for the Czech winger, the Porto striker was again off target.

Almunia then had to be on his toes as Falcao drove in a low snapshot, which the Spaniard gathered at the second attempt.
Rosicky, who appeared to be carrying a knee problem, was replaced by Emmanuel Eboue just before the hour as Wenger looked to breathe new life into his side.

Arsenal, though, were anything but convincing at the back - with Nasri clearing a header from substitute Cristian Rodriguez off the line.

The Frenchman, however, then settled any nerves with a quite brilliant individual goal after 64 minutes.

After collecting the ball just outside the area on the right, Nasri twisted past three Porto defenders before drilling a low shot in off the far post from the tightest of angles.

Safe passage to the quarter-finals was assured three minutes later when, following a Porto corner, Arshavin broke quickly down the left, holding the ball up before releasing the on-rushing Eboue, who rounded the keeper and stroked in a fourth.

Porto had lost here 4-0 in the group stages last season, which was their worst away reverse in the competition.

And over the final 20 minutes, it was a case of damage limitation for Jesualdo Ferreira's men.

Nasri was given a well-earned rest as he left the field to a standing ovation, replaced by defensive midfielder Denilson.

Fellow substitute Theo Walcott looked lively after he came on for Arshavin, and Bendtner headed a good hat-trick chance wide.

Eboue was brought down for by Fucile to concede a penalty in the final minute - which the young Dane stroked into the bottom corner to collect the match ball.

[+/-]

Walcott unfazed by critics  

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott hopes his impressive display against Burnley will silence his critics.

Walcott was criticised for making little impact in England's friendly with Egypt last week.

The Gunners star's response came in Saturday's 3-1 win at the Emirates, with a second-half goal capping a notable performance for the experienced youngster.

"I have had so many injuries this season, people don't realise how hard it is to come back from setback after setback after setback," said Walcott who is ready to shrug off opinion from outsiders.

"You can't be at your best straightaway and if you think you can, then you put more pressure on yourself. That's what I had been doing this season.

"I heard what has been going on but I don't listen to people on the outside of football.

"I listen to people around me - the boss [Arsene Wenger], Mr Capello, my family and the people around me.

"The best thing is I do know what's going on on the outside, but I don't listen to it, I only listen to people around me.

"It's doesn't bother me whatsoever - maybe if I keep performing like that it will shut people up."

carried away

The former Southampton trainee, though, stressed there is still room for improvement in his game.

"Hopefully this is a kick-start for me, but I am not going to get carried away or too big about myself," he said.

"I will look back at my performance and see what I can do better.

"I will study my performance on a DVD and see what I can do better, and will take whatever I can into Tuesday's [Champions League] game against Porto."

The Barclays Premier League title race sees Manchester United two points clear at the top of the table after their victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend.

Chelsea and Arsenal are now level on points below the current champions and Walcott believes the Gunners are still in with a chance of taking the top spot.

"Of course we believed we could get back into the title race and we have shown that lately," he said.

"It is a funny season, everyone is beating each other - but we have shown that belief and hopefully that will remain for the whole season now."

[+/-]

Arsenal win overshadowed by Ramsey injury  

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Two stoppage time goals give Arsenal a crucial victory in the title race but at a cost, with Aaron Ramsey suffering a serious injury.
The win moves Arsene Wenger's side to within three points of leaders Chelsea with ten games remaining, but this evening's victory was overshadowed by a horrific looking injury to youngster Ramsey.

Midway through the second half, Ryan Shawcross hammered into a challenge with Ramsey just inside the Arsenal half. Both players went immediately to the floor and Ramsey was left with what looked like a very badly broken leg. Shawcross was immediately shown the red card by referee Peter Walton and the Stoke man was in tears as he left the pitch.

Arsenal, however, battled on and with the game heading into injury time and the score still deadlocked at 1-1, Arsenal were awarded a penalty for a handball by Danny Pugh. Up stepped their captain Cesc Fabregas, who slotted past Sorensen into the corner to give them the lead.

Minutes later, the visitors found the killer third goal to wrap up the points. Rosicky struck a shot from the edge of the area. Sorensen got down well to his right to make the save, but Fabregas followed in sharply to turn the ball back across goal and there was Vermaelen to tap the home into an empty net.

It was little more than Arsenal deserved after dominating the final hour of proceedings, but they were slow to a start and yet again they were undone by a Rory Delap throw-in. With just over seven minutes on the clock, Delap's long throw-in was headed on towards the far post by Shawcross and Danny Pugh stooped to head home from a couple of yards.

Immediate thoughts will now turn to the well being of Aaron Ramsey but after tonight's victory, Arsenal can again look towards the end of the season still in the hunt for honours

[+/-]

Premier League Player Ratings: Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland  

Sunday, 21 February 2010


Manuel Almunia - 7 - Denied Bent the equaliser with vital save. Largely untroubled.

Emmanuel Eboue - 8 - Menaced down the wing. Jinking run into the area followed by shot-cum-cross led to a tap-in for Bendtner. Sagna will have to watch that he doesn't lose his first-team place.

Mickael Silvestre - 6 - Wasn't particularly stretched by Sunderland's attack.

Thomas Vermaelen - 7 - Stung Gordon's palms with a vicious free kick in second half.

Gael Clichy - 6 - Played conservatively by his standards. Rarely got forward.

Cesc Fabregas - 7 - Not at his creative best but that's still very good indeed. Booked in the second half. 'Won' and dispatched penalty in 92nd minute.

Alexandre Song - 6 - Patrolled back line effectively.

Aaron Ramsey - 6 - Played with maturity. Beautifully disguised pass misread by Bendtner.

Samir Nasri - 7 - Seriously troubled Hutton down the wing. Driving shot from short corner only just deflected over bar.

Nicklas Bendtner - 7 - Useful link up play. Screwed shot wide on 17 minutes. Got on the end of cross-shot from Eboue to score opening goal.

Theo Walcott - 4 - Pace gives Arsenal a new dimension but lacked invention. Put clean through in first five minutes but failed to finish with a cross-shot that went wide.


Tomas Rosicky - N/A - On for Nasri on 72 mins.

Bakari Sagna - N/A - On for the ineffective Walcott.

Denilson - N/A - On for Eboue.


Craig Gordon - 7 - Had no chance with the opening goal. Saved from Nasri, Walcott and Bendtner to deny Arsenal the second. Came close to reaching Fabregas's penalty.

Alan Hutton - 4 - Lacked the skill and pace to cope with Nasri.

George McCartney - 4 - Badly troubled by Walcott's pace. Great sliding tackle in the box to deny Bendtner.

Michael Turner - 6 - Managed to keep Arsenal from scoring a second. Cautioned for silly handball that was born out of frustration.

Darren Bent - 5 - Forced to play wide midfield and defended like a forward.

John Mensah - 5 - Foul on Fabregas on edge of area led to vicious free kick from Vermaelen. Booked for another foul on Fabregas.

Kieran Richardson - 6 - Stole the ball from Arsenal and fed Jones for what should have been the equaliser.

Anton Ferdinand - 5 - Looked off the pace in the unfamiliar role of central midfield. Moved to left-back eventually.

Lorik Cana - 7 - Booked for two-footed lunging tackle on Eboue. Could have been a harsher punishment.

Fraizer Campbell - 5 - First chance of the game for Sunderland after 20 minutes but is crowded out. Missed a sitter in second half - lucky to be ruled offside in the end. Brought down Fabregas for penalty.

Kenywne Jones - 4 - Guilty of a terrible miss after going one-on-one with Almunia but then put shot wide.


Bolo Zenden - N/A - On for Richardson on 75th minute

Benjani - N/A - Replaced Jones up front

Phil Bardsley - N/A - Replaced McCartney in last five minutes.

[+/-]

Arsenal weigh up move for £2m-rated Swiss forward Nassim Ben Khalifa  

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Arsenal are considering a £2million move for Swiss teenager Nassim Ben Khalifa but face competition from Wolfsburg and Inter Milan.

Wolfsburg have held talks with Khalifa's club Grasshoopers Zurich - who play in the Swiss Super League - and could be close to completing a deal for the talented forward by the end of the week.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of Ben Khalifa after watching the 18-year-old star for Switzerland at the Under-17 World Cup in November.

But Wenger will have to make his move quickly as Wolfsburg are desperate to conclude a deal for the player before Arsenal and Inter join the bidding.

Khalifa has scored two goals in 12 appearances for the Grasshoopers and has represented Switzerland at Under-15s, 16s, 17s and 18s level - scoring a total of 17 goals in 40 appearances.

[+/-]

Arsenal Complete £10.4m Signing: Summer Deal Finally Sealed  

Saturday, 13 February 2010

MAROUANE CHAMAKH will be an Arsenal player this summer after saying yes to a four-year, £10.4million deal.
The free agent Bordeaux ace has snubbed a BIGGER offer from Liverpool and put pen to paper on a Gunners pre-contract agreement.

It will mean £50,000 a week for the man Arsene Wenger believes can be the ‘new Emmanuel Adebayor’.

We told you first on Boxing Day that Arsenal boss Wenger had stepped up his bid to land the striker, even though publicly he had ended his interest in Chamakh.

Liverpool were offering the 26-year-old £10,000 a week more.

But the 6ft 2in Moroccan was desperate to work with Wenger and his decision will be a stinging snub for under-fire Kop chief Rafa Benitez.

Chamakh is rated one of France’s top frontmen and was a key member of Laurent Blanc’s title-winning team last season.

Arsenal tried to land him last summer in a £6m swoop. But Bordeaux wanted double that and the deal stalled. (Daily Mirror)

[+/-]

Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool  

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Abou Diaby headed a second-half winner to revive Arsenal's faltering title hopes and end Liverpool's recent unbeaten league run.
Neither keeper had a save of note to make in the first 45 minutes and both defences were firmly on top, despite the best efforts of Nicklas Bendtner, who made his first start since October

The second period was a far more open affair. Tomas Rosicky and David Ngog both went close but it was the Gunners who gradually gained control, with Cesc Fabregas central to all of their good play.

The breakthrough was made by the home side on 72 minutes, when Rosicky fired in a brilliant cross from the right and Diaby powered home a header from six yards out.

Liverpool showed more adventure after falling behind, with substitute Ryan Babel forcing Manuel Almunia into fine save in the 85th minute, the Spaniard tipping a 25-yard effort onto the crossbar.

Arsenal held on to reaffirm their manager's belief that the title race is wide open, and with all of their games against the 'big four' behind them, the Gunners still have hope.

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[+/-]

Arsenal set to beat Liverpool in race to sign striker Marouane Chamakh  

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Morocco international is available on a free transfer and Benítez was initially hopeful of bringing him to Anfield.

Only last month Liverpool appeared to lead the race for his signature but the player has since admitted his first choice would be a move to Arsenal, and Benítez believes any chance of securing the player is now dead.

The 26-year-old has reportedly hit out at Liverpool for being "fussy" over contract negotiations but Benítez is angry at the breakdown of the deal.

"I think that we will not sign him - but I will not say [any more]," said the Spaniard.

Arsenal turned down the chance to sign Chamakh last summer after his current club, Bordeaux, demanded a £15 million transfer fee, but he is available for free at the end of the season after he refused to sign a new contract.

Benítez, meanwhile, has admitted he would welcome any new investors into the club but remains to be convinced of their impending arrival.

It had been suggested two tycoons from the sub-continent were competing for bids to buy a significant stake in the club, but representatives of Mukesh Ambani, head of Reliance Industries and the seventh-richest man in the world, denied claims he was interested in doing business with Liverpool's co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

"We can see a lot of rumours in the press but we have to concentrate on football," Benítez said. "Everyone knows we need a new stadium and investors if we want to go forward so it would be good for the club.

"Over the last two years everyone is talking about new investors and the new stadium and so all the fans are waiting for this good news and me too.

"I'll be really pleased if we can bring [in] people who can help to bring the new stadium closer. If I signed a new (five-year) contract last year it was because they (Hicks and Gillett) told me they would be going forward.

"I am waiting for a while. The only thing I can do now is just concentrate on football and do our best on the pitch."

Liverpool's co-owners are in talks with a number of parties about investing in the club and will consider any possible offer on its own merits rather than setting out a definitive investment package.

However, chief executive Christian Purslow is currently working on securing £100 million of outside investment which will significantly reduce the club's £237 million debt by the end of the season.

[+/-]

Zidan in Premier link, Arsenal and Barcelona want Egyptian, says player's father  

Monday, 8 February 2010

The father of Borussia Dortmund forward Mohamed Zidan claims his son has been targeted by a number of top European sides.

The Egypt international impressed again at this year's African Cup of Nations as his country won the competition for the third consecutive time last month.

The 28-year-old's form has put him in the spotlight once more, with his father Abdullah adamant a deal with a top European club may be struck this summer.

"There are clubs like Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester United that have asked his agent about Mohamed," said Abdullah Zidan told Egyptian station Dream TV.

"Mohamed has a contract at Dortmund until 2012, but he has a clause allowing him to leave the club at the end of the season for a certain amount of money."

Dortmund are Zidan's fourth German club and the playmaker has grabbed two Bundesliga goals in 16 appearances this season.

Zidan, who has 33 international caps, netted seven times in 29 games in the previous season - his first at Signal Iduna Park.

[+/-]

Arsenal Attempted To Buy Stoke City Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen In January - Report  

Sunday, 7 February 2010

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the Gunners boss has already admitted he tried to sign a player just before the window slammed shut, which the paper “understands to be [Thomas] Sorensen”.

The Danish international has come under pressure for his number one berth at the Britannia Stadium following the arrival of goalkeeper Asimir Begovic from Portsmouth. While Wenger might have considered replacing gloveman Manuel Almunia at the Emirates because of his recent dip in form.

Wenger has also admitted that he thinks the role of goalkeeper is a “terrible job", particularly in English football.

“Goalkeeper is maybe the most difficult job in the world because everything is so quick," explained the Frenchman.

"In England it is even harder because people stand on your feet at crosses. It is a terrible job.

"The goalkeeper always gets negative publicity. If a striker misses two chances but scores two goals he is a hero, but if a keeper has a fantastic game and makes one mistake, he is a villain. It is the most pressurised job in football."

The 60-year-old Frenchman also added that he felt Almunia was suffering by putting too much pressure on himself, saying: “I think he [Manuel Almunia] puts a lot of pressure on his own shoulders, perhaps too much.”

The Spaniard is certainly set for a testing afternoon as Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but Wenger is confident his team can prevail, despite being thumped 3-1 by Manchester United last weekend.

"I believe we will respond on Sunday [against Chelsea]. Last year we turned up in a similar situation and won the game,” he added.

"We are six points behind them [Chelsea] with 14 games left to play. We are still a very young team, and it is a miracle to be where we are today, if you listen to what people were saying at the start of the season.

"So why should we suddenly feel we are useless? We have surprised everybody, so we should really go for it.

"We have top quality, and we want to add that fraction of self-belief we have to find within our group.”

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Chamakh wants Arsenal move  

Marouane Chamakh has revealed that he wants to move to England this summer when he becomes a free agent, and has stated Arsenal are the club he wants to sign for.

A host of teams have been chasing the highly-rated Moroccan international, who is out of contract at Bordeaux in the summer, but he has now revealed he wants to sign for the Gunners.

Arsenal tried to sign the 26-year-old last summer but could not agree terms, but Arsene Wenger has retained his interest.

However, in recent times Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton and Sunderland have all made contact with Chamakh's representatives as he is now free to talk terms with any interested clubs.

Inter Milan, Juventus and Sevilla have also been in touch, but Chamakh has now confirmed that he wants to move to the Emirates.

"My future? Well, I hold all the cards, I have no reason to be under pressure but everyday passing by, I am a little less a Bordeaux player," he revealed.

"My choice is to join Premier League and if I could choose, I will go to Arsenal.

"Bordeaux has brought me so much. I will soon clearly state things so the club can prepare to find my replacement peacefully."

Chamakh is full of praise for Bordeaux boss Laurent Blanc.

"Laurent Blanc has brought us a winning state of mind, he has taught us how to hate defeat," he told L'Equipe.

"Both on mental and physical levels, I am at my best. Three years ago, I was still a little crazy. Now I can manage my efforts, which allows me to be more clear-sighted at the end of the match.

"I have improved, but I can still improve. I am not only happy to play anymore. I have become someone who wants to win. I am more a scorer, but not enough yet. There are too many situations where I still do a pass for a player in a better position."

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Lucky for Gunners' Tigers dent Blues' title charge  

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

battling performance from relegation contenders Hull City saw them claim a well-deserved point from a 1-1 draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea at the KC Stadium.

Phil Brown's men took the lead on 30 minutes thanks to a thumping header from defender Stephen Mouyokolo, only for Didier Drogba to grab the equaliser with a pin-point free-kick just before half time.

The visitors came closest in the second half through Drogba and Daniel Sturridge, but Hull fought hard to ensure the points were shared.

Frank Lampard came close for Chelsea early on with a rasping shot from 30 yards, stinging the hands of keeper Boaz Myhill. The rebound fell to the in-form Nicolas Anelka, but he failed to control the ball; sending it spinning out for a goal-kick.

Carlo Ancelotti's men then had a great chance to take the lead as a cross from Branislav Ivanovic found the head of an unmarked Michael Ballack, but the Germany international directed his diving effort straight at Myhill, who was able to make a comfortable save.

Moments later Hull broke the deadlock when a curling corner from Hunt was met by a towering Mouyokolo, whose powering header from close range left keeper Petr Cech with no chance.

However, the visitors were back level just minutes before half-time as George Boateng scythed down Anelka on the edge of the box allowing Drogba to step up and fire a free-kick into bottom corner of the net to register his eighth goal in nine games for the Blues.

Moyokuolo could have scored a second for Hull in first-half injury time as Tom Cairney floated in a dangerous ball towards the French defender, however, Anthony Gardner powered his way in front of his colleague and sent the ball looping over the bar.

Chelsea came close to taking the lead early in the second half as a corner from Florent Malouda was met with a thumping header from Drogba, but keeper Myhill managed to make a tremendous save down to his right.

However, this result give Arsenal relief and maybe will be easier for Gunners to bounce back against Chelsea this sunday.

John Terry powered in a header in the following melee, but again Myhill was equal to it; palming the ball to safety.

Drogba had another chance on the 75-minute mark, but his header from an Ivanovic cross looped just over the bar.

Substitute Sturridge nearly stole all three points for the visitors in injury time, but his long-range half-volley was well brilliantly turned away by Myhill.

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Savic claims Gunners deal  

Claims: Defender Stefan Savic (left) is capped at youth level for Montenegro

Montenegrin defender Stefan Savic claims he has agreed a deal to join Arsenal in the summer after snubbing interest from other Premier League clubs.

Savic has recently been linked with a move to Emirates Stadium and says he will sign a pre-contract with Arsene Wenger's side later this week to join from BSK Borca.

The 19-year-old also claims Birmingham City and Tottenham Hotspur were keen on a deal, but he is looking forward to the opportunity to play for Wenger.

He told Serbian newspaper Blic: "There were offers from Tottenham and Birmingham, but once a call came from Arsenal, I had no more doubts.

"Wenger made sure my papers were arranged for me and my work permit extended so I can be at more training sessions.

"He is the man. He has incredible authority at the club, everyone listens to him, assistants lead training sessions and he just supervises. Nothing can escape him."

Savic added: "A pre-contract will be signed on Thursday and then I will return to Belgrade and join BSK for their preparations.

"I will be staying with BSK until May."

The centre-half has five Under 21 caps and, if the deal goes through, his arrival will go some way to softening the blow of missing out on Chris Smalling, who opted to instead join Manchester United.

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West Ham 1-2 Arsenal  

Monday, 4 January 2010

Arsene Wenger calmly claimed it had been “just a matter of time“ before Arsenal played their way to victory over West Ham in the FA Cup last night.

But for 25 minutes of a frenetic second half at Upton Park, Arsenal’s Carling Cup side were following Manchester United out of the other domestic cup competition.

Alessandro Diamanti gave the Hammers a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time and Gianfranco Zola’s side had chances to kill off the tie.

And not until the 65th minute, when Wenger finally replaced two teenagers with two internationals, did Arsenal finally show the difference in class between the third and 17th-placed team in the Premier League.

Wenger insisted he thought the FA Cup was “fantastic“ but then immediately admitted Manchester United would now have an advantage in the Premier League and Champions League by going out.

Arsenal face a season-defining run of games against top sides in the Premier League between the next two rounds.

Yet after winning no silverware since the 2005 FA Cup final, it is a trophy the ten-times winners were not prepared to give up on yesterday.

Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo scored the goals in the final 12 minutes but the excellent Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri provided the class and needed width from the bench to avoid another cup shock.

Their dubious reward is a trip to Stoke in the next round. “We had a very difficult first half against a committed West Ham side,” said Wenger.

“They were well organised and won many 50-50s and were quicker on the ball. The second half we played at a higher tempo and West Ham dropped a little bit physically and we could make the difference in the final 20 minutes. It was just a matter of time.”

Wenger made five changes from the team which beat Portsmouth in the Premier League last Wednesday with Andrei Arhavin joining Cesc Fabregas on the nine-man injury list.

But with the chance to go second in the Premier League on Wednesday night, the French manager still did not start with his strongest team and nearly paid the price.

“The FA matters,” he insisted. “The team I picked today was because I wanted to win. The problem we had was that we have played Sunday, Wednesday and will play again on Wednesday at Bolton and against Everton on Saturday. So you cannot play with the same 11 players.”

The first 45 minutes of the encounter were as forgettable as Upton Park was freezing.

It was not until injury time that a Valon Behrami pass sprang the Arsenal offside trap and Diamanti slotted his slow shot through the hands of Lukasz Fabianski.

The summer signing from Livorno can be a frustratingly selfish but he has wonderful technique and was outstanding in a West Ham side giving a debut to Swiss defender Fabio Daprela and a first start to striker Frank Nouble.

Behrami and Radoslav Kovac were also tireless in a midfield lacking the injured Scott Parker. Only Fabianski’s spectacular save denied Junior Stanislas a crucial second goal.

But the replacement of Jack Wilshere and Fran Merida after 65 minutes changed the game. Green needed to produce a brave double save from Diaby and then Alex Song seven minutes later.

But the England keeper was helpless when Ramsey rammed home a left-foot shot after a deflection ran into his path after 78 minutes.

And Eduardo scored his third goal in four games after 83 minutes when he rose above Matthew Upson to loop a header from the penalty spot into the top corner beyond Green’s despairing dive from Vela’s cross.

As West Ham collapsed, Eduardo and Vela had chances to increase the lead in the final minutes but it would have been unjust.

Zola said: “It was very close but I am pleased with the performance of the team. I couldn’t ask for anything more. We gave everything. The difference was that in the first 15 minutes of the second half, we had so many opportunities but we didn’t manage to close the game down. When they brought on those two players, they changed gear.”

While West Ham will look to avoid selling players, Wenger claimed this transfer window will al depend on the spending habits of Manchester City and Chelsea.

“If they buy from English clubs, the market will be busy,” he reasoned.

“If they don’t buy from English clubs, the market will be very quiet because there is not a lot of money around. I have the money, the desire but not the player.”

[+/-]

Arsenal move for Brazil teen  

Friday, 1 January 2010

Arsenal have agreed a £3.5million deal for 16-year-old Brazil forward Wellington Silva, according to the player's agent.

The Gunners have tracked the Fluminense teenager after he impressed during a trial.

The player's agent, Rodrigo Pitta, told the Daily Mail: "We completed the transaction last week, the player is already Arsenal's and Fluminense have already received some money."

Arsenal have yet to comment on any deal.

Wellington cannot join up with Arsene Wenger's side until he turns 18 next year but Arsenal are believed to have paid 65 per cent of the fee up front, with the rest to follow when he arrives at Emirates.

The Brazil youth international is considered one of the most promising players of his age group in Brazil.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Atletico and Real Madrid have all been linked with the player, but Arsenal's long courtship appears to have paid off.

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