Son of a Gun!

Musings on Arsenal Football Club by a Singaporean Gooner (Gooner since 1988)

Final Pre-season friendly: Valencia 2 – 0 Arsenal August 11, 2009

Filed under: Jack Wilshere,Pre-season,Transfer Rumours — Son of a Gunner @ 10:38 pm

Valencia 2 – 0 Arsenal

And so a very fine pre-season run has come to an end with a deflating defeat. Again, I should remind everyone that it is still only pre-season and results are not entirely indicative of the squad’s strength. And the points that I will raise later in this very post will point out why there are still more reasons to be optimisstic than not.

Before I begin, let me again go through some of the biggest happenings since my last real post (let’s hope last weekend would be the last time I fall sick for very, very long time) with some of my thoughts.

Jack Wilshere, whose pre-season form has caught the Premier League-watching world’s wildest imagination, has remained in the news with England coach Fabio Capello saying he might consider including him for the World Cup squad next year. I can understand the degree of the hype leveled on this 17 year-old. If I’m English, I would be overexcited too. England has been starved of international success for decades, every new exciting name is being hailed as the next saviour, or the final piece in the jigsaw that will bring back the World Cup. Yet, on top of all these, there is not the slightest doubt that Wilshere is a special talent with an exceptional footballing quality that excites more than the other England stars who broke through at a similarly young age – Rooney, Owen, Gerrard.

However, he is still only young. Speaking of the senior England squad would be way too soon. He must first be allowed to continue his development in less international scrutiny and to first break into the Arsenal first team more regularly. Despite being a Gooner, I never thought the decision of Walcott being brought into the World Cup squad in 2006 was a wise decision. I always thought that slowed down his progress rather than speeded it. His confidence took a blow afterwards and it took him some time to get back on track. Luckily for us, Walcott is a mentally tough lad. Luckier thing is, Wilshere looks the same. Meanwhile, he has been called up to the England U21 squad and I believe he is one of the youngest there so let’s hope he will continue to develop.

Moving on to transfer rumours:
Patrick Vieira – As I’ve stated in my earlier posts, I’ve doubted that he will return to Arsenal and I’ve aso doubted that he will move to Spurs. I’ve been proven right on both counts with him choosing to stay with Inter. It is a strange decision though, as he won’t be playing regularly at Inter and his international chances might decrease due to that. But then again, he probably didn’t have any other offers at hand.

Marouane Chamakh – I’ve stated in my earlier posts that he remains the most likely next Arsenal signing but it doesn’t seem to be close as well. My earliest post of Marouane Chamakh is the most-read post in my blog with it registering some 408 hits in one particular day when this rumour was at its peak. Bordeaux prefers to think of Chamakh as a 15 million pound striker while Arsenal rates him half the price. I think half the price would still be a price that is too good to refuse. He has one more year’s contract remaining and he would then be free. He is unproven outside of France and he is not exactly prolific. As to why Bordeaux is playing hardball makes no sense whatsoever. Arsene was right to stand his ground on this. In fact I would have reverted with a reduced offer (like 4 million pounds or something) to make a point.

In my earlier post of him, I said he was a rather poor finisher but allow me to correct myself. A technically sound player can’t be too terrible at finishing simply because if you can pass, then you can most certainly shoot. However, he doesn’t possess the composure to finish chances that comes his way. And such composure can’t really be taught. I’m a striker, and I know what I’m talking about. But I still believe he can excel in our new 4-3-3 formation playing either flanks of the attacking trio or even be the focal attacking point. He can be a direct deputy to van Persie. Either way, we will see if we eventually get him.

Moving on to more serious matters, our Champions League draw.

There were a lot of talk about the chances of Arsenal meeting Celtic before the draw was made, and I was already having a really weird feeling that it would really happen. When it did, I was surprised that I didn’t really worry about the tie. We avoided potentially bigger opponents but Celtic can of course still prove to be a banana skin. Before the draw was made, a couple of Celtic bloggers were bragging about their performances against Manchester United last season and said they were not afraid of Arsenal. I doubt their bravado lasts when they saw the results of the draw. They forgot they lost their best player Shunsuke Nakamura to Espanyol over this summer. I have the fullest confidence in Arsenal to score a convincing win in this one.

Finally, to the interestig bits of the match we go!

1 – Adou Diaby started.
Arsene Wenger mentioned before this game that the starting line-up would be a huge indication of how the team will line up against Everton on the opening day of the new season. I questioned in my previous post about Diaby’s availability and that we haven’t seen him for more than a half in the first 6 friendly games. He was in the midfield trio with Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song.

2 – Ramsey and Denilson didn’t play.
Ramsey was the one who caught my eye the most in pre-season with his consistency and his incredible growth in strength and confidence. He played a lot of minutes in pre-season and I expect a much bigger role for him this season. But he didn’t play and Denilson was left out of the squad altogether. It was probably to keep them fresh for the season ahead, or it might be that Song and Diaby are Wenger’s first choice midfield duo to support Cesc.

3 – We conceded only when Cesc, Song, Alumnia and Gallas were substituted.
Of course, on top of the 4 abovementioned big names, our first choice attacking trio of Arshavin, van Persie and Bendtner were also substituted meaning chances of chasing the game were a bit dimmer as well. Gallas is our most experienced defender and arguably the best. Song is our first choice defensive midfielder, Alumnia is our first choice ‘keeper and Cesc is our captain. From what I read, we were evenly matched and even have our fair share of chances but didn’t take them. So when we conceded only when these 4 important players were out, then it means we have less to worry about. Do also remember David Villa, whom Real and Barca are fighting over like a pair of little girls fighting over a limited edition barbie doll, came on fresh in the second half and was the scorer of the second goal.

4 – Walcott and Gibbs played their first pre-season games.
I really can’t wait tosee them both being match fit but right now they need matches. They joined late due to the extended break given to them and would need a bit of catching up. I think Walcott will really excel on the right flank of the attacking trio.

I will try to finish up on my first team squad for the season ahead series before the new season start so my next article will be on our midfield trio, the players who should be playing where and how they can contribute to the season ahead. Rosicky is injured again but this is to be expected given he wa out for so long. For those who keep saying he should retire, I think it is premature and if we have waited 18 months to see him playing again, what is another 6 weeks? Yes, it is a blow nonetheless given how good he had looked in pre-season so far and his presence is essential in the absence of Nasri but luckily for us we have more than a few options in this role. I will discuss more about this in my next article as well.

So, before I end today’s post, here is another trademark Son of a Gunner’s poll!

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Emirates Cup: Wilshere magic wins the Cup August 3, 2009

Filed under: Jack Wilshere,Pre-season — Son of a Gunner @ 11:49 pm

Arsenal 3 – 0 Rangers

Following Atletico Madrid’s dull draw with PSG earlier in the day, Arsenal’s game with Rangers became the match which will decide the winners of the pre-season tourament. Arsenal went into the game just one point ahead of second-placed Rangers.

As expected, Wenger made some changes to the line-up from the previous day but stuck with the 4-3-3 formation which has served so well in pre-season. Mikael Silvestre started the game in central defence with Gallas. Clichy started on the left with Eboue on the opposite flank. At the back, we see Almunia for the first time since the Columbia game. The midfield trio was Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Fran Merida. Merida must have impressed enough in the previous game against Atletico to have made the starting line-up, and he impressed again. The attacking trio was Jack Wilshere, Andrey Arshavin and Eduardo, probably the three smallest forwards we have used in some time. Robin van Persie was rested for the game.

Let us go through the interesting bits again.

1 – Jack Wilshere wins Man-of-the-Match… again!
Two eye-catching performances and two Man-of-the-Match awards, and two goals. Can anyone believe this boy is only 17 years old, the youngest on the field (probably in the entire tournament as well)? His first goal was an opportunistic one, he got into a favorable position and reacted fastest with a snap shot that crept under the arms of Allan McGregor. The second was heart-warming to see with three teenagers involved. Sanchez Watt chased down a Rangers defender on the left to square the ball for Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey held onto the ball and waited for the right opportunity to drift in a perfect cross for an equally special half-volley by Wilshere into the top corner. I wonder which other Premier League team is able to boast of such a young combination working together to destroy the Scottish champions. On top of the goals, Wilshere was eye-catching throughout. He showed pace, trickery and great upper body strength. During half-time, my buddy Marcus texted me to say he was impressed with Wilshere. He will certainly have a role to play this season, but Wenger is trying to manage expectations showered on the young shoulders of Wilshere. But with the world having witnessed how special this 17-year-old is, how long can he be kept under wraps? I urge caution as much as Wenger because at this age, confidence plays a big part. He has impressed against Europe’s top sides but how he will respond to the rough and tumble of Premier League football is something we have yet to see. He certainly impressed in the entire tournament and played the entire 90 minutes. Wenger said in the post-match conference of Wilshere:

“Of course I am pleased with him. He always had his football [ability] but he has gained some power now. A year ago he had to go across the pitch and now he can go straight. At that age that is normal and you can see that he is comfortable on the ball, he can take people on. You have seen that on both days.
“I don’t know how much he will play. I speeded him up, I put him at 16 years of age in the dressing room and gave him a chance to practice everyday with the first-team players. If I had taken him out of the youth team now you would not have seen what you have seen today. That means he has benefited a lot from special treatment and an acceleration of his education because he plays for one year with the first team. But how many games? I don’t know. The only problem in England is knowing the impatience of the people is that it will be difficult to keep the right pace in his progress.
“Could he play the whole Premier League campaign? Certainly not. He is physically strong because he has a strong body, Jack. It’s difficult to predict.”

We have a real gem on our hands and he is all home-grown! But let us repect his development just as the manager said.

2 – Eduardo is as deadly as ever.
Eduardo’s finishing is as impeccable as ever. When he received the ball from Fran Merida in that position, I knew instantly he wasn’t going to waste the chance. With 5 quick passing players (Cesc, Merida, Arshavin, Wilshere and Eduardo), Arsenal were all over the Rangers’ defence and controlled the game out of sheer pace and skill and teamwork. All are not significantly big in physique (Merida is the tallest and biggest of the 5), but the movement is classic Wenger’s Arsenal. With a player like Eduardo in the side playing in a formation like this, he is bound to score goals. If he stays fit, I expect no less than 20 goals from him this season.

3 – Mikael Silvestre played the entire 90 minutes.
Silverstre actually didn’t do too badly. Although he almost scored an own goal trying to clear a square ball from the right, he worked hard throughout and generally won most of his challenges. Gallas wthdrew from the game with a slight knock with Alex Song coming into defence with Silvestre. After Song partnered Silvestre, that was when we started to look shaky in defence. However, the two chances that were given to Rangers in which Almunia did well both times to save, it was Song who was to blame and not Silvestre. With Wenger thinking Song is a defender and with his unwavering faith in the bald Frenchman, I’m beginning to really believe we are lacking in quality in defence. I mentioned before that it will only take one or two long term injuries to one of Djourou, Gallas and Vermaelen to expose us and two of them were unavailable in the second half today. And with Djourou being rested for the entire game, all three were missing and that was when we looked uncomfortable in defending.

4 – Sanchez Watt and Aaron Ramsey impressed.
Sanchez Watt played for the first time at the Emirates Cup and he showed plenty of desire and graft if not real skill. His involvement in our third goal and Wilshere’s second cannot be underestimated. Ramsey continued to combine tenacity with visionary passing and skill. Players like these simply showed our strength in depth when we are using 4-3-3. I hope to see more of Watt because he seemed to have a lot of potential. Maybe he will start playing in the League Cup.

5 – Rosicky looks fit and raring to go.
Having completed 45 minutes the previous day, Rosicky was brought on for 17 minutes agaqinst Ranger but was straight into the action. Bacary Sagna, who was rested wit Djourou and van Persie for the game, believed Rosicky has a big role to play this season and I believe most Gooners will think so. I had a poll on this and most Gooners feel we have missed his presence very much last season and I believe in that too. His quality will be best suited to 4-3-3. If he stays fit, we may yet see his best form for Asenal.

6 – Traore played leftback again.
Traore continued to impress with another solid performance after replacing Clichy at halftime. His positioning in this position has matured a lot and there was this instance when he raced all the way back to rob a Rangers winger off the ball, held off the challenge with his shoulders and started an attacking move. Slick and strong, I now wonder who will get the nod to replace Clichy if he was out – Gibbs or Traore? Only Wenger knows.

7 – Arsenal won some silverware at last.
It seemed like a long time but the last time we lifted the Emirates Cup, we went on to be geniune title challengers after we were written off in pre-season. Sounds familiar? Maybe it’s an omen for good things coming our way. It is the first piece of silverware Cesc won as captain and many more may it follow!

And finally just a small piece on Patrick Vieira to lead to today’s poll. There are a lot of rumours regarding the possible return of Vieira, and I think that he won’t return due to two reasons:

1) Vieira would want regular football.
We are unable to offer the 33-year-old as much football as he would have liked to be able to stand in contention for the next World Cup. That could have been the reason why he wanted to leave Inter in the first place. He might be a good squad player to have and can provide much needed leadership and guidance in the squad but he might not be contented with a diminished role at the club.

2) The form of the current midfielders in the new formation.
In the new formation, Vieira might not be as effective as before. There is no doubt that Vieira is a good player with a lot of experience and is a winner. But with mobility as the key to the new formation, Vieira might not fit in as well as Wenger would have liked. On top of that, the form of Ramsey, Song, Cesc and even Fran Merida is probably giving Wenger second thoughts about getting Vieira to return. Wenger said of the Vieira situation:

“Patrick is a great player and I have not considered it yet to bring him back. It is a possibility that I have to think about. It is not sure he will decide to join us if I decide to try and make him come. There is a lot to think about. I have no personal problem with Patrick Vieira, I have a huge respect for him and we have good relations.”

On to today’s poll then.

 

Emirates Cup: Arshavin magic wins the game August 2, 2009

Filed under: Andrey Arshavin,Jack Wilshere,Philippe Senderos,Pre-season — Son of a Gunner @ 9:24 pm

Arsenal 2 – 1 Atletico Madrid

Before we go to the match, some depressing news: Philippe Senderos has apparently signed for Everton, according to Arseblog. I’ve mentioned many times in my blog that I feel Senderos should stay as he has the raw qualities of a brilliant centreback and at his age, he is still at the beginning of a long centreback’s career. With Toure having left, it is imperative fo us to keep the defenders we currently have at the club. Without Senderos, we would be left with only Djourou and Silvestre as experienced backup to the first choice pairing of Gallas and Vermaelen. And I’m not sure I’ll even pick Silvestre for my Sunday team.

To the game:

It is such a relief to finally see Arsenal in red, at Emirates Stadium. Such a sight really brought my spirits up as it is a sure sign of just how close the new season is upon us. It has been a dull summer but the opening of the Emirates Cup marks the beginning of a new season.

4-3-3 is once again used with Tomas Rosicky back in the line-up. Although we are without a few key players in the starting line-up as Wenger had to mix and match certain first-teamers to suit the two-day tournament, we still started with a pretty strong line-up. Cesc, Clichy, Arshavin and Eduardo were on the bench, while Alumnia and Vermaelen were out of the squad altogether.

Traore shook out his minor knock sustained against Hannover 96 to start with Sagna on the opposite flank, while Gallas and Djourou started in the centre of defence. The midfield trio was Rosicky, Denilson and the ever-improving Ramsey. The three up front are Van Persie as the target man flanked by Bendtner and Eboue. Let us go into the interesting parts of the game:

1 – Aaron Ramsey started again.
I’ve mentioned that Ramsey has been the one player who had impressed me the most in pre-season and he continued his fine form last night against a top opposition. I’ve always wondered why he seemed to play well against poor opposition but freeze up during a big occasion. I’m glad he started and played really well until he was subsitituted in the 66th minute. He showed a willingness to go into 50-50 challenges and in shoulder-to-shoulder challenges, he often comes off the better. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play more often in the coming season. And can you believe he is still only 18?

2 – Djourou looks the real deal.
In my very first post on this blog, I’ve mentioned that Djourou has everything a top defender need – speed, aerial ability, timely and hard tackling, strength and height. Everything except experience and that bit of defensive cunning that comes along with it. He came back from Birmingham looking a bit rusty incentral defence due to first of all his different positioning in Birmingham, where he played as a holding midfielder. Secondly, he was playing in a team of graft and having come back into a team like Arsenal, he needs time to re-adapt to the speedy game that Arsenal deploys. But he seem to be back to his best now. I still think he should be ahead of Gallas in partnering Vermaelen and they look to complement each other. But I will have no complaints if Gallas plays, as long as all three of them stays fit throughout the season we would be fine. But I maintain, if Senderos really leave, then we are a bit short here.

3 – Arsenal looks compact in the centre of the pitch.
Never thought you would ever read this about Arsenal? Well, I’m surprised too but it seemed like the new 4-3-3 formation really utilises the strengths of the players we currently have. Whenever we loses the ball, Atletico has a lot of problems going past the midfield without using long direct passes. The form of Ramsey certainly helps.

4 – Rosicky doesn’t look like he has been away.
Rosicky had a brilliant game yesterday. As Wenger mentioned in the post-match conference, we still have to be cautious about playing him but he doesn’t look like he is at all rusty. His famous twists and turns are back and his excellent finishing was evident when he scored a fabulou goal, only to be ruled out for offside. If it had counted, imagine what a lift it would be for his confidence as well as the squad’s. I’m confident he will be playing a large role this season, let’s hope he stays fit. Remember, we still haven’t seen Arshavin and Rosicky play in the same team, and that is a mouth-watering prospect! MMMMM MMMM!

5 – Bendtner to be a target man?
Bendtner has played most of pre-season as one of the attacking flankmen, mostly on the right. Last night he played on the left of the attacking trio and did well. However, I feel maybe we can get more out of him if he plays at the focal point of the attacking trio. He has a huge leap and can hold the ball the best out of our existing strikers. He can then lay it off for one of the flankmen to have a crack. I would like to see Wenger experiement with that in a real game with van Persie on the leftof the attacking trio, maybe we can see more goals that way.

6 – Fran Merida is surprisingly good.
I’ve only seen Merida a few times but last night was the finest performance I’ve seen him in. He was confident, composed, and passes well even when he was under pressure. He also seem to be rather strong with his shoulders. We might see him start the League Cup games this coming season.

7 – Clichy is back.
The media has been reporting that he might miss the beginning of the season but it is far from the truth. Clichy is back and he is looking as quick and strong as ever. Barring any mishaps (cross fingers), we should have our first-choice defence at the start of the season and that is essential considering we are having quite a big opening month with some big clashes.

8 – Vito Mannone impressed but almost conceded an embarrassing goal.
I thought Mannone had a good game overrall. Fabianski has still not been seen and I wonder if that is because of his ‘minor knock’ or if Wenger is seriously looking at promoting Mannone. I have a feeling we might be seeing Mannone at or League Cup games this season, rotating with Fabianski. He almost conceded an embarrassing goal when he palmed a Maxi Rodriguez shot up in the air and the ball dropped rght next to the left hand post. As for the goal, he could have done better to close Pacheco down. But overrall, his performance is encouraging to see.

9 – Arshavin = Magician
Andrey Arshavin will forever be in Arsenal folklore having scored an amazing 4 goals against Liverpool at Anfield. Last night, he was once again in sizzling form. His left-footed smash from Fabregas’ cross was assured and crisp. And after we conceded the equaliser, he went out and got us a goal out of nowhere. After watching the replay several times, I’m still trying to figure out just how he managed to hook the ball into the far corner of the net from an impossible angle. There is only one Arshavin, and he is magic. And he did all this in 24 minutes of play being a substitue, imagine what more he could have done had he started. Arshavin + van Persie + Rosicky = GOALS GALORE

10 – Arsenal deserved to win.
Although we conceded a goal, we must look at it as a lesson learnt instead of a weakness in defence. No matter how much of a Gooner you are, you have to admit the Atletico goal was a well worked goal. The pass that split the defence was inch-perfect, and the run by German Pacheco was timed to perfection. I thought Mannone should have done better with the goal by pressuring him more but such things will come wit experience. For example, I think Almunia might have forced Pacheco into a mistake in the one-on-one. However, the way we controlled the game means we deserved to win. And to do so against a top Spanish side is comforting. We looked to have a complete squad on the basis of this preformance but we must not get carried away.

11 – Wilshere was Man-of-the-Match.
Jack Wilshere burst onto the scene at last year’s Emirates Cup where he made Míchel Salgado look slow and poor and scored a brilliant goal against Lehmann’s VfB Stuggart. He seemed to like this tourament as he produced another fantastic performance. He seemed to be free of certain chains that looked to be on him in earlier pre-season games as he looked more concerned about keeping the ball. But in this game, he looked so much more at ease and produced the kind of trickery that we know of him. He gave Atletico Madrid all sorts of trouble and was stretching their defence inside out. He also looks to be quicker than before. Wenger mentioned in the post-match conference of our 17-year-old prodigy:

“He has matured, and compared to one year ago he has more power to take people on. That shows there is big potential there and makes him much more dangerous, he has gained a fraction of power that makes him much more dangerous. When he starts to go past people in the final 20 yards, you can always say there is something special there.

“At that age, unfortunately patience is not the first quality, but he is at a big club and has a chance to compete at the top level. We have to manage that well, the desire and the opportunity to play. The potential is there.”

12 – Sergio Aguero is as good as his reputation.
I’ve heard so much about this young Argentina international and I was hugely impressed with him. He always looked dangerous and he is a very stocky player who can handle physical challenges very well. To me, he looks like a more skillful Tevez. Maybe we can snap him up, he looks like he suits out system. And he’s only 21. Hmmmm… Definitely one to watch out for, I bet in a few years all the big clubs will be fighting for his signature.

Right, with that encouraging win, we are on course to retain the Emirates Cup. I think if we play our game, we should be able to sweep Rangers aside. Although Scottish sides always raise their game against English sides, based from what I saw from their game against PSG, we should be able to defeat them comfortably.

Come on, Gunners! Make sure the cup stays at the Emirates!

 

Should Emmanuel Eboue be exchanged for Felipe Melo? July 6, 2009

Filed under: Aaron Ramsey,Emmanuel Eboue,Jack Wilshere,Kieran Gibbs,Midfield,Transfer Rumours — Son of a Gunner @ 10:39 am

First, the Arsenal bite-sized news over the weekend:

Kieran Gibbs has become the latest Arsenal British kid to sign a new long-term contract. It does seem like Arsenal never had a problem with left-back, from when Nigel Winterburn (can I just add here that I had the honour of watching him score the equaliser against Liverpool at the Singapore National Stadium in the Caltex Cup all those years ago? Man, what a brilliant lob) retired, we had the likes of Silvinho, then Moneybag Cole, then we have the superb Clichy (who is better than moneybag in my humble opinion) and now we have Gibbs. Nelson Vivas was an unfortunate exception.

A lot have been made of how un-British Arsenal is these past few seasons but nothing has been said about how Arsenal is turning that around, especially with Ramsey (Welsh), Wilshere (English) and now Gibbs (English) signing long-term deals and these are 3 of the best young talents in Britain. Ramsey is a full international and there is no saying that Wilshere and Gibbs won’t be in the years to come. Looks like the Arsenal nay-sayers have to come up with something new. Ha!

Back to Kieran Gibbs, I just want to comment that he must be the find of the season for Arsenal. I first saw him against Internazionale in the Emirates Cup 2 years ago as a left midfielder and I thought he was exceptional against the current Italian champions. But never did I think that he would eventually be converted into a left-back, and with such great results – another Arsene vision. He was fantastic in Clichy’s absence and he only ever made one dreadful mistake against Manchester United which I think can happen to anyone. He also stopped a lot of certain goals on the line from corners. And he is only 19.

The main story over the weekend is Fiorentina’s official statement:
“The director [Corvino] points out that Arsenal FC are the only club that has come close to [Felipe Melo’s] release clause.

“Fiorentina, in turn, has proposed that the clubs reduce the amount of this clause by entering into negotiations the right back Eboue.”

This is the clearest indication that Arsenal is indeed trying to get Felipe Melo but in true Arsenal style, we never release any statement until a deal is struck. Previous rumours have linked Senderos in the exchange package to Fiorentina but the above official statement shows they are interested in Eboue instead.

This article by Football FanCast guest columnist Jimmy Gannon said there is divided opinion on Eboue among Gooners but the truth is there are more who wants to see him leave than not.

And I have to disagree with Gannon that Eboue is a player of grit and graft simply because if you have watched enough Arsenal games you will know that Eboue is technically very adept, but frustrate us not with his lack of skills (which isn’t true), but with his nonchalent attitute and playing style. He dives, and he doesn’t make an attempt to win the balls he lost and only protests to the referee. This kind of attitute won’t do. I can see why Wenger likes him. He is pacy and powerful with tons of skill in both feet, that is why he is wanted by other clubs. But, and i mean BUT, his attitute just isn’t spot on. As for jeering him, I will completely disagree with that as no matter what we have to stand behind one of our own as long as he is on the field. But one cannot disagree that maybe it’s time for us to see him go.

So if Fiorentina wants Eboue to make up the deal, I think we should go ahead with it. Although it remains to be seen if Arsene Wenger is willing to let Eboue go. He is a wonderful utility man to have but we have Ramsey who is equally versatile but much younger and with a better attitute.

The main man Felipe Melo has been silent so far until he revealed over the weekend:
“I can say that only God knows what my future holds if the club decides to sell me elsewhere.”

He speaks about how happy he is in Fiorentina but he has not ruled out a move should his club decide to sell him. I won’t be surprised if this deal works out but again I think it will drag despite Fiorentina’s interest in Eboue as both clubs will now try to work out and agree on how much Eboue is worth so as to activate Melo’s exisiting release clause and that will take time. Hopefully not longer than a fortnight as pre-season begins real soon.

If Melo does indeed join Arsenal, then I will say we are more ready than last season to challenge. Let’s hope we tie up the deals fast!

 

Who is Marouane Chamakh? July 3, 2009

Filed under: Aaron Ramsey,Arsene Wenger,Jack Wilshere,Transfer Rumours,William Gallas — Son of a Gunner @ 4:44 pm

Good day everyone.

First let us get through some Arsenal snippets today.

Ramsey spoke of how delighted he is to have signed a contract extension and I’ve already mentioned that it is good news for the club. And now, our hugely impressive Jack Wilshere has also followed suit.

I remember telling my buddy Marcus, a Liverpool fan, to watch out for him when he came on against VfB Stutggart in last season’s pre-season friendly. Within minutes, he scored a sweet left-footed shot against Lehmann. Wilshere is the kind of talent that is only seen once in a long time. I have high hopes for him and he might be the biggest international star to be produced by Arsenal since our last left-footed great – Liam Brady.

William Gallas mentioned that he is ‘relaxed’ and looking forward to next season with Arsenal. Arseblog mentioned about Gallas’ uncertain future being that of a double edged sword, he could play really well next season to put himself in the shopping window but Wenger do no possess a good record of giving playing time to players who are in their last year of contract, and I totally agree. For those who keep bashing Gallas, I have to again remind everyone that he is a top defender on his day and he was finally giving his best form just before his latest injury last season. I hope he will stay but I won’t be surprised if he don’t especially if another defender coming in becomes fact.

Linking to this, Naldo – the 26-year-old, 6-foot-5 Brazilian who plays for German club Werder Bremen – has been linked with Arsenal with Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf saying “We expect to move him for somewhere in the region of €10 million, and English side Arsenal is as of now the most likely destination.”

Let’s see, Naldo is 26, relatively unknown to fans outside of Germany and has a huge frame. All characteristics that is necessary for Arsenal. Will we get him? I believe whether he joins Arsenal will hinge on whether one or two of Gallas, Philippe Senderos and Koko Toure will leave. If 2 of them goes, I’m pretty sure one more will come in, and I won’t be surprised if it is Naldo. I don’t know much about him at all, but if Wenger thinks he’s good enough then he must be.

Marouane Chamakh - Arsenal's next signing?

Marouane Chamakh - Arsenal's next signing?

Now moving on to today’s main topic – Marouane Chamakh. I have briefly mentioned about him and how I think he might really be joining Arsenal. But his joining will also hinge on whether one of our strikers is leaving, and in this case it is Adebayor. Wenger confirms this.

Marouane Chamakh is a 25-year-old Moroccan international who plays for Bordeaux in France. He is lanky (1.88m) and his physique is similar to that of Robin van Persie. He is pacy, with great technique and dares to run at defenders at pace.

“Wow!” I hear you say, but I haven’t finished. There is a problem. While his strengths are certainly very suited to the Arsenal system, he is unfortunately not a prolific goalscorer. In fact, he is a pretty poor finisher and that is probably why he has not shot to the same kind of cult status as Karim Benzema – who Wenger admitted he was interested in but had signed for Real Madrid instead, in any case Arsenal will never match their offer – whose finishing is much more polished.

My feel is Adebayor is going to go and Marouane Chamakh will come in but this one will drag probably even until after pre-season has well and truly started. Wenger’s refusal to publicly admit Adebayor is certain to go and that Chamakh is certainly to arrive in his place are all part of transfer fees’ negotiating tactics.

Will I welcome Marouane Chamakh? Yes, he is well suited to Arsenal’s free-flowing football but he will need to improve on his finishing, and fast, to win fans over. There is a lot of talk about his exceptional heading ability and yes he has scored a number of headers BUT I am not entirely convinced because the goalkeepers and defenders in the French Ligue 1 is of a different (or should I say sub-standard) breed to that of the Premier League.