07.34 - There were a couple of articles in yesterday's Mirror that I was going to link to and say something about. But I'm not going to. I'll tell you why.
I'm bored. I'm bored of witless hacks like Martin Lipton, Mark Irwin, Steve Curry, John Sadler et al bleating on about Arsenal, our lack of money, how many of players are going to Chelsea and how many decades it's going to be before Ashburton Grove is built.
It's boring because it's made up. I don't doubt these fellas don't have some information regarding Arsenal, but they don't have much. They get snippets here and there. Things are taken out of context, embellished, regurgitated and printed with a red top every morning. Any Arsenal supporter knows that as a club, Arsenal are notoriously tight lipped. They generally never give you any more than you need to know, and often much less than that.
It's a source of frustration for some fans. It's also a source of frustration for journos who don't get any good info on what's really going on inside Highbury. So they create and invent and falsify and manufacture a situation where they think the club will have to comment because fans are restless reading this stuff and blah blah blah. But Arsenal rarely comment. So they keep making stuff up. And Arsenal still don't comment. And so on.
Just as an indication as to how little of what's in the papers is actually based on any kind of fact, here's a small number of the players the 'club with no money' has been linked with since the end of the season. Harry Kewell, Patrick Kluivert, Philippe Mexes, Abiati, Claudio Lopez, Brad Freidel, Thomas Sorenson, Dida, Gregory Coupet, Oscar Cordoba, Sebastian Saja, Jaap Stam, Frank de Boer, Lucio, Philip Cocu, Canizares, Cannavaro, William Gallas, John Terry, Basturk, Stephen Carr, Guti, Nakata, Ayala, Olaf Mellberg, Lorent Robert.....and countless others.
We'll never know how many of those the club had real interest in. Maybe 10% at most. We'll just never know. What we do know is that 90% of them are made up crap. Without question, it's monkey at typewriters stuff. And most people recognise that when it comes to transfer stories. So why is it that when the The Sun or The Mirror prints a story with no quotes (the best you get is a 'source' or a 'person close to X'), no basis in fact, it's believed straight away?
I'm not saying everything they print is untrue. That would be a very naive viewpoint, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. When it comes to Arsenal, they guys in the newspapers only know what we tell them. So stories about Vieira demanding 3 top signings or he'll leave can be dismissed. Stories about Vieira going to Chelsea can be dismissed. Roman and his cronies might want Paddy, but Arsenal will never sell. That fact - which should be apparent to all Arsenal fans - won't stop the sycophantic press writing stories because they want to be friends with a Russian billionaire. Forget the facts. Just write something that sounds like you know what you're talking about. Easy.
What I'm trying to say is this. Nobody but the people inside Arsenal know exactly what's going on inside Arsenal. If Peter Hill-Wood says the finances are't causing him sleepless nights, we have to take him at face value. If Martin Lipton in the Mirror says it's the beginning of the end for the Gunners, I'm not sure we should believe him. When Mark Irwin says Vieira will leave for Manchester United, I know I don't believe him. When Arsene Wenger says he's 'positive' that Vieira will sign a new deal, I believe him. You get the idea.
You'll have gathered there's no Arsenal news yet this morning.
07.36 - So Arsenal finally realsed proper pictures of the new away kit yesterday. A return to the traditional yellow and blue, the way it should be. Apart from that minging crest of course.
We much prefer the one in the picture to your left - thanks to Stevie C for that one. Compare and contrast that pic with the ones on the official site. How anyone can prefer the new crest is just beyond me. The cannon is simple, classic and doesn't look like it was knocked up by somebody with 'Photshop for Dummies'. Maybe when Adidas start making our kits next season....ssshhhhhhh.
AW has had a bit to say in recent days. Firstly he's warning Chelseaship Manager 4 and the others not to write Arsenal off just because we're as poor as poor can be. "I am convinced we are competitive and will be fighting up there with the others this season."
He's also been talking about the keeper situation.His original 9 day dealine seems to have been extended though. "I would prefer to have a keeper by now. I am in a situation where I have to buy. Earlier in the summer I was in a situation where I expected David Seaman to stay, then he told me he wanted to play on. So it is a little bit late but I am sure we will find a goalkeeper. We have Guardalben on trial and we have to make a decision in the next two or three weeks."
So we should know who our new keeper is on the 12th of never.
Patrick Vieira has had a bit to say too. Lazy copywriters have been running this story under 'Vieira threat to Arsenal' headlines all day. It might be better to say 'Vieira states the bleedin' obvious.'
Here's what he said "Either I prolong (my current deal) or I go to the end of my contract". Ok. We kind of knew that. It's not a great shock. The good news is that from the rest of it, it seems like Paddy wants to stay and even hints at a couple of new signings.
"The discussions are well on course and I am optimistic. I want to stay at Arsenal but everything must be resolved before the start of the championship. You can see that the transfer market is totally flat. I know the club are working on certain dossiers. It will work itself out."
To me that's a message to the board to sort everything out. He wants to sign, the club want him to sign, it's a matter of crossing Ts and dotting Is now I reckon. Ts being great chunks of cash every week, of course. Don't believe the stories about him demanding Arsenal sign 3 players or he'll leave. They're rubbish. Jerome Anderson, his agent, said as much on the radio yesterday morning.
Paddy also spoke out about Sepp Blatter in the wake of Marc Vivien Foe's death. "I was outraged by Blatter's reaction at half-time of the France-Turkey match when he said the final would go ahead. It was a decision for the Cameroon players. What a lack of respect." How about telling him where to shove his Confederations Cup, Paddy?
Any move for Jose Antonio Reyes was put to bed when the Seville starlet signed a new deal keeping him with his current club until 2010 with a release clause of €100m. According to the Spanish press, Kanu is a serious target of Celta Vigo which could open the door for some guy called Daniel Moreira. He's quoted as saying "Yes my agent will eat with Arsene Wenger on Tuesday. There are also other possibilities that could accelerate my departure from Lens. Arsene Wenger likes me a lot but there are too many attackers at Arsenal. They hope to sell Kanu to be able to recruit a forward and therefore I wait for this Tuesday's talks to know more."
Go here - do a 'find' on the page for 'Cygan'. Smile. Cheers to 'arser' Def Jammer.
Hmm, ok. That's plenty to be going on with. Till later.
07.31 - Maybe Arsene's got a Bastille Day surprise for us today. A press conference, a couple of new players and Double-D in the background with a wad of £50 notes shouting 'LOOOOOOOADSAMONEY!"
Despite the fact the board and backroom staff are dresses as gyppos and are washing windscreens at traffic lights, we've been linked again with Jose Antonio Reyes. Double-D was supposedly negotiating with Seville President Miguel Paella this weekend.
Also mentioned in that article is young French keeper Nicolas Penneteau. According to Penneteau's agent Philippe Flavier, "I have been talking to Arsenal for the last year. The last time I spoke to Arsene was about a week ago. Sometimes he wants a goalkeeper with experience and sometimes he wants a young keeper but he knows Nicolas very well."
It's too early for there to be any other Arsenal news I'm afraid, so you'll have to keep yourselves updated in the 'arses'.
13.52 - Anyone expecting Arsenal to spend big in the coming weeks may have to think again.
Arsene Wenger"It has been a difficult summer. I have a transfer budget, but I don't know about the figure of 10 million pounds. We are being a bit more cautious than we usually are. We have never been big spenders but this season we will be smaller spenders than ever."
Good news eh? Well, before some of you give yourselves ulcers and lie on the ground and demand new signings, bear this in mind. As far as I can see, the only signing we really need to make is a central defender. Even then, we might not sign anyone in defence. Perhaps Senderos is going to fast tracked as Sol's long terms partner, because that's exactly the defender Wenger needs. Someone to play week in-week out alongside Sol for the next 2 or 3 seasons.
Cygan is not the answer, Keown has a 50% fit season ahead of him, but he brings more to the equation than that. Given the rave reviews Senderos has received, and the fact his potential is unquestionable, a season's tutelage with the most difficult to play against centre-half of the last 10 years might see Senderos a first team regular by the end of the season.
So, even if we don't sign a centre half, I can see where the answer is going to come from. However, I'd much prefer a situation whereby it was Sol+Senderos+AN OTHER and then the back-up such as Cygan, or Tavlaridis or John Halls.
Goalkeeper - for various reasons I'd like to see this Saja bloke come to Arsenal. The main reason being his cool website (for which Arseblog is the top referrer...heh). But if he doesn't sign, then I'm not bothered about a keeper. As I said yesterday, if we're trying to unearth gems from Serie B, then we should give it a rest. I know Chelsea signed Cuducini, but he was never signed as a first team player. His success is more by accident than design (on Chelsea's part, he's obviously a very good keeper). Taylor is still only 22, Wilson and Seaman have talked him up big time. He's still not convinced everyone, but has shown flashes of being a good keeper. Maybe with more games, he's come on. We've got Shaaban, and also Graham Stack, the Republic of Ireland Under 21 keeper who did punchtastically well at Beveren last season.
Upfront - it looks as if Dennis will stay another year. If Kanu leaves, like to Bolton for example, that gives us a forward line of Henry, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Jeffers and Alaidiere. There are more than a few clubs who'd think themselves lucky with 50% of that lot.
Also, for as long as the interweb has been invented, there have been people screaming for the youth to get a go. These are generally the same people who want us to sign big players on big wages for big fees. How can the youth ever get a chance if we keep buying? Maybe the fact that we're not buying much this summer will allow some of these kids to get a go. These are Wenger's products now. They're not the last dregs of the previous youth system. The likes of McGovern and Barrett and Weston and Crowe and Stephen Hughes would never have been good enough for this Arsenal.
Now we've got Aliadiere, Pennant, Svard, Volz, Taylor, Garry and Bentley all realistic contenders for first team action at Arsenal next season. If we go out and spend, spend, spend we might as well give these boys a gold clock, thank them for everything and send them on their way. We're creating youth players that can make the step up.
For me there are 3 players Arsenal need, above all others, for next season. Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp. If we can get those 3 re-signed and sorted out before the start of the season, for me that will have been a successful summer. Maybe we might struggle a bit next season when Senderos and some of the kids are learning the trade. Maybe not.
Think long term though. For me it's vital that Vieira signs, that Pires signs. It's a sign of the ambition of the club that they can keep the great players they already have. Forget Chelsea. Forget Abramovich. Forget the stories about his representatives walking into Highbury with a £100m cheque for Vieira and Henry. Arsenal won't sell. If they do it's the end of everything Wenger has built in his 7 years at the club. The Arsenal manager and board are being long-sighted here. They won't sell to Chelsea and undo all that hard work.
The new stadium project and the general downturn in football's economy are hitting the club a bit hard. What we can do is accept the fact we're not exactly wealthy at the moment and deal with it, or we do what Leeds and other clubs did and sacrifice the long term financial security of the club to make some big signings and gamble they'll bring us the success needed to stay on top of the financial repayments. You've seen what one bad season did to Leeds. Do you really want that to happen to Arsenal?
I'll leave the last word to the manager who has won two league titles, 3 FA Cups and never finished outside the top two in the Premiership.
"When I open the newspapers it looks like we are a sinking boat. But I don't share that view because in the last two years we have won two (FA) Cups and finished champions and runners-up. We have exactly the same players, who are more experienced now and still young. I'm a strong believer that we are getting stronger every year and I'm convinced we will be competitive in the title race."
Can't argue with that really.
09.49 - Morning all. Nothing like a bit of a lie-in after being up early all week.
It's all doom and gloom in Arsenal land according to the The Sun. It's being reported that serious cut backs are being made at Highbury. Players will have to pay for their own taxis (god forbid someone earning thousands a week shoul;d pay for their own taxi), £250 a night hotel rooms will be replaced with a shared dorm on the YMCA for european trips, and the luxury private jet will be replaced with a normal private jet.
They also suggest AW has had 3 boardroom bust-ups about transfer funds. Directors Danny Fiszman and Keith Edelman don't want to give him any pocket money, but Dein and Wenger want cash for players.
Which is a good thing, because unless we sign 3 top class players, Patrick Vieira is going to leave. The source of that particular story? Mark Irwin. So, I'll pay as much attention to that as I would a pissed-up old tramp begging for money.
Bruce Rioch reckons Arsenal should do whaty it takes to keep Dennis Bergkamp. “At 34 he is still a major player, the sort who can help them go further in the Champions League — and that must be their next aim."
And the good news on that front is that AW expects Dennis to sign a new deal in the next 3 or 4 days and he has a few icy words for Bergkamp's agent Rob Jansen "We are still talking to Dennis and there will be a decision made in the next three or four days. We keep all our negotiations secret. I did not like what his agent said. He didn't tell the truth. The negotiations are in a much better shape than his agent indicated."
He was speaking after an Arsenal XI played their first pre-season friendly against Peterborough last night. We lost 1-0, but Arsenal fans got their first glimpse of Phillipe Senderos. There was also a scare with Stuart Taylor who was knocked unconscious during a collision with a Peterborough player's arse. According to arsenal.com he's fine - so expect that story to change during the day to reveal poor Stu is in intensive care.
We had some Italian goalie on trial last night, Marco Garibaldi, who plays for Serie B side Piacenza. Frankly, if that's the sort of player we're looking at, we shouldn't bother. Just play Taylor, we've got Shabby and Graham Stack who did well at Beveren last season. Our needs are more immediate than a goalkeeper IMHO.
Right, enjoy your weekend. I'm off to see some houses/apartments and then I'm going to the beach.
07.39 - Normally when you see the words Peter Hill-Wood in a headline, you wince and hope the Arsenal chairman hasn't put his size 10 Ballys too far into his mouth. It was a nice change to see him say something interesting and which couldn't offend any player currently trying to renogotiate their contract...for example.
On selling Henry "It's only money after all and we are trying to build a team here at Arsenal - not destroy one. We cannot replace Henry because he is simply irreplaceable"
On Arsenal's financial situation "..the finances are containable and I am not losing any sleep over them."
So it's all good then. Expect a signing any minute. Today something big could happen.
Arsene says he's got just 9 days to find a new goalkeeper. "At the moment I am still in the market for players. We need a new goalkeeper and that has to be done in the next nine days."
One of the keepers linked is Sebastian Saja who has quite a cool website. If you speak a bit of Spanish, go over and leave a message telling him to join. Anyone with a website that good must be a class player.
Jose Antonio Reyes “I will not be here for ever. I know Arsenal are interested in me and I believe I would be a success in the Premiership." We'll just have to see if Arsenal can up their bid then. The Sun says we're prepared to offer players like Gio and Kanu as part of the deal. Interesting again that we're being linked with another forward yet still no defenders.
According to El Mundo Deportivo here in Spain, Celta Vigo have decided Kanu will be one of their summer targets.
Arsenal will play a pre-season friendly against Besiktas. Strange, perhaps part of a deal to bring goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba to the club?
Ok, that aside it's too early for any more news.
303 'arses' yesterday. A new record. What will it be like when anything remotely interesting happens?
07.34 - Despite not having two shillings to call our own, Seville managed to turn down a €15m bid from Arsenal for star attacker Jose Antonio Reyes. This is a player that AW has had his eye on for a long time and has long been suggested as a replacement for Dennis Bergkamp. This either means Arsenal have a few quid to spend, or someone rang up Seville pretending to be Arsenal for a laugh.
Seville's President is quoted as saying 'For that price I told them we'd send them his boots.'
Rami Shaaban says he's not preturbed by the thoughts of a new keeper being signed. "I don't care to be honest because I have to concentrate on my game and not worry about others." He's Swegyptian you know.
I have to say in days of yore, Arseweb was my port of call for all my Arsenal news. I can remember many a holiday abroad looking at the site to see if we'd signed anyone. Well, I did during one holiday a few years ago. Still, it's been a while since I'd gone there and I'm shocked. They haven't updated the newsreel since 20th of June. Is it RIP Arseweb?
Apart from that, there's little else going on in the world of Arsenal. If I keep saying 'I have a feeling something big is going to happen today', one day I'll be right.
07.46 - Not a lot of time this morning. I suppose it's handy enough that there's not a lot of Arsenal news.
The Sun says Dennis Bergkamp could be on his way to Ajax after rjecting Arsenal's offer of £14,000 per week to stay. They say that he's already spoken to his old mate Marco van Basten - who is number 2 to Ronald Koeman - about the move.
Lee Dixon says “I’d give him what he wants — the fans want him to stay another season.” Bergkamp's agent Rob Jansen was on the radio yesterday though, and he was confident that a deal could be done with Arsenal. We'll just have to wait and see.
The same article says that Arsenal's new goalkeeping coach will be ex-Republic of Ireland star Gerry Peyton, who will most likely be coaching Sebastian Saja after his club said “The contract is 90 per cent done. The player is keen to improve himself and we know we cannot hold him back.” A fee of around 350,000 (rising to £2m) has been mentioned.
There were reports in the Spanish press yesteday that Espanyol wanted to sign Kanu, but couldn't go ahead because of the financial costs. Meanwhile Kanu says AW is biased towards TH14 and SW11 “There are a lot of politics going on at Arsenal. Funny things are happening at the club.”
Despite all the problems AW looks happy enough at pre-season training. Picture 2 and its caption are enough to scare the shit out of any man though.
I have a funny feeling there'll be some big news today. Must dash....
07.37 - So far this close season we've lost David Seaman after 13 decades at the club, Super Oleg has gone to Wolves and it looks as if Dennis Bergkamp might have played his last game for Arsenal after being treated shamefully by the Arsenal board.
So, wouldn't it be nice to get some news about a new signing to cheer you up? What if I told you we were going to sign Patrick Kluivert? Good, no? But what if I said that the deal to sign Kluivert involves Freddie Ljungberg going the other way? Not so good.
I heard this story last night from a source here in Barcelona. We understand that Barcelona sporting director Txiki Begiristain met with Dein and Wenger at the weekend. Barcelona's initial interest was in Robert Pires, but having already lost Seaman and probably Bergkamp, Arsenal were reluctant to sell an experienced player like Pires. With Pennant earmarked for the right hand side of midfield, it was felt that Ljungberg could go and would bring some cash in with his sale.
A source close to the Catalan club tells me 'The deal has been done. Ljungberg has discussed a contract with Barça and will sign a 4 year deal and announced later in the week. Arsenal will take Kluivert and €8.5m. He's flying to London on Wednesday to discuss terms with Arsenal but there shouldn't be any problem. He's willing to take a pay cut because his signing on fee [around €2m] will be paid over the course of his contract."
He goes on to say "Kluivert can't wait to play in the same team as Henry and has been aware of Arsenal's interest since March when Wenger first contacted Barcelona about a transfer."
It'll be a shame to see Freddie go, but we need to bring in some money and with Jeffers heading for a transfer to Celtic or Birmingham we need another striker. Kluivert will easily get 20 goals a season for us. As well as that, the extra cash will allow AW to spend on a defender with William Gallas or Kevin Hofland the new favourites to sign. Expect some kind of announcement regarding this whole thing in the next 48 hours.
There's been no further news on the Vieira contract shambles. The more I think about it, the more I think the story was genuine in the NOTW, but there was some kind of last minute problem regarding the announcement. Dennis Bergkamp is in Holland is set to stay there according to his agent. Rob Jansen says “The contract Arsenal have offered Dennis is too embarrassing for words.”
"Offloading Henry, who scored 32 League, Cup and European goals last season and signed a new four-year deal just two months ago, would show clearly the depth of Arsenal’s current financial troubles."
A perfectly timed story as Henry got married at the weekend and is probably off on honeymoon, therefore out of circulation. Expect a 'Arsenal have been unable to contact the French striker...' story later in the week. Either way, it's the biggest load of silly season shit I've seen so far. Henry wouldn't leave Arsenal for Chelsea in a million years.
What a load of shit 2. Despite announcing yesterday that he had signed a new deal, arsenal.com has now changed the story to say that "Vieira 'very hopeful' of signing deal before season. Contrary to reports, new contract not completed but negotiations 'going well'"
The full statement reads "Contrary to the article in Sunday’s News of the World I have not actually signed a new contract with Arsenal Football Club yet. However, negotiations are going well, improving all the time and I am very hopeful things will be sorted out by the start of the season. I would like to make it clear that I did not do an interview with the News of the World and I will make any announcement regarding my future through Arsenal Football Club.”
So who's the fucking gimp who made an official announcement on the official website yesterday then? This is descending rapidly into farce. Sort it out for fucks sake. 'Very hopeful'? Jebus.
It's all the more strange because at the start of last season the NOTW announced Vieira as one of their 'columnists' and he has done more than a couple of articles for them this season. This could be a long week...
Harry Kewell will sign for Liverpool say the same reputable journalists at The Sun. Probably more truth in that than the Henry story (it wouldn't be hard), and if it is true it says it all about Harry. Enjoy the UEFA cup and season after season of failed title challenges 'mate'.
Right, I'll let you pore over this story and whatever developments...er...develop over the course of the day. I've got a new job to go to so I've got to go iron my lucky underpants. Later.
09.24 - "He comes from Senegal, he's signed a new 3 year deal worth £70,000 per week with Arsenal....."
Ok, it doesn't quite scan, but you get the idea. After months, if not years, of speculation, the captain has signed a new 3 year deal. In an exclusive in the News of the World Vieira says "I still believe we are the best team in the country — and we will continue to prove that next season. Other clubs can spend as much as they want but we know that we still have enough here to win the title back. I want to be a part of the future of this club and I want to win the title back for Arsenal."
It had been a s situation. Anyone who says they weren't even the slightest bit worried about him signing a new deal is telling fibs I reckon. But now he's signed, Thierry signed before the cup final and we wait to see what will happen with Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp's contracts over the next week or two - and of course we await a couple of new signings. Paddy says "The most important thing is to keep the players we already have at the club before thinking about adding to the squad. Yet the Champions League demands the best and it would be nice to attract more talent to the club."
Don't underestimate the importance of this Vieira thing. If Arsenal had sold Vieira in the last year of his contract, it would have been a signal that we were a selling club, that our best players were dispensable to help fund the new stadium. The fact that we've been able to pay Vieira £11m over 3 years is a good indication that there's still a couple of quid floating around Highbury somewhere.
Well played Patrick, we're all chuffed. Not sure about this outfit though.
In the same News of the World article, they have an interview with Argentinian goalkeeper Sebastian Saja who says "I have been told to expect officials from Arsenal to speak with me in the next seven days. Talks are at an advanced stage between the clubs and a fee has been agreed."
He was first linked with us back in August, but now he reckons he's on the way to THOF. Perhaps we're going to have some kind of deathmatch between himself and Oscar Cordoba to see who gets the number 1 shirt.
It's also been reported - although I can't find a link - that Chelsea made a £30m bid for Thierry Henry during the week, which was rejected out of hand by David Dein. This guy Abramovich may have pots of cash, but he obviously doesn't have the first clue about football. For a start Arsenal wouldn't sell, and even if they did accept that bid there's no way Thierry would go to Chelsea. So having been knocked back by Arsenal, he's now turned his attention elsewhere. Nothing like being realistic.
Ok, that's your lot. Have a nice relaxing Sunday and keep whistling the Vieira tune wherever you go.
10.53 - “Such is my desire to remain with Arsenal that I have even declared I would be willing to accept a lower salary. I have shown a lot of loyalty to this club over the years and would like to think they will now be loyal to me.”
Dennis Bergkamp spoke yesterday about his situation at Arsenal. After 8 years at the club it seems he's being fucked around by the board who are unwilling to make any kind of concession to a player who has been instrumental in the success of the club over the last few years.
His signing was a major coup for Arsenal, and without him it would have been much more difficult to attract the kind of players we have. He's a sublime talent, and while his form has been patchy at times, you just have to see what a 37 Gianfranco Zola was able to contribute to Chelsea last season to see what Dennis still has to offer. He's fit, in good shape and to my mind he definitely deserves another year. Letting him go would be a mistake.
He went on to say "I decided some months ago I wanted to stay when Arsene Wenger made it clear he also wanted me to sign for another season. I have been disciplined throughout my career and I know I have the ability to play at the very highest level for one more year if not more. Right now, I have just one goal and that is to play for Arsenal again.”
According to Bergkamp's agent Rob Jansen"Sometimes we have the feeling that we have tried everything and Arsenal have hardly moved. They say, `We have no money, the new stadium is coming so take it or leave it'. He will either stay with Arsenal or stop playing football."
The thoughts of such an ignominious end to a great career is very sad. I really hope Arsenal can show him a little bit more respect and not let his Arsenal career end like this. In a close season when we've lost David Seaman and Oleg Luznhny we need to keep some experience in the side. Dennis and Martin Keown are almost the last of the 'old men' in the side (even if 34 isn't really that old). The fact that he'll quit football altogether if he can't play for us says it all.
How about we get rid of players like Stepanovs or Tavlaridis whose contribution to the side has been minimal at best? Cut our losses on players like Jeffers or Kanu? Pass on the savings to Dennis. Do something. Don't let him go like this. It's almost criminal. If Arsenal can't find a solution to this, we'll have seen the passing of another era. Not only the end of the Bergkamp era, but Arsenal's reputation for doing things the 'right way' will be well and truly buried.
We mentioned Oleg earlier, and it seems he's going to sign for Wolves. Good for him. I hope he gets his first Premiership goal against Man Utd/Spurs/Liverpool...etc
Looks like the Cordoba deal is almost done. We've been advised that the next couple of weeks are going to be busy ones at Arsenal. There will be signings, so don't worry. Also, there will be some departures too. No names, no pack drill.
Have a good Saturday. Looks like it's going to rain here for the first time in weeks.
09.34 - Well, I was just finishing off this morning's post when all of a sudden there was a power-cut. Not long, just about a half a nano-second. Enough for me to lose everything I'd written though. Seeing as how it's all spontaneous and off the cuff...er...man, I just can't do it again. It was really excellent and funny and witty and eloquent though.(save)
It started with a great joke about Americans, Arabs, July 4th and fireworks. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as it sounds when I see it like that. Happy July 4th anyway, merkins.(save)
Then there was some news about Harry Kewell, signing for Liverpool, Arsenal can't afford to pay him 1 millions pounds a week plus 50lbs of 'roo meat. The Liverool Echo broke that story but I suggested they heard it from a pissed up old tramp when they were looking for favours down the docks. Then there was some comment about how Kewell's agent deserves a prize for keeping such a boring individual like HK in the news for so long. (save)
Then we went on to the story about Giovanni van Bronckhorst not moving to Celtic. I said that he said "I know there are rumours that I might be joining Celtic but it is not going to happen. I haven't been approached and neither has my agent - and there isn't any chance that it will happen." (save)
So then I said something like 'There's no chance that it will happen then'. (save)
Then I mentioned I'd heard that Dennis Bergkamp's Arsenal future depends entirely on the moves for Kewell/Kluivert. Arsenal will offer Dennis a slightly improved contract if they fail to land either player but don't rule out Dennis doing a Zola and going back to Holland for one last season. (save)
Then there was some stuff about how people are getting anxious about our lack of activity in the transfer market. I wrote something that would have put everybody's mind at rest, reassured them about the vision and acumen of Arsene Wenger and put them in a positive mood until such time as we do sign somebody. I can't remember exactly what I wrote though so you'll just have to suffer on. (save)
Ok, on Monday I start a new job so updates to the site are going to be affected somewhat. I'm not suggesting there won't be any, just that they may not happen at the times you're used to. I'm not 100% sure of the hours yet, so maybe there'll be scope to do it in the morning still. If not, it's likely to be evening updates for the forseeable future. We'll see how it all pans out. (save)
Right, that's it for now. More later when we announce the £40m signing of Nesta. (save)
09.27 - I was supposed to be up bright and early this morning, but my alarm clock works as well as Pascal Cygan defends.
News this morning that Patrick Kluivert is more or less sure to leave Barcelona. Their vice-President Sancho Panza said "If Kluivert leaves, it is not the end of the world. We could use the money to buy two players. If a club came to us, he can go now." Arsenal, Newcastle and Manchester United are said to be interested. Kluivert hasn't helped the negociating process by going missing. Expect to see him on the side of Catalan milk cartons soon, I suppose.
Yet another striker link claims Arsenal made a big offer for David Trezeguet which Juventus rejected out of hand. Trezeguet's agent, Zum Kunt, said "Arsenal presented a multi-million offer to us but Juventus sharply rejected it." He looks to be out of Arsenal's price range in terms of wages as well. "Trezeguet receives €4,000,000 net per season - a number that the Italians are thinking about improving." Good for them.
More summer madness sees Arsenal linked with a swap deal to bring Nicolas Anelka back to the club. Arsenal will send Kanu and Francis Jeffers to Man City, Anelka comes back to play alongside Henry. Also rumours that Man Utd are making a move for out of contract Dennis Bergkamp resurface.
Despite rumours yesterday that Besiktas had signed Oscar Cordoba for another year, it seems as if the move to Arsenal is still on. Besiktas actually announced the deal on the Turkish stock exchange but Cordoba himself seems to think he's Highbury bound. "I know that the negotiations are going well, and that the agreement can be sealed in any moment. I would love to play for Arsenal. It's one of the best clubs in the world and they are always fighting for big things."
It could be that Besiktas have bought his contract from Boca Juniors and are now trying to sell him to Arsenal themselves. What's the odds they'll ask for way too much and Arsenal will pull out of the deal?
Chelea's new owner Roman Corleone has given the go-ahead for them to make a £30m bid for Thierry Henry. Oh my. And hahahahahahahaha.
Sensible Kewell comment. Liverpool are offering £70,000 a week though, so maybe his head will be swayed by £ signs and not the realistic chance of winning trophies. Anyone know where Liverpool get all their money from? All Hoofier does is spend and doesn't seem to recoup very much.
Congrats to Thierry Henry, who's getting hitched. My invite's in the post I'm sure.
Ok, I've got to see a man about a dog job. Later.
09.34 - There's nothing like a funny story to kick things off in the mornings. And I don't know about you, but the fact that Ken Bates has sold Chelsea to a Russian mob...er...group has made me smile. He famously bought the club for £1 back in the 80s, then spent every day since doing his best to annoy people. And to be fair he did a very good job. Of annoying people.
So farewell then to evil Papa Smurf, and it's hello to Roman Abramovich who will do 'whatever's necessary' to bring success to our blue chums. Can I suggest electric fences all the way around the ground for a start? On the outside of course...
Another club looking to gain support from the neutrals in their chase for the title next season will be Newcastle. Having already signed Jonathan Woodgate, they have finalised the deal for Lee Bowyer on the same day that Craig Bellamy was charged with 3 racially aggravated offences. I can see them all over at Carl Cort's house for a cuppa after training each day. Oh yes.
Patrick Kluivert has spoken about his current situation and has denied any fresh contact with Arsenal. He said "It is true that Arsenal tried to sign me five years ago when I was an AC Milan player but since then there has been no serious contact. Neither myself nor my agent have been in contact with any club and the quotes attributed to me in the media saying there have been discussions are simply fiction."
We're still waiting for a centre-half, probably the most important signing of the summer. Certainly more important than Harry "chase me - chase me" Kewell. We've already brought in Philippe Senderos and now AW wants to take another young defensive prospect to the club. Jacob Timpano is a 17 year old Socceroo and Arsenal face competition from Real Madrid for his signature. Or, to put it another way, somebody is talking this lad up big time and has used a contact in the BBC to raise awareness of a player that nobody has ever heard of. Timpano plays for the Woolongong Wolves. Woolongong Wolves...heh.
So we'll keep looking for our new defender. The latest names to be linked include Kevin Hofland (again), Gareth Southgate and Frank de Boer. I'd take either of the first two, but I'd put de Boer in a big sack along with Cygan and Stepanovs and then chuck them into a river.
That's about the size of it so far. More if anything happens later.
10.29 - Welcome to a brand new month on Arseblog. The first 6 months of 2003 have just flown by. I can't believe it's July already.
This is going to be a month of more transfer news and speculation than you ever thought possible. AW returns from his holidays, he'll have Danger Dein's cheque book out and he's going to shop like a shopatron (that's a shopping robot that hasn't been invented yet, but trust me, it shops a lot.)
It looks like he's going to start with a new goalkeeper. Colombian Oscar Cordoba has impressed during the Confederations Cup and at 33 he's got the experience to fill DS1's shoes whilst giving Stuart Taylor a chance to progress further. I don't know too much about him, but according to reports from regular forumers and influential London crime family members, he's just what we need. Who am I to argue?
His situation isn't straightforward though. He's on loan at Besiktas from some Colombian club and although the Turks want to buy him and claim to have first option, Arsenal are set to gazump them and sign Cordoba who has apparently told friends he's agreeed a 2 year deal.
The search for a centre-half will continue though, as long term target William Gallas prepares to talk to Barcelona while Jaap Stam says he's staying in Italy.
Sylvain Wiltord wants to stay at Arsenal, but he wants a longer contract than the 2 years he's been offered. He's already got a year left, another 2 makes it 3, and under the circumstances, that seems like a fair offer to me. Inter Milan head pasta maker Massimo Moretti has said the two players they want are Freddie Ljungberg and Ryan Giggs. "Regarding Ljungberg and Giggs, they are quality players but they are both under contract with their respective teams. We will obviously have to talk to the respective clubs before going any further."
Freddie's agent played down talk of a move saying "He (Arsene Wenger) will not let Freddie leave."
Thierry Henry on his plans for the next couple of weeks "I will go away now and sleep, sleep, sleep." He deserves it.
So, expect things to happen this week. Harry Kewell will make a decision one way or the other sometime by the end of the week/month/year/decade. His agent deserves some credit for making this the most tedious transfer story of the summer. At least Beckham was done and dusted with 10 days or so. Speaking of which, El Beckham has his medical live on TV today. I can't wait for the 'cup and cough' bit.
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