!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd"> Arseblog -"It's fuckin' excellent"...an Arsenal blog.

july 31st

07.33 - So, the last good day of the year, eh? Or is it? Hmmmm. How cryptic I am. Or am I?

AW is confidenter and confidenter that captain Patrick Vieira will sign a new deal. Talking about the upcoming games in Scotland he says "I am looking for him to perhaps play one half against Celtic. As for his contract, I am confident he will sign before the start of the season."

See, confidenter. The French contingent were due back yesterday, so let's hope there's some good news in the days to come. I think Vieira will sign. The story in the News of the World just jumped the gun a bit I reckon. Ray Parlour has urged Vieira to sign a new contract saying "Patrick is a very important player so, hopefully, things will be settled before the start of the season. He’s his own man, though I’m sure he’ll make the right decision.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst says he's going nowhere. "I have no interest in moving and will do all I can to make this a successful season and help Arsenal win every competition we enter."

Some injury news - Philippe Senderos needs a scan on a calf injury, while Martin Keown has a groin strain, but should be fit to face the Jocks. It does show you how quickly things can change. A fully fit squad on a Monday can become plagued by Friday.

After weeks of scaremongering and general cuntery when it came to Arsenal related stories, the Mirror actually had some good news. "Mirror Sport can reveal that Arsenal's bankers, the Royal Bank of Scotland, believe they have secured the £40m from City financiers to get the stadium back on track.The completion date has been postponed until 2006 but the club is hoping to restart work on the stadium before the club's annual meeting, which has been put back by a month until September 23."

It does seem that the reason we're so stony broke this summer is that the club used their own funds to get Ashburton Grove up and running, believing the financing was in place. We'll have to wait for the AGM to find out properly I suppose.

Ok, till later.

july 30th

07.36 - After yesterday's lengthy ramble, it's a fairly short and sweet round-up this morning.

Jens Lehmann kept a clean sheet in his first Arsenal game. Well, his first 45 minutes of an Arsenal game. He played the first half of Arsenal's 1-0 win over Besiktas. Dennis Bergkamp continued his excellent pre-season form with another goal. Let's hope he can carry this form into the new season.

Philippe Senderos tells arsenal.com why he decided to join the Gunners, when there were clubs like Man Utd, Real Madrid and Milan after him. Another youth, Sebastian Svard talks about how this year could be about going out on loan before coming back to make his name at THOF.

How to entice a player to join your club. Tell him he's wasting his time at his currenty club, accuse him of playing golf all the time and offer him less money. That's Birmingham's strategy to capture £4m rated Francis Jeffers. I say give the lad one more season. If he can stay fit he could do a good job - to see how good check out the stats the eastlower fella digs up. Can he stay fit though? Can George Best stay sober?

Arsene's talking the talk. "I think our team is getting better as it’s a young squad. At the moment, the newspapers have already removed us from being favourites for the title but I don’t mind that. What’s important is what’s happening on the pitch and I know this team has a great potential.”

According to Soccernet, Arsenal will sign young French triallist, Gael Clichy. He's a left back and has impressed during pre-season. They say "Clichy impressed Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger enough to earn himself a full contract with the Highbury club. He should join the Gunners to play Celtic on Saturday and Rangers on Tuesday..."

Interestingly, Kolo Toure played all of last night's 1-0 win at centre-half. Zinedine Zidane says Patrick Vieira should join him at Real Madrid. Yaaaaawn. We should know more about the captain and his future intentions this week.

Right, that's yer lot. Later.

july 29th

07.36 - "I do not expect to sign any more players. We have lots of good young players and I am pleased with their attitude. It is a year when I want to integrate some of these into the squad."

Arsene Wenger speaking to somebody, somewhere, sometime yesterday I think. Ok, so we've invested a lot of time and money in creating a youth academy that long term could save the club millions in transfer fees. Looks like that's going to start this season.

You all know the names of the young players we've got who are close to the first team. We've got some very good players on the way, and maybe AW's hands are tied a bit by the financial constraints, but as has been pointed out here before, if he keeps buying big name players then it makes it impossible for the kids to get their chance. I'm happy for the youth to get their chance, because I honestly believe that we have potentially excellent players in midfield and up-front who will do themselves and the club justice when called upon.

However, like this time last season, I'm concerned that we're not strong enough defensively to mount a serious challenge on both the Premiership and Champions League next season. We have Sol and Martin Keown who are an excellent partnership, but MK5 is now 37 years of age, and has been spending longer and longer out injured each season. I think it's fair to expect him to miss a chunk of the season.

Then we've got Cygan, who to my mind is not good enough for Arsenal. He's a nice tidy player with the ball at his feet and plenty of time, but defensively he's suspect, prone to errors and I think he's mentally weak too. He can't cope with the pressure of playing football at level with such high expectations. He should be 4th choice at best. I keep hearing people say 'Oh well Pires was crap in his first season' but it's a lazy argument. It was obvious to anyone with half an eye for a player that Pires was a class act. Cygan scares me. He doesn't quite scare me like Stepanovs, but he scares me nonetheless.

In my opinion we lost out on the Championship in May because we struggled defensively in certain games. Most of those games featured Cygan. I know he's not fully responsible for the results, it's a team game and all that, but the statisics say something. When Sol and MK played together in the league, we didn't lose a game. All the defeats came when Cygan played. Dismiss that as meaningless if you want.

After Cygan we've got new boy Philippe Senderos who comes with Great Expectations. People are talking about him being a first team regular by the end of the season. They're talking about him being the new Tony Adams. A lot of pressure for a young boy. Myles Palmer reckons Senderos will be a top centreback (and bizarrely reckons new keeper Jan [sic] Lehmann will be a top centreback too), even though he's never seen him play. That's the sort of hype Senderos is creating. But are we expecting too much from a lad of 18? I think we might be, and that's why I think we need to buy a centre-half.

Imagine a situation where Arsenal are chasing the league and the Champions League. Two decisive games coming up, away at Old Trafford and away against Real Madrid in the CL. Keown is injured/suspended. Sol is injured /suspended. That leaves us with Cygan, Senderos, Stepanovs or Tavlaridis for the centre half positions. Imagine Cygan and a rookie like Senderos against Raul, Zidane, Figo, van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo etc.

Weak, in my opinion. When we have such strength in depth in almost every other position on the field, I can't understand why we're so weak at the back. Unless Senderos really is something special, and takes to Premiership football like a duck to water, with no problems settling in or getting used to the pace and physical side of English football, we'll struggle when we go beyond Sol and Keown next season.

I dread to think how we'd cope if Sol ever picked up a long term injury.

What are the choices available to us though? Well, Gio has been linked with a move to PSV, and Sylvain Wiltord was linked yesterday with a £5m move to Lyon who are looking for a striker to replace Sonny Anderson. Now, PSV have Kevin Hofland and Lyon have a certain Edmilson, who AW tried to buy at the same time as Edu but couldn't get a work permit for him. Both quality centre-halves, both of who I'm sure we could afford in a player+cash - or even no cash, straight swap - deal. It's even been suggested that Lyon were willing to let Edmilson go on loan. Signing either of those two would add the quality and the depth we need at the back if we want to realistically challenge at home and in Europe, and in my opinion would give us the strongest squad in the Premiership.

For all our great young players coming through in various positions, there isn't an outstanding centre-half among them and let's face it, Keown is going to retire at the end of the coming season anyway, we're going to have to buy a new defender then anyway. Why not bring somebody in who can learn from Keown on the pitch and during training? If Senderos comes through it'll mean we'll have 3 top class centre-halves, plus Cygan as back-up when needed. He's not going to complain and demand first team football. He knows he's at a club way beyond his level anyway. 4th choice would be fine for him.

Without a signing I think we're taking a massive gamble. We're gambling that Sol and MK5 will stay fit and unsuspended for most of the season, we're gambling on Cygan improving immeasurably, and we're gambling on an 18 year old kid who's played all his football in Switzerland. For me that's too big a gamble for a club with the ambitions of Arsenal to take.

I'm not talking about going out to break the bank to sign a Cannavaro or a Nesta, but there's got to be somebody we can bring in within our budget. Gio you could value at £4m, Wiltord more or less the same. In the current market I think Hofland could be bought for £7m, Edmilson much less. Is that more or less of a gamble than doing nothing?

We'll see next May I suppose.

july 28th

07.33 - A typical Monday morning in close season. Not a lot happening early in the day.

New keeper Jens Lehmann was due to meet up with his new team mates in Austria last night. And in a strange twist of fate, former Arsenal keeper (who never actually played a game for us) Guillaume Warmuz joined Dortmund yesterday.

Sol Campbell says Arsenal will use the pain of losing the title last season to motivate themselves to win the league again this season. "It took a long time to get over it. It was hard to watch games from the stand and see things going wrong, so it took a lot out of me. “It’s now time to move on and I’m hungry, very hungry."

Strangely, he's referred to as Arsenal's captain in that article.

Good news for our first game of the season is that Wayne Rooney is unlikely to play any part after suffering ankle ligament damage. Considering he managed to score against us during both games last season, it is excellent news. The sigh of relief from a bald, French, crap defender was heard up to 500 miles away.

The News of the World insists the Fashanu story in genuine, calling Fashanu's denials 'ridiculous'. I don't know about you, there's just something off about Fashanu. He seems to have successfully overcome the fact that he was a total thug on the pitch and is now some kind of football ambassador for a country he seems to have just adopted for his own needs. If the story is true, I hope he goes down hard.

That's about the size of it for this morning. Expect the usual Monday morning 'Arsenal considering Milton Keynes groundshare with Tottenham' stories to appear later on.

july 27th

11.34 - An old-school, quick as quick can be Sunday round-up before I take my carcass to the beach. I am sweating beer. And rum. And whiskey. And mint.

AW says there'll be no more signings before the start of the season. However, Myles thinks there's a 7th August deadline and reveals that summer is not like winter.

According to The Telegraph, Arsenal are considering a move to the new Wembley because Ashburton Grove is facing more problems. Arseweb seem to have fired up the solid-fuel burner and are churning out the news items over on the Newsreel. They've got stuff on Kanu, Steve McManaman and lots more. Good to see them back.

Rami Shaaban is out to give new keeper Jens Lehmann a fight for his place. He certainly talks the talk, will we ever get a chance to see if he's up to it though?

Patrick Vieira is due back at Arsenal on Tuesday, hopefully to sign a new contreact. He's been working hard this summer though and you can find out a bit more in the People. The Star on Sunday says Birmingham want to make another bid for Francis Jeffers.

Who to believe, The News of the World, or John Fashanu. It's like asking if you'd prefer to have you left or right eye gouged out by a hand covered in warts.

That's it. Have a nice Sunday.

july 26th

10.16 - Arsenal have made their first, and probably last, significant signing of the summer. German keeper Jens Lehmann joins for a fee of around £1.5m. Arsene Wenger says "Jens Lehmann is a great signing for Arsenal Football Club. I am very happy that we have signed a player of his ability."

Lehmann says "I am delighted to be joining Arsenal. They are one of Europe's great clubs"

He should join up with the squad on Sunday. PSV Eindhoven have taken a bit of a fancy to Giovanni van Bronckhorst, but may have problems meeting Arsenal's asking price. Given the fact we still need a central defender, surely we could come to some kind of arrangement over Kevin Hofland. He's never really found his place at Arsenal after his £8.5m move from Rangers, and a chance to recoup some of that inflated transfer fee would be nice.

In Austria Dennis Bergkamp showed his worth by running the show and scoring a great goal in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Austrian champions Austria Vienna. Did I mention this happened in Austria? AW was left drooling by the team's performance. "We kept a clean sheet, scored twice to beat the Austrian champions and looked sharp — what more can I ask for at this stage?”

He also hinted that Jermaine Pennant was pushing hard for a first team spot “Jermaine did well and of all the young players pushing for a place in the first team he is the closest. But no one let me down and the youngsters proved they have a chance of making the grade."

Championshipmanovic is at it again. A £71m bid for Raul, and then an offer of £12m in wages per season. Madness. With all the money they have, they still haven't signed a top, top player. Probably because no matter how much money they have, Chelsea has the pedigree of bin-rading mongrel, all the prestige of driving a Ford Escort and let's face it, they're a bunch of complete and utter cunts.


july 25th

07.33 - Whatever medication they're putting in Peter Hill-Wood's tea at the moment, I hope they keep it up. There was a time that whenever he opened his mouth, he put his foot right in his mouth and left Arsenal fans slapping their foreheads with frustration.

Now though he's making a lot of sense, saying the right things, and as a good Chairman should he's steadying the ship in the face of the media onslaught Arsenal are facing at the moment. In a very good piece in the Standard, he talks about the current financial situation at the club and about the new stadium and the future of Arsenal in general. Some people might have been shocked to see Arsenal's players flying economy to Austria, but the Chairman says "I was concerned in a fairly successful banking business but when we went through hard times in the 1970s, the Rolls-Royces went and we drove Minis. Instead of flying first class, we went economy. As far as I am concerned it is a good discipline."

Beautiful. The most telling quote for me is something that the fans who want us to go out and spend money we don't have should pay heed to. Look at Leeds, look at Chelsea who were days away from going into receivership before they sold out to the Russian mob, be thankful we have a sensible board in place and not one that would mortgage our entire future for some short term peace and quiet. Hill-Wood says "We are ambitious but we are not going to bankrupt the club to achieve that."

Martin Keown has been training alongside new boy Philippe Senderos for a few days now, and he's impressed. "For me, he has what it takes to go all the way."

Senderos himself seems like a very level headed young man, who is genuinely thrilled to be at Arsenal. You can read more about him here. Obviously there's a lot of hype about this kid, and many of us would love to see him break into the first team this season. It would keep Cygan out for a start. But remember he's just 18, and the burden of expectation can be hard to bear for such a young player. A forward can miss a chance or two and it's generally not the end of the world. Mistakes by centre-halves can be more costly, so there's more pressure on Senderos than there would be on somebody like Rooney for example. Still, we're keeping fingers crossed for him.

In a flurry of goalkeeper news, Cañizares says he's had no contact with Arsenal, make-up wearing Rustu threw his toys out of the pram when Arsenal wanted him to have a medical so he fucked off to Barcelona instead, and AW is hopeful of completing the signing of Jens Lehmann soon. "We are hopeful that the deal will work out, but nothing is perfect yet. There is not much time left and if the deal is not done in the next few days we will be forced to look elsewhere."

Some ex-Gunners making up what little news there is this morning. John Hartson wants to make his Celtic comeback in the upcoming friendly against Arsenal, while Fabian Caballero is in trouble at Dundee for being a fat cunt. Jay Bothroyd has joined Perugia, while Omer Riza has joined Turksih side Trabszapopobalzor.

That's it, but keep your eyes and ears posted. Word is there's a big deal going....nah, nothing is going to happen today. Nothing at all.

july 24th

07.36 - It's always a sad day when an Arsenal legend retires, and despite having spent 2 years at Arsenal's retirement home at Upton Park, Nigel Winterburn has decided to call it a day.

He did spend some time of his Arsenal career at right back, but he only ever had a left foot. The right one was just for standing on. Part of the legendary back 4, he'll always be remembered by Arsenal fans as a player who always gave everything on the park. He was a real winner, a genuinely nice guy and capable of scoring some cracking goals....every 23 months or so.

Who will ever forget his goal against Chelsea in the double season of 97-98? Last minute, 35 yards, boof, eat my goal. He's picked Anfield '89 and the 98 Double as his career highlights. How he didn't get more England caps is beyond me. Tony Dorigo? Graeme le Saux? Please. Best of luck in the future Nutty.

Kolo Toure has urged Arsene Wenger to sign his brother Yaya. Kolo said "I think he could be a great player for Arsenal. I think he's a better player than me anyway."

Strangely, Arsenal have seen fit to make comment on the Jens Lehmann transfer situation. It's just a repeat of the David Dein quotes I gave you yesterday, but it's a bit odd that they're on the arsenal website as Arsenal generally have a very strict policy of not making any comment about transfers at all.

Nigel Winterburn....

Some good news, Igors Stepanovs could be off to feeder club Beveren. Well, there's a 1 in 3 chance as Stathis Tavlaridis or John Halls could go instead, but I think we might as well get shot of the ginger Latvian. I think all of us would prefer to see John Halls get a chance if needed. I just don't see the point of Igors.

Freddie Ljungberg speaks about Chelsea and transfers, "I think we are still looking for some new players which will strengthen the squad a little bit. The manager has said he wants to do that — and I think he will."

PSG don't want Wiltord. Their President, Pepe le Pew, said "I want to make clear that it has never been any question of recruiting the France international Sylvain Wiltord." They haven't denied a cheeky interest in Niger international Sylvain Wiltord though.

Right, have a fun day at work/school/hostibal etc

july 23rd

07.40 - Arsenal's new keeper could be Jens Lehmann, German, mental and available at a reasonable price. He says "I've received a phone call - but nothing is decided at the moment. You'll have to wait a few days."

German football magazine Kicker suggests that Arsenal have agreed terms with the player, but Dortmund's manager Fritz Frankfurt says "The first negotiations took place yesterday...we will only have an agreement if we come to terms on the financial side"

Double-D says "Lehmann is just one of a number of keepers we are in discussions with.”

Some reports put the fee between £1.75m with Dortmund holding out for £2.75m. Not sure what to think about him to be honest. He's been sent off 5 times in his career, once for abusing his own team-mate (verbally of course) and some of our German based readers are most unhappy at the thought of him signing for Arsenal. I hope the person in question doesn't mind, but this is a word for word reproduction from the friend of a forumer "Lehmann is a cunt and always has been a cunt, why Arsenal have decided to sign such a cunt is just a desperate attempt to get one in before closing time without thinking about what they are doing. Cunts."

I'm keeping an open mind, but I'd much prefer Cañizares. That signing would make me smile. This one would leave me in a whirl sitting down of nothingness.

Sylvain Wiltord could be on his way out of Arsenal. It's reported that PSG have made a £4m offer for him. Given that AW hasn't mentioned him much and the club seem to have made no effort to give him the 4 year contract he wants, it might be as well to swell the coffers a little bit and cash in now rather than let him leave for nothing next year. I like Wiltord as a player. I like the fact his scores goals consistently, but we could do with £4m and we have a ready made replacement in Pennant. His chances will be more limited with Wiltord still around, and we could find ourselves in a situation where both of them leave next summer. One because he's got no contract, the other because he feels like he should be playing more first team football. £4m ain't too shabby either give the current state of the transfer market.

Arsenal have brought two triallists to Austria. Yaya Toure, brother of Kolo, and young French left-back Gael Clichy. Both could join with AW saying "I have not made up my mind. They will go with us on the training camp and I'll make a decision after that."

The boys played a 2-2 draw last night with Austrian part-timers, Ritzing. Not much of a performance apparently, and while it is only pre-season, it's worrying that Pascal Cygan is singled out as being particularly poor against a bunch of shepherds, postmen and tavern owners. A late Freddie Ljungberg penalty saved face for the Gunners.

No doubt there'll be more on Lehmann, other keepers and reaction from last night's game as the day progresses.

july 22nd

07.33 - Le Boss has been speaking about Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira, who are both going to Juventus or Madrid or Milan or Manchester United, willing to see out their Arsenal contracts and leave for free next summer taking a piss against the doors of Highbury as they go, demanding a million pounds a week and Nik Kershaw's entire back catalogue on 7" vinyl and refusing to commit to the beleagured Gunners until Kylie and Dannii perform a lesbian show for them in the North Bank goalmouth.

About Vieira he said "I believe Patrick is very close to signing. I am very optimistic".

About Pires "Rumours that we have had offers for Robert are not true. He is about to agree an extension to his contract."

The reason for the delay in the Pires contract situation is that Le Bob is one of the only players not to have an agent or representative, and holds all discussions regarding his contracts personally. He's away on his holidays, AW has obviously been in touch and all should be sorted out when he returns.

According to the BBC, The Daily Express says that the reason Vieira hasn't signed is an ongoing legal issue with his former agent Marc Roger. Not sure how true that is, but I wouldn't be surprised if that bloke's stubby little fingers are all over this still.

He also confirmed that Valencia keeper Santiago Cañizares is a target for the Number 1 jersey. At least we think it's Cañizares, arsenal.com refers to him as Caqizares in the article linked to above. It's unusual for arsenal.com to get something so wrong...*cough*...

According the The Sun Stuart Taylor has agreed a two year extension to his current deal.

Chelsea spent £25m on Damien Duff and Wayne Bridge yesterday. That bloke would pay £5 for a penny sweet.


july 21st

07.34 - Monday morning is the worst morning of all for Arsenal news.

Especially when you come home after midnight having drunk many beers washed down with delicious Mojitos. Then the next morning your head hurts, you have to go to work and there's nothing much to write about. So, I'm going to write about nothing much.

Turns out the Barnet guy that Cygan took out was an Arsenal fan. He just signed for them last Wednesay, now he's going to miss months with a cruciate ligament injury.

AW confirms the club are looking at bringing Canizares in "At the moment I cannot give you a definite name of who we will buy because we have not got that far. But Canizares is one of them, that is true."

He also reveals that it's unlikely that Kanu will be going anywhere "Kanu is well. He played with Nigeria and had a few more weeks than others so we haven't risked him yet. But he is still part of our plans."

Juventus have made a £4m bid for Robert Pires, apparently.

And that's it. Nothing much happening. The Arsenal are in Manningerland. I'm off to work. Later.

july 20th

09.31 - Ok, let's start your Sunday with some good news.

Speaking on his personal website, Dennis Bergkamp reveals that he's signed a new contract at Arsenal. For those of you that can't be arsed registering, here's what he said. "I am very happy to announce that I have just signed a new contract with Arsenal, which means I will be spending one more year at Highbury. I am so pleased to be staying at the club which has been so special to me and I hope that next year will bring more great memories."

Good stuff. After yesterday's gripping 0-0 draw with Barnet, Arsene Wenger spoke to Sky Sports about the need to re-sign Bergkamp and for Pires and Vieira to extend their contracts. He didn't mention Sylvain Wiltord though, who is also in the last year of his contract.

Some reports yesterday from Barnet spoke well of Philippe Senderos, but there were some arseblog regulars there who were concerned with the fact Cygan was so easily beaten in the air by Barnet's new £24,000 striker. To put a stop to it, Cygan took him out and his nemesis left the field on a stretcher. I suppose that's one way of doing it.

The People speculates that the reason Kanu doesn't want to leave Arsenal is so he can get a British passport. Apparently he'd be entitled to one if he stayed one more year, hence the reason he's turned down Arsenal's £1m pay off and a £3.5m deal to play in Qutar for 2 seasons.

Elsewhere in the People there's an interesting interview with Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood. Speaking about transfer funds for AW he says, "Yes, he (Wenger) has got money at his disposal for signings. Not billions, but he's got a little bit of a war chest and he's looking at spending it wisely. And he's got a pretty good track record in that department over the years."

I think a goalkeeper like Canizares and a centre-half is all we need for the start of the next season. Maybe AW has faith in Cygan, but me...well...I just don't think he cuts the mustard and if we struggle next season at all, it'll be when he plays.

The boys are off to Austria for a training camp and a few games next week. No doubt there'll be some developments transfer wise as well. Ok, that's it for Sunday. Have a good one.

july 19th

11.23 - Lie-ins are good.

Looks like Arsenal will make their first signing of the summer as Czezhaslogreekrish striker MIchal Popadopalous gets himself an EU passport. He's due to arrive at Highbury soon, with the player saying "For me it was very important that coach Wenger wanted me. He told me that himself, that he wanted me this year. I had expected I'd stay here at Banik for another year on loan, and then leave for England when the Czech Republic would be an EU member; that would have been much easier than it was now."

More here.

Spanish sports daily Marca has a story about Valencia keeper Canizares. Bascially they say that Canizares agent met with Wenger and Dein last week to discuss a move. Valencia have to sell players to stay wihin their wages budget. Canizares is a high earner, so selling him and one other would allow them to hang onto Ayala, Aimar and others who have been linked with moves away from the Mestalla. There has been no official contact between the clubs as of yet, but as they say "A good amount......would alleviate the battered coffers of the club." The Mirror carries this story too linking us with some Finnish keeper as well.

It all depends on what we're looking for. Someone to play back-up to Stuart Taylor, or somebody Taylor can pick up another few years experience from. Canizares would do me though. We should get him his own after-shave putter-onner though.

AW has been talking about his current squad. While he does say "...we are going to keep 99 per cent of our current squad, perhaps reinforcing it in one or two positions" he also goes onto say "I am not someone who abandons people signed the year before. I am counting a lot on Pascal Cygan this season."

Gulp. He also talks about Jermaine Pennant, Kolo Toure and Ryan Garry playing more games. Sylvain Wiltord is another player in the last year of his contract, but there seems to be little movement from the club to try and keep him. "Sylvain is still under contract with us for a year. I have talked with him about an extension. It is true that whether he does this or not is up to him. But no club has approached us for him.”

Arsenal play Barnet today in another pre-season friendly. Let's hope there's a better result than against Peterborough. Anyone going please feel free to tell us how it went on the 'arses' later and watch out for men from Niger, eh?

july 18th

07.39 - After near silence all summer from Arsenal and the board, we're yakking like a coked up PR girl at the moment. Double-D has got in on the 'leave our players alone' business. After more reports of Chelsea bids for Henry and Vieira, Arsenal's vice-Chairman had had enough. He spoke to Sky Sports saying "All the speculation is very annoying. Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira will not be leaving Arsenal. We will not be selling our best players, it's as simple as that. We will not be weakening our squad to strengthen the opposition."

He also spoke about Arsenal's lack of transfer activity saying "We're working on it - we're on the case". And speaking about Patrick Vieira he said "The timing is his and we're not going to force the issue. He knows when he is ready to sign, the offer is on the table for him. He said the other day he will sign. He will be with us for sure next season and hopefully for many seasons to come."

Also speaking about transfers is Chairman Peter Hill-Wood. I know lots of fans won't like what he has to say, but he does make sense - which is twice in a matter of days now for him. Must be a record. He said "It's pointless just spending money because the fans want new faces. Arsene's confident he has a couple of young players who can make the step up. The transfer market's generally been very slow and we don't have a Russian billionaire bankrolling us."

New Real Madrid boss and ex-Man Utd No2 Carlos Queiroz confused the entire football world by talking about Vieira signing a new deal at Arsenal. He said "It is something that at this moment in time, is in the fridge." Even Demento makes more sense than that. 'In the fridge'? What in the name of the flabby gash of the mother of god is he talking about?

According to Real Madrid fan and top golfologist Sergio Garcia, Steve McManaman is in talks with Arsenal. Yeah right. We need Stepanovs more than we need him. According the Evening Standard Arsenal rejected the link with the floppy haired scouser. Apparently this is a great disappointment to Arsenal fans. So Arsenal rejected the deal by issuing no statement and Arsenal fans are disappointed because nobody said anything. The joys of the English press.

Reports in France say Leeds could take Brazilian defender Edmilson on a season long loan. If there's even the remotest chance of anybody actually connected with Arsenal reading this, please do something about this. He's the defender we really need in my opinion. I've said it here before, we need a quick, ball-playing centre half. He fits the bill perfectly. We were close to signing him 3 summers ago before work permit problems scuppered the deal. Last summer we were looking at him but couldn't pay the £15m Lyon wanted. Now he's available on loan. Sort it AW and Double-D.

What a shock. And once again Fergie hijacks somebody else's transfer deal at the last minute. Kleberson is a 2nd rate Gilberto. He'll be good company for Forlorn on the bench.

Some morose new stadium opinion from somebody at the Financial Times who claims to be an Arsenal fan. He's such a big old Arsenal fan he says "Personally, I'm ready to jump ship and revive an ancient affection for third division Leyton Orient." Glory hunter.

Ok, thank god it's Friday. I have a funny feeling we'll sign somebody today. Word is we've been having talks with Oldham's tea-lady.

july 17th

07.39 - "Our players are definitely not for sale. The situation at the moment is that Patrick has not signed, but I am confident that he will."

I said yesterday that Arsenal only tell you what they want you know. That statement from Arsene Wenger is as much for the board as for the fans. It's a message to Roman Championshipmanavic that he won't be getting Thierry Henry or Patrick Vieira. It's a message to the fans that says as long as I'm here this is the truth. And it's a message to the board that everything he's built at Arsenal won't be ruined by short term gain in the Arsenal bank account. It looks like we'll have Dennis back, if Wenger can get a commitment from Vieira, and less importantly but still important Robert Pires, it's as good as any signing we could make this summer. I believe Arsene Wenger before I believe the Mirror.

AW also revealed we never made a formal offer for Harry Kewell. And are the boys at arsenal.com trying to make up for the Vieira fuck-up by hinting at late transfers this summer? Signing players late means paying less wages.

On top of all the other problems we've been having with the new stadium, some NIMBY comes along spouting some human rights shite. It has prompted Arsenal into the unusual position where they have actually made a comment. The crux of it was this "..the Club has received planning consent for the new stadium project at every level. In layman's terms, the planning permission which has been granted is legally unchallengeable therefore the outcome of any appeal to the European Court of Human Rights will have no affect on the project's progression. Naturally, we remain fully committed to relocating to our new stadium."

Take that tree huggers. Go save some whales you hippy bastards.

Arsenal's newest signing could be Michal Papadopulos. He's Irish naturally. Well, he's Czech and Greek, but is eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland because he attended a Riverdance concert in 1997. Here he talks about his life as a cubic zirconia. Myles says on ANR that despite our cash flow problems, Arsenal's shares have jumped from £1,275 to £1,600 adding fuel to the rumours that Arsenal have found a wealthy investor. Some specualation surrounds the Venezuelan billionaires who wanted to buy into Aston Villa.

Ignore the Vieira crap, these wankers say Kanu has rejected the chance to go to Celta Vigo. The fact is Celta's chairman said he wanted 3 strikers. He's got Catanha, he's buying Benni 'from Crossroads' McCarthy and Savo Milosevic. No room for a Kanu there. Anyway, I reckon we should keep him. He'll get 20 next season no problem.

Another newest signing could be Mulan, or Flimflam, or some such Brazillian nobody's ever heard of. Ignore the Vieira shite and scroll down to the bottom of this Sun article for more on that.

I had too much beer last night. Consequently my head hurts. Now I have to go to work. Hurrah.




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