july 16th

The Sun says Vieira has told Arsenal he wants to go to Real Madrid. They say Madrid are likely to use Fernando Morientes as part of the deal. According to The Sun ‘Perez met with new Real coach Jose Camacho on Wednesday to discuss their move for Vieira, 28, and insisted: “I will buy who Camacho tells me to.”’

All well and good, but Marca says that Camacho wants a team of 14 Galacticos and has asked Perez to sign either Emerson or Carvalho. They make a brief reference to Freddie Ljungberg’s plea with Vieira to stay. AS.com has nothing new on the Vieira story.

What else do we know? Well, we know there was a rapidly arranged board meeting at Highbury yesterday, more than likely called to discuss this whole situation. What happened in there we don’t know yet. The board could have been discussing an offer from Real Madrid, they could have been preparing a rebuttal of some kind, or when Peter Hill-Wood says the Vieira stories every summer are ‘irritating’ does he mean that he thinks Paddy and his agent have been fluttering their eye-lashes at Madrid from afar? Who knows? We’ll find out soon enough though. I’ll update here if I get any more information during the day.

Franks Stapleton and McLintock reckon Morientes would be a decent addition to the Arsenal squad, but not at the expense of Vieira. Cheers Franks.

In other news Sylvain Wiltord could hook up with his old strike partner, Nicholas Anelka, at Manchester City. How interesting. See the new stadium getting built before your very eyes with the Arsenal stadium web cam. Count the trains. It’s a larf an hour, or so. Not much else happening this morning.

*John the foreman prayed at work.


july 15th

Ok, let’s start with Vieira. Freddie Ljungberg has put the thoughts of most Arsenal fans into words and sent a message to the Arsenal captain. Freddie says “If I have a message for him it's simple: let's stay together and build something really special at Arsenal.”

The Times asks ‘Why would Vieira even want to go to Madrid?’, and it’s a pretty good question, while The Independent suggests that Arsenal selling Vieira would be a step backwards. They also have some interesting stats at the bottom of that article regarding Vieira, Roy Keane and Steven Gerrard. The Keane and Vieira stats are fine, but check out Liverpool with and without Gerrard.

Yesterday’s stories were made all the more interesting by the total lack of Vieira stories in the Spanish press who were more interested in reporting Real’s interest in Emerson from Roma. Even today the stories in Marca and AS (the two Madrid friendly sports dailies) are more or less rehashing what was in The Mirror yesterday. AS are reporting that we’re interested in Morientes as well, and that he might be used in some kind of deal involving Henry or Vieira. Zzzzzz. Maybe we are interested in Fernando, but not at the expense of either of those two.

The Sun has gotten in on the act now as well. After their shit-stirring two years ago when Mark Irwin was Marc Roget’s mouthpiece and published article after article about Madrid, and one criticising Arsenal’s summer signings, they now quote a source ‘close to Vieira’ saying that Paddy is unhappy with the signings and failure to strengthen the squad this summer. The source says “He thinks the current defence is lacking when it comes to winning the trophy he wants most — the Champions League. He feels let down that the club has not significantly strengthened their defence since last season. He believes Arsenal need a top-quality keeper to replace Jens Lehmann, a centre-back to play alongside Sol Campbell and a right-back.”

I don’t think that even merits comment. When a ‘source’ or a ‘friend’ or ‘someone close to X’ spills to the paper, it generally means it’s made up. Of course if it’s true then you might worry, but it’s not. It’s shit-stirring during a very slow summer. All in all it’s a big lot of nothing at the moment, agent speak, Perez speak Sun and Mirror speak, and let’s be honest, when those people speak, you take it was a very large pinch of salt.

Enough Vieira – some other stuff. Ray Parlour is in talks with Middlesboro, according to the Guardian. Looks like we’re going to sell all our central midfielders. Arsenal finally announced the signing of Manuel Almunia. Arseblog readers have known for some time he’s been signed now. Anyway, he’s going to play second fiddle to Jens Lehmann and let’s hope he’s worth the punt the boss has taken on him.

Finally for today, check out this site for cool t-shirts. The bloke who runs it is a Gooner and his most popular shirt is the Mrs Pires one. Picture here. Anyway, take a look. I've ordered mine, so I have. If you see Mrs Pires in the streets of Barcelona you can buy me a beer.


july 14th

The Vieira stuff rumbles on, with The Mirror and Martin Lipton seemingly intent on doing most of Florentino Perez’s dirty work for him. They claim, without any kind of quote from either party, that during Euro 2004 Paddy asked Zinedine Zidane to help him move to Madrid.

It’s nice to know that Zidane is not only one of the best players in the world, he’s now an agent. The Mirror also says about Zidane “That probably explains why Zidane has suddenly began enthusing about Vieira to Real fans on his website, hailing the Senegal-born star as "The best midfielder I know".

Yes, suddenly. You know, all of a sudden. Meaning ‘recently’, right? No. Those quotes from Zidane’s website are old, old news. In fact, I think they might stem from this time last year when Real were doing their best to sign Vieira then, too.

Meanwhile Perez has said “There are no players that are not for sale. The only problem is the money. He added: "This business works by winning trophies and by signing a 'galactico' each season. I am going to continue the policy of bringing one in every year.”

He can also continue the policy of being underhand, devious and dishonest. He is in charge of a club with a mountainous debt, that has been bailed out by the Spanish government with a dodgy land deal yet still has a deficit of more than €300m. He is now using the press here, and The Mirror in particular, as his own personal Marca, the journalistic mouthpiece of Real Madrid here in Spain. If Real want a player they use Marca to let their interest be known and to unsettle the player and his club. He obviously wants Vieira, but instead of going about it the normal way, talking to the club to try and reach some kind of agreement, he’s chosen a path which will only have one response from the club, and Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood more or less told Perez to go fuck himself yesterday.

Perez has decided the only way he can get Vieira is to unsettle the player, promise him this, that and the other, and hope that the player will then become so unhappy at Arsenal that he’ll request a transfer and the club won’t want to keep a player that doesn’t want to play for them. Vieira’s agent has been quoted in press saying all the right things about how Madrid need to go through proper channels and talk to Arsenal, but how much of that is just words? All in all it’s tremendously cunty behaviour from Madrid, but then at this stage who expects anything different from them? They’re fast becoming, if they’re not already, the club that fans from all over the world love to hate.

Just playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment though, if there was ever a ‘good’ time for Arsenal to sell Vieira, wouldn’t it be now? Not from a playing point of view obviously, but the fact that he’s at an age where he still commands a large fee, he’s got 3 years left on his contract and from his point of view he knows Madrid won’t really want him in a couple of years time. Arsenal get a big fee, he leaves knowing he didn’t do a Bosman and that he’s given the club 7 or 8 seasons of excellent service? Could be begrudge him that if he did decide he wants to leave? And could Arsenal survive without him? Of course we could.

Anyway, my personal opinion is that Madrid want the best midfielder in the world. It’s normal. Arsenal have the best midfielder in the world, he’s under contract, and Wenger, Dein, Hill-Wood et al would rather sell Vieira to Spurs for 50p than let him go to Madrid they way they’ve behaved. I suppose now it’s all down to the player himself.

If he really wants to go, then what can we do? Pocket £30m+ and buy somebody new. That’s what. I don't think we'll need to though.


july 13th

Dennis Bergkamp believes Arsenal can continue their unbeaten run in the Premiership (according to The Sun the odds on us repeating that feat are just 20-1), and that we just need a little bit of luck in Europe to achieve something there. With the Champions League now a knock-out tournament from the first group stage on, he has a point. And talking of his personal aims for next season, DB says “My aim is to play as many games as possible and be one of our 11 starting players again. I’ve still got the hunger and the appetite. I just love football.”

Freddie Ljungberg has dismissed the News of the World’s report that he’s fed up with Arsenal fans. He says “It really upset me to read the stories over the weekend that I'm fed up with the Arsenal fans - nothing could be further from the truth."

Arsenal are one of the top 8 seeds for the Champions League. The full list is . Real Madrid – Valencia – Barcelona -  Manchester United - Bayern Munich - Deportivo La Coruna – Arsenal – Porto. Liverpool and Chelsea are in the second seeded group.

Edu wants a new contract. The smiling Brazilian is away at the Copa America at the moment, but he took time out to say “I would like to stay at Arsenal. I've been there for more than three years and something special is happening at the club."

Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood on Real Madrid’s interest in Patrick Vieira. “Real Madrid being linked has happened so often and is starting to become very irritating. There is nothing you can do about it except treat it with contempt.”

Quite right, Sir. Right, that’s it. Till later, perhaps.


july 12th

On July 7th I told you how Real Madrid were talking about Patrick Vieira again. The elections to sort out who will be president of the club are ongoing/upcoming and all the candidates are talking the talk. It looks like the current president, Florentino Perez, has retained his position, gaining 91% of the vote.

This morning all the papers and news wires are reporting Perez’s intention to sign the best players in the world for every position, and according to Perez “Patrick Vieira is, in my opinion, the best in the world in his position."

Well, duh. That policy doesn’t quite explain the Raul Bravos of this Madrid team though, does it? Real’s policy of buying a superstar attacking player each summer, doing deals with sponsors which require these players to play even if it’s not in the best interests of the player or the team and ignoring the basic need for a defence really paid off last season as they buckled and crashed from from a winning 1st to a Liverpoolesque 4th place in the league. Madrid’s debts have increased under Perez too, their deficit was reported to be more than €300m in one of the Sunday papers yesterday. However, he has provided them with Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo and Beckham, so the Madrid fans can put some measure of trust in him.

Anyway, there’s nothing new in any of the Spanish papers about this story, it’s all taken from the quotes last week. Should we worry? I don’t think so. The Presidential candidates were talking about bringing in Rooney, Jesus, Major Tom and Billy Whizz, so adding Vieira to the list is nothing to rattle the bones. Plus the ‘Vieira to Madrid’ thing is pretty much an annual event now. Try something new, Merengues. Arseblog verdict: ZZzzzz.

According to the Mirror, Sol Campbell will sign a new Arsenal deal before the start of the new season, accepting a £50,000 pay cut along the way. When Sol signed from Spurs he came on a Bosman and therefore got a big signing on fee paid over the duration of his existing contract. His wages will now fall into line with the other top earners at the club like Vieira and Henry.


july 11th

I can’t find any Arsenal news online yet. It is quite early on Sunday morning though, so maybe some stuff will appear later in the day.

However, my exclusive-sniffing source (he sniffs out exclusives, he doesn’t sniff in an exclusive fashion) inside the national newspaper industry has pointed me in the direction of a couple of stories which exist in print but haven’t been interneted yet.

1 – Apparently there’s an article saying Arsenal intend to reward Sol Campbell’s rock-like performances by slashing his wages. There are also some ‘arsey unattributed quotes’ involved. The Sunday Mirror last week said Chelsea were interested in Sol because of this upcoming wages problem. Anyway, it sounds like someone stirring shit to me.

2 – Apparently there’s an article in which Freddie Ljungberg complains about the way Arsenal fans like him, and the claustrophobic small-town goldfish bowl of living in London, so he wants away to Madrid where the fans won't hassle him’. Well, there’s no place like Spain for respecting the privacy of celebrities. Pfffffff.

3 – AW says England have no hope at international level because there’s no winter break. And here’s me thinking it was because the manager is a weak-willed clown and the players aren’t nearly as good as everyone seems to think they are.

Silvinho has joined Barcelona. Good for him. Always liked that funny raised-by-wolves looking fella.

Have a good Sunday.


july 10th

Here are some things which are not happening.

  • Martin Keown will not be playing for Portsmouth next season
  • Dean Shiels will not not be playing for Hibernian next season
  • Arsene Wenger will not be making any major purchases before next season
  • Jermaine Pennant is not turning up late for training
  • I will not be drinking again until next season

That is all.


july 9th

Squad number madness to start the day off. I can confirm that Robin van Persie has been handed the number 11 jersey, previously worn by Sylvain Wiltord. Francis Jeffers is back at the club and in pre-season training, and his number is going to be 29 (don’t all rush out at once to buy your Jeffers jerseys). Numbers 2, 5 and 6 are still unused and look like they’re going to remain that way.

However, number 2 could go to Hatem Trabelsi, who is on the point of signing, but his agent is trying to play the game a little bit which could end up backfiring on him. The player has been told by Ajax to make his damn mind up and they say “Hatem has made much progress with a club from England, and we hope for a solution.”

Manuel Almunia is ‘set for the Gunners’ according to the BBC. He’s more than set. He’s here and training and in an interview with Marca he’s said he’s very happy to be at a big club like Arsenal and that’s he’s not feeling at all left out because of the amount of Spanish speakers at the club. Lauren, Reyes and Cesc are all around to help him settle in, and the new keeper was very impressed by Dennis Bergkamp in his first training sessions at the club. As one keeper arrives another departs as Graham Stack goes on loan for the season to Milwall. Good luck to him there. And as we reported on June 15th, young Danish striker Niklas Bendtner has arrived at the club.

Finally, AW has turned down the ‘chance’ to manage the German national side, saying he intends to honour his contract with Arsenal which runs out in 2005. Which is next year. Gasp! I don’t think there’s too much to worry about though. I believe he’ll stay for at least a couple of seasons at Ashburton Grove, so we’ve got a good few years with him yet.


july 8th

It’s not been the best few days for Ray Parlour. First his wife got his divorce settlement ammended so she now gets a fucking fortune instead of a regular old fortune, and secondly his agent Steve Kuttner has confirmed that he’s not going to be offered a new deal by Arsenal. That means he might go this summer, or he’ll stay on and leave on a Bosman next summer. The Bosman and the hefty signing on fee might be the way to go, especially with a creative accountant who can manage to hide a few quid from his ex-wife.

Arturo Lupoli is delighted to have joined the Gunners. He says “An experience like the one I am living can only be defined in one way – fantastic. Everything seems perfect here.”

Arseweb dug up an exclusive on the new kits yesterday, and Arsenal Mania did a bit more digging. Follow the links to see pics of the new kit. I have to say the back of the home kit looks fucking horrible, it looks like it was designed with crayons by a bunch of special kids in a padded room, and I don’t know what the keeper’s jersey is about, but it’s less than impressive.

Also, in the latest merchandise catalogue you’ll see all kinds of new Arsenal leisure and training wear. Some of it you can see here in the pre-season training pictures. Now, I know Nike have been very forthcoming with money that’s invaluable to the new stadium project, but did nobody at Arsenal tell them that red and black are Manchester United colours? Arsenal = RED and WHITE. Not too difficult. It’s just not right seeing our boys in those kits. Seriously now, how many fans are going to buy an Arsenal shirt in Man United colours? A tremendous faux pas by the club and Nike. Let your wallets do the talking people. Between that and the poxy blue away kit I fear for the season ahead.


july 7th

The Arturo Lupoli signing was confirmed by Arsenal.con late yesterday afternoon, countless hours after Arseblog revealed the young Italian had signed for the club. You know where to come for your transfer exclusives, oh yes.

Sadly I don’t have any further exclusives for you today, but it is thought that the club will announce the signing of Spanish keeper Miguel Aluminium (who has definitely signed according to the Spanish press) and possibly Hatem Trabelsi at some stage this week.


The Spanish press are also reporting that as the Real Madrid presidential election hots up, new manager José Camacho wants a ‘destructor’ in midfield. As they say themselves ‘a Makelele, but better’. The two main targets are Emerson from Roma and, you’ve guessed it, Patrick Vieira.

According to AS.com - “ ...Madrid asked Arsenal what price they wanted for Vieira and Henry before Euro 2004, but David Dein said they were not available for transfer. However, a poor European Championships has placed Vieira on the market.”

They make up more crap than I do.

In more Arsenal.con news I did get a reply last week from somebody who’s obviously got ambitions to be a politician as he failed to answer any of the questions I asked him. I understand that the video footage on Arsenal+ is use Microsoft’s DRM stuff and as such it makes it 100% incompatible with Macintosh and the version of Windows Media Player. However, audio is not as restrictive and therefore it should be possible to make match day commentary available to Mac users. I’ll let know if I get a straight answer from them.

That’s yer lot.


july 6th

The main news this morning is that we’ve signed an Italian striker.  Granted he’s only 17 years old, but Arturo Lupoli is definitely an Arsenal player and he’ll take part in his first training session today. He joins on another Cesc-esque deal, where the player hasn’t agreed a contract with his club enabling him to join another for little or nothing. It’s believed Parma will get somewhere in the region of £200,000 compensation though.

I don’t know too much about him, apart from the fact he’s represented Italy at various junior levels and has scored goals at all of them. To see a picture of him go here, and as far as I can make out he’s the blond lad, back row, last on the right beside the pink shirted keeper.

And according to the press here in Spain, Miguel Aluminium has signed for Arsenal after going through a rigorous medical yesterday. A fee of €4m has been mentioned.

Thierry Henry has hit back at Jaques Santini’s assertion that he had a fight with Robert Pires. TH took time off from his holidays to issue a statement, saying "How can you imagine that I would have a fight with Robert? It just isn't true. You know what I am tired of ? I am so tired of having to say that all this crap is wrong. Robert and myself are good friends and we had an argument that was finished as soon as it had started. No fight. Nothing like that.”

Former Gunner Stephen Hughes has been signed by Coventry. He was a languid (lazy?) midfielder, and his handy knack of scoring goals against Chelsea and his sweet left foot made many people think he had a bright future at the club. But AW sold him to Everton and he didn’t make it there. He then went to Watford and didn’t make it there. Then Charlton signed him and I don’t think he played a single game for them, so you’d have to think this is going to be make or break for him now. I hope it all goes well for him.

The non-Euro 2004 Gunners are back at pre-season training now, so hopefully this will mean a bit more news over the coming weeks.


july 5th

Well, the big news this morning is that new Spurs boss Jaques Cuntini is a cunt. Having moulded a squad of exceptionally talented French players into a plodding, unflushable log of shite in Euro 2004, he took it upon himself to reveal that Robert Pires and Thierry Henry had a training ground bust-up. Yet another attempt to deflect attention from his poor management and it’s almost Hoddle-esque the way he’s brought to light things that should stay private. He’s even hinted that because training sessions had to be controlled more closely France lost the competitive edge that might have won them the tournament. Have you ever heard such bollocks in all your life? This is from a man who, man for man, had the most talented and experienced squad in Euro 2004, yet was unable to get them playing anything approaching good football. He’s a spoofer, a chancer and a coward, trying to save face by blaming others, and who better for the new Spurs manager to blame than two Arsenal players?

Before Euro 2004 Spurs fans were crowing about their new manager. It now turns out the bloke can’t speak any English, his teams play shite football, he has no loyalty to his players, his eyes are bogglier than Houllier's, and he doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. A perfect fit for Tottenham then.

In other news, PSG are after Igors Stepanovs, we’re chasing young Parma striker Franceso Lupoli (a deal which has already been completed, I'm told), and Kanu has got married as this rather strange piece reveals.

Greece won Euro 2004 then. Good for them. They reminded me of George Graham’s Arsenal and they made little Ronaldo cry. Can’t ask for much more than that. All in all though it was a pretty poor tournament and more proof that international football is second rate.

How was your weekend then?


july 4th

There’s really very little going on this Sunday.

Arsene Wenger reckons Wayne Rooney will be playing for Manchester United or Chelsea next season, and not long after saying we don’t need big lump, he says he’d love him at the club. AW says “I dream at night of bringing him to Arsenal, but that’s all it is, a fantasy. I think Rooney will be a United player next season. They know they have to act because Chelsea will do something big and they cannot afford to be left behind.”

I think he’s obviously a very talented player, but I’d still like to wait and see what he does for the next couple of seasons before I’m convinced he’s the second coming. And I know his star is on the rise, but surely whoever’s advising him needs a good slap for the sappy drivel that’s all over this week’s News of the World. I’m reminded of that classic old joke about keeping a picture of the mother-in-law on the mantelpiece to keep the kids away from the fire. Fireplace sized piccies of Wayne could be a life-saver.

According to RTE, Graham Stack is set to leave Arsenal, and as previously reported he could be on his way to Milwall. Stackie says “I think this could be a brilliant opportunity for me. Working with Dennis Wise and Ray Wilkins is an exciting proposition and I think Millwall are a club with big ambitions. I had a great time with Arsenal.”

Graham Stack + Milwall + pitch invasions = fun/carnage. Best of luck to him.

It’s a bit grey and overcast here today, so bang go my plans of spending the day on the beach, although I might just head down there with the papers anyway and hope the sun comes out. Till later.


july 3rd

Well the main news this morning is about Hatem Trabelsi. I’m reliably informed that the deal to bring the Ajax defender to the club is pretty much done and dusted. Just a bit of dotting and crossing to be completed between the two clubs, the player himself is said to have agreed terms on the move already. He’s a very athletic, attacking right full back and you have to wonder about the future of Lauren if this signing does go through. Our current right back has a year to run on his deal. Will the club let him go for free next summer or get a few bob back on him in the coming weeks?

Anyway, Trabelsi is 99% sure to be Arsenal player next season. Meanwhile, Pascal Cygan is trying to engineer a move back to France and he’s unhappy at not playing enough. I’m sure he’ll do well enough back there, but his game was never good enough to cope with the Premiership. The bald man says “Since I am not playing at Arsenal, it is true that I would like to come back to France. But the offer that myself and my agent have made to Lille was refused. Financially, I will make a sacrifice by coming back to France, but I think that Lille should also make an effort.”

Let’s hope they can work something out, for all concerned. Channel4’s Italian football page says we’re after Sebastian Frey again. Not sure there’s much to this one as we’ve got Miguel Aluminium coming from Celta.

That’s about the size of it for this stage on on a Saturday morning. I’m off to the market to buy meat and fish.


july 2nd

A few bits and pieces for you this morning.

There were further developments on the keeper front as reports suggested we’re very close to signing Celta Vigo’s Miguel Aluminium. Apparently he’ll hardly cost us anything at all because they still owe us money from when they signed Silvinho. I am struggling to understand why we’d be so interested in a keeper who has spent the last two seasons out on loan at struggling La Liga teams. Anyway, it looks like it’s going to happen and you can begin speculating yourselves on what that means for Stuart Taylor and Graham Stack (who is wanted by Milwall).

Patrick Vieira has poured scorn on L’Arsenal French Revolution as reported the other day. He says “It is scandalous! Everyone loves Zizou.” So there you go. David Bentley will wear number 10 for Norwich next season. Maybe when he comes back to Arsenal he’ll be the new DB10. We're also being linked with a move for Hatem Trabelsi, a move which is complicated by his contract problems with Ajax.

Not much to say on the Euros, only that if anyone had predicted a Portugal v Greece final you’d have given them very lengthy odds.

You might remember the other day I was talking about Portugal being wary of Ruud van Nistelrooy and I used this picture to suggest they might have a point. Well, in pure Fark or B3ta style, we’ve had some fun with it on the forums. Click here to see Ruud in all his glory.

Finally, congratulations to long-time Arser Searsy and his lovely wife, Mrs Searsy, on the birth of Canadia’s newest Arsenal fan. Brendan James will grow up to captain the Gunners, provided his mother does her duty and keeps him away from hockey. Dad is said to ‘pumped’. Well done to you both.


july 1st 2004

Welcome to a brand new month on Arseblog, and what better way to kick off a brand new month than with a piece of transfer news so incredible it’ll shake you to your very boots?

So, if anyone has any incredible transfer news, please let me know.

We have some transfer news, but it’s far from incredible. Alex Bailey, one of the 17 players released by the club last week, has joined Chesterfield and the lad is worried about being homesick. Good luck to him, anyway. Swegyptian goalkeeper Rami Shaaban (bless you) could stay in England as, according to his agent, that’s his preference. Alleged goalkeeping target Robert Green has signed a new deal at Norwich, meaning Arsenal weren’t interested at all. And that’s about your lot when it comes to Arsenal news.

The first semi-final took place last night and the hosts went through against a pretty poor Dutch side. Ruud had a few words to neigh about the referee, who booked Arjen Robben for repeated simulation (diving, not Bowie on Ronson’s guitar type), but Holland didn’t create anything much and were lucky to have scored from a freaky deaky own goal by Jorge Andrade. A fair result and Portugal’s involvement has kept what has been a pretty poor tournament festive and interesting.

The second semi is on tonight as the Czech’s hope the Greeks won’t give them a bit of Greek like they did to France. You’d have to think Greece have gone as far as they can in this tournament, but it’s a funny old game blah blah blah. The one thing I am sure of though is that Nedved will get a yellow card somewhere along the way and Jesper Gronkjaer will be the new Slaven Bilic. Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen, but you just know it will.

That’s it. I’m off to invent some transfer stories.


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