Arseblog: Friday 13th June 2003

june 13th

08.53 – First off this morning we’ll say congratulations to Arsene Wenger who has been awarded an honourary OBE for his work and success at Arsenal. Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier was given the same honour for his service to defenders and managing to spend over £100m in 4 seasons and still not being realstic title contenders.

AW said “It is a great honour to be given this individual award, but as football is a team sport, I must give a great deal of credit and recognition to everyone that has helped me since I became manager of Arsenal in 1996. I’m looking forward to receiving the award in July and also to achieving more great things with Arsenal Football Club.”

According to The Sun, Arsenal want Leeds pair Harry Kewell and Paul Robinson. These were the main targets outlined at a meeting of the Arsenal board early in the week. The Sun speculates that Ray Parlour could be used as part of the deal, while The Independent suggests that Jermaine Pennant plus cash could be used to buy Kewell. I would be surprised if he let Pennant go without giving him a chance, and it’s more likely that Parlour, Jeffers or Gio would be used as makeweights in any deal.

However Jeffers says “I have three years left on my contract. I am happy to stay and fight for my place in the team.

Still little or no speculation regarding a decent centre-half though. It could be because negotiations are underway for Philippe Mexes, Jaap Stam, Edmilson, Lucio, John Terry, William Gallas, Gareth Southgate, Nesta, Cannvaro, Kevin Hofland, Gary Breen, Djimi Traore, Ivan Helguera, Roberto Ayala, Olaf Mellberg, Jean-Pierre Nomark or Philippe Senderos (delete where appropriate) and nothing is being leaked to the press because negotiations are at an advanced stage. We were expectng Philippe Senderos to join on June 1st, but no official announcement has been made as of yet.

There are lots of rumours about Arsenal signing a French defender from another Premiership club. Everyone is thinking Gallas. Could be Djetou, couldn’t it – although tecnically we’d be signing him from Parma.. Gallas it is then. Or Hofland. Or Mellberg etc

Reserve team coach Eddie ‘copy and paste’ Niedzwiecki is confident that some of Arsenal’s youth can make the breakthrough to the first team next season even if the standards being set for them are very high. “They have proved it at reserve team level, some have proved it when they go out on loan, now they have to prove it in the Premiership. This club wants to win the Champions League and the Premiership so those are the standards they know they have to get to.If they don’t get to those standards then unfortunately they will not be Arsenal players.”

Tough job kids. The usual suspects are mentioned. Pennant, Aliaidiere, Ryan Garry, Sebastian Svard and David Bentley.

Right, today I’m off to Camp Nou to negotiate a multi-million Turkish Lira transfer for myself. They’re looking for a new carpark attendant, I can’t drive. Should be fun.

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