Arseblog: Tuesday 27th January 2004

january 27th

15.59 – It’s a red letter day for Arsenal as all reports suggest that we’ve signed Jose Antonio Reyes from Sevilla. No idea of the fee yet, no doubt it will be another undisclosed job from Arsenal, but €30m is being mentioned. There’s been no official confirmation from the club yet, but the player himself has announced it on his website saying “I’m the happiest man and the saddest man at the same time. I’m leaving the best club in Spain to join the best in England”

The fact that Arsenal’s head scout Steve Rowley has watched nearly every game this boy has played is a testament to his talent and how much Arsene Wenger wants him. We’ve just signed an exceptionally good player Arsenal fans, and he’ll be our new number 9. He could make his debut against Man City at the weekend.  This is great stuff.

Bienvenido a el Arsenal, José.

More on this tomorrow.

08.37 – Now I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but there’s something just a bit off about drawing Chelsea in the FA Cup for the fourth year in a row. Anyway, it just means we’ve got another game against Chelsea not long before we play them at Stamford Bridge in the league. They could be the next Boro. The only other tie of interest is the possible Manchester derby – provided Keegan’s team actually win a game for once and dispose of the Lily Whites in the replay.

Arsene Wenger has had  a little pop at FIFA and their recent announcement about their centenary game which could affect Arsenal and other clubs badly if they reach the FA Cup final. FIFA have also announced the World Club Championship will return from the scuttery grave it was consigned to a few years ago. When the subject of Arsenal taking part was broached the boss said “The only interest is financial, it’s not sport. So we might consider it purely for financial reasons but the responsibility of FIFA is to keep the level of football high and always try to push it higher. What people enjoy is to see the best against the best. It’s happening in the Champions League, but it wouldn’t happen in the Club World Championship.”

Fairly damning, you have say. And he’s dead right. FIFA talk all the time about players playing too many matches, how players have to be protected, and then they dream up dead-end tournaments like this. Patrick Kluivert has denied he’s signed a pre-contract agreement with Arsenal. There’s been lots of speculation about this transfer in the UK press, but nothing at all in the papers here in Spain. At this stage it seems like a non-runner. Some more from David Bentley – “I know everyone is making comparisons right now, but to even be mentioned in the same breath as Bergkamp is an honour. I have a very, very long way to go to be put in the same class as Dennis. He is my hero and as a player he’s on a different planet.”

Right, I’m off to the airport. My mother is coming to stay and she’s bringing sausages.

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