Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Arsenal Paper Round: Wednesday July 28, 2010

Morning Gooners.

Arsenal's trip to Austria ended yesterday with a routine 4-0 win against SC Neusiedl 1919. They were due to fly straight back to London in preparation for the Emirates Cup this weekend. I've already blogged about the match and given a short player by player critique.

There is a bit of activity to get us going though already.

With Johan Djourou coming off last night after 29 minutes, there has to be concern over an injury to him. That is now a major problem for us because of Sol Campbell's apparent decision to turn down a contract with us and sign for Newcastle. Nothing has yet been confirmed but there were rumours that Campbell was due to have a medical with the Magpies.

The Daily Telegraph say the deal offered to Campbell is a one-year contact with an option for a further season on £35,000-per-week. If anything is confirmed I will update later.

Obviously this is a major blow to us if Campbell does sign. However I always thought that pinning our hopes on a 35-year-old in the twilight of his career was madness. I would have personally signed him, but only as fifth choice. He would have provided good back up as and when the injuries crop up and also been an excellent pro for the youngsters to learn from.

Luckily though we've been linked with the signing of two defenders this morning then.

The Daily Mirror suggests we could be looking at Per Mertesacker He's 25-years-old, plays for Werder Bremen and has two years on his current contract.

The other defender is Phil Jagielka linked by the Daily Telegraph.

Whoever the player is, we need to make sure they are of the caliber we need to compete in both the Premier League and Champions League. The deal needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later, that is for certain.

Maybe if Campbell does sign for Newcastle it could be a blessing in disguise. Arsene Wenger does need to restock our defence with the experienced professionals we've allowed to leave the club.

The other main line of transfer activity this morning concerns a possible move for Italian World Cup goal keeper Federico Marchetti. He's been linked by both  The Sun and the Daily Mail.

The 27-year-old is certainly of the right pedigree needed and has told his club he wants to leave. He played in all three World Cup group games for his country.

Cagliari club president Massimo Cellino said :
"Marchetti has expressed his desire to leave. The only real club pushing for his signature is Arsenal and we will do everything to make him happy."
A statement on the club's official website has also confirmed the player is available.
"Cagliari Calcio take note of the fact that Federico Marchetti has expressed his wish to leave due to his declaration with the press.
"The club will do everything to make him content. Should Marchetti really have to leave Cagliari, then the regular keeper will be Agazzi. Cagliari aren't looking for another keeper." 
There are more mutterings on the Cesc Fabregas saga.

It follows a report in the Spanish press which suggested Arsenal have a 'secret deal' with Barcelona, as reported by Daily Mirror.

Barcelona have since come out and said they are still doing all they can to sign Fabregas even though they have no money to offer a realistic transfer fee for him. There spokesman has finally understood our position as highlighted in The Guardian.

He said:  
"Arsenal don't want to sit down and negotiate with us. It's not a problem with the wishes of Cesc or of Barça – they simply don't want to negotiate."
Charlie Wyett of The Sun managed to grab a few words with Arsene after the game last night.

Wenger said:
"There are still noises from Barcelona - but that is all it is.
"In our job you don't worry about things you cannot control.
"We are very happy with Cesc at the club. He is a very important and is our captain. We have worked very hard with him."
A few other bits and bobs going on this morning.
Gaël Clichy say he believes we have no excuses if we don't win the league this season. The story is running in The Guardian.

He said:
"I remember a few years ago saying it was a time for Arsenal to win and still nothing happened. I really hope this year can be a good one and now we cannot hide behind anything – the age or the experience. We have everything to do it – so let's do it.
"It is always at the end of season that we are not that far [behind] and Arsenal had a good season but we didn't win anything.
"We have to ask ourselves the right questions: do we want to be a good team or to win trophies? To win trophies we have to be the best and that is what we are trying to do from now on. We want to show the fans that we believe in ourselves."
Yes he is right. Arsenal do need to win something this season. But that cannot only be down to the players. It is also influenced by the manager and the board.

If the funds for new players aren't available to the manager, then he has to work with what he's got. If however he chooses to go with the squad that he's got and they under perform, then the blame for no trophies lies with the manager.

I just hope that Arsene does himself justice this season. We know he has money to spend. It is important that the board make clear that a strong title challenge is needed. It would be awful if his legacy was of trophyless season after season once we moved to the new stadium.

On another note, Jack Wilshere has been talking about the boss and how he's influenced his career with the official site.

Thomas Vermaelen has been speaking about the Emirates Cup with Arsenal.com.

And finally for this morning England under 19 international Thomas Cruise has been telling Arsenal.com how Cesc Fabregas has proved to be an "ininspiration" to all of the youngsters at the Club.

He said:
"He's a real inspiration to all of the younger players at Arsenal.
"Everyone looks up to him because he's one of the best players in the world. He's always there to offer advice and he's a role model, but all of the first team are too."
Lets hope Fabregas is still in the side when Cruise breaks through to the first team.

Unfortunately for Cruise, his England team lost 3-1 to Spain in the semi-final of the European Under-19 Championships. There is a report on ESPN.

And that's your lot. Hopefully there will post match reaction from Arsene Wenger at some stage today. If there is I'll talk about it on Twitter.

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