Sunday, 15 May 2011

Wenger makes first signing - £30m Nasri offer - Hill Wood out?

Morning Gooners.

Last home game of the season today and as I make my way to the ground, I know the chatter with my mates will only be about a season which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. One where we were written off by the critics at the start of the campaign but we fought hard on all four fronts and still came away with nothing, ultimately proving our detractors right.

Let's hope a rousing victory will help lift the mood of Gooners in the ground as the player make the walk of shame around the pitch at the end of the match. The atmosphere could be lifted prior to kick off if Thomas Vermaelen is named in the starting 11. It would be good to see him back in an Arsenal defence.

Hopefully Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri will be involved as well, if they have passed late fitness tests which were due to take place yesterday.

Prior to the game there will be a peaceful march to the ground by supporters of the Black Scarf Movement also known as Where Has Our Arsenal Gone. The group has released a statement to the News of the World calling for chairman Peter Hill Wood to resign.

It says:
"We are concerned that the board is ignoring the views of its fans and mistreating those who have been loyal to the club for many years.

"We call for the immediate removal of Hill-Wood as chairman.

"His recent assertions that the club's supporters are 'silly' and 'stupid' for voicing an opinion is an utter disgrace.

"Mr Hill-Wood would do well to realise that without supporters and their funding since the club's inception, Arsenal FC would not exist today."

The chairman is just a figure head, he really holds no power at the club and personally although I'm appalled he said what he did, I don't think removing him from the board would change very much. I would be very surprised however if PHW was still chairman in 18 months time.

One man who won't be waving his last goodbyes to supporters today will be Pat Rice after Arsene Wenger announced his assistant will sign a new one year deal at the club. Cue: Pat Rice is like a new signing!

Personally I'm pleased that Rice is staying. He is obviously deeply trusted by Wenger and if the former full back's renewed commitment to the club makes Wenger's job of tinkering with the team this summer easier, I'm all for that.

That said., I do believe we'll see some changes in the back room staff, with perhaps one or two new faces brought in and I don't think that would be such a bad thing.

The manager has revealed he thinks he was wrong to go all out for the Carling Cup.

"I thought it would ease the pressure on the players and then we would play more relaxed. 

"It worked against us, completely against us. From then on it became more difficult.

"When you do not win, people always think you do not want it enough. Believe me, these people want it desperately. But we lacked composure."

I don't think you can blame the fact we actively tried to win silverware as our downfall and all the surveys completed by supporters at the end of last season pinpointed to us not fielding strong teams in the domestic cups as an area we should improve on this term.

Wenger selected teams in each round of the Carling and FA Cups which should have beaten the opposition at the first time of asking. However, I believe it was the FA Cup replays we could have done without, which made January and February marathons, when we could have had a few midweeks without games thereby giving the players more recovery time. In the end that all caught up with us.

Elsewhere, Alisher Usmanov has revealed to the Sunday Times he's requested a face to face meeting with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke after deciding he won't be selling his shares.

There are a few transfer rumours to get through.

The News of the World and Daily Express both say Bayern Munich are interested in Samir Nasri. The prices quoted for the player, who enters the last year of his contract are £30m and £25m.

Sky Sports report Paris Saint Germain defender Mamadou Sakho, 21, is to stay in France for another season.

The News of the World say Leighton Baines is being lined up to replace Gael Clichy.

And the Daily Star Sunday say Chelsea could bid up to £15m for Andrey Arshavin.

You know when silly season has arrived when papers run stories like this one in The People about Jack Wilshere supposedly trying to get new clients for his agents.

Follow Ashburton Grove on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

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