Sunday, 24 July 2011

Arsenal to hijack £17m striker? -Wenger to increase defender bid -PHW on Nasri

Morning Gooners.

Another pre-season game played, means we're that bit closer to the start of the Premier League season. Just 21 days until we face Newcastle at St James Park. I was impressed with our attacking first half display. On the evidence of watching Gervinho for 30 minutes, it looks like Arsene Wenger has brought someone into the squad who can add something different to our current mix. His running off the ball and finishing were superb. From what the manager said post match his withdrawal after 30 minutes was down to a knock he picked up when he collided with the Cologne goalkeeper for his second goal.

Having just spent just two weeks training - and only one of those with the rest of the squad - a 30 minute cameo was probably enough of a work out for him anyway. However he did disappoint in one area... his goal celebration. It wasn't the Roger Milla celebration I was expecting.

I thought Cologne were decent opposition. They caused our defence a lot of problems. If Arsene Wenger can's see that we need to sort these issues - which I'm sure he can - we're going to go through the season we've just been through again.

Carl Jenkinson's goal was amazing - although it was in the wrong net - but I love the fact he cares so much. He was devastated by his mistake. I hope he picks himself up and goes forward, because unfortunately that probably won't be the only own goal he scores in his career.

A word for Conor Henderson also. He looks to have picked up a serious knee injury. I hope it is not as bad as first feared and he makes a swift recovery. He looked like he was going to start pushing on after last seasons exploits in the first team.

All in all though, I thought it was a positive game apart from our defensive frailties being so visible again and Henderson's injury. The squad have remained in Germany where they will spend the next four days doing intensive training.

If you've yet to see the goals in our 2-1 win, watch them here.

A round-up now of the stories making the Sunday papers.

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has said the club are prepared to take a £20m+ hit on Samir Nasri to keep him at the club for the forthcoming season.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, the chairman said:
"It is possible we could lose the player on a free transfer but we are prepared to take that risk."
Which I believe is madness. Let's hope that Ivan Gazidis can get a grip on this situation and persuade Arsene Wenger that the price on Nasri's head is too good to turn down when the player is in the final season of his contract. We would be absolutely crazy to turn down a substantial offer for the player. We're always told the club carries on no matter who leaves, so why aren't we making the same rule for Nasri?

Yes, he had an exceptional six months at the start of last season, but when the going got tough he disappeared. We can replace him. He's not the world class player he thinks he is.

The latest on the Cesc Fabregas saga appears to be that Barcelona have or will submit a new bid. The People say the latest offer will be £33m - still way short of our valuation. However their story falls down when it suggest Arsene Wenger is flying back from Germany today to meet with Gazidis to discuss this deal when he's staying in Germany for the next four days.

The Sunday Express say we want Thiago Alcantara as part of the deal, which would also include the Spaniards paying us £25m - something I think is wide of the mark because if we'd wanted a deal which included Alcantara, I think it would have been done by now. It's cold hard cash for Cesc, Senor Rosell.

Meanwhile the Mail on Sunday say we'll go for Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla if Barca come up with the money for Cesc. Whilst the Daily Star Sunday say it will be Athletic Bilbao's Javier Martinez who moves to the Grove.

In other news, Robin van Persie wants to stay and win trophies at Arsenal and will turn down attempts by Real Madrid to take him to Spain according to the Daily Star Sunday. According to the Sunday Mirror we're about to hijack Chelsea's move for Belgium international Romelu Lukaku - personally I can't see us spending £17m+ on a 17-year-old. Whilst the Daily Star Sunday says PSG really want to sign Marouane Chamakh - I can't see this happening either plus the club didn't spend £15m on the Moroccan as he was a free transfer.

Elsewhere, the Sunday Express say we're going to up our offer by £2m for Everton's Phil Jagielka. Don't see them accepting £12m for a player they value at £20m. Whilst Burnley are the latest club to be linked with wanting the services of Kyle Bartley. A loan move is muted by The People.

For some extra reading take in George Graham's views on Arsenal for the forthcoming season in the Sunday Mirror. It seems quite reasonable but we shouldn't forget all our transfer business is yet to be concluded, so GG's prediction we could struggle with a top six finish should be taken with a skip full of salt.

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