Sunday, 10 July 2011

Gervinho delayed - Deal set for £17m international winger - Mertesacker to join?

Morning Gooners

Today's a bit of a momentous day for Arsenal under the leadership of Arsene Wenger. The first time the manager has taken his team on a money-spinning pre-season tour.

The squad has been announced. As expected, Cesc Fabregas won't travel. But even more interesting was the fact that Nicklas Bendtner and Manuel Almunia have been left out to allow them to sort out transfers away from the club.

Samir Nasri will be on the plane today but that hasn't stopped the speculation about the Frenchman moving away from the club (more on that later).  Whilst Gervinho isn't on the plane either - although not yet an Arsenal player - The Independent on Sunday say his arrival at the club could be delayed by another week because of problems with his paperwork which has delayed the conclusion of the deal.

Although I'm sad we're not keeping with tradition and playing our first pre-season game against Barnet, the chance to play in Asia where we have so many fans who would normally be unable to watch the team live is too good to turn down. It will also help us to increase the global image of the club. We know we'll make a small profit from the tour, but the more important factor is we'll be able to show development in our strategy when big contracts come up for renewal in 2014.

Theo Walcott has dismissed suggestion that the tour could take a lot out of the player and have an impact on their fitness. It's nine days and two games. It will hardly make or break our season.

I'm counting down the days until Wednesday when we finally get our Arsenal back. It will be good to write and talk about football rather than the endless speculation about our best players leaving. Although I love transfer speculation, I like the comings more than the goings.

And on that note, I'm going to do exactly that.

There is more talk about this being the week Barcelona will finally match Arsenal's valuation of Cesc Fabregas. The Sunday Mirror say Pep Guardiola is losing patients with the situation and told Sandro Rosell to get the deal done. Both the Mirror and the Sunday People say the fee will be £35m, which seems to me to still be short of what we should be expecting to fetch for Europe's best midfielder.

If that is the amount the Spaniards are prepared to offer, I hope Ivan Gazidis hold out for the right amount. We know that Cesc is worth more to us in the team than £35m. And if Kroenke and Gazidis want to send out the right message to fans that the club won't be beaten up and is able to fight for the right fee for its players, there is no better example than this deal with Barcelona over Cesc to show us they can.

As for Samir Nasri, there is general belief in the press that his time with Arsenal is up. He's apparently turned down Inter Milan's interest in him, according to the Daily Star Sunday. But when you consider that he could earn up to £185,000 a week at Manchester City according to the Sunday Times, I don't think we need to hazard a guess as to why he'd want to go to the north west. A fee of £22.5m  is also suggested.

That would be an extrodoary piece of business if we could make it happen. But the problem for us is who we'd invest it in.

There is talk everywhere that we're about to make a bid for Aston Villa's Stewart Downing. They all say Wenger wants to complete the deal for Downing before the sale of Nasri. The People, Daily Star Sunday and Mail on Sunday believe Arsenal could sign the Aston Villa man for £17m.

Downing has been linked with Liverpool who've made an unsuccessful bid for him. Could this press speculation be leaked to them by Villa or Downing's agent in order to get them to conclude the deal more quickly for him? Or is there genuine interest from Arsenal?

The Englishman has impressive stats from last season although he doesn't set pulses racing when you hear him being linked with us. We've been told that the manager is looking to change the dynamic of the team, so could the signing of Downing at 25-years-old be the type of player he's looking to bring in?

Per Mertesacker was a name we heard lots of last summer and he's been linked with a move to north London again by The People. Another name linked with us from the not so distant past is Hugo Rodallega. He's been talking up Arsenal's interest in him again.

And finally, according to the Daily Star Sunday we're set to miss out on Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Arturo Vidal. Who knew we were ever in for him?

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