Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Cahill debacle -Wenger to move for Chelsea's Alex? -Dutch winger linked

Morning Gooners.

The manager spoke with the media yesterday and the first half of the press conference revolved around our bid for Gary Cahill and what re-tweeting something actually means.

To say the broadcast press conference was unruly is an understatement. Normally the journalists respect the order in which different organisations speak. Arsenal Media first, followed by Sky and then the BBC. Yesterday, they were all shouting over one another to get the boss to answer their questions.

And of course the majority of questions were surrounding Arsenal's first failed bid for Bolton's Gary Cahill. The situation surrounding these negotiation were made public when the Trotters chairman Phil Gartside re-tweeting a supporters tweet yesterday morning which said Arsenal were taking the micky by offering £6m for the player. The re-tweeting confirmed Arsenal had made a bid and Bolton weren't happy. Owen Coyle then had his say in his press conference.

Wenger admitted making a bid for Cahill. But said it was incorrect to say the amount offered to Bolton was £6m. In fact when a journalist asked if it was less, he chuckled and said: "You know me quite well."

The good news is that we've made bids for two central defenders (Cahill and Jagielka) without the majority of talk from the manager being about strengthening in that area. However we need to have an offer accepted.

I can understand the club not offering the £17m it would trigger for Cahill's buyout clause to become active. That amount of money for a player in the final season of his contract would be madness. However when you consider the 25-year-old has no experience of European football and only three England caps and you put him up against Gael Clichy who is one year older and has plenty of experience in the Champions League and several French caps, to go in with a low bid does seem sensible.

Cahill is English so there is a premium which comes with his signature. But I believe we'll reach an agreement with Bolton over his signature. Why has their chairman Phil Gartside made our bid public? Everyone knows Cahill is in the final season of his contract and available. If any other team were interested surely they would have acted by now? Will it start a bidding war? Unlikely. But it does suggest that Bolton are willing to sell the player.

I believe that Cahill will be an Arsenal player by August 31. Bolton will lose him for free next summer unless he is sold now or in January. The player has shown no signs of wanting to extend his contract. He's made it known through the media he wants to play football at the highest level and that's something that Arsenal can offer him. Now it's just the small matter of reaching an agreement on an acceptable fee for the player's signature with Bolton.

Could we sign Jagielka as well? Seems more unlikely considering Everton want £18m for him and most of that money will go to their banks who want the club to repay the money they're owed. Everton are in a stronger position if they keep the player than cash in on him and not have any money to reinvest in new players.

And today we've been linked with Chelsea central defender Alex by The Sun and the Daily Mail.

The manager has indicated he wants to add to the squad, saying that he's like to sign up to three new players before the transfer window closes on Wednesday night.

Wenger said:

"It is important [to strengthen] because we will lose players in January with players going to the African Nations Cup.  
"We lose Gervinho and Chamakh together so, first of all, it is important to strengthen up front. It is important that we find one midfielder and one defender as well. So we are still short of three bodies. 
"My time has been taken up [by players going out] and it was a very difficult summer on that front because we had to face adversity, negativity, but it had to be done. Overall, we tried to do as well as we could."

Whilst this summer has been more difficult than any other in recent history because we've lost two players against the manager's will, I don't think Gooners will accept anything other than the signing of players we can all see we desperately need. The only excuse I can accept is if a player choses another club over ours.

A good example of that is Phil Jones. Wenger said he reached agreement with Blackburn but it was the player who chose to sign for Manchester United. I can accept that. What I won't be happy with is if we miss out on a signing because the club isn't prepared to offer the right money. If we fail to sign someone because we won't pay the extra two or three million, that will leave me angry. There is little room for excuses now when it comes to signing players, when everyone on the planet knows we have £80m+ to spend on new signings.

When the manager comes out and names Wilshere and Diaby as players fans forget we are missing in his interview with Arsenal Player, he really is wide of the mark. Everyone knows they are out through injury but that doesn't prevent us from signing players who will add quality to our squad. I really wish the manager would move away from the argument that buying new players will prevent youngsters getting into the team. I don't believe that any other player would have prevented Cesc Fabregas from breaking into the team. We all saw he was quality and he showed that when he played, leaving more experienced players on the bench.

Wenger says he doesn't look at a player's passport when he signs them. I wish he wouldn't worry about their age in the same fashion. I think we would have a much stronger team if he had a better mix of experience and youth, instead of relying on players who are about to embark on their first season of Premier League football to make the grade instantly.

The Guardian have an interview with Sol Campbell where he states we need the right mix of experience and youth in our team. He also reveals the club has offered him a coaching position with the reserve and youth teams. I think he'd be a fantastic appointment.

Samir Nasri is trying to tell everyone he left Arsenal not because of the money but to win trophies. However his bank manager Harry Redknapp knows exactly why he left north London and it wasn't because they've got just one restaurant in Manchester.

And whilst we're on the subject of Nasri, the Daily Mirror are running quotes from an interview which Gervinho gave to French radio. The Ivorian said he felt let down by Nasri because the Frenchman said he'd be at Arsenal this season.

The early team news for tomorrow is that Laurent Koscielny is fit but that Thomas Vermaelen will face a fitness test today which he should come through. The manager also said Johan Djourou and Tomas Rosicky had come through the match in Italy without any problems.

However the manager said Bendtner is out with an ankle injury, Squillachi has a calf injury and Kieran Gibbs will miss the match as well with a hamstring injury.

We'll also be without Alex Song, Emmanuel Frimpong and Gervinho through suspension.

Jack Wilshere is also out and having seen a specialist yesterday to look at his ankle injury, he's tweeted last night he's off to see another one on Monday. Not good news.

Transfer rumour of the day comes from the Daily Mail who report we're interested in signing Hamburg’s 24-year-old Dutch internaional winger Eljero Elia.

Some extra reading comes from The Guardian's Kevin McCarra who looks back with fondness at when Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson were fighing it out for the title.

Finally, the Carling Cup third round draw take place later. It'll be interesting to see who we get and how seriously the manager will take the competition this year.

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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