Friday, 26 August 2011

CL draw -£8m Real Madrid star to join? -A signing by noon Arsene?

Morning Gooners.

Less than 24 hours after qualifying for the Champions League group stages we now know who we'll be playing in Europe's elite competition for the next four months.

We've been drawn against Olympique de Marseille, Olympiacos and Borussia Dortmund. It's not an easy group but one which I expect us to progress from. And I'm pleased that we've got some decent teams to play rather than the usual cannon fodder that turn up at the Grove to be beaten 6-0. Whilst those games are fun, I'd rather have an opposition who will actually give us a game than just turn up to be beaten.

After the draw was made, club secretary David Miles said:
"We've been in the Champions League every season under Arsene's tenure. I'm pleased we don't have to travel too far, to the far off eastern European clubs. Arsene will see that as a big bonus."
And when you consider the air miles Porto will be adding to their loyalty card, I'm glad we've only got trips to France, Germany and Greece. There are no easy games in Europe as we saw from last year's group. And whilst our home record is very good we've got to prove we can do it on the road.

Jack Wilshere tweeted last night:
"Hard group but we proved last night what we can do in Europe."
A thought which has been echoed by captain Robin van Persie.

He said:

"Of course it’s been a hard week, with Cesc (Fabregas) leaving, Samir (Nasri) leaving. We’ve been in the papers for the wrong reasons. 
"But I think we played well at Udinese under immense pressure, so that’s a positive sign. And now it’s up to us to show that every three or four days, because that’s football. 
"It’s not that we can live on this night for the rest of the month or the rest the year. 
"We have to do it every single time. 
"I think that we surprised a few people. Hopefully, we can do it more often."

Today feels like the calm before the storm. We'll be heading to Old Trafford on Sunday with a depleted squad through injury and suspension for a game against the champions who have started the season where they left off last season. Any sort of positive result for us at the moment seems like it would be seen as a bonus by many Gooners.

And it doesn't seem like the manager will be bringing in any players before the midday deadline so that they can be registered in time for Sunday's game.

However our transfer activity does seem to be going on in the back ground.

The Daily Mirror say we've made a £6m bid for Gary Cahill. Which might be true given he's in his final season of his contract with Owen Coyle's side. Bolton's asking price is £17m which seems very high for a player who could walk away for free next summer. I expect we'll go back with an improved bid. But when you consider we spent £10m on Koscielny last summer, you have to ask whether £17m is a fair value. I don't believe it is.

The Daily Express through in the name of Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol into the mix. They report he's available for £8m.

The Daily Mail link us with 16-year-old Caen striker M’Baye Niang.

The Daily Mirror also believe Armand Traore is a target for QPR, who want to take the French defender on loan.

Elsewhere Wojciech Szczesny is playing down his superb penalty save in every interview he's given saying it was a bad penalty. Read his thoughts in The Sun.

There is no futher news about Thomas Vermaelen's injury. Hopefully we'll get an update when Arsene speaks with Arsenal Player later. I don't think there is a press conference today ahead of the Manchester United game from talk on Twitter. So we'll have to wait and see.

And finally, please take the time to read Yankee Gunner's fantastic new column for Ashburton Grove. A wonderful read about falling back in love with the Arsenal.



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