Monday, 22 August 2011

Wilshere ready for Udinese? -Wenger swoops for M'Vila, Hazard and Jagielka?

Morning Gooners

It's the start of a new week and arguably the next seven days are the most important in the club's 125 year history.

We face Udinese in the return leg of the Champions League qualifier, where a draw or victory will see us progress to the knock out stages of Europe's premier competition. Not progressing doesn't bare thinking about.

There appears to be positive injury news ahead of the game with Arsene Wenger telling reporters Jack Wilshere is contention for a recall after resuming full training. Johan Djourou could also be fit. Tomas Rosicky will also be available following his rest from a knock.

Wenger believed post match that Laurent Koscielny wouldn't be available. It leaves short in defence still, with the manager's options stretched, depending on whether Kieran Gibbs (unlikely) or Armand Traore are back in contention to face the Italians. 

Add to that the return of Alex Song and Gervinho from domestic suspension and we could have enough outfield players to field in the 11 and place a further six on the bench.

Whilst our squad was lightweight against Liverpool, we'll also be able to call on Robin van Persie and, if he's not been sold by tomorrow, Samir Nasri who are both available following their European suspension.

Of Nasri, it is expected that Saturday was the last game for the Frenchman at the club, that is if his agents are able to settle their disagreement with Manchester City over who will play them their fees, their client or City. However if Wenger intimates that Nasri will be involved - therefore cup tying him if Arsenal progress - I'm sure it would focus a few minds.

Roberto Mancini has hinted the Middle Eastlanders will pull out of the deal if Nasri is cup tied to the media, so I'm sure if the player wants his £180k a week sooner rather than later, something will be done to resolve the issue.

Yesterday seemed to have involved a lot of former professionals and managers coming out in the media telling Arsene Wenger he needed to strengthen his squad by spending some money. Like that's not the obvious thing he really needs to do. George Graham spoke to the BBC, Fabio Capello to Sky and Robert Pires to French TV station Canal Plus, among others.

Pires said:

"The time has come for Arsene Wenger to think about investing the money from player sales into players with experience and more of a guarantee.
"I think other players have spoken with him and told him the same. The set-up has changed now.
"Before this, many players wanted to stay at Arsenal for a long time but this has changed now, too. Players leave now at their first chance.
"That goes for Clichy, Nasri and Eboue. Indirectly, Wenger is to blame. Unless new players come in and others stay then the problem will get worse.
"I don’t think that they can rival the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea but you can’t win just with young players."

And when Chelsea or Manchester City become involved, as seen with the Juan Mata affair, Arsenal are blown out of the water. We can match the fee for the player, but we can't pay them the same amount.

As I've said previously, I remain convinced we'll start signing players once we know whether we're in the Champions League group stages or not. Not many big name players want to play Europa League football.

And Arsene Wenger has spoken in the French media about adding to his squad.

He said:

"As far as our transfer policy is concerned, I don’t think I’m stubborn. No, not at all. I look at the players and if they are good enough. 
"What you forget is we have bought players. We have bought Gervinho, Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Miyaichi and you will see during the season they are top-quality players. 
"But at the moment we have to give them some time. Overall we will buy. People feel I’m stubborn. I’m not I just want to do the best for the team and to buy the right players. If I have shown one thing in the last 15 years, it’s that I have brought good players here. 
"We will bring experienced players too. But people just say ‘buy’ and it is buying the right player which is difficult."

Today, the transfer merry-go-round has stopped at the names Yann M'Vila, Eden Hazard and Phil Jagielka who, according to the Daily Mirror, Arsene will swoop for and spend at least £50m of his transfer war chest to bring to the club.

The Guardian report Wenger has been allowed to speak with M'Vila about a possible move.

French TV station Canel Plus have shot down claims we'll sign Marvin Martin, Andre Ayew and Yann M'Vila however. But this could be posturing on the French club's part.

Elsewhere, there is an interesting piece over at Arsenal Times about why this summer has been so badly managed. I've not been able to verify its claims, so take it with a pinch of salt.

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