Monday, 11 June 2012

Arsenal to open negotiations on Giroud transfer -Wilshere axed from Olympic squad

Morning Gooners.

Well Euro 2012 took centre stage in my life again yesterday - not at all because of the rain which didn't seem to stop. Who would have thought we'd be stuck indoors watching football in June because of persistent rain?

Two top quality games were on offer though. Italy v Spain was a rather interesting tactics battle with the Spanish opting to play no striker from the off. Cesc Fabregas playing the furthest forward. At half time it was 0-0 and you had to wonder how either team hadn't scored. Then once Di Natale put Italy ahead with his first touch of the game, you knew it was game on. Fabregas responded for the world champions inside three minutes but neither team could find the back of the net again.

The evening kick off provided more goals, with the Republic of Ireland taking on Croatia. Slaven Bilić's men were all over their opponents and quite rightly took the lead through Mandzukic. They were then pegged back by a Sean St Ledger header from a free kick. But from then on it was pretty much all Croatia with goals from the fantastic Jelavic and Mandzukic adding a second. Ireland should have been awarded a penalty in the second half when Robbie Keane was felled inside the box. Even if they had scored from the spot, I think that Croatia were worthy winners. It was great to see Eduardo come on for the final seven minutes. Hopefully we'll see more of him as the competition goes on.

Later today England take on France at 5pm. From the early rumours, both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain will start from the bench. And from the French end, Laurent Koscielny looks set to be over looked by Laurent Blanc in defence, meaning there will be no Arsenal players involved from the off. In today's late game, Ukrainne face Sweden.

And on to today's Arsenal news. We'll there isn't much going on to be honest. The Daily Mirror report that Jack Wilshere has been left out of the Great Britain Olympic squad for London 2012. It can't be much of a surprise, as Jack hasn't kicked a ball in anger at all last season. He's concentrating on getting fit for the coming season and the Olympics would be too much of a distraction for him ahead of the coming season.

Elsewhere there were rumours circulating last night that Arsene Wenger has agreed a fee with Montpellier for French international Olivier Giroud. French radio station RMC joined in on the act with a report which
suggested that negotiations with the Ligue 1 champions.

Now I don't want to pour cold water on a transfer which excites a lot of people, but if this deal is happening it only means one thing to me, Robin van Persie is leaving Arsenal.

When you play a formation with just one centre forward, why would Wenger bring in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud in the same summer - two top class players - to have one of them sit on the bench every week.

We have to look back at what Ivan Gazidis said last week about Robin's future:
"Robin is clearly focused on the Euros at the moment and we wish him well, and at the right time we will make the right announcements. But at the moment we are not saying anything."
The key word there is "announcements". Has a decision on Robin's future already been made by Arsenal? Have they decided to cash in on him? Personally I don't think Robin has made up his mind yet on where he'll be playing football yet this coming season. One thing is certain, he needs the big contract he desires this summer rather than next when he'll be 30.

That contact is waiting for him at Manchester City.

If Arsenal are buying before they're selling it's to keep any replacement for van Persie at a reasonable price. Giroud has a reported clauses in his contact which can be activated if a club bids 12m euros. That would be a fantastic piece of business for a player who scored 21 goals in 36 games last term. But Arsenal aren't the only reported club interested in the striker who will turn 26 in September. Queens Park Rangers, Atletico Madrid and Malaga have all spoken to Montpellier about him.

Of course Arsenal will want to off load some if not all of Bendtner, Chamakh and Park to clean up the wage bill. And I really don't see us signing another striker before one of those is sold. But funnier things have happened.

Anyway, I guess we'll have to see where this one goes. Of course it is summer and the silly season. They'll be plenty more transfer rumours to get excited about...

That's it for today. More tomorrow.
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