Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Wenger's pow-wow with Fergie -Song's flushing Barca out -£8.5m midfielder signing?

Morning Gooners

With 14 members of his first team squad away on international duty, Arsene Wenger only has a select group to work with as the players remaining in London return to the training ground after their day off yesterday.

The start of the season and the Sunderland game is only four days away and most of the preparation work for the match would have been completed in Germany last week, with only the finishing touches put on the manager's plans in training on Thursday and Friday.

One of the big questions which will hopefully be resolved before the week is out is the future of captain Robin van P€r$i€. Both the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail report Alex Ferguson has phoned Arsene Wenger to try and get the deal to take van P€r$i€ to Old Trafford done before the week is out.

Wenger has apparently told Ferguson that we won't do a deal with the Premier League runners-up unless our asking price is met. Whether they are prepared to offer us £20m plus for our captain remains to be seen. They haven't so far, so what could possibly change that?

We know that as van P€r$i€ is in the final year of his deal he'll walk away a free agent next June. He's already said he won't sign a new deal in his infamous "update for the fans" and that statement is still on his website which says to me he's not going to change his mind. He would have held talks with the club again if he was that impressed with the signings of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud. But let's face it, while he might be interested in a better chance of winning silverware, he's also motivated by money.

van P€r$i€ is training with the Dutch squad and I'd guess Manchester United are well aware of the personal terms he's asking for - it's certainly more than the £130k a week Arsenal have offered him. So if a bid was accepted a deal could be done fairly quickly. It's a case of who blinks first. Arsenal desperate to get some money for a player who can leave for free next summer or Manchester United who want to sign the player.

Another of our players who could be on his way out of the club is Alex Song. The Cameroon international has admitted there is interest in him from other clubs - namely Barcelona.

Song told Sky Sports:

"I am not going to lie if I said there is no interest, but I am at Arsenal and I am happy at Arsenal. 
"Barcelona are the best team in the world, and speculation will always continue until the window closes."
With his contract running until 2015, I can't imagine the club are in any rush to do business with Barcelona - especially if the reports of a €15m bid are to be believed. That is a derisory sum for a player who has developed every year since he was brought to the club by Wenger as a nobody.

If Song does leave, the Daily Telegraph say we'll try to get Barca to include 21-year-old winger Cristian Tello. I'm not sure quite why we'd want another wide player with so many players already able to fulfill our needs on the wings even though we've just loaned Ryo Miyaichi to Wigan for the season.

A move for Nuri Sahin is talked about again and something is expected to happen before the week is out. I'd be highly surprised if he moved to north London as has been talked about. At the moment we don't have a vacancy there.

One midfielder we've been strongly linked with by the Scottish Sun is Celtic’s South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng. They say we're preparing a £8.5m bid for the 23-year-old.

Meanwhile the manager has been speaking about our aims for the season ahead.

He said:

"We want to [compete for honours] and we have a desire to. We are up for it and what we want is to come out of the season and know we have given our best. I feel we did that last year, finishing third with the start we had.  
"The first target is to do as well as we can in every single game and see where we stand at the end of the season. But of course we want to fight for the championship."

The club is in a much better position than it was this time last year. They've signed quality players before the start of the season but have still to resolve the future of van P€r$i€ and Theo Walcott.

It's looking more and more likely that the England international will stay at the club. We just have to hope he'll put pen to paper sooner rather than later on a new deal.

But with the additions the manager has made, and if we keep van P€r$i€ and Walcott, we should be challenging for the title. There is now depth in our squad and competition for places is key.

I'm optimistic and excited. This could be the year we finally win something.

Finally, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny have withdrawn from their respective national team's squads through injury. Hopefully both will be available this weekend and the withdrawals are just precautionary.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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