Players Linked With Arsenal Move This Summer

6 Jun

By: Kieran Dunne

With Arsenal, and significantly, Aresne Wenger, keen on improving his squad at the Emirates this summer, here are a look at some of the players they are reportedly interested in:

Radamel Falcao – Striker, FC Porto

The Colombian striker would command a bid of £26 million with an offer apparently on the horizon according to British newspaper, The Guardian. Can play out wide or up top alone. Proved to be a decent player in this year’s Europa League, which Porto ran out eventual winners. Arsenal face competition for his signature from Tottenham.

Eden Hazard – Attacking midfielder/Winger, Lille

The twenty year-old Belgian sensation has attracted a host of admirers following a season in which he helped Lille to their first Ligue 1 title in 57 years. Also voted player of the year in France and has been compared to French legend Zidane. Would command a fee of around £20 million following 12 goals in all comps last year. Fresh off the back of title success at Lille, Hazard would prove a decent signing for the Gunners.

Marko Marin – Winger, Werder Bremen

The “German Messi,” as he’s known, would only come in if the likes of Nasri or Arshavin were to exit the Gunners this summer. The German international is highly regarded in his homeland and would cost around £15 million.

Moussa Sow – Striker, Lille

The relatively unheard of 25-year-old led Lille to success last term with a top scorer performance of 25 league goals. Rarely lauded for his attributes due to the star of players such as Hazard and Gervinho. Would provide a much needed physical presence up front for the Gunners. Inflated cost of £20 million due to club success last term.

Michel Bastos – Left-back, Lyon

Would be available at the cut price of £15 million following Lyon’s abysmal season in the French League. A highly rated attacking player, although with defensive frailties, Bastos (27) would prove a hit in Arsenal’s attacking environment of football.

Karim Benzema – Striker, Real Madrid

In-out of favour French international has been monitored by Wenger since his Lyon days. Arsenal and Manchester United are reported to have made inquiries. The response? A £22 million price tag which may be seen as a risk for the moody 23 year-old.

Christopher Samba – Defender, Blackburn

Expected to be Arsenal’s first signing of the season, Samba would provide a much needed reliability at the back with Thomas Vermaelen. Would cost only between £8-12 million. Came close to signing for Gunners in January.

Vicky Alvarez – Attacking midfielder, Vélez Sársfield

The Argentinian play-maker has attracted lots of attention from Europe playing in Argentina’s national league. Other team said to be considering an offer for the 23 year-old is Roma. He would cost £12 million.

Kevin Gameiro – Striker, Lorient

The electric forward man is, according to the Guardian, said to want a move to La Liga but may yet opt for the Premier League. Could be a huge asset scoring 19 league goals last term with a mid-table side.

 

Romelu Lukaku – Striker, Anderlecht

Has become one of Europe’s most wanted at just 18 since breaking through Anderlecht’s youth-side, scoring 31 times in 61 appearances. A towering presence, he would surely be a success in the Premier League. Unlikely signing given the huge interest vested throughout the rest of Europe. Cost: £20 million

Gary Cahill – Defender, Bolton

A more than capable back up target if Samba deal falls through. Cahill has been a constant rock at the heart of Bolton’s defence last season. However, Bolton have a high price tag on his head at a cool £20+ million.

So there you have it. Some interesting connections for Arsenal fans to ponder over. Some more realistic than others however.

France Ban the Use of Words Facebook and Twitter on TV and Radio

6 Jun

By: Kieran Dunne

French officials have taken the unusual step of banning the use of words such as “Facebook” and “Twitter” on T.V and Radio stations across the country citing that they provide indirect advertisement opportunities for the social network sites. 

The ban is to take place immediately with exceptions being provided in the case of news reports and stories. The move was made off the back of an old law, a 1992 decree, that states mentioning services by name is an act of advertising and therefore saying constitutes preferential treatment.

The Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel has insisted that the French Government is simply upholding a French law already in place:

“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?

This would be a distortion of competition.

If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box — other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?’”

The move is sure to cause widespread confusion among France’s media outlets and the blogosphere with such words being used on a regular basis.

However, it has already been hinted at that the Government’s latest ban is an attempt to stop English words from creeping in to the French language.

In 2003, a story, Wired Reporting, highlighted the case in which the government banned the use of the word “email” in all correspondence in state ministries, instead opting for the French term “courriel”.

Experts criticised that decision stating that it was “artificial and doesn’t reflect reality”.

Nasri United Talk Nothing More Than Agent Tatctics

5 Jun

By: Kieran Dunne

Comments made by Samir Nasri on a French football channel over whether the midfielder would commit his future to Arsenal has sent the world of football journalism in to overdrive. 

Furthermore, the suggestion, or lack thereof, that the French talisman wouldn’t rule out a move to bitter rivals Manchester United is simply farcical. He hasn’t even admitted this, instead, saying that he would prefer to concentrate on France’s up-and-coming international with Poland.

Nasri’s approaching the final year of his contract with the Gunners currently in the process of negotiating with their star man.

When asked on his future at the Emirates, Nasri said:

“I don’t know if I will sign a new contract. Anyway, the discussions are ongoing.

“For the moment, I don’t think about this. We will speak about it after the match with Poland.

“Do I want to go to Man United? First, we should see if it’s real and if it is concrete.”

This is often a tactic deployed by footballers locked in tense contract negotiations, with the benefactor usually being the overly paid footballer’s agent. Put simply, the more they negotiate for their client the more they earn.

Also, Nasri, for the most part, has been Arsenal’s best player last season. He will, and should, expect a pay rise following a campaign which seen him nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award and a coveted spot in the Premier League Best XI.

However, were contract negotiations to stall, the Gunners might be forced in to cashing in on the talented play maker rather than losing him for nothing next season.

Talk of a United move, however, is premature. For a start, United are reportedly supposed to be closing in on Wesley Sneijder,  a move that would rule out any swoop for Nasri. Secondly, Wenger would never sell to a title rival, especially not Manchester Unite who would, more than likely, be aware of this.

Yet, the issue must be resolved quickly. With the imminent departure of team captain, Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal need to build a team around their most valuable players, expanding and improving where necessary.

Don’t be surprised to see Nasri sign a new, improved, contract later this week on returning from international duty. Nasri has his hand held closely to his chest. The recent rumours are nothing more than agent talk and clever tactics.

Something Hairy About Wayne’s Title Celebrations

16 May

Hmm.. I wonder how Sir Bobby would have celebrated?

Arrest Warrant Request for Gaddafi and Son

16 May

By: Kieran Dunne

Muammar Gaddafi, his son –  Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law and intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi have all been declared as war criminal suspects following an investigation by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, presented the evidence to the ICC in the hope of gaining international arrest warrants. He claimed that the three mentioned operated as an “inner circle”  with Saif al-Islam operating as a “de facto prime minister”. The legal eagle also claimed that they were the chief orchestrates in the killing of peaceful protestors.

It was also claimed that Gaddafi led the resistance with the aim of “preserving his absolute authority,” with the prosecutor also claiming to have direct evidence of orders made by Gaddafi himself.

The request for an arrest warrant against Gaddafi’s brother, Saif, will come as a surprise given his ties with the West and his apparent willingness to negotiate with NATO and the allies.

According to British newspaper, the Guardian, If the ICC issues the arrest warrants, it will deepen the embarrassment of the London School of Economics, where Saif studied and which accepted a £1.5m donation from a foundation Saif controlled to fund a north African research programme. Of that total, £300,000 was actually spent before the programme was suspended.

In a statement made by the prosecutor, those with highest rank would be targeted.”It is indeed a characteristic of the situation in Libya that massive crimes are reportedly committed upon instruction of a few persons who control the organisations that execute the orders,” he said.

Some of the evidence gathered by  Moreno-Ocampo’s said to have come from within the regime in Tripoli and in an apparent attempt to stir inner trouble, the prosecutor released a statement saying:

“During the last week, the office of the prosecutor received several calls from high-level officials in Gaddafi’s regime willing to provide information.”

If the arrest warrants are issued from the ICC, it will then be up to international governments to act upon the policing duty. The ICC has no police force of its own.

Gaddafi has been leader of Libya since 1 September 1969 when he overthrew King Idris and established the Libyan Arab Republic. In these 42 years as dictator of an oppressive regime, Gaddafi has come under numerous attacks from humanitarian organisations.

Since February 17 2011, Gaddafi’s regime has been under constant pressure from protestors, both peaceful and rebellious, with a full-blown civil war now taking place between supporters and protestors.

Since then a number of regime officials have departed with Gaddafi’s former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, telling the Swedish newspaper Expressen that he has evidence that Gaddafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing of 1988.

The uprising is in to its 88 day with no sign of abating.

Video: Protestors shot at by police:

Bendtner on way out of Arsenal

10 May

By: Kieran Dunne

Nicklas Bendtner has revealed of his plan to sit down with Arsene Wenger and discuss his future at Arsenal over the next couple of weeks.

It is believed that the Danish forward who fancies himself as a world-class striker is on his way out. He has regularly voiced his frustration at his lack of first-team opportunities this year often complaining of his wide role in the team.

Bendtner recently revealed his disappointment of being little more than a squad player.

“I need to have a talk with him [Wenger] because I’m not satisfied with playing on the right-wing, which I’ve done more or less all season long,” Bendtner told TV2.

“I’m concentrating on getting our Champions League place and then we’ll do the evaluation at the end of the season. It’s certainly not the best thing for me but it’s not up to me and sometimes you have to adapt to what the manager says.”

Wenger has become reportedly dismayed with Bendntner and his attitude and he’s now rumoured to be one of the many players on the way out at Arsenal.

Bayern Munich have been keeping close tabs on the egotistical frontman with reports suggesting he would favour a move to Barcelona.

He added: “If it’s a free choice, I choose Barcelona. I’ve never had any idols in the football world but if I had a dream player to play with then it would be Xavi and [Andres] Iniesta.”

And yet he complains of a lack of first team opportunities at Arsenal.

Arsenal Hit List for 11/12

9 May

By: Kieran Dunne

Arsenal fell short of landing a trophy for the sixth season in a row on Sunday following a 3-1 defeat to Stoke at the Brittania Stadium.

In his post-match interview Arsene Wenger admitted that his side “had lost something” of late. The comments will be music to the ears of most Arsenal fanatics who finally believe that Wenger is changing his tune in transfer policy.

He also mentioned in a recent interview that Arsenal would strengthen this summer.

Here are some of the players the Gunners have been linked with:

Defenders:

Chris Samba (Blackburn Rovers) – £5 million

Gary Cahill (Bolton Wanderers) – £6 million

Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen) – £8 million

Leighton Baines (Everton) – £9 million 

Midfielders:

Felipe Melo (Juventus) – £19 million

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) – £23 million

Marouane Fellaini (Everton) – £12 million
 
Mikel Arteta (Everton) – £15 million
 
Forwards:
 
Eden Hazard (Lille) – £20 million
 
Carlton Cole (West Ham) – £9 million
 
 
 

Top Ten Goalkeepers List

3 May

By: Kieran Dunne

Number 10: David De Gea

Despite both Sir Alex Ferguson and David De Gea denying that a deal has already been agreed for the 20-year-old, the Spaniard is reportedly heading to Old Trafford for £20 million. While De Gea is no doubt a fantastic keeper, at 20, it is a big move for a player partial to a major error or two a season.

Number 9: Maarten Stekelenburg

The Dutch number one is one of the most consistent keepers in the game. At 28, he needs a big move to project his name to a higher standing in world football. A product of the Ajax youth system, it is thought that Stekelenburg, similar to Neuer, will seek a move abroad this summer.

Number 8: Julio Cesar

Julio Cesar Soares Espindola is Inter Milan’s 31 year-old brazilian shot stopper. Often excluded from such lists as this, Cesar has more than 50 caps for brazil and was named the third best keeper in the world in 2009 by IFFHS. He is also one of the few goalkeepers ever to be nominated for the coveted Ballon D’Or. He was also a key member of the Jose Mourinho side who won the Champions League in 2010. He’s also regarded as one of the best shot-stoppers in the game.

Number 7: Petr Cech

The Czech Republic international has been at Chelsea since 2004 where he’s won three Premier League titles, three FA cups, two League Cups and two Community Shields. He currently holds the Premier League record for fewest appearances required to reach 100 clean sheets, having done so in 180 league appearances. He was also victim of a horrific injury on 14 October 2006 when Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt colllided with the shot stopper at the Madejski. He suffered a derpressed skull fracture needing urgent head surgery to rectify the problem.

Number 6: Pepe Reina

Jose Manuel Reina Paez is a Spanish goalkeeper with English side Liverpool. He is regarded as the best peno stopper in the world and hailed for his distribution of the ball with record assists recorded throughout his career. It is arguable that if Reina was at a top European club he’d be regarded as one of the best around.

Number 5: Victor Valdes

The Barcelona goalkeeper looks set for another Champions League medal providing the Catalans oversee Real Madrid in tonight’s second leg of the semi-final. Valdes started his career with Barca in ’92 where he advanced through the ranks to Barca’s B team before making his full-team debut in the 2002/2003 season. He’s the most successful keeper in Barcelona’s history with  four La Liga titles, two Champions League  titles, and one Copa Del Rey title.

Number 4: Edwin Van Der Sar

The former Dutch number one is set to retire this year following a glittering career between the posts. Aged 40, he’s the Netherland’s most capped player of all time with 130 appearances for the Oranje. He has one everything at club level with Manchester United, four league titles in Holland, an Intertoto Cup with Juventus and a host of individual awards including Best European Goalkeeper in 1995, 2008, 2009, 2010.

Number 3: Gianluigi Buffon

The World Cup winner is regarded as one of the most sucessful keepers in history. He was declared by Pele to be one of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world, and has also been named the Serie A goalkeeper of the year a record eight times. He joined Juventus in 2001 for a record breaking fee of £32.6 million, a record yet to be broken today.

Number 2: Manuel Neuer

Linked with a £7.5 million a-year move to Bayern Munich, Neuer has captivated the world of football this year with sensational performances which have resulted in Schalke 04’s progession to the Champions League semi-final. Also linked with United, Franz Beckenbauer has exclaimed that Munich should pay €50 million to capture the 6ft 4″ German. Football’s hottest property at the moment.

Number 1: Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas Fernandez is the World Cup winning Spanish goalkeeper who is one of select few to have won everything in club and international football. Captain of both Real Madrid and Spain, the 29-year-old led the national side to their first European Championship in 44years in 2006. Two years later he led Spain to their first ever World Cup victory seeing of Holland 1-0 in extra-time. He’s the Champions League’s most capped goalkeeper of all time.

Should Arsenal Sell Fabregas?

30 Apr

By: Kieran Dunne

In a  recent interview, Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger declared that he felt that his skipper, Cesc Fabregas, was carrying the burden of captaining the Gunners but expects he will grow and improve next season.

Arsenal are facing a sixth year in a row without a trophy and questions are now beginning to be asked. Fabregas was recently quoted in Don Balon, a Spanish magazine, earlier this month saying that if his boss had been at an equally big Spanish side he’d have faced the sack a long time ago.

Claims from Wenger that his captain was misquoted were rebuffed by the mag who published a full audio version of the interview online.

Wenger made the 23-year-old skipper back in 2008 and since then the Spaniard has struggled to balance his burning desire for success with leading the team through adversity.

According to Wenger, it is all too much for his top man.

“It is too much for him at his age. I believe so,” Wenger said. “But he is the captain of the team and [Robin] van Persie is vice-captain, they put a lot of pressure on themselves.

“Cesc is a winner. He wants to win, he is desperate to win the games, and of course when it does not work, he is frustrated.

It is too much because it doesn’t go as well. Once it will go well, he will grow with it.

Every difficulty in life will make you stronger, especially when you have a strong character, and Cesc is a strong character,” said the Arsenal boss.

Despite the failings of this season Wenger is determined to keep his current squad intact for next season. He went on to say:

I believe that this team has been educated, grown together. The biggest achievement for them will be to win together,” he said.

“They will have learnt their job the hard way. They have been criticised a lot and, at the moment, they do not get the credit they deserve. Once they win, they will be stronger.”

While this is undoubtably an optimistic presumption by Wenger, it is hard to imagine why Fabregas would want to stay. He has played 303 times for Arsenal yet has failed to acquire the winning touch and lift a trophy in that time.

Some feel that were Barcelona to make another offer this summer then he might see fit to packing his bags and joining his boyhood heroes at the Nou Camp. And why not?

Should the situation arise it may be best for both parties to agree a deal. Fabregas’s season has been hampered with a worsening hamstring injury, something that went on to ruin careers such as Michael Owen’s. You would also have to question whether the catalan has peaked too early in his career?

Rarely does a young player play so many games from the age of 17 without running the risk of burning out. Wenger expressed his worry of this in the early stages of his career before realising how heavily reliant he was on the youngster.

So were it to happen that Pep was to flex his muscle this summer and offer in the region of €30 million for the Arsenal skipper you’d have to feel that the offer would be greatly considered before making a decision.

Fabregas has looked increasingly delusional over the course of the season and the frustration he must now feel with Barca having one foot in the Champions League final is surely immense.

Maybe it is time the Gunners cashed in. If they were to sell Fabregas, Arsenal would double their transfer kitty of £35 million. This would, in turn, allow them to buy the quality players they are lacking for silverware.

If Cesc was to part ways with Arsenal it wouldn’t be the end of the world. With players like Nasri, who performed best without Fabregas, Arsenal would cope. Also, a blossoming British youth system with players like Wilshere, Ramsey, and Lansbury – who has proven pivotal in Norwich’s promotion prospects this season, the Gunners have a bright future.

But for now, they need experience. A world-class centre back and holding midfielder is all Wenger’s side is missing contrary to belief. They have now all but sorted the goalkeeping problem with Sczcesny who has been described as a huge presence at just 20.

So on to next season. Some players Wenger should consider if Fabregas was to leave:

Defenders:

Gary Cahill

Bred Hangeland

Per Mertesacker

Midfielders:

Danielle De Rossi

Marouanne Fellaini

Bastian Schweinstieger

 

Pictures From Royal Wedding

30 Apr

By: Kieran Dunne

Yesterday’s Royal Wedding was watched by a record audience of over 2 billion people. Below are some of the pictures of Prince William and Kate Middleton as they celebrated the fairytale event.

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they're now known

 

The only hiccup of the day as ring barely fits

 

Prince and Princess William leave as husband and wife

 
 

Kate's cartier tiara, a gift from the Queen

 

The moment billions of people tuned in to see

 

And again...

 
 

Beckham sporting his OBE and wife Victoria who designed her own outfit

 
 

Sir Elton John and civil partner David Furnish arrive

 

 
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