Arsenal v Man City will be a real test for Premier League season

Tomorrow Arsenal face Manchester City in our last pre-season friendly of the summer and it will be this game that will more clearly indicate how we will face up against the highest opposition going into the upcoming season.

With the 2013/14 Premier League season fast approaching, these last 2 months have given Arsenal fans a whole host of emotions to deal with. Following our supposed ‘success story’ in May, we all had high hopes for the summer and although pre-season in Asia was highly effective, our transfer business proved not to be. A terrible Emirates Cup didn’t help the matter and this Saturday’s game against Manchester City will be the icing on the disillusion cake if it all goes wrong.

But anyway, here’s hoping we actually pull up our socks, fire each other up and be ready to not only face our toughest Pre-Season opponent but also a team we will be possible facing as a challenger for the top league spaces.
Manchester City have the opportunity to show off their new star players in Negredo, Navas, Fernandinho and Jovetic against Premier League opposition, to see how they all do, while Arsenal of course have nobody but Yaya Sanogo.

We will no doubt line up with what is likely to be our main starting XI when all fit, and I expect that to be not much different from last season. Of course it wouldn’t be any different considering we haven’t made any real additions and with Sanogo heavily unlikely to feature as a regular (well I hope he isn’t!) I think the line-up will be something like this:
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny(if fit) Gibbs
Arteta Ramsey
Walcott Giroud Cazorla

Personally I would like to see Wilshere drop back and Cazorla take the CAM spot, with Podolski out wide but I’ve seen several people point out, both at games and on the web, the fact that Wilshere and Cazorla don’t seem to be able to work well with each other in this position. Don’t get me wrong it’s a strong team, but nothing that can do any real damage in the Premier League and so that’s why additions are vital.

This game will really determine how good we can be and the heights we can reach for next season, however of course it doesn’t mean everything. If we win, that’s not an excuse not to buy but if we lose its not the end of the world and all it shows is our desperate need for signings. Whatever the outcome of the game, I think the main aspect of the whole thing is that we really do need to start signing some players.

Have Arsenal forgotten how to spend money?

It is a well documented problem for Arsenal Football Club that we have no real signings yet and that is causing a slight morale issue with Arsenal fans. We at least have young French striker Yaya Sanogo in the bag, who will hopefully turn into a top striker in the near future.

We began the summer with such hope and optimism about big name players and big fees spent. Actual club officials spoke about us having £70 million or more to spend, which certainly seemed to be a step in the right direction.

The Gonzalo Higuain saga was a big disappointment considering that Napoli have him and we have an empty space in our squad. We also seem to have missed out on the likes of Wayne Rooney, Stevan Jovetic and even Robert Lewandowski. Now the attention is turned to Luis Suarez but I am not too confident in being able to sign him.

I would have to say that we are probably the least prepared club in the entire league at this point. Everybody else has conducted a significant amount of business already and allowed their new players time to blend with the squad and even get some game time in pre-season friendlies.

We have had rocky starts for the last few seasons as it is, and if we end up with a couple of emergency transfers on the last day of the season, it could be a disaster. How is it that once again, Arsenal are lagging behind the rest of the league and are significantly unprepared for the new season? Have Wenger and co. forgotten how to spend money?

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Recycled news can only mean one thing. As the Arsenal fans become ever more frustrated with the lack of club signings and Wenger’s rather under ambitious nature, the media continues to prey on our concerns by ultimately getting our hopes up, just for our dreams to be crushed once again, like every year.

The media plays a massive part in football nowadays. Previously you wouldn’t have had all this contract speculation, massive bidding wars and rumours surrounding which players were coming in or in Arsenal’s case leaving. Because before, the only way you knew your club was going to make a signing was if the club had announced it. The media had no accurate information into the footballing world. What happened at a club stayed with the club as its own knowledge and not to be preyed upon as the latest gossip. Well now that’s all changed, although has it really changed as much as we think?

We are all aware that Wenger likes to keep his club business private and so when it comes to the media talking about Arsenal, the majority of the time its guess work. They might have a few contacts that know information from the inside, but in most cases they are just playing on their cards. And sometimes it’s funny for them to play with the minds of football fans and so they produce these extraordinary stories regarding world class players to come to Arsenal, only for the report to be absolute rubbish to put it nicely.

It’s all about a paper selling game. Who can make the most money in a competitive league? Sounds familiar to Arsenal doesn’t it, but what this creates is recycled news. How many different stories did we hear regarding Higuain? Jovetic? Rooney? And even more recently in Suarez! Not forgetting that just yesterday the rumours surrounding Fellaini picked up again.

They do this not just because they are big name players, but also to show that the club has some genuine interest in that player, but the Belgian’s release clause lapsed yesterday and if Arsenal were really keen we would have heard about a bid. Assuming that Wenger is actually trying to bring in some players this summer, which he surely must be, the media are completely in the dark about who, apart from Suarez. When we do complete some transfers, they will probably surprise us all.

Will Suarez saga go same way as Higuain and other recent transfers?

So what’s the current story surrounding Arsenal and Luis Suarez? Have we agreed terms? Has he had his 100th medical with the club? Or in fact have we not even got past agreeing a fee for the player? I feel we have experienced the same old story many times before but just featuring different world class players.

A few weeks back it was reported for the first time that Arsenal had made an opening bid of around £35 million for Luis Suarez. LIES! We all thought, there’s no way Wenger will spend that, especially not on a controversial figure such as Suarez. How wrong we were and suddenly a few weeks down the line, in terms of Arsenal’s normalities you could say we have become a little desperate. Now we currently stand on a bid of around £42.5 million, which according to some sources activates a clause that if Liverpool weren’t in the Champions League, which they aren’t, then they must allow Suarez to open negotiations with other clubs.

But haven’t we seen this story all before? With Higuain, even his dad came out to say that he ‘expects his son to soon be playing in the Premier League’. And after agreeing numerous fees, holding several meetings for personal terms and a few mystery medicals later, the Argentinian striker joins Serie A side Napoli from Real Madrid.
The same with Stefan Jovetic, he supposedly agreed a pre-contract with Arsenal – signs for Manchester City. Marouane Fellaini, supposedly had his buyout clause activated of £23 million by Arsenal weeks ago, yet we still sit here waiting for his arrival. And then even with Yann M’Vila last year, whom I’m sure you all remember greatly. He is another player that went through this whole process yet never actually signed for Arsenal.

So ultimately what I’m trying to say is, don’t be fooled by this Suarez story. It isn’t false, there’s no doubt about that, Liverpool officials have publicly announced the bids from Arsenal so we certainly hold an interest, but what I’m saying is it all seems to be a familiar story where we supposedly go through all the negotiations when in fact we are just sitting on the fence, seemingly waiting for another club to put a bid in. If every player you bis for seems too expensive, Arsene, maybe the problem is not the other clubs’ but Arsenal’s valuation.

Arsenal running out of big name strikers to sign – Hurry up Wenger!!

According to some media reports, Spanish giants Real Madrid are on the brink of a spectacular £25 million plus Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain bid for the Liverpool striker and Arsenal target Luis Suarez. In others, Madrid are about to sell Higuain to Napoli and use the money to buy Suarez outright.

The two above-mentioned strikers are the only two realistic options left in the Gunners’ pursuit of a world class striker this summer, with Stefan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo, Mario Gomez and David Villa all completing moves to various clubs.

Both strikers have been heavily linked with the Gunners and if this report is indeed true, it could well mean the end of the road for Arsenal in their pursuit of a world class striker, as looking at the market, there is no one of note still available.

Interestingly enough, an extremely reliable Arsenal source on twitter (@GeoffArsenal) has claimed that the Gunners will be making an ambitious £41 million bid for the controversial Uruguayan striker, having already had a £35 million move rejected by the Merseyside club.

Honestly speaking, The Sun is not always the most reliable of newspapers. It is extremely unlikely that Gonzalo Higuain would decide to retire from Champions League football and move to Liverpool. In my opinion, the report is a result of a lack of progress in the much-hyped transfer sagas of both players.

The twitter source, however, has proved that he does indeed have inside information at Arsenal. He pin-pointed the exact game when Wilshere would return from his infamous injury, claimed that Mikel Arteta would start for Arsenal at last season’s final game at Newcastle when the whole world thought he’d be out and was the first to report Wenger’s interest in Monreal, making all these claims even before any of the media outlets.

All I’m trying to say is Arsenal fans have reason to be excited, this guy is very reliable when it comes to Arsenal news. With Wenger reportedly sitting on a £70 million war chest and having freed up to £350,000 in player wages, there is no doubt in my mind that Arsenal can indeed afford the Uruguayan.

The question, however, is whether Wenger would be willing to spend up to £41 million on a single player. Personally, I believe he will be worth it if Le Boss decides to splash the cash. Hey, if he can score 30 goals playing for Liverpool, he can score a hell of a lot more playing for the Arsenal.

Who can Arsenal turn to if Suarez and Higuain don’t sign?

As any Arsenal fan will understand, you have to be worried about the current problems that the club faces in the transfer window concerning Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez. Liverpool seem to want £55 million according to some newspapers although the more reliable ones report that £40 million should do it.

Real Madrid have slowed down any negotiations for Higuain and to me that deal seems to be off now. It will be a miracle if we see Higuain in England by the time the transfer window closes. We can probably forget about Wayne Rooney as he will follow the money.

Stevan Jovetic, who was one of Arsenal’s targets earlier in the summer is moving to Manchester City after they agreed to sign him for £22 million which is strange considering Fiorentina wanted over 25 from Arsenal to even consider letting him go. Jovetic is now out of the club’s reach which brings a big problem.

Who will Arsenal sign if neither of these three players secure a move to the club? Well so far there haven’t been many other strikers linked with Arsenal this summer, well nothing that looks possible at least. Let’s hope Arsene Wenger has more players on his shortlist if he can’t secure anybody else’s signature. To help him out I have drawn up my own list.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
At 31 years old, this would be a strange purchase for Arsenal but the man has world class ability and no less will do this summer. With the arrival of Edinson Cavani at PSG, there have been reports that Ibrahimovic wants to leave so he can be the main man. Real Madrid may or may not be interested but Arsenal can act fast and sign him before anybody even expected it.

Roberto Soldado
He is a target for Tottenham which would make signing him all the more satisfying. He is a top, top striker who has been Valencia’s top player since he arrived a few years ago. If we were to sign him, he would give us goals and a high work rate but more importantly goals.

Christian Benteke
Another Tottenham target and after one season he has proven that he can cut it in the Premier League. At Aston Villa he would spearhead attacks alone and drive into the defence making him a force to be reckoned with. Many people would love to see him at Arsenal next season including me.

Fernando Torres
He hasn’t been able to score like he did in 2009 but he has developed into a great team player recently. His scoring record isn’t that bad either he still got over 20 last season and he could really fit in with players like Santi Cazorla and the other Spanish boys. With the amount of strikers Chelsea have (and still recruiting) going into next season, Torres could be picked up fairly cheap.

Thomas Muller
This one is a long shot but he is a great player. He has goals and all round ability and if we are lucky, Pep Guardiola may not find room in his team for Muller possibly making him available if the right offer comes along. He is one of Bayern’s best players but then again I said that about Mario Gomez just one year ago and look where he is today.

There are still options other than Suarez and Higuain but Wenger needs to act before the new season starts and we find ourselves with Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo trying to scare the defences of top European clubs. A world class striker is one of the missing pieces at Arsenal at the moment, don’t let us down boss.

Why Arsenal should consider taking Vela back

Arsenal could sign Carlos Vela back for as little as £3.5 Million because of a buy back clause that was included in his contract when he moved to La Liga club Real Sociedad. The Spanish club are one of the teams that Arsenal could face in the Champions League two legged play-off in August.

Vela has been an outstanding player at Sociedad and has been a major factor in the club getting into the Champions League. He scored 14 goals in 36 games for them last season but has been even more active in assists. For a striker, he does everything you can possibly need as he scores plenty of goals and creates chances for others around him.

At Arsenal he was never really given many opportunities to show his ability other than in cup games and short appearances off the bench. He only ever scored 3 goals in his entire time at Arsenal but he only made 29 appearances and as said before, many of them were short games where he came off the bench.

Arsenal have almost certainly signed Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid, but Arsene Wenger was also chasing Stevan Jovetic earlier this month before apparently losing interest. Jovetic is more of a support striker, but Carlos Vela could also be bought and used as Higuain’s support. He has proved at Sociedad that he can act as a supporting striker and still get goals.

The Mexican would also be a significantly cheaper option than Wayne Rooney who has become a support striker in recent seasons. The media are reporting that Rooney wants to go to Barcelona so Arsenal are probably out of the race for him ,if they were even ever in it, which I doubt.

Vela will know many of the players already at Arsenal which is an added bonus as he will already have good relationships in place and know the staff and how the club works.

What are you waiting for Wenger, you can buy a supporting striker who can score, assist and who already knows the club for just £3.5 Million.

Sign him up.

Are Arsenal fans upset about losing out on Jovetic? I’m not!

Prior to the season ending and just after it, the media was reporting news about Stefan Jovetic as if his transfer to Arsenal was in advanced negotiations and impending completion. However it wasn’t to be and a few weeks further on and we hardly hear his name mentioned in the media anymore. The latest reported yesterday was that Arsenal were refusing to meet his wage demands….

Stefan Jovetic is a player whose link to the club seemed to have some truth purely because on the persistent reports and the fact the reports were widespread across Europe. It had an air of the Podolski transfer back in 2012 which was announced in around March. The fans got excited about the possibility of making the summers first major signing and for once it was a relatively big name, but as stated things have since changed.

But not to worry Arsenal fans, I personally feel it’s a good thing we didn’t continue to follow Jovetic, although I cannot be certain that we have stopped tracking the player, or in fact ever was tracking the Montenegrin, I mean nobody actually knows if there was any truth in the media reports in the first place. But back to the main point and from what is being reported, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that Wenger has looked elsewhere away from the Fiorentina main man.

Jovetic’s goal scoring record of 31 goals in 115 appearances is extremely poor for a player known for his quality. I’m not going to even bother taking into account the claims that he is young, has been injured and arguably doesn’t play central striker, the fact remains that on that statistic, no way should Arsenal be looking to sign this player as their main striker.

It also means Wenger has had to look elsewhere in real top quality players, including Rooney and Higuain, both whom seem set to leave their respective clusb this summer, with Arsenal extremely keen on the pair of them.
Although there is still a chance Jovetic could sign for Arsenal I believe his price tag of £23 million has lowered the likeliness of a transfer more and more by the day and it has got to the stage where we simply just don’t hear of his link anymore. Although I don’t normally judge a player before I’ve seen a lot of them, the reviews and statistics say to me that I hope Wenger well and truly has turned his attention elsewhere than to Jovetic.

Arsenal set to lose out again (as usual!)?

Every year Arsenal always lose out on one of our main transfer targets because we are usually too slow in the transfer negotiations or that quite simply another team is offering a better package than us. Unfortunately if recent years those players we have targeted have been snapped up by rivals, Juan Mata to Chelsea for instance is one of the biggest recent deals in this frame. And this summer looks to be the same!

As you probably all know, looking at the reports a striker seems to be our main priority this summer with Higuain and Jovetic both doing the rounds for well over a month now, in Jovetic’s case even longer as I’m sure I remember first hearing about a possible transfer back in April. Reports stated that a deal for the Montenegrin was agreed, however a few months down the line and I think it’s pretty certain he won’t be coming to Arsenal this summer. Juventus and Chelsea’s interest for me is too strong and so we could lose out on one of our long term targets yet again.

Higuain is the other striker and he too looks as if he could be on his way to Seria A side Juventus. The Italian club reportedly held a meeting to discuss the Argentinian striker this week; however how negotiations went are still unknown. I personally think a transfer to Arsenal is still very much possible, more so than Jovetic. But if Juventus lose Jovetic to another team, they will surely look to snap up Higuain quick.
Moving onto two midfield players, the return of Cesc Fabregas always looked like a dream and in reality it still is. I think it’s unlikely that the former Arsenal captain will leave Barcelona this summer, but if he does it surely will be for Arsenal because a transfer to any other team isn’t financially worth it.

The final midfielder and player in this article is Everton’s Fellaini, a reported long term target for a few seasons now, Fellaini’s impressed greatly this season and stepped up to the next level. Interest gathered from across Europe and there were even reports a last week that stated Arsenal had agreed a fee, however the news was short lived and I think the Belgian with re-united with former Toffee boss David Moyes at Old Trafford.
So that’s four targets, arguably four of our main targets and options this summer, that I’m sure Wenger and his team have spent ages looking at just to fall at the final hurdle once again. Of course all these targets are still possible and their transfers to Arsenal in all are probably quite likely however I feel that with their individual situations and the other clubs interested, I find it hard to picture these players in the red and white of Arsenal next season.

Arsenal are still in with a chance for Jovetic

The transfer saga involving Arsenal and Fiorentina’s Stefan Jovetic has been going on for some while now and its involved the Gunners agreeing a deal for the Montenegrin, having a medical with Juventus and then being told to stay at Fiorentina, apparently, but now the latest news comes from quotes from the player himself, stating both his intentions and options for the future.

He said, “I’ve been at Fiorentina since 2008, five very intense seasons, I really feel like I’ve given everything. I’m young and ambitious and it is normal to feel the need to test myself elsewhere. I do not think there’s anything wrong with desire. I’ve played in Europe with Fiorentina, now I want to win in Europe.

“For a year they (Juventus) have said they want me, I come before (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Carlos) Tevez and (Gonzalo) Higuain in their list. Who would not be flattered? But the Premier League is also a fantastic championship, as is La Liga. I have some opportunities so we’ll see.”

These quotes suggest to me that he may be close to leaving. In some ways he has recognized the good times he has had with the club but has once again reiterated his desire to leave. Arsenal and Juventus are believed to be the front runners and have been for some time; however Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea has prompted the West Londoners to gather interest in the 23 year old.

Jovetic was likely to join Juventus with the club going into several negotiations according to reports however the Serie A champions cannot afford the players commanding fee of £25 million, letting other clubs back into the mix. It’s highly unlikely that Arsenal will play that price either so it could mean that Arsenal end up losing out on a player that they’ve scouted for months once again, and as per usual it could be to a main rival.
if I’m honest I wouldn’t even be over disappointed losing out to Jovetic because his stats don’t prove him to be the fantastic player everyone seems to think he is, but the thought of losing out on a target once again to a main rival is starting to be a constant problem for Arsenal fans.