La Liga star striker declares himself ready to play for Arsenal

Just like one of the current options available to Arsenal in the forward department, Joel Campbell, the Brazilian starlet Wellington Silva has had to play at various other clubs on loan since he signed a contract with Arsenal back in 2011.

But after his spells in Spain with Levante, Alcoyano, Ponferradina, Murcia and now Almeria, the 21-year old has declared to the media in Spain that he is now finally available to play for the Gunners. This is because he has applied for and received a Spanish passport, as reported by Squawka.com.

Silva still has a Brazilian passport as well and his good performances in Spain have led to a first call up for the under 21 squad of the Brazil national side, but he is also now an EU citizen, which means that he is now able to play for the Gunners, although he also claims that he is just trying to focus on playing as well as he can for Almeria and helping them to retain their La Liga status.

But if he continues to impress, then Arsenal fans could soon be seeing the young striker back at the Emirates in the famous red and white.

World Cup delight will help Arsenal see the REAL Mesut Ozil

If Arsenal are going to build on the success of last year, with an FA cup to end the trophy drought and a prolonged spell at the top of the Premier League table, we are going to need our key Gunners to perform at the top of their game. A few less injuries would help as well, of course.

So the form of Mesut Ozil could be crucial as to whether we Arsenal lifting more silverware this season or not. The Ozil who looked tired and dispirited midway through last season is not going to help us much, which is why it was great to see the German playmaker put on a much better showing at the Maracana stadium in Rio De Janeiro last night.

The 25-year old Gunner worked his socks off and had a real influence on the game before coming off at the end of extra time. His passing, movement and running with the ball were top notch and he produced two great chances for his team, at least one of which should have resulted in a goal. Mesut was clearly delighted, as the following Tweets reveal.

He wrote, “world champions!!! what an amazing feeling!”

And, “Greatest day of my life!”

Ozil will be having a holiday before returning to pre-season training with his Arsenal team mates, but he should arrive in great spirits and high on confidence, and that could just make the difference for us this season!!

Arsenal at the World Cup: From team-mates to enemies

Ending the nine year drought without a trophy will have provided a huge lift in the Arsenal dressing room for players who have been constantly reminded of the club’s failures over the last few seasons. Although the harmony has always remained strong within the camp, it would be understandable if an element of tension was beginning to creep in after throwing away a wonderful opportunity to win the Premier League title. Victorious scenes at Wembley illustrated the strong spirit and level of friendship enjoyed by Gunners’ team-mates, with Jack Wilshere dedicating the trophy to fans who have stuck with them and the club through thick and thin.

While the players can immerse themselves in the glory of being winners once again, many of them will soon leave for the small matter of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where team-mates could find themselves going from good friends to the best of enemies as their respective countries come head-to-head. A bit of friendly competitiveness never hurt anyone, but in the soaring heat and humidity of Brazil, players can often get carried away and let the moment of playing in a prestigious tournament get to them. Arsene Wenger will no doubt keep a keen eye on the World Cup, with everything crossed that his players do not clash on the pitch and ruin their state of mind.

 

Belgium v South Korea

Belgium are widely considered as serious dark horses to win in Brazil 2014 at 18/1, with Thomas Vermaelen set to play a crucial role in defence alongside fellow Premier League stars Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen. They will fancy their chances of progressing from Group H which includes Russia, Algeria and South Korea. The latter could provide a potential Gunner versus Gunner encounter between Vermaelen and forgotten man Park Chu-Young, who is currently out on loan at Watford. Despite his lack of games, the South Korean striker remains an important part of their plans and could be set to lock horns with Vermaelen. Their encounter could be as good as it gets for Park Chu-Young whose team are third favourites to qualify from Group H at 15/8, but find themselves well outside the running for the World Cup at a massive 400/1 as they lack the quality of previous years to be competitive.

 

England v Costa Rica

On paper, this game has an England win written all over it. In reality, however, we know that football has a funny habit of throwing up surprises, and with England going into the World Cup with considerably lowered expectation and hope, there is every chance that Costa Rica could do the unthinkable and spring a major surprise. The return to fitness of Jack Wilshire and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain following injury lay-offs is a huge boost to Roy Hodgson who may utilise both Arsenal stars in a youthful side that is able to express themselves without fear and provide England with the best possible chance of success, with odds of 28/1 putting the Three Lions amongst the dark horses. It remains to be seen whether both players will be fully fit to make an impact, but England’s defence must be aware of Joel Campbell who has excelled on loan at Olympiakos. The Costa Rica star illustrates his wonderful potential with a devastating display against Manchester United in the Champions League, with his considerable pace and trickery being one of his country’s greatest threats. The 1000/1 outsiders are unlikely to pull up any trees at the World Cup, but Campbell could well come out on top in the battle with his fellow Gunners with a bright tournament that puts him in Arsene Wenger’s plans for next season.

Wenger – Arsenal should be an example

Arsene Wenger is set to stay at Arsenal beyond this season extending his stay to the 20-year mark. The French manager insists that he has given the board of directors his word and would not renege on their agreement. The two-year extension has been on the table since late last year.

When questioned about his future, Wenger responded saying, ‘Look, I have said that many times already, I have given my word to this club and that I want to continue where I am.’
When he was pushed to speak in more lucid terms, he added: ‘That means to stay.’

Furthermore, the league’s current longest serving manager is appalled by the sacking of David Moyes by Manchester United. He believes the spate of sacking will hinder both the clubs and the education of the younger players coming through, which is where Arsenal excel.

‘After a game there’s a trial going on everywhere and the clubs need to be stronger,’ he said.
‘We have some countries, like Brazil, where they have five or six managers at a club in the same season. (If that happens) then nobody will trust a young player again because if they lose one game then he is out. Nobody will educate a player if he knows after one game he’s out.

‘The people who invest money will want the freedom to sack who they want but it’s in their interest to have stability. If you have 20 billionaires in the Premier League, there will only ever be one champion and three clubs that go down.

‘I believe you want competent people in charge and competent people demand people with quality to do the job. If instability comes too quickly you might suffer.’

Wenger is vocally critical of the new found wealth of clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City. He calls it ‘financial doping’ and is eager for the Financial Fair Play Rules to take effect.

Arsenal are glad to be rid of Santos – but for free?

Arsenal fans can be happy with hearing that Andre Santos has now officially become the latest name on the long list of ‘deadwood’ players to leave this summer. Santos has agreed to play for Brazilian side Flamengo for the upcoming season, after agreeing a 2 year deal with the club.

Andre Santos had been a player that was used sparingly at Arsenal in his last year with the club and was realistically never in with a real chance of ever making it back as a full time regular starter with Arsenal and the way things were going for the player, despite his wish to remain in European football, I’m sure he will just be as happy to see the back of Arsenal, as the fans are as happy to see the back of Andre Santos number 11.

The deal is reported to be a free transfer, which I personally find a bit strange but also completely understandable at the same time. It’s strange in the sense that it’s unlikely Arsenal to pay big money for a player just to let them leave for basically nothing – and bearing in mind that Arsenal only signed Santos back on deadline day August 2011 for a speculated £7 million, to let him go less than two years down the line on a free transfer seems strange.

However I completely understand Arsenal’s decision. It’s unlikely the Brazilian side were willing to pay anywhere near the excess of £7 million for the player and for the way he has performed even £2 million would maybe be an overstatement, but I think the main reason was probably down to wages, and Flamengo probably contacted Arsenal saying that they could take Santos off our hands, but wouldn’t be able to pay for a transfer fee because his contract package is big enough as it is.

Lastly we must remember that Santos wasn’t always a bad player. Dubbed as a panic buy, he actually did impress at times during his first season, but his laziness as well as controversy soon got in the way and before you know it he was down the pecking order and his Arsenal career was over. Good luck to Santos in the future but I’m sure Arsenal fans will be most pleased to know that that’s another player struck off the ‘to go’ list.

Mannone has left Arsenal so where is Cesar?

Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone has completed his move to fellow Premier League side Sunderland, ending his 8 year association with the Gunners. Mannone’s transfer away from the club would suggest that Wenger is preparing to bring in a new goalkeeper, however knowing our luck Wenger will just promote Damien Martinez.

Many believe that the incoming goalkeeper surely has to be QPR goalie Julio Cesar, who has just been awarded with the Goalkeeper’s Glove award at the recent confederations cup, beating the likes of Spain’s Cassillas and Italy’s Buffon to the award, reiterating his true quality.

Cesar’s recent comments about wanting to stay in London have only helped the cause, whilst Rangers boss Harry Redknapp seems certain that he will soon lose arguably one of his star players. At a quoted valuation of around £1-3 million, you simply cannot go wrong and I’m surprised other big teams haven’t made their interest formally known, although I have seen suggestions that Barcelona have joined the race for the 33 year old.

But the majority of speculation surrounding Cesar remains with Arsenal and I really don’t think we can go wrong on this transfer. He wants to stay in London, preferably with a champions league team and with Chelsea already having two fantastic goalkeepers that only leaves Arsenal in the fold.

Cesar would obviously be a massive step up in talent in replacing Mannone who was never anything more than third choice at Arsenal, although in tribute to Mannone, he did in all fairness produce some absolutely fantastic displays over the years, especially most memorably in 2009.

I always liked Mannone because he was a true professional who didn’t complain. He always strove to take his chances and although he never really seemed Arsenal quality he always provided admirable back up. On a reported £5k a week, there seems to be no negatives about the Italian but I suppose it was best for both club and player to move on and I’m sure we will see more from the 25 year old in the upcoming season.

All that’s left now is to sign Julio Cesar!

Arsenal target picks up Golden Gloves award

If Arsene Wenger has been entertaining any lingering doubts about signing Julio Cesar for Arsenal, then his performances in the Confederations Cup over the last couple of weeks should have convinced him once and for all. The 33-year old has been in excellent form for Brazil, helping them to lift the tournament trophy with a stunning victory over Spain last night in the final.

After a few nervous moments in Brazil’s opening game against Japan, Cesar has been in imperious form. He has conceded just three goals in the five games Brazil have played, saving an early penalty from Forlan of Uruguay in the semi-final, which could have led to the hosts going out.

Last night’s final was probably his best game. Although he didn’t get a touch to Sergio Ramos’ penalty, he went the right way and Ramos says he had to adjust, which is why it clipped the post. Even when Brazil were clearly going to win, Cesar pulled off a couple of stunning saves to deny the Spanish even a consolation goal.

Harry Redknapp has accepted that QPR in the championship is no place for a keeper of Cesar’s class, and Arsenal will get themselves a real bargain for around £2-3 million. Even if we only get another two or three years from him, it will be worth it, and if some of his big game temperament can rub off on Wojciech Szczesny, it will be an excellent bonus. Wenger and his staff need to strike now and seal the deal quickly, before his performances get some other clubs thinking.

Rumours of Julio Cesar to Arsenal pick up once again

Why is it always Arsenal that seem to be involved in these never ending transfer fiascos? Normally its endless speculation on players leaving the club, such as Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie. Whilst we also experience the odd piece of speculation that persistently links a player with Arsenal, only for us to miss out to one of our rivals, Juan Mata anyone? And this summer looks set to be no different, despite Arsenal’s change in attitude.
It’s being reported once again that Arsenal are set to step up their interests and sign QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar once he returns from the Confederations Cup tournament in Brazil. But how many times have we read this report, it’s becoming annoying rather than exciting. To be fair he has been away on International duty and so this would of hampered any potential deal that was in the process for the time being, however the persistent links do not help the transfer go through, all it seems to do is get a lot of Arsenal fans excited, only to be let down when the transfer never comes off.

“Julio Cesar will move on,” Harry Redknapp said. “He’s a top class goalkeeper, Brazil’s No.1. He’s been in great for Brazil and I presume there’s a big club out there for him.

“He won’t want to play in the Championship, he’s a goalkeeper for a big club.”

I cannot confirm nor deny that a deal has been struck for the 33 year old and to be honest very little people actually know so take everything you read on the internet with a pinch of salt. Let’s face it the majority of rumours are made up either by the media to sell their product, or by ‘trolls’ just looking for a laugh.

To be honest, despite the consistent reports I don’t expect Cesar to sign. And the fact we have almost sold Vito Mannone doesn’t change anything because I realistically think Wenger will promote Martinez.

Now I’m not saying that Cesar won’t sign for Arsenal this summer and hey perhaps the media are right in saying that he will sign after this weekend’s final. However it’s extremely likely that this deal isn’t where people state it is when they say “it’s all completed, just waiting official confirmation”.

But now that Cesar has finished playing (and winning) at the Confederations Cup, at least we will know one way or the other very shortly.

Chamberlain wants to score more goals, so do Arsenal fans!

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is a popular figure amongst the club mainly because of his raw talent but also because of his likeable, friendly and open character. He is a down to earth professional who doesn’t get hyped over the financial side of things and plays the game for the right reason. The Ox is a true professional and because of this Arsenal fans expect a lot of the youngster.

Chamberlain has certainly proved his worth over the last two seasons despite not being an integral part of our team. His fantastic performances are because of his pure talent. He has pace, skill, good passing ability and a great work rate, the only thing he seems to lack is goals, and the Englishman recognises he needs to improve on that side of his game.

“My dad wants me to score more goals, he’s always telling me to do that. He’s right because I want me to score more goals. I know that’s one of the things I need to improve on next season. I just want to improve my overall game. You can always keep learning and getting better. I know I still have a lot to do.”

Chamberlain has a great shot; there is no doubt about that, with goals against Coventry and Newcastle being absolutely fantastic goals. He also displayed his rocket shot last season, whilst he also proved he can finish in the trickiest situations, scoring two very tight goals against Blackburn.

Chamberlain also scored a well taken goal against Brazil recently and the 19 year old had a little joke with the media about his stunning drive.

Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “Dad sent me a text before the Brazil game saying, ‘Make sure you do something good.’ The next day he sent another which said, ‘I like it when you listen to me’.”

Let’s hope the Ox ups his game next season and continues to add to the team with a few more goals, what is certain is he is an uprising star that could be a surprising important player next season.

Were Arsenal transfer rumours about Cesar all wrong?

A few weeks back it seemed certain that Arsenal were about to wrap up a deal for QPR and Brazil international goalkeeper Julio Cesar, however for a while the talk has gone cold, suggesting that once again the media may have hyped up a story with absolutely no truth.

The goalkeeper who was relegated with London side Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR) last season has stated on many occasions that he needs to keep playing at the top level and so for that reason he will be looking to leave the club this summer, and Arsenal were reportedly the ones in the driving seat. After several weeks of reported negotiations it seemed as if the two London clubs had come to an agreement, however as stated the talk of a transfer has gone cold.
Cesar has been a long term target for Wenger, with the Frenchman tracking Cesar for several years and attempting to get him last summer, upon his decision to leave Inter Milan. However the Brazilian turned down Arsenal’s offer (and has even been quoted saying it) and joined QPR instead. I think it’s clear that he was interested in the money but now at 33 years old his realisation seems to be wishing to play at the top level for a long as he physically can.

The prospect of a transfer to Arsenal still looks fairly likely, however the lack of talk and clear misinformation from the media recently in terms of the reports on Julio Cesar gives me doubts that there is any truth in the stories at all. I think there is certain interest in the Brazilian however it’s probably very likely that no official negotiations have taken place over a possible transfer from QPR to Arsenal, just probably initial talks between the two clubs and the player involved.