Arsenal close to signing of STUNNING striker

It might still be a subject for debate among the Arsenal fans but I think that most of us agree with Thierry Henry about the club needing more options than the French international Olivier Giroud to score our goals.

We do have the excellent Alexis Sanchez of course and our midfielders chip in with goals but it remains to be seen whether Danny Welbeck can push on and challenge Giroud for that central striker position. And the former Man United man really needs to improve his goal tally to go along with his good all round game.

But we do already have a bit of a goal machine in the shape of Theo Walcott who banged in four goals in the final two games of the season and backed that up with the opener against Everton on Saturday. He was the club’s top scorer in his last full season as well so the fact that his contract is now in its final year was a real worry. Or it was until he declared in a Sky Sports report that he was happy at Arsenal and ready to sign a new deal.

He said, “My agent has talked to the club.

“I enjoy playing for this club, so I am just letting them crack on with things and I’ll continue playing football.

“We’ll just play the waiting game and see what happens but I’m sure it won’t be long. This squad, for me, is one of the best I’ve been involved in. I want to be part of that.

“You don’t want to dwell on it, you want to play well and, if it happens, it happens.

“I won’t let that delay the way I’m going to be playing this season. I can’t let that affect me, I want to do well for this club.

“It’s my first pre-season for two years now, so I want to work hard and get fit.

“It’s a really exciting year for myself personally and I think this team can go very far.”

So that is one key player close to signing. Who’s next?

Monaco encouraged by Wenger’s reluctance over new Arsenal contract

Arsene Wenger may finally call time on his 18-year reign at Arsenal. A Telegraph report says that the Monaco owner, Dmitri Rybololev, wants the Frenchman so badly that he’ll pay as much as 1 million pounds a month to get him. Wenger has refused to have his head turned by overtures from Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in recent years but Rybololev is encouraged by Wenger’s reluctance to sign a new contract at Arsenal.

Monaco’s league form has been somewhat disappointing. Although Champions League qualification has been secured, they are ten points behind PSG. The owner wants a manager of stature to challenge for the title next season while putting up a strong showing in Europe. Claudio Ranieri is expected to be dismissed before the summer to make way for Wenger’s arrival.
Were he to leave Arsenal, Wenger will be returning to a club he managed for 7 years between 1987 and 1994. Monaco, meanwhile are in a dubious position given UEFA’s financial fair play rules and the exorbitant wages they pay their players. Most notably among them are prolific striker, Radamel Falcao, Portuguese midfielder, Moutinho and the former Porto winger, James Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, the Arsenal midfielder, Abou Diaby, seemed to be back from his long injury layoff. But only for a few days. He was pictured doing some fitness work on the streets of Paris earlier in the week but he has suffered yet another injury setback. The defensive midfielder suffered a slight groin problem during Arsenal’s Under 21’s midweek match against Chelsea. ‘Diaby played one half,’ Wenger said, ‘how far away he is is difficult to say, but he had a little groin problem after the game so will not be available for Monday.’ Wenger didn’t say if Diaby will still be involved this season.

The Frenchman has not played for over a year since suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Swansea in March, 2013. Abou Diaby had been tipped for great things but a series of injuries have curtailed his progress. He is now 27 and Arsenal fans will be hoping he finally repays their patience with good performances.

Wenger has full faith in future value of Rosicky to Arsenal

When you think of Arsenal players, the general assumption is that they are young and inexperienced talents that have a lot of potential rather than the top quality experienced players that are coming to the latter stages of their career. And although we have started to move towards that a little bit more this season, with the team regularly featuring the likes of Sagna and Arteta who are both in their 30s, there still aren’t many players who retire with the Gunners.

That could all soon change however because we do have one player on the books who is coming to the end of his career in Tomas Rosicky. The Czech Republic international midfielder is in the final few months of his contract and at 33 years old there have been a few suggestions that Wenger would not be renewing it because of his age. Now first of all I think the suggestions are a little far-fetched because, although Wenger isn’t the biggest fan of giving out contracts once a player goes over the 30 mark, Le Prof still offers the chance of a one year extension.

But the one year extension is usually to players that are very good. William Gallas joined Spurs because Arsenal only offered him a single year, whilst a few other players including our very own Bacary Sagna is in a similar situation right now. But Rosicky seems to have something special. He is still one of the club’s greatest talents and often runs the game when he plays, even at the age of 33. In fact 33 isn’t that old for a footballer, and its possibly he could go on for at least another 3 years, however due to his injury problems in the past, I think he may be cut short a little.

Because of all the rumours suggesting that Rosicky has been contacted by an unnamed MLS club, it led Arsene Wenger to speak out on the matter in his press conference ahead of the Aston Villa match, and he was quick to state that Rosicky will remain with Arsenal for the time being.

Wenger told Arsenal.com, “Look, Tomas Rosicky will stay here at the end of the season. He is a marvellous player and contributes well to the team. He is certainly a typical Arsenal player in the way that he is mobile, technically sound and team orientates. So he is a fantastic football player.”

I think Rosicky definitely deserves another contract even if it’s only a single year extension because not only can he play at a top level in a number of different positions but he also offers valuable experience and advice to the team and especially towards the younger players. It’s an awful shame Rosicky has spent a lot of his time on the treatment table since he joined from Dortmund back in 2006, and it’s an even greater shame that he hasn’t managed to secure any medals during his time with the club, but saying that if he sticks around for a little longer, all that could soon change.

Rosicky may have broken his nose last night, but he does not have to worry about making a certain amount of appearances in order to get a new deal at the Emirates and even if he has, it will not keep him out for long.

Gnabry joins the young Guns who signed long deals with Arsenal

Arsenal have today announced on the clubs official website Arsenal.com that the Gunners have re-signed German youngster Serge Gnabry on a new long term contract. Gnabry, who is just 18 years old has impressed immensely for the Gunners so far this season, making a few appearances for the first team already.

Having also scored a goal in the league game against Swansea, Gnabry is already on his rise to stardom as one of the club’s most promising players at this current moment in time and the way he is developing at such a rate means that everyone is very much looking forward to the exciting young prospect we have on our books. Arsene Wenger announced the contract extension in today’s press conference ahead of the Capital One Cup game against Chelsea, which I’m sure the man in question, Serge Gnabry, will surely partake in.

Wenger said: “We signed Serge Gnabry because I believe that he will be a great player. He’s nearly there now, and competes for a regular place in the team in the Premier League. He has technical ability, he has power, he has pace, he has finishing quality and he can give a final ball. He’s a powerful offensive player and I believe that he will be a great player for Arsenal Football Club.”

Gnabry too had his say on the contract extension a little later and he seemed very happy to commit to the club for the mean time at least.
“Arsenal is a great football club and I’m so happy to be here and sign a new contract. For me, now it’s all about working hard and developing my game. I’ve had some good opportunities recently in the first team, which has given me extra confidence, and this will only improve my game. I’m looking forward to giving my best for this club in the years to come.”

Arsenal has given Gnabry a chance that he may not have had if he had never joined the Gunners. To be an 18 year old, flourishing in the Premier League means you are surely going to be something special. Right now though he cannot let the confidence get to his head and he needs to keep his feet on the ground, concentrate on improving his qualities and only then will he be well on his way to becoming a top professional footballer. Keep it up Serge!

Wenger could leave Arsenal next summer! – Is that Bad?

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is now the longest serving manager in football management in England at the moment, having been in London for 17 years now, however with his current contract set to expire in the summer for Le Prof, he has made it very clear to the media that there is no guarantees that he will continue with Arsenal beyond the end of this season.

At the start of the season, there were suggestions that Wenger was once again being lined up by Paris Saint-Germain, whilst Real Madrid were also without a manager, however despite the rumours, Arsene Wenger once again stuck with Arsenal. The fans have also been on his back in recent years with many saying he should have been out the door many years ago after going several years without a trophy.

I personally don’t agree with that stance because I don’t think there is any better managers available at the moment that would come to Arsenal, and so whilst we still have a very good manager in Arsene Wenger we should definitely look to keep him for as long as he is still capable of doing the right job and I am confident he can bring us back to glory, it’s just a case of being more ambitious.

And it’s that last problem that looks to be the deciding factor for all, because although he was ambitious in signing Mesut Ozil, aside from that he hasn’t really pulled anything else speculator out of the bag and I think if we are to be a dominant force in England again, then that’s what is necessary. So in another perception of it, is Wenger holding us back from glory? But despite all this Wenger confirmed he will not commit his future to Arsenal in yesterday’s press conference.

The manager said, “We are in no hurry. We are in September and my contract finishes in June. There is a long way to go. There is no need to plan [any talks]. I have said many times I want to do well with this club and in the end I will sit down and think ‘how well have I done with the team I have had?’ That has to be sufficient for me to decide yes or no. One of the main judgments you can have about a manager is how well he does with his team.”

I think Wenger is right to review his situation before committing to the Gunners once again because it’s also a personal choice in whether or not he wants to continue with Arsenal or not, rather than staying till the day he is forced out the door. However I think that will be the case with Wenger because you can see from the last few years that despite the issues that have prevailed us, he is still determined to regain glory with Arsenal and I think it is then, that he will finally decide to call it a day!

Should Wenger get a new Arsenal contract before the season starts?

It is being reported today that Arsenal will open talks with Arsene Wenger over a new contract weeks after the talks were first rumoured to be happening. The manager has been under more pressure in the last three or four seasons more than he ever has before at the club. Some fans have even called for his head several times in this uneasy period of time which, to me, is very surprising.

The club were on such a roll when Wenger first arrived. Premier League titles, Cup titles season after season and a Champions League final in 2006 but since then the club seems to have been on a downhill slide.

Why?

Because players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg and Jens Lehman were never ever replaced properly. You could argue that players like Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri were the replacements but they all left the club and they were the only decent players in the squad – whereas when the legends above were in the squad, there was two or three players behind them in the pecking order who were still top quality players and could give give them decent backup.

Since those players left, the golden generation has been replaced by cheap, young players who are Europa League quality, not Champions League final quality.

None of this is Wenger’s fault though, in my opinion. We know that Stan Kroenke likes to run Arsenal without having to invest, along with most of the other board members, and they give Wenger a budget every season that is probably three to five times less than the clubs around Arsenal.

Yet with no real budget to buy big players, he has kept the club in the Champions League every season since he arrived at the club. The club may not be challenging for trophies and that needs to change. Arsene Wenger deserves a new contract as without him I believe the club would have been playing in the Europa League for the last three seasons.

Give the man a new contract and money to spend so we can forget about these last few years of failure and get back to the top of world football.

That is my opinion, but do you think we should wait until we see how the next season panns out before beginining talks?

Sagna to stay at Arsenal as trophies beckon

Bacary Sagna did not have his best season for Arsenal last time around, not by a long way. At his age, we should not be too surprised that the recovery from two bad leg breaks in one year took a bit longer than we would have liked. Add to that his criticism of the club’s ambitions after selling van Persie and Song in the summer, while he stalled on his decision whether to renew his contract with the Gunners, and it is safe to say that he was not the most happy and popular player at the club.

However, it is now looking like the French right back will still be an Arsenal player next season. There are talks ongoing about a contract extension, but the really significant thing, for me, is that Sagna seems to have renewed belief that he can win some silverware at the Emirates. Surely this is not merely because Arsenal finished last season well. Sagna must be expecting some quality additions to the squad.

He said, “The fact is that I am still at Arsenal and I am looking forward to playing next season.

“Arsenal made me grow as a player and as a man. People have been talking about me going back to France, but at the moment I am at Arsenal.

“I truly believe we can be successful. I truly believe we can be champions or I wouldn’t be playing football. I would have gone already. I truly believe we can succeed with the team we have.”

I think that Sagna will stay at Arsenal without signing a new contract, at least until January. Then we will have a much better idea of just how much chance of winning trophies the team really has and how ambitious the board and manager are.

Of course Arsenal can win the League next season!

Bacary Sagna has been talking to the media a lot today mentioning that he is in contact with Arsenal over signing a new contract as he approaches his last year. I for one think Sagna will be off this summer, however the other comments he made today about Arsenal’s chances of success next season make me think otherwise.

In a long interview Sagna reportedly said; “I truly believe we can be champions or else I wouldn’t be playing football. I would have gone already. I truly believe we can succeed with the team we have. I strongly believe we have the quality to be the best in the Premier League. Look at the end of last season, when we got 26 points from a possible 30. Not a lot of teams can do this and this is what makes me believe we can beat anyone.”

“What we managed last season can be done only by a true team with a great team spirit. I believe we can achieve a lot more.”

Sagna rightfully suggests our incredible run in to the seasons end and he recognises that consistency is the key. Something I have stated on several occasions.

Sagna continued; “On some days we can switch off and lose to anyone and to avoid this, we need to take things game by game and stay focused from the beginning to the end. There are no major things that we ought to do to continue succeeding.”

I think consistency is perhaps the most important factor to success. The league is a long process and although you can have all the talent in the world, if you’re not winning games and have a consistent record then surely there is a great chance of success. What is also good to know is that as well as Sagna, players including Walcott and Ramsey, showing that if the whole team had this desire to win and this positive mentality then we may be able to progress to a greater state than the 3rd/4th place spot we have grown accustom to over the last few seasons.

Finally, I agree with Sagna’s comment of saying we have a squad able of being successful. I feel this team is able to compete from trophies next season, if we apply the mentality and consistency spoken about, but if we wish to be truly ambitious and challenge for the Premier League, then it is vital we pair these aspects alongside the addition of several top class players.

Is Valdes the right keeper for Arsenal?

It is being reported today in most of the major Spanish media outlets that Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is on his way to Arsenal this summer after telling Barcelona that he is leaving. Barcelona are thought to have a goalkeeper lined up to replace him although they are keeping their mouths shut on just who that will be.

It has been reported at different times over the last few months that Valdes is unhappy at Barcelona and Barcelona are unhappy with him because of numerous attempts to agree a new contract for the Spaniard that have gone wrong and resulted in the possible transfer.

Valdes is one of the longest serving players at the club along with legends such as Carles Puyol and Xavi. It would be strange to see a different man between the sticks at the club because he has been there all the way through the club’s period of amazing success.

Valdes has never been credited as a great goalkeeper but he is good enough to help Barcelona to all the trophies they have won in recent years. He has only a couple of caps for Spain and has always been the deputy to both Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina during international spells.

Arsenal have also been reportedly looking for a new keeper in the last few months. I personally think this is a waste of time and money because Szczesny is a good keeper. Just last week Arsenal had a bid rejected for Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper Rui Patricio but they may now go back to their original target Victor Valdes.

Arsenal could get Valdes as cheap as £5 Million because Barcelona are keen to get rid of him but the deal could be off the table faster than it was on if Valdes can agree to the deal that he has been stubbornly rejecting for months.

4 Reasons why Arsenal do NOT need Walcott

Arsenal are hoping that Theo Walcott will sign a new deal to keep the forward at the Emirates Stadium, although Matthew Glazier of Bettingpro.com wonders if they really need him.

THEO Walcott arrived at Arsenal in January 2006 and it appears that he could be leaving seven years down the line, with the 23-year-old playing hard ball with the club when it comes to signing a new deal.

It might be the case that the player has already decided to leave the Gunners, whether that happens during the January transfer window or in the summer when Walcott might have more options available to him. However, Arsenal fans shouldn’t be too concerned about the player’s possible departure – here are five reasons why:

Walcott isn’t a world-class player
Don’t let your judgement be clouded by a recent hat-trick against a tired Newcastle team. Instead consider that Theo has regularly flattered to deceive in an Arsenal shirt. Like predecessor Marc Overmars, the England international has bags of pace, although his crossing is suspect and the same applies to his finishing. There are players that can easily fill his boots.

Walcott will never be a prolific goalscorer
Theo has managed just the 34 goals for Arsenal since arriving in 2006 which represents about five per season. Yes, he’s been in and out of the first team for a big chunk of his time with the Gunners, although his current position of centre forward is something of an experiment and it will be interesting to see whether it’s effective against a decent defence.

Arsenal shouldn’t be held to ransom by any player
A spate of Arsenal youngsters recently signed new deals at the Emirates, with Arsene Wenger making a clear statement to Walcott that the future is bright, whether or not the player remains at the club. You can bet your bottom dollar that the north London outfit have offered to make Walcott the best-paid player and if that’s not enough for the youngster, then let him warm the bench of a Chelsea or a Manchester United.

The Gunners have lots of attacking options
Arsene Wenger probably wishes he had picked up Michu for such a small price in the summer, although Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have been successful signings and we should probably expect more to come from Olivier Giroud. With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fast becoming the finished product, it’s not as if the departure of Walcott will leave a Robin van Persie-sized hole.

Matthew Glazier writes for Bettingpro.com an award-winning football, news and betting website.