Will Fergie leaving rejuvenate Arsenal and Wenger?

The news today that Sir Alex Ferguson will be retiring as manager of Manchester United at the end of the season means that the Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, will assume the mantle of the longest serving manager in the Football League. Arsene has been at the club for 16 years, ten fewer than the Man United chief.

This isn’t the first time Sir Alex has announced his retirement. Twelve years ago the Scot declared that the 2001/2 season would be his last. That decision was quickly reversed when the form of his team noticeably suffered, and the realisation hit him that he was still far too committed to leave. His enthusiasm renewed, he went on to notch up another six Premiership titles in the subsequent years.

Arsene Wenger is now roughly at the stage Sir Alex was then, in terms of length of service. Some commentators have wondered whether he still has the resolve to win trophies at Arsenal. He has certainly been receiving more criticism lately than at any other time in his managership. It could be said this is a pivotal time for the Arsenal legend. If he chose to call it a day, nobody could really blame him.

But at the same time, these are exciting times at The Emirates. The announcement yesterday of Arsenal’s sponsorship deal with Puma, the most lucrative in football by all accounts, reinforces the club’s financial buoyancy, and for the first time there are serious funds at the manager’s disposal. Should he so choose, Arsene could match anyone else’s offer for a player of his choice. He has the opportunity to build another team every bit as formidable as the “invincibles”. Will such a prospect rejuvenate the Arsenal boss?

It’s probably fair to say that Arsene and Sir Alex are two very proud men. The Man Utd manager has been able to exit on a high note, leaving his club in a winning position and well poised for future success. Surely Arsene would want to go out in a similar fashion.

Personally, I’m looking forward to a rejuvenated Arsene Wenger staying on long enough to eventually beat Sir Alex’s 26-year stint. If he does, the next ten years will be an exciting ride for Arsenal followers.

Frank

Can Arsenal win a bidding war for Eden Hazard?

The fight for Eden Hazard’s signature goes on in England, as English giants Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City are all tracking the attacking midfielder.

It seems that the transfer fee to beat is £30m, and that both City and United are looking to give their all to sign the Belgian international despite him being linked with the Gunners for over two seasons and despite Arsene Wenger’s previous attempts to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.

Both City and United had scouts at Lille’s game against PSG as Hazard managed to score his 17th goal of the season (and he’s far from being a striker) and Patrick Vieira himself was in the stands, but Arsenal are not to be forgotten about, because when you track a player for as long as Wenger did Hazard, you don’t really need to watch his games live anymore.

The Belgian has refreshed the statement that he’s looking to move away from Lille and to England as he declared:
“My objective is to go to the Premier League, because I have had my time in France. I want to finish the season with Lille and then go to England.”

Every Arsenal fan out there wishes to see the attacking midfielder join, but it’s becoming harder and harder. Do you think that Wenger will pull the transfer off?

Man City favourites to sign Van Persie, while Man Utd lead race for Eden Hazard

The transfer rumours which are wildly linking Arsenal’s striker Robin Van Persie with a move away from the club aren’t going unnoticed by the biggest British bookies on the internet, and you can earn quite an impressive amount of money if you’ll be able to predict his next destination. Our American readers can try this link for US friendly sportsbooks.

The trophy drought at Arsenal has convinced Robin to refuse to hold any contract negotiations until the summer transfer window opens. Many think that this is just a way to motivate Wenger into bringing reinforcements at the club, and it’s believed that Eden Hazard is the biggest target for Arsenal’s manager.

Hazard is rated with 5/1 odds of joining Arsenal or Spurs, but the bookies expect that he’s most likely to join United who are hot favourites at odds of 9/4, with Man City at 6/1 and Chelsea at 9/1.

Van Persie’s possible departure has also attracted attention, as the bookies will allow you to bet on his next destination (be it 4 years from now), where City is leading with 11/10 odds with Barcelona and Real Madrid trailing with odds of 8/1. You may also bet on where Robin will be after the transfer period, and Arsenal aren’t in too much danger of losing their captain according to the bookies who make him 1/2 odds on to remain at Arsenal, while a move to Juventus who has been recently linked has seen the odds drop from 33/1 to just 16/1.

But it will all be academic if Arsenal hold on to Third Place as I am convinced Robin will extend as long as he plays in the Champions League.

Man Utd admit further interest in top Arsenal target

The fight continues between Arsenal and a few other clubs for the signature of the Lille attacking midfielder Eden Hazard as Alex Ferguson visits France to see him in action again. Manchester United’s manager has admitted that he went to see the match between Lille and Lyon in order to keep a close eye on the Belgian’s performances.

Arsenal were thought to be the favorites to sign the talented Belgian playmaker, but Chelsea and Manchester United don’t seem too willing to drop the fight and Wenger should expect a fierce battle for the star’s signature.

“I was at the game and watched Hazard, as well as other players.”, Ferguson said. “That’s part of my job, looking at good players.

“Hazard is a very good player and has a lot of qualities. He’s particularly quick over the first 10 yards.”

Arsenal need Hazard just as much as United. The Red Devils are now going to be without Scholes, Anderson never lived to his full potential and after a promising start followed by a bad injury, Cleverly doesn’t seem quite as good as his early promise.

The Gunners however still didn’t recover from the departures of club midfielders Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, and Wilshere’s season-long injury didn’t help Wenger’s case so many Arsenal fans think that a player of Hazard’s ability is urgently needed at the Emirates.

Who think Wenger will be willing to enter a bidding war for Hazard?

Arsenal told to wait a year for young Serie A striker

Arsenal’s interest in one of Europe’s promising young strikers Luis Muriel has been snubbed by the player’s agent who claims that the wonderkid will still have to spend at least an year maturing at Udinese before being able to make a move to a big European club.

Muriel, who is currently on loan at Leece, has made a name for himself at the Italian club who is fighting to avoid relegation and is due to return to Udinese in the summer where his agent hopes that he will be able to get more experience.

“In normal circumstances he will wear the shirt of Udinese next season.

“There are many rumours about English and Italian clubs but I have not had formal contact with any club.

“I think he needs to mature a year and his immediate future should be the Udinese although the club will have the last word.”

According to today’s rumours Manchester United and Arsenal are amongst those English clubs, but even though the 21-year-old had a good season it’s still too early to speak about how big of a player he can become given the obvious lack of experience and his lack of performances. Do you think he would be a good addition to Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger’s biggest mistake in the transfer market?

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s biggest mistake since he joined the English side was just revealed today by Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent who shed some light regarding the star player’s move to Manchester United.

According to Jorge Mendes, Arsenal were the first to eye Ronaldo (like they usually are with talented young players), but lost the player in favor of Manchester United because they were too slow to react (again, like they usually are).

“I remember what happened to Ronaldo at Arsenal,” Mendes said.

“They watched him nine or ten times, and when everything seemed decided, then Manchester United played at the inauguration of the Alvaladze Stadium (Sporting Lisbon) and the players themselves urged Ferguson to buy him.”

Throughout the years we got accustomed with different players being within touching distance of a move to Arsenal, and then become all star players while playing for other clubs. It happened with Yaya Toure, with Ibrahimovic, and we just found out that it happened with Milan’s El Shaarawy as well before Milan got him.

When we thought that things couldn’t possible get any more disastrous, they just did! Just imagine what Arsenal would have looked like in 2003 with Henry, Pires and all the other stars and with a player of Ronaldo’s skills at 18 years of age.

Giggs – The form-book means nothing when United play Arsenal

The Man Utd legend Ryan Giggs says that recent results for either team will mean absolutely nothing when Man United take to the Emirates pitch tomorrow, and Arsenal are certain to be fighting to the death against the team that has been their biggest rivals under Arsene Wenger’s reign.

“Arsenal are Arsenal,” Giggs said. “They play very good football, they’re one of the best passing teams in Europe and they’re up there, as they always are. They’ve had a few disappointing results but they’re still in the Champions League and they’re up there in the league. Like most teams they probably could have done better, but I’m sure they’re happy.

“I’ve seen a statistic that they’ve let in more away goals than anyone else, but you’ve got to take into account that eight of those were at United, which was just a freak result. They’re a dangerous team. They’ve lost a few decent players over the years but they still play attractive football and new players keep coming in.

“Given the rivalry we’ve had over the years and the mutual respect between the two clubs, it doesn’t matter what the form-book says – it’s always a big game and always a tough game, especially at the Emirates. We’ve had mixed fortunes there; some good results and some bad results, but even in the good results we’ve always had to play well there to get a win. They’ve had a couple of defeats back-to-back, but that doesn’t matter.”

See, even Ryan Giggs know that Arsenal could easily win tomorrows game, so why don’t the Arsenal fans themselves try and have a little more confidence in their own side?

Arshavin – We can beat Man Utd on home turf

Arsenal are preparing to face Man Utd tomorrow looking for revenge for the massive 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford earlier in the season, and although the Gunners are still well below their rivals in the Premiership table they haven’t lost a home game since the beginning of the season.

Andrei Arshavin believes that Arsenal have no reason to fear Man United now that they are back at the Emirates. He said: “They are very strong but at home we can beat everyone too and I hope we will do it.

“If we play well we don’t mind what form they are in.

“I don’t think we play differently at home, we just try to play in our own style.

“Of course, at the Emirates you feel the supporters more and teams are more scared. I think it’s easier to play at home.

“Man United started the season very well.

“They seemed very far from everybody else but at the moment they are not. Manchester City are above them.”

Man Utd have not looked very invincible themselves lately and although Arsenal have lost their last two away games, it would be no suprise if they got back to winning ways with the home crowd behind them tomorrow.

Let’s take full advantage of the “12th man!”

Wenger – Arsenal MUST finish in Top Four (so we must beat Man Utd!)

Arsene Wenger has responded to the strange comments by Peter Hill-Wood this week that it would not be a problem if Arsenal missed out on a Champions League place, despite the Gunners qualifying every year for the last 15 seasons.

Hill-Wood said: “We have been planning for not qualifying every year, so it is not a disaster, but it would be nice if we could.”

But Arsene Wenger disagrees and said on Arsenal.com that it indeed WOULD be a disaster if the club fails to make it 16 years in a row.

“For me it would be a disaster because I want to play with the best,” he said. “We want to be in there, in the top four, and to play in the Champions League. Anything else would not be good enough.”

But it is not looking good right now. If Chelsea beat Norwich this morning they will move seven points ahead of Arsenal in fourth place, and don’t forget that if Liverpool and Newcastle win as well then Arsenal will turn out tomorrow as low as seventh in the table.

This will make a win against Man Utd imperative if Arsenal intend to stay in the race for the Champions League. Arsenal bounced back earlier this season at Chelsea, and us fans can only hope that they can do it again tomorrow despite having a makeshift defence…..

Wenger – I didn’t panic buy after Man Utd massacre

Back in the summer when Arsenal got off to their worst start to the season in living memory, which was compounded by their worst defeat for a century when Man Utd destroyed them 8-2, Arsene Wenger had a sudden flurry in the transfer market.

In the following days after the defeat Wenger brought in Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Yossi Benayoun and Ju Young Park to strengthen all areas of the team, but Wenger is adamant that the rush of activity had nothing to do with the result against United.

He was directly asked if it was panic-buying after the massive defeat. “No not really,” Wenger replied. “It was more linked to the fact that near the same date we knew Wilshere would have surgery, Diaby had not recovered, Vermaelen needed surgery and Gibbs was injured as well.

“We felt we could not go on like that, so it was more down to medical reasons than the result.”

If this is correct Arsene, then don’t you think you should have a look at the medical problems that we have at the moment? If anything the situation is worse now than it was in August!

Let’s hope that Man Utd don’t massacre us again……