Arsenal on transfer alert for TWO players after Arteta injury!

Arsene Wenger has dropped a very strong hint that Arsenal are not finished in the summer transfer market. And it looks like there could be at least two new players heading to the Emirates; one to fill the hole in the back four left by the departure of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona, and one to provide cover and competition in the centre of midfield.

The ankle injury picked up by the new Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta against Besiktas this week leaves the Gunners looking decidedly thin on the ground in that area. Many fans will say that we have been a bit thin there for years, but it looks like it has taken the injury to Arteta to tip the balance for our manager, as these comments reported by Arsenal.com suggest.

The Frenchman said, “”[If he is out for a while] we will be a bit short of course. If it’s a long-term injury, that puts us in a position where we have to be creative.”

Wenger also said, “We have the players we want but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window, who can strengthen our defensive department in quality and number.

“I can’t tell you how likely I am [to make a signing], I just said I am open to doing it. It has to be linked with the needed quality. If you ask today the 20 top clubs in the world what they look for, they all look for the same positions. That means it is not necessarily out there.”

Now I realise that this is not exactly saying that he is going shopping, but when you consider how tight lipped Wenger usually is about any transfer business at the club, it suggests to me that this is exactly what the manager is planning. I hope so anyway…

Arsenal’s lack of defenders highlighted by Emirates Cup team

I know that Arsene Wenger likes his Arsenal players to be versatile, and it is just as well when you see the options the Frenchman has got to work with in the Emirates Cup this weekend. With Thomas Vermaelen injured (apparently) and Per Mertesacker still on holiday after Germany’s World Cup heroics, Wenger has had to do some juggling to give the Gunners a back four to face Benfica today.

And with a rookie keeper in Damian Martinez starting between the sticks, I am worried that the Gunners’ makeshift back four could be very leaky against the Portuguese team that won a domestic treble last season. Not that it really matters too much in pre-season, but it does raise questions about the strength of the Arsenal squad, especially our defence, just two weeks before the start of the Premier League.

Arsenal team:
Martinez
Bellerin, Chambers, Monreal, Gibbs
Ramsey, Flamini
Chamberlain, Rosicky, Campbell
Sanogo

subs: Szczesny, Debuchy, Koscielny, Miquel, Coquelin, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Sanchez, Akpom, Giroud

It is an interesting XI in terms of attack, though, and the bench is pretty strong, so there could be goals galore at both ends. And maybe a few conceded might just convince Wenger that he needs to spend some money on a proper specialist centre back, or that he cannot afford to sell Vermaelen.

Chambers to partner Koscielny for Arsenal at Emirates Cup?

With Arsenal currently at their pre-season training camp in Austria, it is a good chance for our newest signing Calum Chambers to meet up with his new team mates and for Arsene Wenger to begin to integrate the youngster into the Arsenal way of doing things.

And the former Southampton star could be seeing some action on the pitch a lot quicker than many of us thought. The Gunners face two games in the Emirates Cup this weekend, with Portuguese side Benfica on Saturday and then AS Monaco from the French Ligue 1 on Sunday. Arsenal fans will be hoping for a better performance than last weekend’s defeat in New York, but Wenger has some problems to deal with.

Because of the World Cup, Per Mertesacker will not be playing and there is still no sign of our club captain Thomas Vermaelen, even though the other players that reached the same stage in Brazil are already back. So with Chambers known to be versatile and with central defence one of his possible playing positions, I wonder if Wenger is thinking of putting him alongside Laurent Koscielny this weekend.

Chambers is right footed, while the Frenchman is a leftie, so it would be a natural pairing and would be a good experience for the new boy. To be honest, the only options are for Nacho Monreal to move inside again of for one of the academy players like Hayden or Miquel to get the nod. Who would you go with?

Debate – Should Arsenal let Vermaelen leave?

The pressing Vermaelen issue

The captain is always a very important spot for every team in the world. The leader of the Arsenal team is essential to the success of the team as the captain is able to make decisions for the team on and off the pitch. This will affect the performance of the team directly and many people forget that more often than not.

Vermaelen has been a great player for Arsenal in the past. A solid centre half that can easily make the first team of any club in the league, Vermaelen has established himself as a premier defender on many levels. However in recent seasons, he has been dropped in favor of the formidable partnership of Koscielny and Mertesacker. This has led to many questions regarding the captaincy issue. It is kind of ridiculous our captain is sitting on the bench but that is all for the good of the team.

The snubbing of Vermaelen has led to him to be linked to many clubs, Manchester United being one of the hot favorites to get his signature. It is not surprising he is linked to a move away from Arsenal as he is too good to just be warming the bench. Also, it is important to note that Thomas has been an absolute gentleman during the period where he is on the bench and he is gracious enough for Mikel or Per to take over the captaincy during that period.

Nevertheless, I feel that if we had to let Thomas go, he should not be sold to a rival club as this will directly affect our interests. We would also need to get another solid centre-back to take over from him and that is by no means an easy task as Premier League defenders willing to sit on the bench are a rare breed nowadays.

Should Thomas go? Let us know Gooners!

The 2 defenders that are top of Arsenal transfer list

Arsene Wenger has already suggested that he will not sell any of his Arsenal players if he does not want to, so the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, who is reportedly looking for a move away from north London to find a regular first team place, may find themselves frustrated.

I am not sure how well this would work out, especially when you consider that the Belgian has just one year left on his current contract. Do we really want our only back up defender being a player who is at the club against his will? Come to that, surely we should have more than one back up defender.

But there is nothing at all our French manager can do about Bacary Sagna, unless the right back changes his mind and decides to accept the, in my opinion, quite generous contract offer that is currently on the table. The upshot of this is that the Gunners will have already been thinking about signing a central defender and another full back in the summer and, according to a Mirror report, we have identified the two perfect men.

Aurier

Serge Aurier seems quite keen on Arsenal, as the picture shows, and he has had a storming couple of seasons with Toulouse in the French Ligue 1. Strong, fast, talented and versatile, the 21-year old is seen as the ideal replacement for Sagna. Wenger may already have agreed terms with the Ivorian.

Adil Rami is a French centre back who is on loan at AC Milan, after falling out with the management at La Liga’s Valencia. He is a quality player but, because of the situation, he could be available for quite a bit less than the £7 million he cost over two years ago. The 28-year old already has 26 caps with the France national side, so should have an instant understanding with Koscielny.

Could these two defenders be on their way to play for Arsenal next season?

Arsenal ready to sell Koscielny to Real Madrid?

Nothing is done and dusted yet, as both Arsenal and Real Madrid have important games to come before the season draws to a close, but reports suggest that Laurent Koscielny could soon be swapping north London and the Premier League for Madrid and La Liga.

According to The Express, the Spanish club have put our French centre back at the top of their list of possible replacements for Pepe. Apparently, Carlo Ancelotti has had enough of the reckless Portuguese international but still wants someone with speed, strength and battling qualities to partner Sergio Ramos at the back.

Of course it will depend on what sort of offer they make, but the report claims that the Gunners are willing to deal for the right price, because we already have a ready made replacement in Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian international and club captain was reported to be keen on a move away from the Emirates this summer because Koscielny had taken his place in the first team, where he and Per Mertesacker have forged a great understanding.

Will Vermaelen be able to work out the same sort of pairing with out Big Effing German? And what will Arsene Wenger think of having to sell another one of his best players, when the club are supposed to be out of the selling stage after paying off the debt from building a new stadium?

Arsenal back and gunning for glory says defender

From Arsenal looking like they would confound all their critics and complete the season as champions, the Gunners then looked like they would have their worst season for years and finish outside the Champions League places for the first time in 17 years.

But the Arsenal rollercoaster has finished it’s downward slide and is on the up again. As the Arsenal captain has explained in the matchday programme, reported by Arsenal.com,, the players have got their mojo back now, ever since beating Wigan at Wembley to book a place in the FA cup final.

Thomas Vermaelen feels that the last three games, wins over West Ham, Hull City and Newcastle have proved that the Arsenal of earlier in the season are back. Three goals in each game have highlighted the resurgence in the team, with the likes of Mesut Ozil showing once more why his signing was such a lift.

Vermaelen said, “We feel like we’ve got our rhythm back in recent weeks, ever since the win against Wigan.

“Since then, we’ve beaten West Ham, Hull and Newcastle – and scored three times in each game. If you get results like these, you build up momentum and gain your confidence back.

“We showed that against Newcastle and it ended up being quite a comfortable win because we played so well. I think they only had one chance in the second half when Wojciech had to make a save so it was a good evening and an important three points.

“Mesut was also at his very best once again, and at times he was practically unplayable. He adds creativity, pace and vision for his team-mates, and he passes the ball superbly. We know that Mesut is a great player, we saw that when he first joined the club – he’s one of the best midfielders in the world.”

It is good to hear the captain sounding so positive, even if he is still not getting the game time he wants. But even if the Belgian international does not get to play again before the end of the season, which I think he will, he might still finish the season on a high, by lifting the FA cup trophy to the Arsenal fans on May 17th.

Should Arsenal players have a say in future of Wenger?

This week a report emerged that Arsenal and Poland international goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had made a personal plea submitting his desire for manager Arsene Wenger to stay at the club for next season. Now club captain and fan favourite Thomas Vermaelen has jumped on the bandwagon to show his support to Le Prof in his time of need.

In the ESPN report, Vermaelen said, “Everybody wants him to stay as long as he can. He’s been incredible what he’s done for this club, and for the players as well. We would be really happy for him signing on for a few more years. The spirit is unbelievable in the team. We’ve worked a lot on our team shape and everybody knows their role in the team, everybody’s working for each other and that’s because there is a great team spirit. That’s the great improvement for us this season. It is just the hunger in the team. Of course it was there before but the spirit is great and you can see us fighting for each other really hard.”

Arsene Wenger supposedly told the players after the 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea a few weeks ago that he would be leaving as Arsenal’s manager at the end of the season. The club stated a media lockdown supposedly regarding the news, however there have been plenty of suggestions since that would suggest that such an act didn’t happen.

Perhaps the Arsenal players were told that Wenger was considering his future at the club and now they are in a desperate attempt to show how much belief and desire they hold for him to keep his job at Arsenal. On the other hand they may be trying to convince the management board at Arsenal, that the players have sufficient faith that Wenger can still do a job with them under his guidance. But whatever the reason I don’t think Wenger has quite committed on the direction he will be taken just yet, unlike as previously suggested in the media.

Personally I think the question whether Arsene Wenger will stay at the club for next season is in as much doubt as the speculation surrounding Vermaelen’s own future. The Belgian defender is also yet to commit his desire to remain at the club and although he still has a little while left on his contract, he is yet to commit verbally on his future with Arsenal and many have stated that he could be on his way out this summer. Could Arsenal lose two of their key men so soon? And should the players’ wishes influence the future of the manager?

Arsenal team news, preview and prediction for Swansea

This game coming so soon could be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal. We need an immediate response to that shambolic display at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and Swansea aren’t much of threat this season, especially away from home.

Arsenal need to approach this game with caution but not so much caution that we see a static display like against Man Utd again. We need good intelligent movement up front and quick incisive passing in midfield. We need to keep a decent shape so we can actually recover when we lose the ball. Finally, we will need to see better positional play from our wide players and our central midfielders.

Swansea will most likely press us and try and nick an early goal knowing that we will be mentally fragile from the defeat on Saturday. They might have also watched the games by City, Liverpool and Chelsea and hope to replicate something similar. I wouldn’t be too worried if they do as this game is at home and we are a far better team than Swansea.

Line up:
Szczesny
Sagna – Mertesacker – Vermaelen – Gibbs
Arteta – Flamini
Oxlade-Chamberlain – Rosicky – Cazorla
Giroud

This team is really weak in my opinion and it looks a shadow of our best team (which would contain Koscielny, Ramsey, Özil, Walcott and maybe Wilshere). What’s even worse is that this will be the team we play against City.
Vermaelen will need to integrate quickly into the team and he shouldn’t really struggle against this Swansea side.
I want the Arteta – Flamini central midfield partnership reinstated as I think we had made a breakthrough at home with that partnership. Flamini sits deeper whilst Arteta presses high up and plays more forward passes.
Oxlade-Chamberlain will need to sort his form out as he was diabolical vs Chelsea and Tottenham. Same goes for Giroud.

We need a response and regardless of the injuries, we have too much for Swansea. 2-0 to Arsenal.

Could Vermaelen really be set to leave Arsenal?

There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Arsenal in terms of incoming players but not so much on any players going out of the Emirates. However to stir things up a little bit, rumours have heightened over the past few days that suitors for Thomas Vermaelen are beginning to build up.

The report that fellow London side West Ham United wanted to take the Belgian to Upton Park has already made it around the blocks after several media sites and national papers including the Daily Mail reported the rumours. West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was quick to point out that a move for the Arsenal defender on loan was an unlikely move, but it doesn’t mean that he won’t move away from the Gunners this January.

Vermaelen has had persistent rumours surrounding his future for the past few months after it was announced that he would consider plying his trade elsewhere if he didn’t break into the Arsenal first team on a regular basis. The Belgian who hopes to go to the World Cup in Brazil this summer with his national side is desperate for some playing time because he is wary of the strength of his defensive opposition. Vermaelen was quick to state that the words had been taken the wrong way and that he didn’t want to leave the Gunners, just attain more time on the pitch.

Not much has changed since then and although Vermaelen has obtained a few more appearances for the Gunners, he still isn’t a regular member of the starting eleven, instead often being placed on the bench. But the club captain seems to remain committed for the time being, despite the likes of Inter, West Ham, Napoli and even supposedly Barcelona interested in his services after a picture emerged with Catalan Carlos Puyol.

Personally I don’t think Vermaelen will leave Arsenal this January despite not getting the desired amount of minutes. Not only does this season hold his greatest chance of winning silverware with the club, but to do so as club captain, despite the minimal input, would be a fantastic achievement for Vermaelen himself. Furthermore it would be ridiculous for the club to sanction a move at such an important stage of the season. The Gunners need as much strength in depth possible and although he may not be as good as he used to be, I still think there’s quality that will definitely be helpful in our title challenge.