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Lukas Podolski’s Agent Confirms Galatasaray Move

It’s lunch break here at work and I’m meant to be on the ground floor eating something and having a ball with my guys. But here I am waiting for my Mega Chicken order of jollof rice, chicken, salad and a drink while surfing the web to see if Arsenal has signed some alien from Krypton. There’s nothing new on the site – some Petr Cech stuff and Hector Bellerin telling us how he loved the look on Simon Mignolet’s face when he scored the opening in the 4-1 thrashing of the Reds.

However, there’s an update in regard to player departures as Lukas Podolski’s agent, Nassim Touihri, has confirmed to German newspaper, Bild, that his client is leaving for Galatasaray in a few days.

“We had very good talks with Arsene Wenger. He wanted to keep Luke, but could give him no regular place guarantee. Therefore, we have agreed on a change.

This news essentially means that the German’s time at Arsenal is up after three seasons at the Emirates. When I think about the effort it took Arsenal to chase the lad from FC Cologne, it’s a glaring indication that football can be such a cruel sport when it wants to be. Hey, even Cesc Fabregas left the Gunners to the ‘club of his dreams’ only to be booted out after three seasons, so that’s the reality of the situation.

Podolski’s departure would mean that the No. 9 jersey can be available for Olivier Giroud or Danny Welbeck but that jersey has been ‘cursed’ with some awkward players in the past, ranging from the likes of Francis Jeffers to Julio Baptista and co. With Yaya Sanogo set to depart to Lille and Podolski leaving as well, the attacking position could become a bit light, so Wenger would have to inject some quality into the position.

Off the pitch, Podolski is a lovable character and he connects well with the fans, but on it, he’s a quality player no doubt but there some parts of his game that needed improvement. He has him a left foot that was blessed by Thor himself when he went on holiday to Asgaard and he used it to great effect for the Gunners. I look at clips of the Montpellier and West Ham goals and I’m like, ‘Damn, this guy had some firepower on that foot’ and in most cases, that was just it. Sometimes, he could become peripheral in a game and pop up with that moment of brilliance but he wasn’t doing it on a consistent basis.

Podolski is 30 and he need to continue playing regular football. A move to Galatasaray would do him some good and now, his agent has confirmed that it’s going to happen.

I wish him all the #aha and best in Turkey.

Where’s my food O’ Mega Chicken :'(

Sayonara.

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Celebrating Diaby: The Midfielder’s Best Moments at Arsenal

It’s one of those mornings when you wish you slept on time in the previous night because your alarm turned into your enemy, making its usual noises that’s meant to wake you up but you keep snoozing till you can snooze no more. Here I am with a hot cup of coffee (something I don’t usually drink) trying to publish a quickie before I get ready for my work activities of the day.

Yesterday, the club published a list of the players they have been released. Youngsters like Jack Jebb, Austin Lipman, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Josh Vickers have been sent packing but they’d be joined by Abou Vassiriki Diaby that has reached the end of his Arsenal career after 10 seasons with the club. Diaby joined from AJ Auxerre for a reported £2 million and it was reported that he turned down advances from Chelsea to make the move to Arsenal. After 180 games for the club, I’ve decided to relive those moments that endeared Diaby to the fans, that will always be sympathetic to him due to his numerous injury problems.

Enjoy!

Making his Arsenal Debut

It was never easy for a 19-year-old youngster like Diaby to break into the first team following his acquisition from Auxerre but Arsene Wenger put him on the bench when the Gunners visited Goodison Park to take on David Moyes and his hordes. Arsène Wenger had gone into this game without five defenders – Ashley Cole (thigh), Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue (both international commitments), Gael Clichy (foot) and Pascal Cygan (thigh) and in addition, Robin van Persie (toe) was out and Dennis Bergkamp was saved for Tuesday’s Carling Cup Semi-Final second leg against Wigan – which the Gunners still lost.

Everton grabbed what proved to be the only goal of the game when James Beattie latched onto a Tim Cahill cross to put the game beyond doubt. Wenger brought on Aliaksandr Hleb for Kerrea Gilbert in his bid to get something out of the game. With nine minutes to go, Wenger took out Robert Pires and handed Diaby his debut. It was a overwhelming situation for the lad but he managed to do okay that night.

His Goals, All 19 of Them

Diaby chipped in with the odd goal or two during his time at the club and his first ever goal against Aston Villa bellied his youthful years by smashing the back of Thomas Sorensen’s net after getting a threaded pass from Emmanuel Adebayor. He went on to score 19 goals for the club and the YouTube clip focuses on his top 10 for your viewing pleasure.

Kicking ‘Racism’ Out of Football

It was the 2007 Carling Cup final and Wenger had the audacity to play some of his youngsters in a game when experience would have been key. Jose Mourinho featured the likes of John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho in defense, Claude Makelele, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard in midfield, Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko in attack. Wenger opted for youngsters like Justin Hoyte, Armand Traore, Phillippe Sendeors, Denilson, Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas, Diaby and even Jeremie Aliadiere.

Two goals from Drogba settled the contest and won Chelsea the competition but Diaby will always be remembered for kicking Terry on the face, albeit mistakenly, in the box.

It was a scary moment for the neutrals as they watched in anguish and wished the best for Terry, but it was ‘trolled’ afterwards as ‘kicking racism out of football when Terry was involved in the racial abuse allegations with Anton Ferdinand a couple of years after.

Forming that Formidable Midfield Trio with Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song

After a couple of injury problems, Diaby found some measure of fitness at the start of the 2009/10 season where he featured consistently for the Gunners. He forged a great understanding with Fabregas and Song scoring seven goals and creating six assists. This turned out to be his best season in Arsenal colors.

A Fantastic Outing at Anfield

Arsenal beat Liverpool at the start of the 2012/13 season with goals from Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski but the undisputed Man of the Match was Abou Diaby. The Frenchman ran the show that day, making himself available for every pass and bossing things in midfield. One of the best individual performances I’ve seen from a Gunner.

Scoring his First (and Only) Goal for France

Representing your nation is biggest honor that can be bestowed on a player, but scoring for your nation, especially when it was a goal that won the game for your team in a World Cup qualifier must be a high point from a personal perspective.

Diaby seems unlikely to add to his 16 caps for France but he can take some confidence in the fact that he was one of their best players in the 2010 World Cup, a tournament France plummeted downhill due to poor performances on the pitch and indiscipline off it.

Making his Long Awaited Comeback against Norwich

Diaby suffered an ACL injury that sidelined him for nine months and it seemed as if his career was over. However, he made his long awaited comeback in the Gunners 2-0 over Norwich two seasons ago when he came on as a sub for Tomas Rosicky. He had a few touches in the game and every touch was greeted with a roar from the Arsenal faithful, showing their appreciation for their player.

Conclusion

It was a good adventure between the Gunners and Abou Diaby but he will always be remembered for his injury problems.

180 games, 19 goals, 16 assists – that’s the legacy he left at the club.

I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Latest Updates on Lacazette and William Carvalho

Now that Petr Cech is in the bag, the fans would be hoping for more activity in the transfer window, as it’s evident that the Gunners need to improve in other positions if they want to challenge on all fronts this forthcoming season. Signing a player of Cech’s caliber was a show of Arsenal’s ambition this campaign and as expected, Cech is all over the official website. You can check out his first Arsenal interview here. He said all the good stuff.

When Olivier Giroud suffered that injury early in the season, Wenger signed Danny Welbeck from Manchester United but it’s fair to say that Welbeck is still a work in  progress. I really like the lad – determined fella, nice work rate, good reserves of pace, home-grown (they are hard to find nowadays – just ask Man City) and he’s someone that can be a Gunner great because the potential is there but when you score eight goals in 34 games in your first season at Arsenal, there are indications that you’re not ready to lead the line just yet. Despite the fact that Giroud endured a torrid goal-less spell towards the end of the campaign, he still managed 19 goals in 36 games. Also remember that he missed a fat chunk of the early season with the club.

Arsenal certainly needs ‘an upgrade’ in the center forward position, and a couple of names have been mentioned by the Press. According to the Express, Olympique Lyonnais have told the Gunners that they can get want-away forward, Alexandre Lacazette for £21 million. Following his hot streak last season where he scored 31 goals in 38 games for the French outfit, Lyon tried to offer the forward a new deal but reports coming from France is that he has refused to ‘sign da ting’ and is looking for pastures anew.

Lacazette was one of the most prolific scorers in Europe last season, netting 27 league goals and for £21 million, it would seem like a fantastic bargain. The 24-year-old forward would have to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League but he’d feel at home at Arsenal, a club renowned for its French contingent and they can make Lacazette settle in a lot quicker. The forward is also adept playing on the wings, just in case Wenger feels the need to play him alongside Giroud.

Elsewhere, it seems as if Morgan Schneiderlin will be joining Manchester United instead of Arsenal with the Red Devils closing in on the French midfielder. The Metro reports that the Gunners are closing in on signing Portuguese enforcer, William Carvalho, that’s currently doing his thing for his nation in the European U-21 Championship. In his first three games in the competition, Carvalho has made the most passes in the competition (284) with a pass completion rate of 88%. He has also averaged 1.7 interceptions per game.

Carvalho is in the same mold with Francis Coquelin that goes in for the kill to break up opposition play before spraying a pass to his teammates further up the pitch. I will never forget this epic moment he had for Sporting where he took out two players with one tackle.

If the Schneiderlin moves break down, William Carvalho wouldn’t be a bad acquisition for the Gunners.

I’d be monitoring the situation in the coming days for any improvements.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal Fans on Twitter React to the Signing of Petr Cech

Petr Cech

After a protracted wait, Arsenal finally announced the signing of Petr Cech from cross town rivals, Chelsea. The Czech veteran made 486 appearances for the Blues, keeping over 200 clean sheets in his 11 year stint with the club. Cech still holds the record for being the fastest player to reach 100 clean sheets in Premier League history, as he amassed his first century of shutouts in just 180 appearances. His individual awards and trophy haul are also very impressive as the goalie has won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Community Shields, one Europa League and of course, the biggest prize in club football, the Champions League.

As expected, Cech’s transfer sparked a reaction on Twitter with the hashtag #WelcomeCech used by Arsenal fans to share their thoughts on the news signing. Here’s Gooner Daily’s pick of the bunch…

He was used to seeing a lot of bus parking players on the pitch but he’s going to have the protection from his back four as well as the Coq Block marshaling the middle of the park. As we all know, Francis Coquelin doesn’t leave any prisoners.

Everyone can thank Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, for making this move see the light of day. If it was left to that _____ of a manager called Jose Mourinho, he would have still been rotting in Chelsea’s bench.

With David Ospina tipped to move away from the Emirates, Wojciech Szczesny would benefit from having a veteran like Cech to understudy.

The vine shows his reaction right now…

I guess we know that Cesc Fabregas will retire as a rent boy

I think I had that reaction too

Just see how young Theo looks here. How time flies.

It was a good day indeed

I agree with this. Having Cech around will be a breath of fresh air for the defense.

I’m looking forward to seeing more saves like this.

What’s your reaction?

Sayonara.

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Galatasaray Want Podolski: Does He Still Have a Future at Arsenal?

 

While we anxiously wait for the imminent announcement of the Petr Cech deal, there has been some transfer speculation surrounding the club (as always). Arsenal seems to be a piece of meat for all these sports columns, with various sites linking all sorts of players with the club.

According to the folks at Fox Sports, Turkish juggernauts, Galatasaray SK, have declared their interest in signing Lukas Podolski this summer. The Turkish giants had a great campaign last season, winning the Turkish SuperLig with just three points above their fierce rivals, Fenerbahce. They also did the double after beating Bursaspor in the Turkish Cup final. Burak Yilmaz led the scoring charts with 22 goals and the new gaffer, Hamza Hamzaoglu, would be hoping for Podolski to get into the scoring act next season.

By winning the League, Galatasaray would qualify for the Champions League group stages next season but they will be hoping to avoid a repeat of their shameful campaign last season. They were paired in the same group with Borussia Dortmund, Anderlecht and of course, Arsenal. They were on the end of some real bashing from Arsenal and Dortmund in particular, conceding four goals each time they met both sides home and away.

After featuring sparingly for the Gunners in the first half of the season, Podolski was loaned to Inter Milan at the start of the January transfer window and it’s fair to say that he didn’t light up any fireworks in the city of Milan. Poldi featured 18 times for the Nerazzuri and scored only one goal, a good goal too, against Udinese.

With Inter failing to retain his services, he has returned to the club but he harbors hopes of playing his part next season,

“I’ve always felt comfortable there. With the fans, with the team and also with the manager. I’m going back to play, I have to say my qualities suit Arsenal.

“Inter? Last season went how it went. English football is the one which best suits my style, but I know how suddenly everything can change.”

When your manager is looking for a goalscoring opportunity while losing to Swansea and he brings on a raw talent like Yaya Sanogo instead of a seasoned veteran with over 100 caps for his country, it speaks in large volumes. It’s very evident that Arsene Wenger has lost faith in Podolski and it’s really strange bearing in mind that he scored 26 goals in his first two seasons with the club. Everyone associated with the club considers the German to be a liability rather than asset but his quality is undoubted. Podolski is the kind of guy that can be anonymous all game long but when you have a strikerin a one-on-one situation, he’s the one man you’d be wishing to have in such a position.

Even Wenger has acknowledged that the German is a great finisher but there are other facets to his game that has found him wanting. Podolski is highly effective when playing from the left flank as he has a very good technique with the ball on his feet but off the ball, his game needs some improvement, even though I don’t think that can happen, bearing in mind that he’s already 30. When he was featured as a center forward, he doesn’t hold up play, hassle opposition defenders, offers a focal point in attack or pose a threat in the air – something you can also count on Olivier Giroud to do for you.

Wenger has a vast array of players that can be featured on the left flank with Alexis Sanchez being the alpha-dog in that position. Mesut Ozil featured there at some point last season and when Danny Welbeck lost his place in the starting lineup as a center forward, he got some game time there. Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are very adept playing on that position, so it’s going to be hard to see where Podolski would fit.

Podolski was also critical of his manager when he made his move to Italy and I feel it may come back to bite him in the arse. When you think of the fact that he got featured in a dead-rubber game against Galatasaray and even netted a brace, only to return to the bench when the Gunners played Newcastle, it’s a situation that shows what the manager clearly felt about him.

I like Podolski. He’s a lovable bloke that does a lot of nice stuff on social media but if he wants to remain at the club, his chances of featuring consistently are slim to none.

If I was in his shoes, I’d go to Turkey and play consistent football so that I can be in Joachim Loew’s squad for Euro 2016. That and maybe the 2018 World Cup in Russia could be his last big international tournaments. He’d want to be playing regularly to at least give himself a chance of playing for his country.

Sadly, he might not have that at Arsenal.

Sayonara.

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