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Diaby Reveals Why He Joined Marseille and More Players Leave on Loan

Good luck Abou

Time truly waits for no man.

I’m scheduled to travel offshore next week so I’ve been heavily involved in some front end activity here at work. Surprisingly, the last two days have waltzed past me and I’ve not even had the time to write anything on the blog. Its times like this I wished I had a columnist that could hold the fort when I’m not available but it’s aii. These things happen.

As we eagerly anticipate the Community Shield between the Gunners and those Rent Boys, their manager has been on the news lately and I wouldn’t even bother you with the bullcrap he has been spitting from his pile hole recently. I know Arsene Wenger hasn’t defeated him in 13 attempts but all records are meant to be broken. More on the Community Shield in the coming days.

The club has finally confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny has completed his long-awaited loan move to AS Roma and Arseblog wrote a rather emotional piece about the goalie, which in my honest opinion was a very good read, so help yourselves out. That’s if you haven’t seenit already. I’ve shared my thoughts on the Szczesny to Roma issue as well, so there’s no point dwelling on it anymore.


Elsewhere, the club has also confirmed that youngster, Jon Toral, will play the 2015/16 campaign in Birmingham City. Toral was loaned to Brentford last season and he made 37 appearances for the Bees, scoring six goals which included a scintillating hat-trick against Blackpool. Birmingham hasn’t returned to the Premier League since their relegation in the 2010/11 campaign but they’d fondly remember the Capital One Cup victory over the Gunners that season. Arsenal has had its fair share of contingent that have played for the club in the past with Lord Nicklas Bendtner featuring consistently for the club in the 2006/07 season, scoring 13 goals in 48 appearances for the club. Aliaksandr Hleb featured for the club as well, and he suffered the ignominy of relegation.

Szczesny and Toral will join the likes of Yaya Sanogo (Ajax) and Carl Jenkinson (West Ham) as players that have been farmed out on loan and I’d expect more players to join this list.

You also must be aware that everyone’s sweetheart, Abou Diaby, has returned home to play for Marseille. Just a few weeks ago, he was pretty close to signing for West Brom and Sky Sports even reported that he was due to go for a medical with the Baggies, but the move fell through for reasons best known to the injury gods of Novigrad, Velen and Skellige.

Diaby made 182 appearances in nine-and-a-half years for the Gunners but sadly, he made only two appearances in his last two seasons with the club. In an exclusive interview with RMC Sport, Diaby has revealed his reasons for leaving the Gunners, snubbed a move to West Brom and joined Marseille,

“It was knowing which club would help me the best medically. That was my real priority. I had very, very advanced talks with West Brom. But I found Marseille was better. I thought: why not come back to France?

“I don’t want to draw emotional conclusions. The reality is different. I haven’t played for two years. I need to rebuild myself, to put myself in a good place to play football again. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was my choice.”

“I had hard times in those nine years, but some beautiful moments. I had the chance to get to know Arsene Wenger, who is a truly great coach and a great man, too.

“I regret that I wasn’t able to show all my qualities and potential. Now, a new chapter begins.”

His time at Arsenal was riddled with injuries and he has identified Marseille as a club that could help him medically. I wish him the very best in this new chapter of his life and I hope he realizes that potential we couldn’t see at Arsenal because of his injuries.


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Szczesny on Loan to Roma: Good for the Player and the Club

Here I am at Osubi Airstrip in Warri as I wait patiently for my flight back to Lagos to be announced. My stay in the city was worthwhile as I got to hang out with my friends as well as having a successful alignment meeting with the Department of Petroleum Resources. It’s always good to have meaningful engagements with your regulators you know.

When Wojciech Szczesny followed AS Roma, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi on Instagram, many fans thought that he had done it because things were in place for him to leave the club and play for the Romans. Their thoughts seem to be true.

ESPN recently published an article that AS Roma officials have began negotiations to secure the services of the Polish shot stopper on loan. It is believed that Roma harbored some faint hopes of making the deal permanent, but Arsenal was quick to quash to faint hopes. Szczesny will play on loan for the Italian giants for an entire season, and that’s it.

For the Romans, getting Szczesny would be a superb short-term fix for the club as they aim to challenge Juventus for the Scudetto and go far in this season’s Champions League. Morgan de Santics and Bogdan Lobont are currently on the club’s books but they are aging veterans that have given their all to the club and in Szczesny, the team would have a goalie that is ready to challenge them for a first-team berth.

It’s funny how things change in the twinkle of an eye. While David Ospina was busy flying his country’s flag, Arsenal secured the services of Petr Cech and if you pay £10.9m for a legendary veteran like Cech, you’re not going to put him on the bench. So rumors started flying that Fenerbahce had agreed personal terms with Ospina and all that crap and it brought mixed opinions, as some Gunners wished that it was Szczesny that got the boot instead – I guess their wishes came through.

Szczesny was somewhat elated with the arrival of Cech as he hoped to learn a lot from the Czech goalie but with the Pole moving to Italy, I think he has to put a rain check on his Goalkeeping 101 for Dummies class with Cech.

On the short term, a move to Roma would allow Szczesny experience new surroundings, and a new style of football that is Serie A. He has been around far too long at Arsenal and an air of complacency fell into his game as he saw the likes of Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski leave the club.

Moving to Roma will see Szczesny come back in the 2016/17 season refreshed and Wenger would assess his situation and make a decision on what his forward path would be.

I wish Woj the very best in his imminent experience in Italy.


Does Sergi Samper Fit the Bill for the DM Arsenal Needs?

Sergi Samper impressed for Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday evening

A highly-rated youngster in Barcelona’s ranks

After settling down in Warri yesterday, I wanna drop a quick one before leaving my hotel with my colleagues to go for the meeting that brought me to this great city in the first place. And yeah, they’d opened Shoprite in Waffi Town but I don’t know if I’d have the time to see the facility.

So here we are again, speculating who’s going to be Francis Coquelin’s competitor in the forthcoming season. Geoffrey Kondogbia was mentioned but Roberto Mancini and his Inter hordes swooped for the Monaco powerhouse, Morgan Schneiderlin seemed very likely to join the Gunners but he’s going to be part of the ‘Philosophy’ team. William Carvalho was another plausible option but he has suffered an injury that would sideline him for the entirety of the transfer window.

A new name has been mentioned – Barcelona’s young defensive midfield starlet, Sergi Samper. According to Inside Spanish Football, Arsenal is willing to activate the midfielder’s €12 million release clause. It is widely believed that Arsenal tried to sign the midfielder as far back as 2011 when he was just 15, but those attempts were unsuccessful, so the Gunners poached Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral instead.

Samper is highly-rated in Catalonia and he has been touted as Sergio Busquets natural replacement in the team. He’s yet to make his La Liga debut for the Catalan juggernauts but he featured three times in the Copa del Rey and made a rare appearance for the club in the Champions League, which also turned out to be his first team debut, against APOEL Nicosia.

However, he has featured heavily for Barcelona B in the Segunda division, making 74 appearances and six goals from a deep-lying playmaker position, something like a quarterback like Xabi Alonso. Samper is a very good distributor of the ball and he likes to dictate the tempo of the game. He also has the instincts of an anchor man as he knows when to make an interception or a crunching tackle to win the ball back for his team. He anticipates the runs and passes of the opposition, proving you don’t have to be physically imposing to play the position as long as you are clever.

This YouTube video gives an overview of the talent that is Samper.

He signed a contract last season which runs into 2017 but having a release clause of €12 million simply means that the Gunners can poach him away from Barcelona’s hands and I’m sure many Arsenal fans would love the thought of that – taking another Barcelona player that is highly-rated. Both teams have a good working relationship and history can tell you that they know how to get on with business when the need arises.

The ultimate question is – does Samper fit the bill for the new defensive midfielder Arsenal needs? I’d say yes and these are my reasons why.

Francis Coquelin just broke into the first team and he will need to feature consistently for Arsenal if he wants to continue improving. With Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini providing back-up and reaching their twilight with the team, signing a youngster like Samper would be a good fit because he would be able to settle in well (there are a few players with Barcelona roots in the team and the Spanish speaking folks will make him feel at home).

When the likes of Arteta and Flamini finally leave in 2017, Samper would be ready to challenge Coquelin for his place at the start of the 2016/17 campaign. If he signs for the Gunners, I’d expect to see him in the Capital One Cup and the lesser games in the FA Cup as well.

We will just have to monitor the situation and see how things play out in the coming weeks.

Time to leave for my meeting.


Bonus Reading: Sergi Samper – Barcelona’s Modern Day Pep Guardiola – ESPN

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Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Lacazette to Stay and Flamini for Galatasaray Medicals?

With yesterday night being a Sunday I was trying to make preparations for work today, only to realize that it’s still a public holiday here at Nigeria. My Internet Service Provider has been acting like Yaya Sanogo in front of goal since last night, and it’s saddening to know that the trend isn’t stopping this morning, so I’d have to publish this article with my phone, something I haven’t done since when Lukas Podolski played his first game for Inter.

I really ought to go continue playing my Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt because that game is 50 Shades of Awesomeness, so here’s a quick update on the latest transfer rumors surrounding the club.

It’s been well documented that the Gunners needed strengthening in two key positions, the center forward berth and the holding midfield role. Several names have been linked with the club but the only acquisition still date still remains Petr Cech. The Czech goalie enjoyed a great reception from the fans at Singapore and I’m sure he’d get an even better one when he returns to the home of football this weekend to play the Emirates Cup.

Alexandre Lacazette is a player that has been heavily linked with the club this summer and it was believed that Lyon were ready to offer the lad to Arsenal for £21m. According to the Daily Mail, Lacazette has stated his desire to continue his football at Lyon, after what proved to be a successful campaign last time out,

“I have already said that I want to continue with Lyon. I have shown that I’m fully committed. It’s football that interests me, not money. I hope to have a strong season”

We have heard this kinda stuff from footballers, haven’t we? A classic example would be the case of Manchester City’s recent acquisition, Fabian Delph that declared his loyalty for Aston Villa before making a u-turn to help the club alleviate their homegrown problems.

No official bid has been made for Lacazette as its believed that the Gunners are eyeing a £40m bid for Karim Benzema. TMhere’s a lot of time between now and the end of the transfer window, so we will keep our fingers crossed.

Moving on to departures, the Daily Star published a piece stating that Mathieu Flamini is expected to travel to Turkey this week to undergo a medical with Galatasaray. The Turkish club recently signed Lukas Podolski from the club and both managers have a good rapport so it would be easy to take Flamini from North London.

The Flanimal is 31-years-old and is clearly behind Francis Coquelin in the pecking order, and there’s also the issue of the captain still hanging around as well as the whispers of a new holding midfielder joining the club.

Many fans will be glad to see the back of Flamini. Let’s hope these rumors are true.


Jenkinson Signs New Deal, Loan Moves for Gnabry and Sanogo?

The manager is going to make his first press conference this season as the Gunners as set to take on Singapore Select XI tomorrow and as you’d expect from the journos, the boss will be asked a lot of questions ranging from err…you know the drift.

When he was asked about Carl Jenkinson, the manager had this to say,

Jenkinson has been at the club since 2011 and has played a part-bit role as a right back. He replaced Emmanuel Eboue as Bacary Sagna’s understudy and got extended run-outs when the Frenchman suffered those long term leg injuries. With Sagna leaving for Manchester City, Jenkinson was hoping that the right back berth was his for keeps but Wenger signed an experienced replacement for Sagna in Matt Debuchy but like Sagna, Debuchy had been very unfortunate in his first season with the club, suffering two major injuries that saw him to lose his place to Calum Chambers, then Hector Bellerin.

With the Gunners having three competent right backs in the squad, one wondered what the future held for Jenkinson but the Gunners opted to loan Jenko out to West Ham and he gained a lot of experience, playing 32 of their 38 Premier League games.

According to the Daily Mail, Jenkinson has signed a new deal worth £45,000-per-week till June 2020. The article also reveals that Slaven Bilic has won the race to land Jenkinson this summer, beating Sunderland and Southampton in the race to take the defender on loan. It seems a bit strange to me though, bearing in mind that the Mirror published an article which revealed that the Gunners had reached an agreement with Sunderland over Jenkinson’s services.

Carl Jenkinson in action with Leon Osman

With Debuchy aging and Bellerin hot on his heels, another loan move would be beneficial to Jenkinson because he’s clearly not in the manager’s plans for this season. Good luck to the lad in West Ham, or Sunderland, or wherever he’s going on loan. Bleeeh!

Elsewhere, West Brom are gearing up to make a loan bid for Arsenal speedster, Serge Gnabry (via the Mirror). Gnabry burst into the scene in the 2013/14 season and was influential in the 2-1 win over Swansea, a game he managed to get his first professional goal. The young German suffered a nasty knee injury last season and it sidelined him for the entire campaign but he managed to make his comeback against Newcastle Under-21s.

Gnabry celebrating Swansea goal

Gnabry’s progress has somewhat stifled and he’s not close to breaking into the first team anytime soon, so a loan move to West Brom would be beneficial to the player. It’s going to be interesting to see how things work out but I’m in full support of the youngster playing for West Brom.

Yaya Sanogo is another player that needs to prove himself elsewhere if he wants to make the grade at Arsenal. After playing six games for the Gunners last season, scoring his maiden goal for the club against Dortmund, he was loaned to Crystal Palace and he didn’t light any fireworks at Selhurst Park, scoring one goal in 11 games for the Eagles.

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Lille was interested in securing a loan move for the Frenchman but nothing materialized. The Independent has reported that Sanogo is close to securing a loan move to Ajax Amsterdam. I believe he could thrive in the EreDivisie but in all honesty, I’m not convinced about Sanogo’s ability. Yes, he has been good at Under-21 level for France and he scored a couple at lowly Auxerre in the French second tier but he shouldn’t be challenging for a first-term berth in an ambitious club like Arsenal.

We can only monitor his situation closely and we would see how things progress.


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