Daily Archives: July 1, 2013
Today, the 1st of July, 2013 is a very significant day in the world of football.
Many players that have waited patiently to agree pre-contracts, like Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente, for instance, will be filled with joy as he’s about to begin a new adventure with the Serie A defending champions, Juventus, but he will have the threat of Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinco and of course, Carlos Tevez to contend with.
On the other side of the scale, today also marks the end of an adventure, as Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin and Sebastien Squillaci have braced themselves up for life after the Emirates. While Arshavin was offered some solace as his former employers, Zenit St. Petersburg came calling, Squallici has wandered into oblivion and who knows where he’ll end up.
With other teams already making their marks on the transfer window, Arsenal has been all talk and no action, as the club continues to be linked with a host of players from all over the Milky Way.
Starting with the goalkeeping department, Vito Mannone is odds on to replace Simon Mignolet that has departed for Liverpool. Don Vito is a decent goalie on his day but he doesn’t inspire confidence in his back line and at his age, you’d expect him to be playing regular first team football. Sky Sports reports that Paolo di Canio is ready to swoop for his younger compatriot, and a move to Sunderland could do Mannone some good, as he’s not seeing playing time at Arsenal.
With Mannone heading towards the exit door, as well as Lukasz Fabianski’s future still in doubt, Arsenal has to secure the services of a new goalkeeper. Queens Park Rangers’ Brazilian goalie, Julio Cesar, is set to leave the club, as confirmed by his manager, Twitchy Ol’ ‘Arry Redknapp. Arsenal has been strongly linked with a move for the Brazilian and his arrival could be the kick Wojciech Szczesny needs up the arse to avoid any complacency next season.
Speaking of the kick, you need to see the video by Wande Coal and Don Jazzy. Damn!!!!
Julio Cesar managed six clean sheets in 24 league games for Queens Park Rangers with an average of 3.5 saves per game. He played in front of a pretty shitty defense last season but his performances in the Conferedations Cup caught the eye with some breathtaking saves as the competition progressed. His penalty save against Diego Forlan in the semis did his world a whole lot of good too.
In defense, Arsenal is set to part ways with Johan Djourou, albeit on a temporary basis, as the Swiss defender is set to secure a loan deal to Hamburg SV, with Hannover 96 still hoping that they could hijack the loan bid. Djourou has been on the fringes at Arsenal and he’s certainly not getting any younger, and with the defender clearly out of favor with Arsene Wenger, a move away from the club will be in the everyone’s best interests.
With Sebastien Squillaci gone and Ignasi Miquel clearly not ready to step up, it would leave Arsene Wenger with a conundrum on using just three center backs over the course of the season. It’s good to know that Thomas Vermaelen is ready to stay and fight for his place in the team but he has his history with injuries which ultimately means that if he, Per Mertesacker (suffered an ankle injury in his first season) or Laurent Koscielny (an ever-present player but he has had his fair share of injuries) suffer any setbacks, the Gunners will be relatively thin at the back.
There’s the option of deploying Bacary Sagna as a make-shift center back but we don’t get to play Sunderland every week. Let’s also not forget that Sagna has suffered a dip in form not far off from Vermaelen’s sub-standard levels last season.
The Gunners have been linked with a move for Swansea’s skipper, Ashley Williams, but the Arsenal hierarchy are unwilling to pay the Swans’ £10m asking price. On his day, Williams is a fine player but blowing £10m for a 29-year-old footballer not better than the current lot in your disposal would widely be regarded as a poor piece of business. However, I’m just hoping that Arsene Wenger won’t look for another “experienced” French defender and hand him the calamitous No. 18 jersey.
After Gilles Grimandi, that jersey has been cursed as the bearers always played like shit and had a penchant for own goals.
With Bacary Sagna’s future still hanging on a thread, Arsenal seems to have some contingency plans in place, as they have placed Eintracht Frankfurt’s exciting fullback, Sebastian Jung, on their radar. Jung was instrumental in Frankfurt’s campaign last season, as they ended in sixth place in the Bundesliga, securing a Europa League berth in the process. With the club interested in securing Nicklas Bendtner’s services, Arsenal would be favored if they decide to take a punt on this Jung chap.
Moving over to the midfield, the only developing story is from Sport Pulse, as they report that Arsenal has had a meager £6m bid rejected for Lyon’s sensation, Clement Grenier. The Lyon starlet enjoyed a stellar campaign last season with Lyon and has been tagged as the new Samir Nasri (of all the comparisons, I know) and Arsene Wenger is a huge admirer of the lad.
Lyon’s President tagged the paltry bid as an “insult” and he won’t be keen to let the player go without getting the funds that match the club’s evaluation of the player. Grenier had one year left on his contract and the ball is certainly in his court but Lyon remain hopeful of extending his contract.
Finally in attack, Arsenal has been linked with a shock move for
Gonzalo Higuain Fernando Torres. In one word…ludicrous!
That’s today’s bit folks.
Congrats to Luiz Felipe Scolari and his Samba Boys for winning the Confederations Cup. Julio Cesar had an awesome campaign, Thiago Silva and David Luiz forged a formidable partnership at the back, the midfield triumvirate of Luiz Gustavo, Oscar and Paulinho were very efficient while Fred smashed in the goals with consummate ease.
A word on Neymar. That lad was a live wire with the ball at his feet and he has shown how superb he is. We live in an insatiable world so all eyes will be firmly fixed on him when he joins Lionel Messi and the other aliens from Planet Catalunya.
At least, Brazil made them look so ordinary.
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