Daily Archives: January 21, 2014
With game week 22 done and dusted, the Premier League table has gotten a new look as the trio of Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea continue to push hard for the title. The race for the last coveted Champions League place is even more intense than ever but Everton would rue their draw against West Brom as it denied them a chance to leapfrog their Merseyside rivals, Liverpool. At the bottom, the battle line has been drawn with all bottom three clubs locked at 18 points.
However, focus will be shifted to the FA Cup this weekend and after a rather tough draw against Tottenham in the third round, Arsene Wenger will be afforded a chance to rest some of his key players as the Gunners are set to host Coventry City on Friday.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, has arrived in London to finalize a bumper three-year contract extension for the club’s gaffer, Arsene Wenger. It is also believed that Kroenke met the club’s Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, and they would be attending the next board meeting coming up soon.
The Daily Mail reports that the contract is worth £24 million and it’s no less than what the manager deserves for the hard work he has put in the team this season. In a recent interview with some media vultures, Mesut Ozil, revealed that he wants Arsene Wenger to stay at the club,
“Of course I want him to stay. He’s the one who convinced me to come here, he’s a world-class manager and he can really push the team to its top level and players can develop under him.
“It’s not just for me but the club in general and the fans it’s important that he will extend his contract and he will be the manager here for a long time to come.”
Wenger has been with the club for 18 years and he has had his fair share of trophies in his reign with the club but the club hasn’t won trophies in a while and the taunts and mockery have been endless. With the Gunners already out of the Capital One Cup as well as a daunting prospect in the Champions League against Bayern Munich. The Premier League and FA Cup remain the club’s most realistic targets of winning silverware this season and a League and Cup double in May would be a well worth the wait.
Arsene Wenger has been a stalwart to the club and the fans can attest that they have seen a different side of him this season. Against all odds and to the surprise of everyone associated with the club, he sanctioned the acquisition of a world-class player in the form of Mesut Ozil for a whooping £42.5 million. Like the tail end of last season, he and his assistant manager, Lord Bouldimort, have instilled a rugged defensive mentality in the players, and they have become specialists in holding on to narrow leads and winning ugly when it matters.
The prospects of the season are looking very good and we can only hope that the depth of the squad would hold the fort till May. I’ll keep you posted on Wenger’s contract situation as more news unfolds.
Elsewhere, with ex-Gunner, Liam Brady, stepping down in his role as the Head of Youth Development this summer, Arsenal has appointed Andries Jonker as his replacement. It is expected that Jonker would work in tandem with Brady to ensure a smooth handover when the legend steps down this summer.
Arsenal legend, Dennis Bergkamp, had professed his interest in taking this role, but he’s going to continue his role as AFC Ajax’s assistant manager. Jonker, 51, is currently the assistant manager at Bundesliga outfit VFL Wolfsburg, but he has vast experience working with youth setups as he spent seven years as a coach for the Dutch FA, as well as managing the Under-15 and Under-21 sides and serving as the federation’s technical manager albeit temporarily.
He also worked with current Holland manager, Louis van Gaal, at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, working with the club’s youngsters and honing their talent.
Arsene Wenger welcomed the new
striker recruit and thanked Liam Brady for all his good work in the past,
“I am very pleased that Andries is joining us. He has a big reputation in the game and was a key part of the team which developed the structures which are now producing such strong young players in Holland.
I look forward to working with him. I would also like to thank Liam for his work which has been outstanding over many years.”
After some amazing years of service as a player, Brady rejoined the club as the Head of Youth Development and Academy Director in 1996, and has remained in that role till this summer when he has decided to call it quits. He was even linked with the managerial role after the departure of Bruce Rioch but he insisted that he wasn’t interested in the role, and a certain Arsene Wenger from the Japanese League assumed the helm of affairs of the club.
Under Brady, Arsenal’s youth sides have won the FA Premier Youth League in 1998, the FA Premier Academy League U-17 title in 2000, the FA Premier Academy League U-19 title in 2002, the FA Premier Academy League U-18 title in 2009 and 2010 and the FA Youth Cup in 2000, 2001 and 2009.
Excellent youngsters like Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny were the products of Liam Brady’s work and the likes of Dan Crowley and Gedion Zelalem are currently on the spotlight.
The club was honored to have a stalwart like Brady, but I wish Jonkers all the best in his new role.
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