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New signings expected and the world of Arsenal in two days.

It’s really frustrating to know that two days have gone with the wind and I haven’t published any post. This feeling is likened to a junkie that hasn’t gotten any dose of his favorite stuff in two days. I didn’t come to my NYSC Camp with my laptop and BlackBerry batteries are as useless as the ‘H’ in John Cross and the ‘AY’ in okay.

NYSC camp life just got a lot sweeter for me because I’m the manager of Platoon 1’s football team. I’m going to employ all the knowledge I’ve acquired from watching Arsenal play as well as all the tactics I’ve become adept with in Football Manager. I intend to use Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 formation but I’ll alternate between 4-3-3 when I want to attack and 4-5-1 when I want to park the bus in a game I need to see off.

In just two days, a lot of activities have been ongoing in the World we call Arsenal. There haven’t been any matches going on so transfer speculations have dominated the proceedings of the Arsenal World. Starting with possible departures, the usual suspects are back in business again.

Denilson was the first Arsenal player to raise the white flag regarding his future at the club and was offered an escape route in the hands of Sevilla. Arsenal tried to use him as fresh blood stained meat for Shark-tar but the Ukrainians were not interested in acquiring his services. It seems as if Denilson will get another to wave his goodbyes to Arsenal because Villarreal is weighing up a move for Arsenal’s Brazilian escort-in-chief. He isn’t in anyone’s good books at the moment so his departure will be highly welcome because there’ll be space for a new player since the 25-man squad list rule still stands.

The want-away greedy French boy has reiterated to desire to leave Arsenal. This is turning into a boring cliche so I won’t give a ram’s testicle about Samir Nasri’s recently built urge to win trophies or to make his account greener than the Green Lantern himself but Arsenal is running out of options for his sale. Bayern and Inter would have been the preferred sale destination for the maestro but the two big guns from the city of Manchester have been on the prowl for his signature.

Selling a player of Nasri’s caliber to United or City will be a very wrong move for Arsenal Football Club. I’d rather play hard ball with him and keep him at the club for an extra year than to sell him for £20m to a provisional rival. Arsenal is considered as the third richest time in the land with gross earnings of $1B according to Forbes so there isn’t any real need to acquire an extra £20m from another club, yet alone a rival.

Nasri is an important piece in Wenger’s jigsaw puzzle so I really hope he’ll sign the new contract because his best is yet to come. Wenger has said that he’ll fight to keep Nasri and Cesc’ so I hope that he wins with a technical knockout like the way Vladimir Klitschko knocked the life of Nigeria’s Samuel Peters.

Fabregas is another player that has been linked heavily with a move to his hometown club. If I get N1,000 for every time ‘Fabregas’ and ‘Barca’ has been mentioned, I’m sure that I’ll be hitting ‘a milli’ like Lil Wayne. Barcelona have told the media Vultures they’re more than happy to play the waiting game for Arsenal’s captain. What do you expect? That’s what broke dogs…..clubs do. Wait for the crumbs from Arsenal’s table.

Johan Djourou isn’t even skeptical about the possible exits of Nasri and Fabregas because he believes that someone else will take that leap of faith to step up his game. He says,

“If he Fabregas goes, he goes.  It could be true because when you look at players who normally come out and express themselves, it’s when someone goes. When Thierry went, Cesc expressed himself even more, but the two together [Fabregas and Nasri] are great so you’d rather keep them. If someone goes then I’m sure someone will step up.

I consider football as a progressive sport so the possible exit of Fabregas and Nasri could make Wenger unleash another footballing beast to the world after his alchemy process. We all saw a young beast called Jack Wilshere who ravaged the Premier League with his blazing performances that earned him the Young Player of the Year so I’m pretty sure that if Nasri and Fabregas go, Wenger would unleash a new beast.

The media Vultures report that it could be a beast that Matas. It could also be a short tattooed-up Argentine pacey striker called Ezequiel Lavezzi. The media Vultures also speculate that Arsenal is lining up a £27m bid for a striker that was as hot as van Persie at some point last season, Karim Benzema. There was a period that he was in unstoppable form with 9 goals in 6 games or so.

Karim Benzema’s signing would make the Arsenal faithful drool to bits. His possible arrival would also mean that van Persie could be deployed on the hole behind to hone his skills as an attacking midfielder.

In other transfer news, Arsenal has a bid that has been rejected for the services of the Chambered Ox. As good as the bloke may think he is, we the gooners don’t need a youngster that win the quad for Arsenal in 2020. As Don Jazzy would say, “Now is the time“.

Moving over to my headline for the day, Wenger has promised that he’ll work really hard to bring in the players that’ll add quality to the squad. He says,

“We are working very hard on it. For me, the best thing is not to talk too much about it. The more you speak about things, the less chance you have to achieve them. The only thing that I can promise you is that we will work very hard and we have had some long”

Classic Arsene Wenger. Coy to the very end. I guess we should brace ourselves to see Captain America, Voltron and Superted very soon.

In other Arsenal news, Usmanov has upped his shares , Lansbury will spend an extra season on loan with Norwich and Gibbs might be given the chance to make the left back position his own.

That’s all for today gooners.

I can’t believe that I’m writing this blog post in Mammy market when my fellow corpers are getting really high.

Time to join my fellow corpers in the act. I’m the star attraction I guess.

The voting process in Nigerian Blog Awards ended today so the counting stage begins today.

I hope I win. 🙂


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Gervinho does his medical and my take on the greedy French boy

This is the first blog post that I’m writing with an aching back and two sore feet. I’ve been on the NYSC camp’s parade ground on three different occasions ranging from 5am to 6pm but I’ll live. 🙂

I always prefer writing about player departures before possible arrivals but I’ll turn the tables today. Arsenal’s proposed transfer target, Little Ricky Alvarez has joined Internazionale despite being linked heavily to the club. A few weeks ago, Palermo’s president told the media Vultures and hopeful gooners that Little Ricky was on his way to Arsenal but we’ve witnessed another potential gunner wear the jersey of new suitors. The same way we missed on Franck Ribery, Ryan Babel and Chris Smalling amongst others.

I read a thing or two about Ricky but i wasn’t fully in support of him becoming a gooner because Wenger is under a considerable amount of heat due to his club’s barren trophy spell so signing a relatively unknown winger from the Apertura wouldn’t have been a welcome idea. Star players like Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie expect quality this summer and Ricky Alvarez doesn’t really fall into this class

When Gael Clichy left Arsenal for greener oil pastures, I listed out three possible outcomes that Arsene Wenger could consider.

Going for Leighton Baines or Jose Enrique as a direct replacement for Clichy, promote Kieran Gibbs to the number one slot and to acquire the services of Cahill and Samba with Vermaelen deployed as a left back but it seems as if Arsenal and Liverpool at ready to lock horns for Newcastle’s Jose Enrique. If he’s going to be Wenger’s first choice left back for the 2011/12 season, I’m okay with it. He might not be a World beater but we all know how Wenger can be when it comes to making a signing. No one knew about Laurent Koscielny but Wenger reiterated his desire to make the lad a gunner. Laurent had an excellent debut season with Arsenal but his lowest point will still be his cock-up with Szczesny in the Carling Cup final.

Gael Clichy has said that leaving Arsenal was the toughest decision in his life. I’m not going to say anything bad about Clichy but leaving Arsenal to a club where your salary would probably be doubled or tripled won’t really be considered as a tough decision. We live in a football world where money making has overshadowed the passion for the game so it doesn’t really seem like a tough choice to me.

I wish Clichy all the best in his new club in terms of displacing Aleksandr Kolarov and Wayne Bridge as well as winning the hearts of his new fans but in terms of trophy winning, I’ll be speechless about that because Arsenal and Manchester City contend for the same trophies within England.

The media Vultures have also reported that Arsenal has failed in a last-ditch bid to sign World Cup finalist Maarten Stekelunberg. I don’t see why the Vultures would be linking Arsenal with a goalie because we’re all know that Wenger has complete faith in his Polish contigent. I’m still clueless on Arsenal’s keeper for next season. Szczesny did very well in Fabianski’s absence but the kind of faith Wenger placed on Fabianski can be likened to the type of faith an inventor puts on his machine that has been defective for many years but he still believed that it would comw good and it finally did.

Fabianski had two amazing games against Wolves and Everton and made many wonderful saves in the games he got in his consistent run but injury thwarted his best Arsenal season so far.

The most pleasing news of the day so far goes to Arsenal’s transfer target, Gervais Yao Kouassi. The winger has arrived from Lille to London for his medical checkup so he’s more or less an Arsenal player. The winger would add versatility as well as much needed competition to the squad. His signing will also ease the pressure of Wenger in his hunt to bring in quality to the areas that are lacking in the squad.

Moving over to possible departures, I’m going to lay emphasis on Samir Ben-Said Nasri, Arsenal’s not so greedy boy. The winger has a year left so he has been linked with moves away from Arsenal with a very long list of clubs fighting for his signature.

Nasri on the other hand has been offered a chance to remain with the club with a much improved deal to keep him at the club for a long while but the midfielder requested for more money. As the days went by, he turned the story by saying that he wanted to see Wenger’s activity in the transfer window but he has turned the tables again by saying that he’s after trophies.

However, there were some contradictions with the media Vultures with a section saying that Manchester City is set for a £19m switch while another reported that he’s not for sale by Arsenal. Reports are emerging that Nasri will earn much more than Fabregas if he completes the switch to the Eastlands with a £150,000 week deal on the cards.

To be frank, losing a player like Nasri to Man City will be disastrous but getting close to £20m for a player that has a year left in his contract. Is an amazing piece of business and Arsenal is renowed for profits. Nasri should be shipped out to City so that the No. 8 jersey will be vacated for another attacking midfielder that deserves to wear it.

Whether it’s Shakthar and Black Eyed Peas or any other attacking midfielder in the Milky Way, £20m will get Arsenal a very good attacking midfielder. I can write a long list of attacking midfielders that are more than capable of replacing Samir Nasri and £20m will be good enough to secure their services.

As mentioned before, tops my list but other midfielders like Javier Pastore, Mikel Arteta and Mario Gotze are up for grabs. In other news, Fabregas has also been the subject of discussion again because the media Vultures say that he’s set for crunch talks with the club over the proposed move to Barcelona but Real Madrid have placed him on their radar.

I can’t believe that I’m writing this but NO PLAYER IS BIGGER THAN ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB.

In all my days as a devoted gooner, I’ve seen my Arsenal lose Davor Suker, Gio van Bronckhorst, Sylvinho, Marc Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Nwankwo Kanu, Freddie Ljungberg, Thierry Henry, Cashley Cuntly Cole and Mathieu the Flanimal.

Arsenal still remained the side that has won 13 league titles, 10 FA Cups and 2 league Cups, 1 Fairs Cup and 1 Cup Winners Cup.

If Arsenal loses Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri for good money this summer, Arsenal will still be the team that hasn’t added any trophy in six years to their 13 league titles, 10 FA Cups and 2 league Cups, 1 Fairs Cup and 1 Cup Winners Cup.

Remember that Guardiola sold Ronaldinho and Deco before unleashing Messi’s potential to build up a team that won all the trophies football as a sport to offer 2009.

Please don’t forget to drop by and vote for Gooner Daily as Nigeria’s best sports blog. The voting ends in three days time so I’ll be honored if you visit the site and vote for the blog


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Arsenal loses a stalwart, Gael Clichy

The first ever back five I witnessed as an Arsenal fan was the all-English affair that had goons like Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and David Seaman. These men were as solid as ever and made their consistency count because they won many titles in their time at the club. Shortly after retirement, Nigel became a commentator, Martin became a scout, Seaman cut off his amazing ponytail and Tony put his hands in club management.

Arsene Wenger also had a second generation back five that had multinationals representing Africa and Europe. Mad Jens Lehmann was the custodian between the sticks, Lauren Etame-Mayer did his thing down the right. His wonderful own-goal against Manchester City cannot be forgotten though. Big Sol Campbell was a subject of controversy after switching to Arsenal despite playing for the old enemy. He left the club to Portsmouth on a bad note but did well to quell his demons and win the fans back in his second coming in the 2008/09 season. Kolo Abib Toure started his Arsenal career as a right back but Wenger’s faith in him paid dividends as Kolo became one of the fastest and most consistent defenders in the Premier League.

My main focus will go to the left back position occupied by Cashley Cuntly Cole. The Arsenal Academy product was sent on loan to Crystal Palace at the start of his Arsenal career but he came of age in the 2003/04 season when Arsenal made history by being the first time to scale through an entire season without defeat. Cuntly Cole had reserves of pace and stamina and he also formed a telepathic understanding with Robert Pires.

While Cole was strutting his stuff on the left flank, Wenger went to AS Cannes in 2003 to sign a relatively young left back for a meager fee of £250,000. On the 28th of October, 2003, the youngster made his Arsenal debut in a league Cup encounter against Rotherham United. His league debut came a month later in the 3-0 victory against Birmingham City. In his first season at Arsenal, he won his first league title at the milk age of 18.

He was Cole’s deputy in his second season at Arsenal but he played in the FA Cup and the Carling Spoon. He played 15 league games for Arsenal but his season was cut short by a foot injury he sustained in April 2005. His 2005/06 season wasn’t too glittering because he and Cole suffered similar foot injuries that sidelined them for eons. This made Wenger deploy Mathieu Flamini as a stand-in left back.

Following Cole’s departure in 2006, the left back position was his to keep. He had a foot surgery that summer so he missed the first three months of the campaign. The 2006/07 season was his most creative season because he laid on seven assists for his teammates. He was ever-present in the 2007/08 season and he played all 38 league games for Arsenal. He also amassed a total of 49 games in all competitions. His performances that campaign earned him a place in the 2008 PFA Team of the Year along with fellow teammates Bacary Sagna, Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Greedybayor. In the summer of 2008, he signed a new contract extension till 2012. Unfortunately, that was his last.

He broke his Arsenal duck in the 2-1 defeat to Stoke in November 2008. He was part of the Arsenal squad that had an impregnable home form in the Champions League that saw Wenger’s team keep clean sheets against Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Dynamo Kiev, AS Roma and Villarreal. He suffered a back stress fracture that made him miss the semifinal encounter against Manchester United.

In his final two seasons at Arsenal, he slightly became the shadow of the player that was heralded as the best left back of the league years ago. He had on and off games and made some glaring match-costing errors that raised a few eyebrows regarding his future at the club. On the international scene, he has represented France 10 times and was included in the 23-man squad that was a major disgrace in the World Cup at South Africa. He spent a great chunk of the tourney at the bench but he made his maiden World Cup appearance in the 2-1 defeat to the hosts South Africa.

In his time at Arsenal, he won three trophies, the Premier League (2004), the Community Shield (2004) and the FA Cup (2005). As a player, he has blistering pace, the stamina of a bison, extremely high work rate, good anticipation skills, a resilient attitude and an agile nature but he had some noteworthy flaws which include poor crossing, poor positioning and a Self Destruct chip.

When Arsenal went through their sixth season without a trophy, Gael Clichy had one more year in his contract so he had the option of extending his stay at the club or seeking greener pastures elsewhere. He chose the latter and his account is going to be very green because he has successfully completed a £7m move to Manchester City..

Clichy had this to say,

“I have had eight fantastic years at Arsenal and made many friends. I have so many great memories from my time at Highbury and Emirates Stadium. I would like to say thank you to everyone at Arsenal for all of their support and friendship. I also want to send a big thank you to all the Arsenal supporters, who have always been so good to me.”

Sayonara Gael Clichy.

I’ll miss those surges of energy down the left, your commitment and your burning desires to win trophies. I hope you’ll remember that your new club and your previous employers challenge for the same trophies but time will tell who will cross the finish line first.

Thanks for your amazing years of service.

You can also read this good post about Clichy from a fellow Nigerian Arsenal blogger called Yemi Jr.. He’s the writer of a good Arsenal blog called Memoirs of a Gooner.

The voting for the award of Nigeria’s best Sports blog ends on the 9th of July so I’ll be honored if you drop by and vote for Gooner Daily in the Sports category section.

The Tweet of the day goes to Omar Almasri.

@OAlmasri: “Please would anyone like to be an editor for my site? Please either tweet or DM me if you are.

Omar’s site is a wonderful website that offers a lot. He writes about Arsenal and other matters of the heart.

You can follow him on Twitter @OAlmasri. He’ll take it from there.

Now that Clichy is gone, Wenger has three possible options,

To buy Leighton Baines or Jose Enrique as a direct replacement

To promote Kieran Gibbs to the number one left back position or

To deploy Thomas Vermaelen as a left back, then acquire the services of Gary Cahill and Christopher Samba.

I’m with the third option though, a back five of Szczesny, Vermaelen, Cahill, Samba and Sagna would be a solid foundation Arsenal can bank upon.

The combined attribute of such a back five are reflexes, positioning, guile, iron-will, aerial ability, aggression, bravery, crosses and consistency.

This are the attributes needed to break a trophy duck.

I’m presently en route to Benin to start my NYSC camp orientation exercise and I’ll be there for three weeks.


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