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Arsenal to Agree Loan Extension for Wojciech Szczesny

The goalkeeping situation at the club was one conundrum for Arsene Wenger at the start of the season. Petr Cech’s arrival last season saw Wojciech Szczesny loaned out to AS Roma, as David Ospina dropped to the role of Cech’s deputy. It was a successful debut campaign by Cech’s fair standards, as his 16 clean sheets in the Premier League saw him win the Golden Glove award for the second time in three seasons.

With the legendary Czech goalie retiring from international football, he was shifting his focus to club football, which ultimately means that he would be the custodian between Arsenal’s sticks for years to come. This meant that Wenger had to sort out the player that would serve as Cech’s #2 in the new campaign, as Szczesny returned from his spell at Roma, while David Ospina is still on holidays after a great bronze-winning campaign with Colombia at the recently concluded Copa America.

According to Forza Italian Football, Arsenal is set to agree a loan extension with Roma over the services of the Polish shot stopper. Szczesny enjoyed a good Champions League qualification campaign with Roma, making 42 appearances (34 in Serie A) and claiming eight clean sheets. He averaged 2.09 saves per game, made about 26% punches, a distribution success of 72% and an outstanding 99% claim success, which was one of the best in the league. All stats via Squawka.

It’s also believed that Arsenal and Roma would split Szczesny’s €3 million-a-year contract evenly, even though that contract is scheduled to expire in 2018.

I wish Szczesny the best in this loan spell, in his bid to continue playing first-team football consistently.


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Things Arsenal Could do with £100 million

Left for cheap. Could return for a world record fee

As an Arsenal fan, you have to also remember that you’re a football fan too, so you can’t just turn a blind eye to the transfer dealings, especially the big ones, happening in some of football biggest leagues. More focus is obviously on the Premier League with the new managers on display, as well as the new signings that could turn out to be legends or major flops.

The news dominating the back pages is that Juventus has rejected an initial £85 million offer for Paul Pogba from Manchester United. These guys are lucky I’m not the president of Juventus. Imagine me being in my lil’ office in Turin and my chief financial officer tells me that a bid has been made for Pogba. I’d spill my coffee on my best dress, and do everything in my power to hold a meeting with all the crime bosses in Sicily to give me their best guys. Then we will go to Pogba’s house at night, use some chloroform on form, tie him up and send him with the best courier service to Manchester. Don’t worry, the delivery fee will be on me.

It’s not as if he has the stats to prove that he deserves such an amount. Since I want to work with facts, let’s look at the two footballers that have been bought with close to the £80m+ mark. When Real Madrid signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a world record fee in 2009, he had smashed in 118 goals in 292 games for the Red Devils. In seven seasons with Real Madrid, he has scored 364 goals in 348 games. Has he been worth the punt? Hell yeah! Gareth Bale is another guy that was acquired for an exorbitant fee but he had notched 55 goals for Tottenham with 26 goals in his final campaign. Pogba has proved himself to be a ‘complete midfielder’, but many wonder whether he’s worth £100m as demanded by Juventus.

Well, that’s Manchester United’s problem. Last time I checked, the £100m will be deducted from their coffers, not Arsenal’s. But the question is, what can Arsenal do with £100m if they were chanced to splurge with such a crazy amount?

Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi has been on the spotlight for the bad reasons, following his wife’s comments about Inter doing everything in their power to sell him. But errr, it that meant to be a bad thing? It’s not like Icardi has the likes of Alvaro Recoba, Juan Sebastien Veron, Christian Vieri, Adriano Leite, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Esteban Cambiasso, Marco Materazzi, Javier Zanetti or Francesco Toldo around him. Internazionale is a mere shadow of the force they used to be.

The papers say that Icardi is valued at £42m. I say we should take the punt on the lad. His record at Inter is 52 goals in 102 games. He’s young, intelligent, quick and would provide stiff competition for Olivier Giroud.


Riyad Mahrez 

Riyad Mahrez is the current Premier League Player of the Season. With 17 goals and 11 assists last season, Mahrez was the hottest kid in the block and with the Algerian rejecting a new deal from the Foxes, teams have been put on high alert. The transfer fee is expected to be huge, but that’s something £100m can cover right?

Time to focus on the rest of my day.

Please don’t go out there spending £100m like it’s nothing. It’s not as if there’s a Pogba at every corner.


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Arsenal to Sign Holding and MLS All Star Squad Announced

The defender (left) was named Bolton's Player of the Season at the end of an impressive debut campaign

Holding was Bolton’s Player of the Season in the last campaign

Arsenal’s policy for investing in youth has remained unchanged, as Arsene Wenger seeks to create a squad that would probably win the quadruple in 2020 or something. Following the imminent arrival of Japanese wonderkid, Takuma Asano, that cried like a baby in his last game for Hiroshima Sanfreece, the Daily Mail has reported that a £2m fee has been agreed for Bolton youngster, Rob Holding.

If he joins the club, he would be the third acquisition of the transfer window, and while Granit Xhaka is a player that is expected to walk into the starting XI, the likes of Asano and Holding will take a while before they can make their marks at the Emirates. It’s always good to invest in youngsters, but there are times when it doesn’t just work out, like the case of a certain Wellington Silva, that has returned to his former club, Fluminense, after an unsuccessful spell with the Gunners.

Wellington signed for the Gunners six years ago but had some challenges with securing a work permit, so he had to be shipped out on loan to Levante, Alcoyano, Ponferradina, Murcia and Almeria and he featured consistently at those clubs before eventually securing a Spanish passport, which automatically qualified him to get a work permit in the UK. At the start of last season, Wellington was actually eligible to play for the Gunners, but he was loaned again to Bolton, which was more or less an indication that he wasn’t good enough to play for the Gunners.

Wellington Silva scoring against Wolves

I’d shared my thoughts on Rob Holding a while ago, so I don’t intend to delve into talking much about him today. However, I will be more interested to see what happens to Calum Chambers, that is clearly behind Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista in the pecking order. Holding has shown a lot of potential and it would be nice to see what he can offer wit the preseason games coming thick and fast.

Speaking of preseason, the Gunners are scheduled to travel to America to face off an All Star MLS side on July 29th, at the Avaya Stadium. The team has been selected by All Star coach, Dominic Kinnear.

Andrea Pirlo and David Villa (right) have been named in the MLS All-Star squad

Andrew Pirlo and David Villa are part of the squad

The team is a true reflection of the word ‘All Star’, as it boasts of the likes of Girovani dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Clint Dempsey, Ignacio Piatti, David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco and the former scourge of Arsenal, Didier Drogba. A full list of the MLS All Star squad can be seen here.

That’s a wrap for today folks.


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