Monthly Archives: August 2013

Alcohol consumption plus Draxler and Kaka on the cards

So last night I consumed a hell of a lot of alcohol and for that reason my blog today is going to be two things: extremely short and late.

First things first, apparently the £40m German is Draxler. Yesterday when I did my analysis of the situation I really didn’t think we’d spend that much money on the guy but if that’s the case Wenger must really, really rate him. I don’t know much of him but I hear good things so why not.

My only issue is where does this leave us with our hunt for a striker? If we have £80m to spend that leaves us just £40m to buy a striker and goalkeeper, is that enough? If we have £110m to spend, we can afford to still fork out £50m on a striker e.g. Suarez and still another £20m on the others.

Then again we also want di Maria and there are even whispers of Kaka. I’d take him, he may be 31-years-old but he’ll do a job and he is still able to find that final pass when it’s needed the most. He’s probably not going to set the league alight by any means but I bet he’ll be cheap and a great option to have on your bench.

Anyway, I guess we’ll find out more over the coming days. For now I’ll leave you with this video to get the tastebuds tingling for tomorrow’s North London derby!

Welcome home Flamini, CL draw and the mystery £40m German

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So yesterday the club announced our second “signing” of the summer on a two year contract – Mathieu Flamini. He left the club in 2008 on a free and it seems he’s came back in exactly the same scenario. Many are frustrated that Arsene has took the cheaper option again but I think that’s unfair on Flamini. Had we’d bought him for £15m and had he not ever played for us, we’d be getting a 29-year-old, experienced defensive minded midfielder who helped turn AC Milan’s season round last year. That’s not a bad buy in my books.

The only problem I have with this signing is that we’d not even considered him had he not been on a free. Wenger has certainly taken him because of the financial benefits, but really you’ve gotta see it from a different perspective. In my opinion we don’t need a world class defensive midfielder, we just need one as an option, that can do a job when called upon. Flamini will do exactly that. Besides, it means we now have a further £10-£15m to spend on other positions, which will most likely mean an even bigger signing.

On Flamini, the boss said

Because he knows how we play football. He knows the Club. He had a huge desire to come back. He was available because he was out of contract and he’s a quality player, and a focused player.

He can play with everybody in midfield and he knows the game we want to play. He knows the game in general. He’s tactically very shrewd, very focused to win and that’s why the decision was basically a no brainer.

And Flamini did have a huge desire to come back. As I said before, he turned down several contract offers and did double training sessions with us, in hope that we’d offer him a contract just like we did with other former Gunners. He’s been very humble and hard working since joining a few weeks ago, even to the point where he refused to park in the first team car park despite the fact he was offered to. He wanted to earn that spot in the car park and that’s the kind of players we want in our team. Flamini spoke of rejoining the club, saying

It feels good to be back home, I have some unfinished business with Arsenal so it’s a great feeling to be back. Once you’re a Gunner, you’re always a Gunner.

I feel good, I have been training for three weeks with the fitness coach, Tony Colbert. So I feel ready to start competing for Arsenal, especially on Sunday – it’s going to be a big game.

It’s a derby, everyone knows how important it is. We have to win it and we have to be ready for it.

Once you’re a Gunner, you’re always a Gunner. This is exactly the kind of mentality we need in our team as it rubs off on the others. I doubt a player like Kondogbia would have had the same mentality, yes he’s  a good player but we need influence, character and experience in that squad if we want to seriously challenge for the title. Anyway, he’ll wear the number 20 shirt and most certainly be involved Sunday, whether or not he starts is a different question but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He hates Tottenham.

We’ll find out more later today about the game as the manager does his usual pre-match conference however the injury news so far is that thankfully both Ramsey and Wilshere are both fit to play. There was some negative news to balance the positive and that is that Podolski’s injury is worser than they first thought and is set to be out for 8-10 weeks. It’s a shame as he looked a lot better so far this season than he did last, all the best to him and hopefully his recovery is quick and without problems.

In other news there was the Champions League draw yesterday and it started off brightly with us being put with Marseille from pot 2, before Dortmund and Napoli followed from pots 3 and 4. We’ve most certainly got the hardest group out of the English teams to qualify however I’m convinced we can get second or even first.

Napoli weren’t impressive during the Emirates Cup, yes it was 2-2 but it was four goals of the poorest quality you’ll ever see. They’re a good side with some quality players but they’re lacklustre defensively so we shouldn’t struggle to finish above them. Dortmund are of course last years Champions League runners up, but that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically finish above us. We finished above them a few years back and we beat Bayern 2-0 last year at their place who went on it to win it by beating them, so it’s not impossible that with the focus, desire and right signings, we can top the group.

In other more related transfer news, yesterday the ever reliable @GeoffArsenal tweeted a bit of a teaser by saying

Arsenal are ready to spend £40m on a German International.

I can’t declare who it is right now. It’s for the best.

It’s got everybody on twitter thinking the same thing – “who could it be?” and I thought I’d do a quick overview on the options. Here’s a list of all the German International players that I believe we’d have an interest in signing and haven’t moved this window, yet.

Neuer, Adler, Hummels, Khedira, Ozil, Gundogan, Lars Bender, Sven Bender, Reus, Draxler, Müller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Gomez, Kießling.

Looking at that list, I’d be incredibly surprised if Wenger broke our transfer record on a goalkeeper or defender, so that takes the first three out of the equation. I also get the impression that Geoff has very specifically said German International for a reason, and because of that I doubt a move for Kießling too, especially considering he’s just signed a new contact. This leaves the following

Khedira, Ozil, Gundogan, Lars Bender, Sven Bender, Reus, Draxler, Müller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Gomez

Now, if you then consider which of these Wenger would actually pay £40m for, the list gets smaller. I don’t think he’d want to fork out that kind of money on Khedira, Gundogan, Sven Bender, Draxler or Gomez. They’re either too young, too inexperienced, cup tied or just quite simply, not worth such a big fee. The list then looks like this

Ozil, Lars Bender, Reus, Müller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos

I get the feeling that Wenger is looking for an attacking midfielder to play at the front of the middle three, especially considering we have Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Diaby plus now Flamini for the more central positions. I also believe he wants a goalscorer, not just a playmaker. The list continues to get shorter when you consider these factors

Ozil, Müller, Reus

So, one of Ozil, Müller or Reus? That’s exciting. I’d say out of the three, Ozil is the most likely as Real will certainly be looking to offload him with the purchase of Bale and there’s been whispers all summer of them selling him, too. Plus at the end of last season he was more of a substitute than a starter, with Modric, Khedira and Alonso usually starting ahead of him. With the arrival of Illarremendi and Isco, his opportunities will be even further reduced and with it being World Cup year, a move could suit all parties.

In terms of interest I’ve long known of Arsene’s affection towards Reus. I’ve been saying all summer that we want him and it really wouldn’t surprise me if they made a bid. At £40m it’s not the kind of money Dortmund could refuse and Reus would definitely be interested in a move. He’s previously said

l think everyone has their favourite club. I was always a fan of Arsenal, because l appreciate their style of play.

My idol was always Thomas Rosicky. He is phenomenal. I copied everything about him, right down to his sweatbands.

Perhaps it’s just a dream of mine that he’d come, as he’s one of my favourite players in football right now. The guy can do everything and last year managed to score 27 goals and get 14 assists in 61 appearances, that is an absolutely ridiculous return for a midfielder.

As for Müller, well I’d say it’s the biggest long shot of the three. He’s one of Bayern’s best players and I can’t see why they’d have any interest in selling him. Then again we might just be looking to test them because they do have an abundance of attacking midfielders, they might not be against selling one. I did hear we was looking at him about five or six months ago, so it wouldn’t be too out of the question.

I guess it’s all rumours, ifs and maybes for now, let’s hope that a bid is actually placed over the coming days and when the window closes we get any one of those three. Heck, I’d take any of the last six I mentioned in fact, they’re all quality players and could certainly add something to the team that we don’t already have.

Thanks for reading such a long blog, till tomorrow.

Time for Wenger to repay the faith plus a transfer and injury update

Morning folks, today is Thursday and therefore one day closer to the North London derby but the fact remains we’re still yet to sign anybody major. I am becoming increasingly frustrated and worried over the situation we’ve found ourselves in. For a club with £70m-£100m in our bank, plus an additional £10m from player sales, it’s absolutely inexcusable that we haven’t yet bought somebody.

However, I’ve long been under the belief that they will come and when they do they’ll be big and I guess that’s all we can do. Believe. Believe in our manager to go for the players we so badly need, believe in our club to deliver what they’ve promised and believe in our negotiation team to get the deals done and dusted before the window shuts. Believe, believe, believe.

At the end of the day we can’t do much else. Our club use a confidentiality agreement whenever they enter talks with a club to ensure things are well and truly kept under wraps. Whatever gets into the media is either bullshit or leaked illegally, but we only dissect the difference based on who says it or the name involved. Realistically, we don’t know what the club have done all summer or who they’ve been after, because they don’t say anything on record. Wenger teases but never reveals.

When you take a step back and look at it, you can only use logic to determine whether or not we’ll spend. Everybody from the fans to the players to the manager believes we need to strengthen, so that gives me confidence that we will do so before the window closes, but the question is who and how much?

I guess that’s down to the manager to decide and if the window closes and we’ve strolled through another window with a handful of budget signings then I think it’ll be the end of Wenger’s era. I think he knows it, too. Which is another reason why logic makes me think he’ll go big, because he absolutely has to. Countless people, myself included, have backed his corner all summer saying that the signings will come, they will happen, just be patient and have faith. If Wenger doesn’t make a statement then his biggest problem won’t be the press giving him grief it’ll be people like me who have stuck by him.

However, it shouldn’t be pressure from the fans that makes him want to spend it should be the impact it has on everybody who isn’t a fan. We as fans absolutely love the club, it’s our first love, and at the moment we’re watching her wear budget clothes whilst her boyfriend stacks his cash and lets everybody know about how much he’s got. We just want him to buy her the Gucci and Prada clothes and expensive makeup that she deserves to make her the supermodel that we all know she is.

I’ve always said I can handle not winning trophies because no club has a divine right to get trophies. I just can’t handle us not using the best of our resources to make us as competitive as possible and give us the best chance of winning those trophies. Wenger owes us that, he owes everybody it and it’s not anymore black and white than that.

The one thing that I truly cannot handle though, is the constant teasing. The fact that we’re a laughing joke every single fucking summer because we penny-pinch, dither and time waste. We’re already being laughed at with the constant Sanogo or Flamini jokes. It’s no wonder people just laugh in our faces when they hear Suarez, Rooney or Benzema even mentioned with us. Had it been with Chelsea or Man City though, there’d be no doubts. Why is that? It’s not because of trophies, it’s because of the way they spend.

I understand that Wenger doesn’t like to overspend but he needs to do it just to get every other team to shut the fuck up whenever we’re mentioned. Spend £50m on Suarez and who can ever say anything about us again? Nobody. If we don’t compete, so what? The point is we’ve shown the world that we mean business, we’re not afraid of spending and Wenger isn’t this tight arse that everybody believes he is.

I’m not saying it needs to be Suarez but there are plenty of players out there. Tottenham have pretty much confirmed Bale has gone, which isn’t exactly a surprise. That means that just like a few summers ago when Real bought Ronaldo and sold van der Vaart and Sneijder, that they’ll be looking to offload a few players to fix up the finances. Di Maria, Ozil and Benzema are all on the radar, but it’s a waiting game until Bale is all but confirmed.

There’s certainly going to be another twist in the Suarez saga, too. Liverpool are getting the results without him and they could use the £50m to strengthen their team in other departments. It can only really involve Arsenal or Madrid, if he goes to us then great, if he goes to Real then they’re going to have to sell Benzema to balance the books. We need to be there straight away, cash and contract ready, no dithering and no excuses.

We have many things in our favour: Europe are bankrupt, we are cash rich so no instalments and no waiting, we have a huge fan base, world class stadium, top training facilities, a legendary manager, based in one of the worlds most prestigious cities and a team that is genuinely ready to compete. We need to use this to our advantage over the next few days otherwise we really will be the laughing stock of the entire window and season. Make it happen Arsenal.

Transfer Update
Quick transfer update (in order of reliability), Flamini has reached an agreement according to the reliable @GeoffArsenal and will be in the team for the Spuds game. Cabaye is a plan B and we have a plan A we’re banking on. Mata and Rooney are both possibilities because neither United or Chelsea want to sell to each other but are happy to sell to us.

Draxler is still available but would be costly, his release clause is €45.5m but we’re going to bid £15m to see what they do. Bendtner could be joining Hull (but I’m putting this down as not likely as that guy will just not fuck off, he’s been close to ten clubs over the past few months).

Other
Ramsey and Wilshere are both fit for the weekend, great news.

More tomorrow!

A solid aggregate win, is Mata on the cards plus di Maria and Cabaye

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Good morning guys and gals. After yesterday’s conspiracy theories it was nice to go home to something concrete; a game of football. Last night the team played Fenerbahce and managed to win 2-0, making it a 5-0 win on aggregate and resulting in qualification for Europe’s most prestigious club competition sixteen years in a row.

Two goals from Aaron Ramsey was the difference yesterday and in fairness it could have been a few more had the opponents goalkeeper not pulled off a number of saves throughout the game. Over both legs it’s hard to deny that Fenerbahce were poor, they often misplaced their passes and were caught out of position which made our jobs a lot easier. Our strong pressing, quick movement and accurate passing  was too much for them to handle and it’s a huge part of the reason we won so convincingly over both legs. On yesterday’s game, Wenger said

We completed the job and we had some problems to get into the pace of the game. Overall, especially in the second half, we controlled the game and did a professional job. It was maybe not a very exciting game but we did what we had to do. Overall we scored five goals and didn’t concede so we are in the group stage. That’s what we wanted.

Can’t ask a lot more of the team than five goals and two clean sheets. I think it’s quite disappointing that the fan base were actually worried after Villa. I was extremely confident we’d win the qualifier and had no doubt we’d do it by a significant margin. I sometimes think our fans are way too short term minded, because, as I pointed out before the first leg, that team beat the Champions of Europe at their ground 2-0 last season, why would we struggle against a poor side like Fenerbahce? Have a little faith people.

The big game is now on Sunday where we play against Tottenham at home in this seasons first North London derby. Ahead of the game it looks like we’ll be a bit light, the manager confirmed yesterday that Podolski is set to be out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury which forced him off early during the game. There are also doubts over Wilshere and Ramsey who both had little knocks and bangs but let’s hope they’re alright.

For now though, we need to forget about Tottenham because that isn’t for another four days and instead focus on getting some players in. I’d like to think that before the game we could get two players in, perhaps di Maria and Cabaye, just to give everybody the lift and sense of positivity going into the derby. There’s a lot of focus on the fact that Juan Mata’s father and agent was invited to the Emirates yesterday, which the manager did address, saying

I have heard like you, because I watched the game last night, that Juan Mata could be on the market. I don’t know. There’s anyway a reluctance in England to sell to each other.

I’d absolutely love Mata but I can’t see how a deal would be possible in any way. Why would Chelsea sell him after he was voted their best player for the past two seasons? In the league last year only Theo, Cazorla, Rooney and Mata got double figure assists and goals, so is it a wonder that Wenger is looking at them both? Let’s not get excited though, it’s just an invite to the stadium to watch a game of football, and after all he is the agent of several world class players so perhaps it’s another one of his clients?

As for Rooney, well Wenger was quizzed about it in presser but he did his usual “we can’t talk about the players at other clubs” which is fair enough. Sky Sports are reporting that Rooney won’t hand in a transfer request but why would he? It’d result in a loss of his loyalty bonus and if a move didn’t happen he’d find his bridges well and truly burned at United. That deal is only going to happen if United want it to happen and if they do, I get the feeling they want him to come our way and not towards Mourinho and his crew.

In small news I’ve heard that we’ve made an offer for di Maria now but nothing for Ozil. On the flip side there are reliable Spanish radio stations reporting that Ozil has received two offers and may leave because he’s furious over being benched so often. City are also not interested in selling Richards, Cesc has reiterated his desire to stay at Barcelona and Pardew is trying to play hard ball for Cabaye by saying he’s world class and with that comes world class fees. He’s punching above his weight here, he isn’t going to win mind games against Wenger, good luck with that Alan, we’ll have him for £15m soon enough.

Let’s hope that the next few days are transfer full as I have placed a rather risky bet on us signing two players other than Flamini before the North London Derby. I also placed a bet that we’d spend £70m on two players (this was when I was convinced we’d spend £50m on Suarez) but that doesn’t look likely so I’m hoping the first bet will cover the loss of the second. I do feel a bit confident of that with Lee Dixon even saying “Arsenal are apparently going to sign two big players this week”.

I hope you’re right, Lee!

Let’s put the tie to rest! No striker inbound, conspiracy theories and gossip

I love bank holidays, they’re a day off work for most people so it means a longer weekend and a shorter week to follow. The only negative is that it makes getting up for work the day you go back even harder, because you’ve almost relaxed too much over the extended period off.

Let’s hope the team doesn’t have the same mentality as us because we play the second leg of our Champions League qualifier vs Fenerbahce tonight and we’ll have to be anything but relaxed. Yes, the pressure is reduced due to a convincing 3-0 away win but that by no means the game is done and dusted. We can’t get complacent tonight, we need to give a solid performance and produce another good win. The manager is taking the game very seriously, explaining why he won’t rotate, saying

It will be stability in the team, maybe one or two who are a bit injured [will be rested], but 95 per cent of the team who played at Fulham will play [on Tuesday] night.

It says it all [that I won’t rest players]. It shows how important it is to us. It’s of course a very, very, very important tie for us.

We want to be in the group stage the next day, and that demands attitude and commitment and desire to play the game with full power, like we love to do.

I think stability in the team makes sense but if one or two players are feeling a bit tired we should look to rest them, especially ahead of Sunday’s game vs Sp*rs. If we go out and score a goal in the first half hour it’ll kill off the game completely, so that should be our primary target. I wonder if Koscielny will be risked or not after his nasty gash in the first leg and also Cazorla who is still finding fitness after joining the squad late from the Confederations Cup.

Whatever the team I’m sure we can get a good 3-0 or 4-0 win and put the game to bed way before half time. Both Giroud and Podolski have been scoring so far this season so it’d be good to see them both get on the scoresheet today. I think a goal for Theo would be important too as he’s not yet scored this season and the last thing you want is him becoming pressured in front of goal every time.

Speaking of strikers, I was wondering yesterday what the situation will be with that area of our team. I get the feeling that Wenger has given up on Suarez and the Benzema stuff is rubbish (despite Real Madrid apparently trying to sell him out the back door) so it only leaves Rooney as a potential target. He played well yesterday vs Chelsea but on a few occasions he chose to shoot from a silly distance or difficult angle rather than play the more obvious pass to van Persie so there’s definitely a problem between them two.

He received a great reception from the fans so he may decide to stay yet. It’s my understanding that we’ve agreed terms with him which must mean that United are happy to sell to us, but it’s down to the ongoing talks with Chelsea as to whether or not he’ll join. If he doesn’t join, what happens then?

I get the impression that Wenger will give up on a striker and stick with what we got. I have a strong feeling di Maria and Cabaye will join and that’ll mean a front three of di Maria, Giroud and Theo. I do think Giroud will be getting fantastic service from both of them so who’s to say he couldn’t get 25 goals this season? I’m not saying I agree or want this to happen, because I’d love a world class striker any day, but I’m just putting it out there. It’s not as bad as people think, it’s the other positions that are important.

I read a rather interesting blog the other day by @WayneGooney18 in which he believes (and has been told) are the reasons for our poor summer. In short, he basically thinks we’ve spent the whole summer trying to make ourselves look weak by missing out on targets, giving out the impression our squad is strong enough and selling players to make the squad look thin. This is because Man Utd would only sell Rooney to us if they think we’re not challengers.

However, an interesting twist is that we’ve signed and agreed a deal for Fabregas, but we aren’t announcing it until we sign Wayne because Man Utd definitely won’t send him our way should we him in our wings. It’s a very plausible and questionable theory but one that you can’t helped but be intrigued by. For arguments sake could you imagine if they did announce Fabregas and Rooney in the same window? What a truly brilliant piece of transfer wizardry the club will have pulled off there.

In my opinion, it’s not true. I don’t know why we’d be interested in Cabaye if Fabregas was set to join? Unless it’s a smokescreen, we all know how good the clubs are at creating them. However, the fact we’ve made ourselves look weak to get Rooney wouldn’t surprise me because that does actually make a lot of sense regardless of Cesc returning or not.

Anyway, that’s enough of the conspiracy theories, we can’t do much until after today’s game because neither Rooney or Fabregas will even consider us if we aren’t in the Champions League. Wenger stressing how important it is to win this game makes you feel confident we have one or two signings ready to roll for as soon as the place in Europe’s biggest competition is guaranteed.

In small news, apparently the di Maria fee has been agreed at £25.8m, personal terms are next and hopefully we’ll have him wrapped up soon. We’re also set to bid £13.5m for Cabaye today or tomorrow, further testing Newcastle’s resilience to get close to £20m for him. It’s also doubtful we’ll get a defender now because Vermaelen is back in a few weeks and Sagna has been doing well at centre back.

So, based on everything I know or have heard, as a minimum, I expect by the Spurs game to sign Cabaye and di Maria (or players of a similar ability in the same positions) and perhaps a goalkeeper too. If we can get a striker (probably Rooney) before that time then great, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m just hoping the club buy big because the owe to everybody, from the fans worldwide to the players on the pitch, we all need a big lift to give us that buzz around the training ground, stadium and fan base that we can and will challenge for the league.

A huge five days ahead starts now. Come on you Gooners!

Di Maria, Cabaye, Bendtner, Casillas, Hart and Krul

Afternoon, sorry for the late blog, I had a terrible nights sleep and with it being a bank holiday I took advantage of the fact I didn’t have to get up for anything.

Just a quick one today as it’s so late. Tomorrow we play against Fenerbahce in our second leg and the boss will be doing his usual press conference ahead of the game today so we’ll get an update on all things Arsenal. I don’t expect any transfer news because, as Wenger said, nothing will be concluded until after the game.

Who those players could be nobody knows but I get a good feeling that di Maria and Cabaye are very much on and could be concluded over the next few days. I think both of them can add something to the team, especially di Maria. He’s 25, extremely good at dribbling, a great passer and fairly quick too. He’ll add a much needed bit of quality on the wings and more importantly, competition for places.

Cabaye is very similar to that of Arteta so perhaps he’s a long term replacement? I think some people don’t see how Cabaye can offer much to the squad but as this article points out he’s a great tackler and key passer, so he’ll be perfect for our double pivot system. He’s not the big, strong, hard-hitting defensive midfielder people have been crying out for but I’m of the belief that those days are gone in top level football now. He’ll face competition with Ramsey, Wilshere and Arteta all occupying those places but that’s great for all their progression and sharpness.

In small bits and pieces it seems that Nicklas Bendtner has been told he won’t play for Denmark unless he finds a new club. This seems to have created a much needed urgency from the twat because he’s apparently now attracted interest from Crystal Palace and West Brom. I don’t think Palace would take both Chamakh and Bendtner, that’d be pretty brave in my books but I couldn’t care less just so long as he goes.

The only other news floating is that apparently we’re looking at Casillas but will be rejected as he wants to stay (no surprise there), we’re also monitoring Joe Hart as Man City want him gone for some reason and lastly Tim Krul of Newcastle. So, Casillas, Hart and… Krul? It’s a bit KRUL to mention his name in the same sentence! Haha… Get it? Hey? Ok that sucked.

I think we need to forget about transfers until Wednesday and just focus on tomorrow’s football, as it’s clearly having it’s affect on me. More tomorrow.

Important win over Fulham, Podolski thoughts, di Maria, Cabaye and Cesc?

Yesterday we played Fulham away at Craven Cottage and went into the game wondering which Arsenal would turn up. Would it be the one vs Villa or the one vs Fenerbahce? In fairness the Villa game was ruined by poor refereeing but it doesn’t take away the fact that the goals we conceded were very poor. Fortunately, Arsenal showed their balls and delivered a fantastic performance resulting in a solid 3-1 win.

It was a great game of football in fairness, real end-to-end stuff but it was Arsenal who sealed the win and got the three points they deserved, and needed. The first goal from Giroud had an element of luck to it but it now makes it three goals in as many games for the Frenchman, further strengthening his case for a starting position regardless of a new striker arriving at the club. Podolski’s goals were both well taken, with the first a smash as it fell to him on the outside of the box and the second a lovely strike across goal.

All the talk of Podolski going out on loan and he starts the game and scores an important brace. I never believed at any moment that we’d even consider it and it doesn’t benefit us in any way whatsoever, but it was great to see him kill any doubts with an impressive performance. I do think Podolski is a great player, he has a fantastic strike, the best in the team and the most powerful one recorded at the club (fuck you van Persie).

I think he’s a striker, not a winger, but there isn’t really an opportunity for him to show that in this squad. With a new striker inbound and Giroud impressing, it’s not hard to see why he doesn’t get played there and nor Theo for that matter. I just can’t help but feel that a run of games up front for him to develop his game would result in a 30 goal a season striker. The guy rarely misses the target and when it’s on target it’s almost impossible to save because of the amount of power he gets behind it.

Anyway, congratulations to him for the two goals and good performance. I think he’ll push on this season regardless of where he plays and hopefully he’ll be top drawer by the end. Wenger spoke after the game of all the positives of our performances, our spirit, Podolski, the standout performance again from Ramsey and Giroud’s fine form. However, the interesting quotes are those on the Fenerbahce game and transfers, firstly he said

We have made a big step but it’s not over the line. Now we want to finish the job because that’s a big part of our season. The group stage of the Champions League is highly-important. I will not rest players on Tuesday night, certainly not.

I understand that he doesn’t want to rest players but why not? We play the Spuds at the weekend so resting Cazorla and maybe one or two others isn’t going to cause any issues. We’ll qualify regardless of whether or not he plays but a fresh Cazorla at the weekend will be a deadly player. Same goes for the others. He then spoke of whether the results of the Fenerbahce games or Fulham game have changed his transfer plans at all, saying

No. We will be a bit less under media pressure maybe but that will not change exactly. I know exactly what I want to do and that will not change.

It gives me confidence that he knows exactly what he wants to do and it won’t change. Wenger is the king of dithering and questioning, so if he has a set out list of targets that won’t change then that’s great. We can now focus on bringing them in as soon as possible, he was asked when and said

Before the Fenerbahce game? No.

Before next weekend? It’s possible. Honestly, I’m not the only one that can decide that because the clubs who sell the players [are involved too]. We are on the market, you know that. I know we expect news from us. We will try to give you some but at the moment, nothing to announce.

I think the days between Fenerbahce and Tottenham are going to be hectic for the club, I expect two or three players including Flamini to bolster the squad and give the players a lift heading into the weekends North London derby. I understand that we have one or two players waiting to see that we’ve 100% qualified before committing to signing for us, which is understandable. We’ve almost definitely guaranteed it but you know anything is possible in football so we need to get the game done and dusted to ensure we get our targets.

I think it’s obvious that Wenger has these deals on hold because he wouldn’t rest players if they weren’t. He knows how important this game is to getting his targets so he’s going to do everything he can to win it and sign them. Who those players are is a different question entirely.

I get the feeling that di Maria is a done deal because, quite simply, it makes sense. Wenger has always admired him, Madrid need the money, he’s surplus to requirements now Bale is arriving and he’s fairly cheap at £20-£25m. There isn’t any other teams sniffing and with Gervinho gone we could do with a player of his quality in the side. I don’t know where he’ll play though as I don’t think Wenger will drop Theo and Podolski won’t be happy on the bench every week. Di Maria is very versatile though and can play on either wings or even as the attacking midfielder, so maybe he’ll just float between positions.

The Karim Benzema deal is one that’s questionable. In one hand Real Madrid need the money and still want Suarez so they may see him as a way of getting the money to do so, on the other they probably can’t be bothered with the hassle and will be happy keeping him. His agent yesterday denied any interest, saying

We can’t stop the rumours. But I tell you: Karim will not go to Arsenal. It’s never been a question for him and no contact has been made.

He will stay at Madrid. The probable arrival of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid doesn’t threaten him at all. Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale will play on the wings and Karim in the centre.

Karim could very well finish his career at Real, the club of his dreams.

This doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, though. At the end of the day if Real want to sell he doesn’t really have a choice, but he does seem like he’s pretty confident it won’t happen so it makes you wonder what the deal is with a big name striker.

Personally I get the feeling that we’re going for Rooney. They won’t sell to Chelsea under any circumstances but there’s so many reasons to suggest he won’t stay. He’s unhappy he’s not the main striker, he and Moyes don’t get along, the fans aren’t bothered whether he stays or goes, he’s sulking and when you consider all these points, would United then want to pay him £250,000 a week to keep it that way?

They owe us money for van Persie, we are in their good books for sending him their way too, they hate Mourinho, they consider us less of a threat than Chelsea, he’d happily play for us and a deal can be done relatively quickly. It makes more sense than battling with Liverpool for Suarez that’s for sure but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Cabaye refused to play for Newcastle yesterday due to interest from Arsenal which makes me think this deal might be on the cards too. I read that we were going to offer £16-£17m for him but some newspaper in Newcastle has said we’ve offered £12-£13m. It’s hard to imagine Newcastle are in the position to turn down anything at this stage so it’ll be fun to see if they accept or reject the offer. With the way Pardew talked after yesterday’s game it’d almost seem like he’s keen to get him gone, too.

One player that seems off the cards but two people I know are very confident is still very much on the cards is Cesc Fabregas. They both think it’s an absolute done deal, he’s just waiting to see us qualify for the Champions League before signing. With all the reasons for him leaving Barca, it does actually make a lot of sense. Not to mention the fact that things are ever so quiet right now and that we’ve had this “secret signing” in the waiting. Could it be him? I fucking hope so. I hope with every bone in my body.

Anyway, nothing will really progress over the next few days until after the Fenerbahce game, so until then we’ll have to put up with many rumours and then see what actually happens. Here’s to the end of an important week which was very successful and to the start of probably the most vital week in our transfer history.

Here’s where we go from pretenders to contenders.