Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Transfers- People going mad for Mata

Sill not a lot has happened regarding transfer,  even after all the rumours and supposed "knowledge" that people have shared. Gervinho and other may well be on their way to the Emirates, but everything is dragging out and taking forever, which is more than frustrating for our impatient fans, especially since our rivals are doing their business very quickly. But over the last few years we've always taken forever to conclude transfers, and I suppose there's nothing much we can do about it anyway.

Yesterday people seemed taken aback by the "news" that we'd probably sell Fabregas 'for the right price.' To be honest, i don't think that this is any different at all form what we've already known. As I've said before, Cesc will go if Barca pay the 45-55 million that he is worth (though in my opinion I would like at least 60) but if they continue to insult us with stupid offers of 27million then they can do one.

All these talks of striking and what not is just ludicrous, Fabregas loves Arsenal and will continue to show this club the respect we deserve and in fact the only reason he may leave is because he love Barcelona that little bit more than us.

There was also new transfer speculation regarding Juan Mata, a fantastic player who has just come off the back of an excellent European u-21 tournament. Apparently we tracked him in January, but were put off by a large fee, but now we are monitoring his situation along with several other teams.

The little creative Spaniard is touted to leave for about £20 million pounds, but with a bidding war seemingly about to start, it may take 25-30 to take him to the Emirates, which may make it quite unlikely. Another major factor is in no hurry to leave Valencia which was revealed today.

The Ricardo Alvarez speculation heightened as well this weekend after the Palermo president claimed he had already signed for us. The classy attacking midfielder is a good player but is he worth the 12 million pounds we're likely to pay for him? And do we really need another attacking midfielder/ winger at the club?

Before today we weren't even being linked with any defender, midfielders or even strikers - which are probably the most needed positions this summer. Though we have just been linked to Arturo Vidal, a tidy Chilean holding midfielder and again with Gary Cahil, a player I rate higher than Samba, although he'll probably cost more.

I'll keep you updated if any more news happens, which hopefully won't be too far away.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Good Loanees

The recent season has been analysed and scrutinised by many fans, bloggers, journalists and even by the players and manager. It had it's ups and also it's downs and, after a more than disappointing ending, most of us are pleased to see the back of it. 

However, over the next few weeks I aim to conduct some blogs that give a more positive message from Arsenal's 2010-2011 season, and look at some of the good things that happened over the course of the year. In this post, I'm looking at the excellent spells our loan players had this season.

Benik Afobe:

Benik had wonderful time on loan at Huddersfield, it took him a while to really get going and adapt to life in league 1 but after a while his class shone through and came ever so close to promotion. He faced tough competition from Huddersfield's other two main strikers  but still managed an excellent return of 8 goals and 10 assists in 32 games in all competitions. The young striker, still only 18 years old, showed why he was 'approached' by Barcelona before signing professional terms with Arsenal and looks destined for a spell in the Championship or League Cup squad next year. 

Hopefully he can progress quickly too as he's been likened to none other than Samuel Eto'o and Ian Wright and if he can be half as good as either of them then we'd be very happy. I'm not saying he'll definitely make it at Arsenal though, as he could easily fall into a Simpson bracket and end up at Hull. Hopefully not though.

Pedro Botelho:

The young Brazilian has had spells on loan before as he tries to gain a work permit. At both of those spells though (at Salamanca and Celta) he only showed minimal signs of the talent he possesses, and much of that was overshadowed by his bad temperament. However this year at Cartagena in the Spanish second division, Botelho had a great season managing 4 goals in 39 games as a Left Back or Left Winger. Likely sings suggest another loan next season, possibly to Levante in La Liga, but he seems bright and a player with pace and good crossing that we've lacked in previous years.

Henri Lansbury-
Lansbury started the season at the Emirates and many were tipping him to challenge for a first team place. However, he only managed one first team appearance in the first few months of the season. Mind you, it was a great performance as Arsenal beat Tottenham 4-1 at White Hart Lane with Henri getting o the score sheet. After joining Norwich on an emergency month loan in November, Lansbury signed for the rest of the season in January, in what turned out to be a memorable season for the Canaries. Henri managed 4 goals and 5 assists in his 24 games as Norwich gained promotion to the Premier League. He showed his Arsenal class on the ball and gave a notable contribution which may earn his a first team squad place next year as Denilson looks to be on his way. He has also been linked wiht a return to Norwich in the Premier League which would further his development. 

Sanchez Watt:

Sanchez had a good season with Leeds, who on their return to the second tier nearly managed another promotion to the Premiership. On the wing he showed agility and touches of brilliance, although he could have featured more than he did. He only managed a solitary goal in his 26 appearances although he did get 5 assists. At 20 years old he likely to go out on loan again next year, or even be sold as other, young and brighter prospects seem to be overtaking him.

Ryo Miyaichi:
Ryo was perhaps the most exciting loanee this year. This time last year, still playing for his high school team came to Europe from Japan for trials at Ajax and Arsenal. His raw talent impressed Wenger so much that he snapped up the young starlet despite a horrific leg break he suffered playing for Ajax. After recovering form the leg break he joined Feyenoord and started amazingly, his pace and work rate, combined with excellent technique with both feet helped him make a massive contribution to Feyenoord's relegation fight. The 18 year old scored 3 goals in his 12 games and made numerous assists as he became something of a fan favorite.

He may have to go on loan again as he tries to get a work permit but playing regularly in Holland will help his development as he gets stronger and plays against seasoned professionals. As he comes closer to Japan's first team he could also get the chance to of a special work permit, but whatever happens with Ryo over the next few years he looks like he'll be worth the wait.

Francis Coquelin:

Coquelin's transfer to Lorient as part of Koscielny's transfer went under the radar with many gooners, but slowly and surely the young Frenchman tidily went about his business in getting a first team place. He looked good on the ball at both right back and in central midfield and although he lacks the physicality that many Arsenal fans want from a holding midfielder he could be in the first team in the next few years. He played 24 times in the French first division and even scored a goal, although primarily he contributed defensively. He was predicted to feature in pre season and maybe the first team next year, although playing in the under-20 world cup wont help.

Kyle Bartley:

The young Centre Back had two very successful loan spell last year at a struggling Sheffield United and the eventual Scottish champions Rangers. Bartley showed desire, passion and amazing aerial ability on his loan spells and ended up with a medal as Rangers won the league. He even played in midfield in his matches for Rangers and we seem to have a good Centre Back on our books. Unfortunately, his loan at Rangers was cut short was due to him sustaining a knee ligament injury. Hopefully he'll be fit for pre-season so he can stake a claim for the first team, you never know he could be the Centre Back we've been waiting for. More likely though, Kyle will probably face another loan and Rangers have expressed a desire to take on the 20 year old again. He's definitely one for the future though.

The others:

Not all of the loanees were as successful as the ones above though. Vela did score a few important goals for West Brom but he failed to nail down a starting place which is not the best news since we want him in our first team. Armand Traore had a similar problem at Juventus and may be moved on this summer. Giles Sunu was at Lorient too and did make a few substitute appearances, and may be back in France next year. Eastmond and JET failed to get enough match time at Millwall and Cardiff respectively, whilst Galindo suffered from injuries whilst at Salamanca.

Vito Mannone did impress whilst at Hull City, although again injury did affect him as he didn't feature in the second half of the season. Moreover, after the hype which featured as Wellington Silva joined the club, the fact that he only made two substitute appearances for Levante was a big disappointment.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Round up- Property, Shares and Transfers Galore

Sorry for not posting in a while, but in my defence not a lot has happened. I even had to take a break from twitter after tiring of people 'inside scoops' and 'knowledge' for sources which was simply not true. But, i'm back now with the highlights of the weeks news.

Firstly regarding our budget which seems to have been significantly increased due to a new property deal which has been secured, and over the next few years could gain us something in the region of £128 million. This summer though, it can boost our budget by a reported £25 million - or half a Torres. This should bring our budget to around £40-50 million but I only expect Wenger to spend around 30, unless he sees something very special.

Those of you thinking that the ongoing battle for ownership of Arsenal had finished after Kroenke's takeover seem to be wrong. Usmanov seems intent on increasing his holding and gaining more power at the club, just yesterday he increased his shares to over 29% and he doesn't seem like he's about to stop.

The main news of the past week has been the releasing of the fixture list, and we have a tricky start with fixtures against Newcastle (a) before a Liverpool (h) match sandwiched between two Champions League qualifiers, then an unforgiving task of going to Old Trafford to try and take point off the Champions - who only dropped two points at home last season. Anyway, we have to play everyone and we have started well in recent season. Hopefully we'll have 9 points and a group stage CL place by the end of August, but in football you cannot predict anything.

Onto the transfer rumours and we have seen a lot of funny ones this week. The notorious thug Joey Barton to Arsenal was my favorite, closely followed by Defoe to Arsenal. I mean, where do they get this stuff? I know there's not a lot of news about at the moment but surely they could just make a nice little Wimbledon article instead of making up total rubbish. But the English press are nowhere near as bad as the Spanish.

Only in Spain does the same paper publish two different, contrasting articles on a story. But Sport manged to say that Cesc was about to leave Arsenal, whilst at the same time publish comments for Sandro Rossell basically stating the Cesc will stay. The Barcelona president has been saying that they will not offer more than around 30 million euros, which is pretty insulting to us, and Cesc himself when they are about to go and spend 40 million plus on Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez may be very 'exciting' but he's nowhere near as experienced or as good as Cesc who has 7 years at the top level now, much more than Sanchez. What people fail to realise is that we are happy to sell Fabregas if the right money comes in, but continuously Barca try these petty games trying to lower the price. But things are quite simple indeed; bid 50 million and he is yours Barca, bid less then Fuck off.

Apparently we are very close to sealing Gervinho who had a good year in securing the French title for Lille last season. I know he's not the big name that everyone is hoping for but if this does go through we will be getting a good player who can get goals and assists on a regular basis. Here is a video of him in action.

The Samba deal seems to be being scuppered due to a release clause or something, but (unlike Fabregas this year) Samba has said he wants to leave. The massive Congolese defender again isn't a big name we want, but he can offer a change to our current defenders and is a real leader. He may not be starting in big games, though in those hard away trips up north he will give the defence and keeper a great deal of help. Personally i'd prefer Cahill, but we are unlikely to pay £17million for a player in the last year of his contract - only City would do that - so the deal has gone a bit cold. 

Lastly, Vieira has left City and is rumored to be in line with a return to us as a coach. It would be great to have his winning spirit and attitude around the training ground and he can teach a lot to all of our players. City also want to take him on as a coach though and with their millions available, we don't know what will happen, but i'd love Vieira back around the place and i'm sure most Gooners do too.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Midfield Trio

The recent season has been analysed and scrutinised by many fans, bloggers, journalists and even by the players and manager. It had it's ups and also it's downs and, after a more than disappointing ending, most of us are pleased to see the back of it. 

However, over the next few weeks I aim to conduct some blogs that give a more positive message from Arsenal's 2010-2011 season, and look at some of the good things that happened over the course of the year. For the second blog, I will look at the midfield trio of Song, Fabregas and Wilshere.

As stated in my previous blog, Jack Wilshere have excelled in the last season, but using Wilshere's talent, along with Fabregas and Song, Wenger has managed to build an amazing foundation for a successful title challenge. Although the lack of depth, combined with failure in the other positions, meant this ended up fizzling out. Which meant yet another trophy-less season.

In Arsenal's 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, the midfield have a vital role in providing the renowned Arsenal flair as well as shepherding the back four. This season, our captain has been pushed further forward to provide more influence on the game, with Wilshere, sliding out towards the left and Song, anchoring the middle, sharing some defensive duties. In previous seasons, whilst using players such as Nasri, Denilson and Diaby in these two deeper lying roles, Wenger has failed to achieve a suitable balance, and the defence has been overrun on many occasions.

However, with Wilshere's amazing emergence we have successfully plugged a gap which probably should have been filled years ago with the addition of a quality signing.

In the big games - such as against Barcelona - these three hustled their counterparts and helped us keep the ball when we did eventually win it back. Song is the archetypal midfield destroyer, but with a freedom to advance forward. Whilst not been as technically adept as many of our other players, his sheer power makes up for it, and Song's forward runs have delivered amazing results this season, with his goal against Chelsea leading to a memorable boxing day victory.

Wilshere is the man required to cover for song as his makes his rare marauding runs, but the little Englishman offers far more than this. What is amazing about Jack is that he is always heading forward; carrying the ball at least 5-10 yards before releasing it successfully to another player. This contrasts his predecessor Denilson who was known for only passing sideways and backwards. Wilshere also can deliver key passes which is illustrated by his 9 assists this season. The only way we could get more from Jack is if he can add a few more goals to his tally of 2, which will almost inevitably come with more experience.

At the head of the triangle stands the player with never-ending accolades. Best player, Captain, World and European Cup winner etc. Fabregas is simply an amazing player and if he does leave we will undoubtedly be worse off. Even in an arguably under performing season last time around, Cesc still managed 9 goals and 17 assists in 35 games which would leave many other Premiership midfielders envious. Just today, on French television Wenger has been bullish about keeping the 24 year old, saying:
"I will be clear : Fabregas is still a gunner, for a long time"
However, whilst losing Fabregas would be a massive step backwards, we have a couple, more than adequate replacements already at the club in Aaron Ramsey - who showed his class and intelligence in the victory over United - and, if he stays, Samir Nasri - who when playing in his favored central role scored that goal against Porto. It could also be argued that Nasri's amazing form was happening at a period when Fabregas was injured and not alongside him. Nevertheless, we still cannot afford to lose our captain.

Hopefully these three will still be here next year and will be backed up with reinforcements in other positions to challenge for the title.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Quick Transfer Update

A bad week for Arsenal. We haven't played any games and to be honest nothing that important has happened. But we are very much in the calm before the storm at the moment.

Other than the signing of young Finnish Carl Jenkinson from Charlton, who will conspire to be good back up at right back and accross the backline, no players have transferred in or left the club. 

Behind the scenes though, and to start with apparently we missed out in signing new Manchester United player Phil Jones. This young Englishman will be one of the ones that got away, as almost certainly he will be one of the best central defenders in the world in him prime. Looking at his positioning, strength and awareness is amazing for a defender so young, and although Blackburn's defence has conceded a lot of goals this season, not many can be down to him.

You can argue that having matched United 17 million pound bid, and offered higher wages, that we did all we could to secure the under 21 England international. However, if we had made a quicker move, last summer or in January we could probably have this player on our books. And maybe even a trophy too. But enough with "what ifs" and "buts."

The Manchester United pursuit of Samir Nasri has stepped up this week too and the Frenchman is suspect of an £10million pound bid form our rivals. Without wanting to reveal all my opinions whilst nothing concrete has happened i'll give my point simply. We cannot afford to sell our best players, especially to our rivals and especially when the offer is an obscene under valued offer. Compared to 20million for Jordan Henderson, and a 17million release for Gary Cahil - who is also in his last year of his contract - Nasri should be commanding at least that kind of money. 

If the unthinkable does happen, and he doesn't sign a new contract, then we have to sell to a foreign team as losing him to United wold send out all the wrong messages, and other key players may start questioning the clubs plans for the future, as well as their own futures.

The longer this Nasri situation goes on like this, where he keep reiterating his latest statement that 'talks are ongoing' then the more we question his desire to stay at the club, and right now I believe he is less likely to sign than not sign.

Similar to the Nasri "situation" is that of Clichy's future. Last night Liverpool, fresh from spending 20million on Henderson, made a lame 5and a half million pound bid for the French international. Insulting. Even if he does have one year on his contract, we at Arsenal football club cannot be bullied into selling our first choice players for stupid amounts of money like this. Even if he does not want to extend his contract, which seems even more unlikely than Nasri, then unless we receive a bid of around 8-14 million pounds then I would keep him for his final year. At least then we could re-open negotiations if he changes his mind and decides to stay.

Clichy's form had dropped over the last few seasons, but in the second half of the season he really rallied and he was a very consistent player for us. This highlights why we cannot afford for him to go for so little, as despite his annoying lapses in concentration and defensive errors, he is our first choice left back. Frankly Gibbs, Traore and Botelho and other left back options seem far away from our first team at the moment and losing Clichy would mean another signing for Wenger to make.

In breaking news and apparently Wigan have accepted two bid for Charles N'zogbia. Not sure if this has any validity, or more importantly whether we are one of those teams but will keep you updated.

Expect another blog about the positives of last season soon.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Rise Of Jack Wilshere

The recent season has been analysed and scrutinised by many fans, bloggers, journalists and even by the players and manager. It had it's ups and also it's downs and, after a more than disappointing ending, most of us are pleased to see the back of it. 

However, over the next few weeks I aim to conduct some blogs that give a more positive message from Arsenal's 2010-2011 season, and look at some of the good things that happened over the course of the year. There is only one place to start in my view, and that is with the rise of Jack Andrew Garry Wilshere.

As I prepare to watch the forthcoming England versus Switzerland match, there is only one figure who is attracting me to the television. The player that persuaded a certain 'stubborn' Capello to change his formation, and a very special player indeed. Out of all the people that play football professionally, not many manage to play for their country, and equally not many get to play in the champions league. the Stevenage-born Wilshere has managed multiple, integral performances in both England's squad and Arsenal's champions league run, and he is still a teenager.

Not a lot was expected of young Jack in July as the start of the season drew nearer. He had impressed greatly whilst on loan with Bolton last season, where he made 14 appearances and contributed to 2 goals with one beautiful volley against West Ham, and an assist, but I, and many others were picturing the sight of him in another teams shirt where he could further his development. 

But a good pre-season impressed Wenger, and with injuries to Cesc, Song and Denilson, the 18 year old was given his first Premier League start for Arsenal away to Liverpool. He only had a decent game in that match, but did enough to earn a start to Blackpool the week after where he managed an assist in the 6-0 win.

From then on the midfielder went from strength to strength and, bar a slight suspension after a red card, was ever present for Arsenal in the league. And when a young Englishman is doing well at a top club, we all know what will come next; the endless comparisons with former great players. Firstly, he was likened to his former youth team coach, and Arsenal legend Liam Brady. Then Capello came and compared him, surprisingly, to Makelele. Some people have called him the new Scholes and, after his wonderful performances against Barcelona, he has been likened to both Xavi and Iniesta and even Messi. That is as high a compliment he could ask for, as Jack showed his shyness and admiration for his heroes after the Barcelona game and had to get Fabregas to pick up the shirts of their shirts as a memento.

However, Jack is different from all of them, he is his own man. Tenacity in abundance, combined with his classy swagger around the pitch giving him the confidence of someone well past his 'teen' years. Jack has been the first player to come through the ranks under a complete Wenger influenced academy. This shows in his wonderful technical ability and eye for a pass, which has seen him  manager 11 assists for Arsenal in all competitions.

Jack's progression has even arguably bettered former Arsenal teenage star and captain Cesc Fabregas and his partnership with the Spanish world cup winner combined with Alexandre Song masterminded the title challenge and victories against Chelsea and Barcelona. The solid midfield has left all competition behind, as former Brazilian youth team Captain Denilson, and Diaby who seen as an integral cog in France's midfield have seen less football then in any of the previous two preceding seasons.

His amazing work-rate contrasts the lackluster movement made by many around him in Arsenal shirts and he has set a benchmark for what others should have to contribute in the coveted Arsenal shirt. He has also paved a way for more youngsters to make the step up from the academy and reserves into the first team.

Whether he'll be winning trophies with either will have to be seen, but one thing is certain for the future. Jack Wilshere will go down as an Arsenal and England legend.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Arsenal Exodus?

Times seem to be changing at Arsenal football club. 

The upstairs has been reshuffled with 'Silent Stan' now the man in charge, and with Alisher Usmanov not giving up his 27% stake the two major shareholders could be in for a collision course. There are also rumours about change in backroom staff being changed around before the start of the season, although longserving assistant Pat Rice looks set to stay in his role for at least another season.

Most prominently addressed though, is the transfer market activity that Wenger looks set to embark upon this summer, after another dismal ending to a season saw us finish yet again without a trophy. Today i'm going to look at the players who could leave Arsenal, and weighing up the pros and cons of each situation.


Vito Mannone - Vito had a decent start to his career at Arsenal, with an excellent performance at Fulham and is yet to be on the losing side in any of his 9 games for the club. The young keeper also had a very impressive, albeit quite injury prone, season whilst at Hull, although this has led to speculation of a bid - either loan or premanent - happening this summer form the Championship side. Also, the Italian under 21 international would like assurances over first team football, and competition with Szczesny, Fabianski, and possibly one of Lehmann and Almunia, Arsene would not be able to give him any guarantees. 
Verdict: Loan out for another season to a Premiership team. See if other keepers are up to scratch.

Manuel Almunia - There is not a player at Arsenal that fans would not prefer to see leave this summer. The uncapped (suprise suprise) Spaniard has had another woeful season, bar 70 minutes in the Nou Camp, and frankly does not deserve his 50k/week or to have worn the shirt that greats such as Seaman, Lehmann and Wilson earnt the right to wear. However, a stumbling block to get rid of Manuel is his wages as not many clubs can afford to spend that money on a player of his quality. Wenger has also recently hinted that Almunia could stay till next year.
Verdict: Please kick him out Wenger

Jens Lehmann - Eveyone's favorite crazy German has stated that he would like to stay on next season, after coming out of retirement amid our mid-season goalkeeping fiasco. He said:
"From my performance I would be able to continue playing. My teammates are always asking me if I'll still be here next season.''
However his contract will expire in the summer and with competition form our other goalkeeping options, I wouldn't bet on him increasing his 200 appreances.
Verdict: Out the door, surely?


Gael Clichy - The 25 year old is one of the long serving members of the club and has been the main left back at the club since 2006. He is a popular figure within the club and is just starting to gain a starting place in his national XI. However since showing great promise earlier in his career, he has not progressed into a world class player which we all thought he could be. His consistency has vanished and he has made key errors in important moments over the last few years. The Frenchmans' contract does expire next summer and Wenger wants to get his signature in the summer, instead of risking another Flamini situation. Coupled to this, there have also been many calls to sign Baines, Izaguirre and Enrique this summer, whilst Gibbs and possibly Traore and Botelho could make a claim to the position. Although the younger options do not seem ready in my eyes.
Verdict: Will sign a new contract.

Sebastian Squillaci - After an appalling start to his Arsenal career, Squillaci has not showed nearly any of his quality that helped him gain a place in the French world Cup team. If he carries on his form next year, he could rival Silvestre's claim for worst Wenger defensive signing. Although he is surely going to stay and try to prove himself.
Verdict: Will stay, but needs to improve. Drastically.

Bacary Sagna - As he is one of the best right backs in the world we will constantly face media speculation over his transfer to another one of Europe's giants. However, unless we receive absurd amounts of money, or a Messi in exchange, he isn't going anywhere.
Verdict: Certainly staying.

Emmanuel Eboue - Eboue is an amazing person to come back from the dead as he did after the Wigan match. Many a weaker man would have given up and left, so credit to his strength in that capacity. However, the talent is just not there. Consistent mistakes, at costly moments have not helped his first team push, but with a world class player in Bacary Sagna ahead of him he cannot expect anything. Interest from Italy could be reignited in the summer and we might consider a realistic bid.
Verdict: Will probably stay at least one more year.


Denilson - Another player who has failed to live up to the potential he showed, and Wilshere's rise this season shunned him to the sidelines. As fans we're sick of seeing him lazily not tracking back and he even insulted the captain in a interview in Brazil. After stating his desire to leave the club, with the ludicrous explanation that he is a 'winner,' Denilson will definitely leave this summer. Apparently Roma and some Spanish teams are in for him for around 5-8 million euros, which seems quite good for someone who would have been a 6th choice central midfielder.
Verdict: Jumped before he was pushed.

Rosicky - Used to be a key member of the first team. However almost three years out with petty injuries has ruined the little playmaker. He is another who was easily overtaken by Wilshere and Ramsey, and personally I think Lansbury and other youngsters could easily do his job in the first team. After signing a new contract in 2009 he probably has a few years left, but if we offered him to clubs we could receive the £8million that we paid for him.
Verdict: Will go, for right bid.

Cesc Fabregas - No sane Arsenal fan would like to see Fabregas leave Arsenal football club. Our captain has served us well, and is arguably one of the best attacking players in the Premier league. To lose one of our only world class players would be a tragedy, and his exit could see others such as Nasri leave too. However, although he does love Arsenal, Barcelona was his first love and if they pay us what he is worth, around £50-60million he will leave, no matter what Wenger is saying at the moment he knows this too.
Verdict: Hopefully he wont go, yet.

Andrey Arshavin - At times Andrey can look world class. But most of the time he lazily wonders about the pitch, and sometimes he can't control or pass the ball properly. This season a lot of people have grown to be frustrated with the little Russian and seem willing in trade him in for some Russian oil money. However Wenger has told Andrey of his desire to keep him for at least another year, and Arshavin seems happy to oblige. Hopefully we'll see more of this Arshavin next year.
Verdict: Staying, but has to improve.

Samir Nasri - The Samir Nasri situation is the most confusing at this moment, although it could easily be settled. His contract expires next year, and if he is reluctant to agree new terms he will have to go. The talks seem to be ongoing and Samir is probably just trying to squeeze a bit more cash on his weekly wage, though when you're earning that much does it even matter? Hopefully the situation will be settled soon and the Frenchman will stay as we cannot afford to lose one of our quality players, especially when we could easily lose Fabregas. One thing is certain though, he will not go to Manchester United.
Verdict: We have to make him sign, cannot afford to lose him.


Nicklas Bendtner -  Bendtner will leave Arsenal this season. That what him and his dad have been saying recently. The tall, Danish international seems to split most of the fans like marmite and most of us hate him. He does have very good stats though - 58 goals in nearly 200 games as a 23 year old is not too bad at all - and if he were in another league I could easily imagine us going in for him. However, his lack of first team football this year due to Van Persie's amazing form, coupled with his dislike to playing on the wing has seen his relationship with Arsene and Arsenal deteriorate and he is almost certain to leave.
Verdict: Will leave for quite a lot of money. Mistake or not?

Marouane Chamakh - The lanky forward did make a good start to the season, but after November did anyone see anything from him? He did struggle for fitness, but as Wenger interest in forwards such as Rondon, Falcao and Benzema shows, he is not the player we thought we were getting last summer. I'm not the biggest fan and if we do get a bid around £10 million I would definitely accept it bid without thinking. Although after waiting a year to get Marouane, would Wenger?
Verdict: Will stay, unless surprising bid comes in.

Overall, I can't see too much change happening this summer as Wenger will prefer to keep the nucleus of our squad together. However the exit of a couple big name players, and no quality replacements being brought in could spark a domino affect. If you want information on our transfer budget to spend, give this a read. It's quite long, but excellent yet again from The Swiss Ramble.

Hope you enjoy.