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Appiah and More Rumours

When the transfer window closes, it does not mean that newspapers put away the rumour mill machines; on the contrary, the rumours go into overdrive. Arsenal are always connected with a host of youngsters, primarily based on previous experience.

Arsenal have been linked with Lille central midfielder Cabaye, why, well he is French which is major criteria for Arsenal purchases apparently and he is a central midfielder which is what we need.

We have also been linked with Atletico Madrid “starlet” Koke. He is 17 years old, another defensive midfielder and if he joined he will follow the path of Cesc and Merida, leaving Spanish teams prior to signing a professional contract, causes a storm and then we will offer £500,000 as compensation. Koke is aware of interest from Arsenal and stated, “Arsenal have watched some of my matches, but I have not spoken with anybody.”

As with all good things, we are also being linked to Inter Milan central midfielder Davide Santone. There is a catch with this though, Inter Milan will want a small fortune for him, so we can discount this one straight away.

The rumour that will never go away is Stephen Appiah.
Appiah is a favourite of the football forums, he is a near mythical figure amongst the cybergooners, and he is the answer to all of our problems, apparently. Appiah is a free agent, so he can sign outside the transfer windows. He had a trial at Spurs in January, Arsenal looked at him in September, but the medical staff were not convinced that he had over come his injury. He has played for Ghana recently and is still being considered as an option by Wenger. Any deal, if there was to be a deal, will be until the end of the season, with an option to extend it beyond. Whilst this might suit Arsenal, we are after all talking about 18 weeks and wages in the region of £1 million, Appiah might want the security of a longer contract from the outset.

Reyes a Lost Opportunity

Reyes signed for us during the January transfer window in 2004. The fee was £10.5m fee was negotiated with top ups, depending on the success of Arsenal, which could have risen to £17m.

Reyes endeared himself to the Arsenal fans when he scored two goals against Chelsea, knocking them out of the FA Cup. In early 2005, he was reported to be homesick while at Arsenal. Reyes was subject of a hoax call from Spain which enticed him to talk about moving to Real Madrid. From that moment, Reyes was living on borrowed time at Arsenal, the lure of Real Madrid was too much for him to resist.

In Arsenal’s 2005-06 UEFA Champions League run, Reyes featured heavily, but only came on as a substitute in the final against Barcelona. The Champions League final was to the be last game he and many other Arsenal invincibles played for Arsenal It was Real Madrid or bust for Reyes. He had played in 69 games for Arsenal scoring 16 times, a ratio he has never been able to emulate at his other clubs. Whilst at Arsenal he won the Premier League, the FA Cup and was runner-up in the Champions League.

Real Madrid were not prepared to offer a fee for Reyes, and in the end he joined them on loan while Julio Baptista moved the other way. At the end of his glory year with Real he helped them win La Liga, scoring 7 goals in 36 appearances.

Real refused to buy him, so he moved to their rivals Atletico Madrid for £8.1M. His year at the Atletico was not a great success, appearing in 26 games and not scoring one goal.

On August 8, Benfica announced the signing of Reyes on a one year loan deal. Benfica also bought 25% of his playing rights for a fee of €2.65m and ensured a buying option of the remainder 75% for an undisclosed fee. Reyes made his transfer to Benfica permanent on 23 December. At Benfica he has scored5 goals in 24 games.

Reyes‘s career has nosedived since leaving Arsenal. Had the hot-headed Spaniard stayed at Arsenal he would have been a hero, he was a fast tricky player who knew where the goal was, I wonder if he regrets his decision not to stay at Arsenal.

Eboue Not Leaving!

According ot Eboue’s agent, Arsenal have turned down a offer from Atletico Madrid for our dynamic Ivorian utility man. That will come as a double shock to Arsenal fans; not only was a club prepared to take Eboue from us, they were prepared to pay us!.

The Eboue saga does not end there; Wenger has invited the Ivorian’s agent to London to discuss a new contract.

Whilst I am in favour of us having a decent size squad, Eboue has done nothing to convince anyone that he is worthy of wearing an Arsenal shirt. Where will Eboue feature in Arsene’s plans is a mystery.

We have Walcott, Rosicky and Nasri out wide, we could also soon have Arshavin. Wilshereis a natural player for a wide spot until he develops, whilst Armand Traore is doing a great job at Portsmouth.

Wenger does not trust Eboue to play at right-back, in a recent game Song played in that position.

All we can be guaranteed is that with Eboue in the squad, it will always be an exciting time at the Emirates, full of mystery, bewilderment and frustration.

Rumours Rumours and Departures

Every week weekend brings in a flood of players being “linked” with Arsenal. The usual suspects are either pleading to join Arsenal – Arshavin now his move to Barcelona is not going through is making complementary noises about the Gunners, but at £24M Wenger will not lift up the telephone.

Martins, a long term link, is now rumoured not to be favoured by Arsenal, so the press throw in a new name, Aguero of Atletico Madrid, purely on the basis that his agent claims a top Premier club has contacted Atletico.

Meanwhile, it looks that Arsenal will be hiring a minibus to bring back players from Blackburn, as Friedel‘s name has been added to Santa Cruz as “potential” targets.

What is guaranteed is that Gilberto will join Panathinaikos, whilst Hleb will sign for Barcelona. These two transfers will boost Wenger’s transfer budget to the tune of £17M.

Two former Gunners will also boost Wenger’s transfer budget, once their moves go through. James Harper is a £5M target of Middlesbrough, this means Arsenal will receive £2M of the transfer fee. The other is David Bentley’s impending move to Spurs for £18M. Arsenal sold Bentley for £3M and have received a further £3M due to his goals and appearances for Blackburn and his England appearances. Arsenal are due 25% of the profits of any subsequent transfer, meaning a further £3.75M will find its way to Arsenal.

This gives Arsene even more money to spend on new recruits in the forthcoming weeks.