The focus today is Francophone players.
France Football’s Phillipe Auclair stated that Arsenal are close to signing Chamakh from Bordeaux. Auclair is a respected journalist and knows quite a bit about Arsene’s France based dealings. If Phillipe Auclair claims Arsenal are close to signing Marouane Chamakh, then that is more credible than a lot of the UK newspaper back pages.
If Chamakh signs, then Adebayor’s departure will be announced soon. Chamakh is 25 years, 6 foot 2 inches tall, great in the air, fast and skillful. He has 50 caps for Morocco and has scored 15 goals for the national team. The Moroccan striker scored 13 goals last season as the Girondins won the title.
Chamakh said earlier this summer “I have heard about the Arsenal rumours. But my agent does not want to talk to me about them so that I stay focused until the end of the season,” Chamakh also said “I want to play in the Premier League and a club like Arsenal would be a dream. If they were to come calling, I would certainly give them a positive answer. But there is nothing concrete at the moment.”
Arsene Wenger said “Chamakh is a very good player but that does not mean I have called him.”
The other player are rumoured to be talking to is Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong. The player has stated that he is in talks with two English Premier teams. One is believed to be Tottenham, whilst Arsenal are though to be the other. If Arsenal are serious about Bassong, then unless we offer silly wages, he will choose Arsenal over Tottenham. Bassong is 22 years old but is highly rated in France and by Wenger.
This second rumour is still a rumour, whilst the Chamakh story is a real story.
Arsenal’s first signing, Thomas Vermaelen will be confirmed tomorrow or over the weekend as the Belgium defender is due to have a medical tomorrow.
Acknowledged by all, Arsene needs to recruit one or two centre-backs.
The addition of Silvestre was a disaster. Gallas may or may not stay for another season, position wise he is the best reader of the game at the club, but he is losing speed and is not brilliant in the air. Toure is a fighter can be flustered easily. His best form is when he plays alongside a real centre-back like Campbell or Gallas. Djourou is developing well, but to expect him to come in and be the leading person at the back is asking too much of him, so recruit we must.
Domestically there are three candidates.
Matthew Upson, a player we sold because he could not break into the team at the time and was suffering with injuries. Upson knows the game, but as he is 30 years old so will not be a long term prospect. Arsenal may try to use Vela’s impending loan spell at Upton Park as leverage in acquiring Upson.
A much younger player, but well respected within the game is Middlesbrough’s David Wheater. With Middlesbrough about to be relegated, a £6 million offer from Arsenal could see Wheater move to Arsenal. Whilst he is not the experienced player we have all been craving for, he has definitely a player who has put in some commanding performances this season.
Newcastle United’s Sebastien Bassong is another who has been mentioned. He is 22 years-old, but has not really performed spectacularly this season, saying that no many Newcastle players have! The plus points of Bassong is that he is French (always a plus for Arsene) and he can play at left-back. As with Wheater, Bassong is not the experienced player we have all been calling for.
Looking abroad we have Real Madrid’s centre-back Christopher Metzelder. Metzelder is highly regarded in Germany, but through a combination of injuries and the revolving managerial door policy at the Bernebeu, Metzelder has hardly featured in his two years.
Arsenal scouts have been seen at Stuttgart’s games recently with former Chelsea player Khalid Boulahrouz being their target. Boulahrouz had an indifferent spell at Chelsea and the Blues could not wait to sell him at a massive loss. He has Premier League experience and is a full international, so he may be the player who brings the experience to the club.
Looking further afield, Arsenal should look at Russia. You are guaranteed to find a no nonsense defender there, players who are prepared to scrap and fight for every ball, and with Arshavin at the club he may help sway any player into joining us. At CSKA Moscow are the Berezutski twins Alexei and Vasili. Alexei plays as a centre-back, but has also operated as a full-back. His brother also operates as a centre-back and full-back and both players are contracted until 2011. Whether we have the financial muscle and will to take on another Russian team remains to be seen, but if we were to try and buy these two away from CSKA we will be guaranteed of acquiring two quality players.
What is it with French players and Newcastle? First, we had Charles N’Zogbia pleading, begging to come to Arsenal, in reality he was an average player who never set he world on fire at Newcastle. There was no way Wenger was going to spend money on an ordinary squad player.
Now we have a new player trying to flee the northeast and reach the French enclave of Arsenal in north London. The man in question is Sebastien Bassong.
Bassong joined Newcastle from Lille in the summer for £1.5m. It is now reported that Wenger is prepared to spend £10m in the summer to bring him to the Emirates. Bassong is like Kalou, a good player who has not ripped up any tress this season. He has not broken into the France national squad.
“My agent told me about Arsenal’s interest and it would be a lie if I said Arsenal are not a club I’m interested in,” Bassong stated.
Is he any better than Djourou, is he a better prospect than Nordveit or even Senderos, who will be returning in the summer? Wenger can put £10m to better use this summer than spending it on an average centre back.
This is a case of another player trying to get a new deal at his club and using Arsenal to get a salary increase. He is currently on £5,000 a week and is looking for a pay increase.
Bassong stay at Newcastle, this club does not want or need you.