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Will Wenger Add Cahill, Malouda and Fellaini?

It appears that both Park and Santos have been signed subject to work permits, which we need confirmed today.

Arsenal are in advance talks with long-term transfer target Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen, with a fee in the regions of €10M having been agreed. Mertesacker is 6’ 6”, which will help us at both ends at set pieces. The German defender is 26 years old (27  in September) and has played 74 times for Germany.  This is the experienced tall commanding defender that we have been crying out for, his critics talk about his pace, but how quick is Djourou and how effective is Djourou?

Arsenal have made enquiries about Benayoun and Malouda, I expect one of these two to join Arsenal.  Malouda is a more direct player with an eye for goal, whilst Benayoun is a creative player but is injury prone.

It is possible that Wenger could conclude four deals for £25M, leaving the Cesc transfer fee free for two major signings.

With the arrival of Mertesacker, does this signal the end of the Cahill deal?  Gartside must have regretted his comments over the week-end that infuriated Arsene Wenger.  If Gartside had kept quiet and merely told Arsenal that £6M plus Bendtner was a non-starter but can we talk about cash plus a loan deal, then Cahill could still be an option.  Bolton’s problem is that Cahill is in the last year of his contract, if he refuses to sign a new contract, then Bolton will lose the one major asset for nothing and this is a club with major financial problems.

I still believe that Wenger fancies Cahill, but he refused to pay £17M for Cahill.  Wenger’s valuation is probably around £10M.  Unless Spurs step in and offer Bolton £15M for Cahill, I can see Wenger renewing his interest in Cahill tomorrow, but this time he will not be desperate for the player as he would have secured Mertesacker.  Bolton will be negotiating from a position of weakness and the deal could be clinched for around £10M.  If this happens, this is typical Wenger, the artful poker player, always ensuring that the cards are stacked in his favour.

Wenger’s pursuit of either Malouda or Benayoun is a sign of defeat in the purchase of Hazard.  Lille were always reluctant to sell both Gervinho and Hazard in the same window, so this is a player that goes onto the backburner and the pursuit starts again next summer.

Arsene will turn his attention north, and in particular Everton. The targets are Arteta, Fellaini or even Rodwell. Rodwell will be a typical Arsene move, a young player, someone who will be in demand in a year’s time from Manchester United, but the cost will be £20M, which will concern Arsene. Arteta is a player whom we made a bid for in the past (probably £6M!), he is creative but as with so many of our players on the small side.  The one that I would like to see is Marouane Fellaini.  He is young,  23 years old, tall 6ft 4” and is a solid midfielder.  Fellaini cost Everton £15M three years ago and Everton are trying to extend his contract, however a bid from Arsenal around £20M could tempt cash strapped Everton.  Everton have not spent any money this summer meaning Moyes has been unable to strengthen his squad,  £20M wil lalow the Everton manager to go into the market at this late stage.

If Arsene finishes August with Park, Santos, Mertesacker, Malouda, Cahill and Fellaini, then Arsenal fans will be looking forward to the Swansea match on 10 September, the doom and gloom of August will be behind us.

Park and Santos Signed – Mertesacker Too? Medicals for Hazard & Cahill?

The 8-2 defeat at the weekend has forced Wenger into the transfer market, rumours are flying around everywhere.

Two deals that are virtually done will Park Chu Young join Arsenal from AS Monaco.  Park is South Korea’s captain and a striker who does not have an impressive record in club football.   Park was due to join Lille when Wenger hi-jacked the deal, the fee has been reported as anything from £2.6M to £10M.  The second signing is Fenerbahce’s Brazilian left back Andre Santos for a reported £6.2M.  As always Arsenal have remained silent over both deals.

Everything else is wild speculation.

L’Equipe is announcing that Arsenal have signed Per Mertesacker.  The article reports that the players was signed last night.

Numerous reports have stated that Arsenal have made inquiries about three Chelsea players, Benayoun, Malouda and Alex.  Malouda is the player that Wenger should aim to buy from Chelsea.

The Arteta/ Bendtner swap is being rumoured on plenty of sites.  This will be a good buy for Arsenal, Arteta is a creative, combative midfielder, though prone to injury, so will be a perfect Arsenal player.

Speculation is rife that Cahill and Hazard are due for medicals today or tomorrow at Arsenal, I suppose if a rumour is repeated often enough, people will take it as being the truth.  Hazard will be a difficult  transfer to complete as we snapped Park from under the noses of Lille.  The deal may be sweetened if we allow Joel Campbell to go on loan to Lille.  The Cahill saga will drag on and unless Wenger buys alternatives, and L’Equipe claims we have, then Wenger will be castigated ifwe do not buy Cahill.

It is going to be a helter-skelter couple of days, but what Arsenal fans must be asking is why were these players not brought in before the season started?

Malouda, Kaka, Cahill, Albiol – Who will it be?

Two days after the drama of Italy Arsenal fans can breathe a sigh of relief.  Our Champions League group has us in an awkward group with Borrusia Dortmund, the German champions, Olympiakos (Greek Champions) and Marseilles.  Qualification will not be straight forward, but it never is for Arsenal  even when we win our first three games it goes down to the wire!

Arsenal face Manchester United on Sunday with the following players missing from our midfield, Wilshere, Diaby, Song, Frimpong and Gervinho.  Wenger will be a genius if he can put a team out on Sunday and come away from Old Trafford with anything.

Other pressing issues for Arsenal fans and players are new players.  It was widely rumoured, correctly or not, that qualification for the Champions League group stages will see the cheque book come out.  What we have seen so far are more rumours, speculations, players being tracked (we should have tracked them before) and agent/player’s quotes.

Wenger appears set on midfield re-enforcements, however he has qualified this by saying that we still have Wilshere and Diaby to come back from injuries, a worrying trend as far as Wenger transfer polices.  These two players will add to the depth of the squad, but it just shows that a couple of injuries and we are struggling.

We have been linked with a loan move for Kaka, which has been rubbished by Kaka and turned down by Real Madrid, though a possible purchase could be on the cards, the price £17.5M.  That would be the most audacious moves of Wenger’s time at Arsenal, Kaka was one of football’s stellar performances, but he has lost his way since moving to Real Madrid and Mourinho is not a Kaka fan. Whether Kaka will take a cut in his “galacticos” wages is a different matter.

The Times today links Arsenal with Malouda, a player that Wenger was looking at before he went to Chelsea.  Malouda’s future at Chelsea has been in doubt for some time, and now that Chelsea have acquired Mata, his position is in further danger.  He has reportedly turned down a move to Juventus. He will be the type of experienced midfielder that we need in the attacking part of the field, he can create goals and is always at the far post looking to score.  His transfer could be linked to whether Chelsea buy Modric, but Malouda joining Arsenal would be a great signing.

Arsenal’s search for a defender continues. Wenger’s preferred option is Jagielka, a player who wants to stay at Everton, a player whom Everton consider “unsalable” and one for whom we offered £13M.

Wenger has looked at Cahill, but considers £17M too much for a player in the last year of his contract.  WE have tried with a pathetic £7M bid today which was rejected out of hand. Wenger could try a last minute offer of £13M, knowing that Bolton cannot afford to lose Cahill on a free next summer. The alternative is that Wenger and Arsenal have made it clear to Cahill’s representatives that Arsenal will sing him next summer if he has not signed a new contract. This is a high risk strategy, especially as Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool could all try and get him on a free next summer and will all offer wages that we will never be able to match.

Scott Dann is another option, and I do not think it is a coincidence that Dann has not played in either of Birmingham’s Europa League games. Dann will be the cheaper option, probably around £8M, and with such a price tag will not be expected to play every game.

Another report is that Arsenal have been offered Raul Albiol, the Real Madrid and former Arsenal target.  Wenger liked him a couple of years ago, but Real went on their mad spending splurge and he became a victim of “galacticos 2”.

The logistics of the transfer window are not helpful.  There are games this week-end, then players start to report to their countries for the forthcoming set of international games.  Wenger and Gazidis need to move fast to ensure that we buy two or three players or the fans will not be happy.

 

 

 

The Next 3 Games Will Define Our Season

The next three matches are the most important matches in Arsene’s time at Arsenal. Never has an Arsenal team been so short of quality players and never has our season hung on thread so early.  Three defeats and the fans will be calling for Arsene’s head, three undefeated games and Arsene will have bought time to restructure the squad.

Matters have not been helped by early season suspensions, Gervinho and Song will miss both games against Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as the Swansea City game. To compound matters for tomorrow’s game, Gibbs, Diaby and Wilshere are all out injured, whilst there is a doubt over the fitness of Rosicky.  In attack we welcome back our captain van Persie, but that is it.

For tomorrow’s game Arsene must decide as to whether he plays Traore at left back or moves Vermaelen to that position, a move that could reveal our weakness at the centre of the defence once more.

Crucially, will Wenger play Arshavin in the playmaker role?  Arguably the Russian’s best games for Arsenal were when he joined and played just behind the striker, this role allowed him to roam around the field and did not require him to track back, something that our little Russian does not enjoy doing. If Arshavin plays in the playmaker role, I would like to see Lansbury employed on one of the flanks, and given a similar task that Ray Parlour used to perform, that is asked to tuck in when we do not have the ball.

Arsene has few options for tomorrow a game that will see many youngsters on the bench.

Both league games will big tests for the Arsenal squad, but I would hope that by the Manchester United game we will have bought one or two more players.

On the transfer front, everything has gone quiet, which in Arsenal terms is normally a positive.  Wenger pulled out of the Mata deal once other teams entered the fray, Arsenal are not prepared to enter into an auction which was one of the reasons that we did not sign Ricardo Alvarez earlier on this season.  Arsenal prefer to do business behind closed doors and nearly always walk away once a transfer has been leaked.  I do not believe the Mata deal is dead, Chelsea may using Mata to force Modric’s hand at Spurs.  If Mata does not move to Chelsea next week, expect Arsenal to try to sign him prior to the transfer window closing.

Everyone agrees that a centre-half is a top priority for Arsenal with four centre-halves linked to us this summer, Chaill, Jagielka, Dann and Samba.  Samba has probably been priced out of the market as far as Wenger is concerned and Jagielka seems set on staying at Everton, though if we have not bought a centre-back, Wenger will try a transfer deadline day swoop, Everton have financial problems and are unable to enter the transfer market without selling.  It was interesting that Scott Dann did not feature for Birmingham City in the Europa League last night.  If was due to sign for Liverpool, playing in Europe would not be an issue, but Arsenal would not have wanted him cup-tied. Gary Cahill will go to the wire.  No club has made a bid for him, Bolton are in need of money and unless he has a change of heart and signs a new contract, he will leave on a free next summer, something that Bolton cannot afford to allow.  Wenger would well tie up Scott Dann soon and then wait until transfer deadline day and offer Bolton £10M-£12M.

Last weekend we were strongly linked with Shaktar Donetsk Brazilian playmaker Jadson, with Shaktar claiming we had agreed a fee for the player.  This was flatly denied by Arsene.  Is this a case of a selling club trying to generate interest or did Arsenal tell Shaktar and Jadson to keep quiet or the deal is off?

Reports from Italy this week have linked us with Lazio’s Argentina attacker Zarate, with some reports claiming we were discussing terms with his representatives over a possible £10M – £18M move.

On the exit front, Nasri will be leaving to join Manchester City this week-end, Armand Traore has been linked with a loan move to QPR leaving us short of left-back cover and Niklas Bendtner has still not found a club.

All in all a very nerve racking 8 days ahead for Arsenal fans.