2006-08-29

Arsenal is after Carlos Tevez

According to the British media, Arsenal are ready to table a £17 million bid for Corinthians star Carlos Tevez.

Arsenal hope to invoke a get-out clause in midfielder Tevez's deal with his Brazilian team Corinthians. They originally claimed his contract said he could quit for $ 30m - but Tevez's agent revealed it actually says 30 million dollars.

We must remember that Tevez is lined up to play for Argentina in a friendly against Brazil at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

According to the newspaper, the ideal plan is to unveil Tevez as a Gunners player before kick-off.

We must mention that Manchester United had been leading the race for Tevez, who made a huge impact at Germany 2006.

However, they could only move if they failed to lure Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munich.

In fact, United cannot afford both and boss Alex Ferguson has kept England midfielder Hargreaves top of his summer shopping list.

2006-08-23

Important win to reach the Champions League

In a very emotional game, Arsenal edged Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 on Wednesday to assure their participation in the Champions League group stages.

In fact, the visitors went ahead when Eduardo reduced Dinamo's deficit to 3-1 when he fired in in the 12th minute after Kolo Toure's attempted clearance fell into his path.

Midfielder Robin van Persie almost ended Dinamo's feint hopes only to see a shot steered on to the woodwork and to safety.

However, swedish player Freddie Ljungberg's late header and Mathieu Flamini's tap-in saw Arsenal to triumph and a place in Thursday's draw.

There was an air of co-ordinated adventure about Dinamo's play early on as they looked to engineer an unlikely comeback in the second leg of the third round qualifier.

Eduardo thrust in from the left and played the ball wide to Etto before continuing his run into the Arsenal box.

Etto slipped the ball back to his fellow Brazilian and, after Toure could only steer his clearance into the run of Eduardo, the Dinamo frontman pounced to slot in an angled shot.

The Gunners heeded the warning and exerted some pressure to go along with their superior possession and they were only denied by the frame of the goal.

Ljungberg had an excellent chance after Adebayor's knockdown but placed his effort too close to the legs of grateful keeper Turina.

Still, Dinamo remained a threat and Luca Modric went close with a shot across goal and a deflected Etto strike just before half-time.

Arsenal forward Emanuel Adebayor should have put the home side beyond reach after 53 minutes but blazed high from 12 yards.

The match started to open up as the Croatian side became stretched in their attempts to score again and send a ripple of anxiety around the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger's team could not take advantage of the extra space in attack and the manager introduced star striker Thierry Henry.

In fact, Henry's arrival gave his side more of a threat up front and Ljungberg headed in a Van Persie cross in the 77th minute to mark his first game as captain with a goal.

And in the injury time, Theo Walcott then set up his second goal in as many games as he crossed for Flamini to give the Gunners a win in their first European encounter at their new stadium.

2006-08-22

Wenger talks about Gallas interest

The Gunners' manager, Arsene Wenger, thinks William Gallas would fit right in at Arsenal - and accepts his squad will seem "a bit light" should Ashley Cole leave and nobody replace the England player when the transfer window shuts.

As we know, the future of Ashley Cole remains uncertain despite his clear desire to leave and Wenger's willingness to let the 25-year-old go.

In fact, conversations between Arsenal and Chelsea have seemingly hit an impasse over the size of the transfer fee.

And while Wenger remains confident of strengthening his squad ahead of the end of the month, he would allow Cole to leave even if he were unable to bring in a replacement.

But with a firm offer put into the Premiership champions for versatile French defender Gallas, 29, the possibility remains it could just yet turn into a busy few days of negotiations between the two London rivals.

Wenger admitted that he likes his football: "I like the fact he (Gallas) is a good defender. He can play right-back, left-back, centre-back. And we want the player because we made an offer for him. That is clear. But we have not spoken to the player yet.

"You need to agree personal terms. We have a salary cap here and he comes from a club with no salary cap. I do not know if it is possible to agree personal terms and agree with Chelsea."

"If he comes here, frankly, he will have to come for less money."

"Sure we can make one exception (Thierry Henry) - but we cannot make five or six."

Wenger would not be drawn into whether he would be open to any swap deal involving the pair - and insisted: "William Gallas is not the only player we have a chance of getting.

"There is always a lot happening in the last few days - but he is a player we have a chance to get.

"I think he wants to leave Chelsea, Ashley Cole wants to leave us."

Wenger accepts the situation is far from ideal as he prepares for what is set to be another hectic domestic and European campaign, with the second leg of Arsenal's Champions League qualifier against Dinamo Zagreb tomorrow night.

He expressed: "It does not affect me because I am used to that, but I feel at some stage, you want to sort things out so your team focuses completely on what you want to achieve."

Wenger reflected: "If Cole was completely focused, and ready to go with us or if someone else with experience comes in, I feel we are strong enough and experienced enough."

He added: "We lost a lot of experienced players over the summer. The weight on the experienced players like Henry, Gilberto and Lehmann is stronger this year.

"So, they have a little bit more to carry. Last year, it was a bit more shared because when somebody had a little doubt they could speak with Pires or Bergkamp or with Campbell.

"In the end, we had a bit more weight in the dressing room. And of course, the responsibility of our experienced players is bigger than ever."

Arsenal only got a 1-1 draw in Premier League opener

It was not a good game for the Gunners. A late equaliser by Gilberto gave Arsenal a 1-1 draw with a surprising Aston Villa in the first ever game at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Olof Mellberg gave Villa the lead on 53 minutes, but incessant pressure and a first-team debut by Theo Walcott saw Gilberto level with four minutes remaining.

Since it was not a good result, Wenger blamed it on a lack of sharpness at the start of a new season, saying "the players were not completely ready physically, added to the fact that many of them played 90 minutes in midweek."

In fact, Arsenal kept the ball and created chances, but there was always a Villa player ready and willing to block anything Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and the impressive Emanuel Eboue threw at them.

When Thomas Sorensen was called into action early on he was similarly effective, saving well at the near post from Eboue - acting like a winger for much of the game - while a well-positioned J'Lloyd Samuel turned the ball off the line when Emanuel Adebayor had done everything right with his downward header into the bottom corner.

Villa had to be content hitting Arsenal on the break, which was threat enough with the pace and directness of Juan Pablo Angel and Luke Moore and Gabriel Agbonlahor supporting from the flanks.

It's important to say that Arsenal made all the chances though, slick one-touch play unfortunately unmatched by anything approaching top-class finishing. Adebayor only impressive in fits and starts with Henry drifting wide and deep for much of the encounter.

It actually took Villa's opener to spark Arsenal into life, Mellberg rising above Jens Lehmann to head home a corner on 53 minutes, one of their few clear-cut opportunities in this game.

Arsenal became truly threatening after the introduction of Theo Walcott for his first-team debut, the expected debut for the last 20 minutes and tearing holes into Aaron Hughes with his pace and touch.

His presence also allowed French star Henry to move inside, the usual support in width absent on account of Juan Antonio Reyes protracted on-off move to Real Madrid.

It's fair to mention that Walcott had a key role in the equaliser, turning Hughes inside and out before chipping a delicate cross to Robin van Persie, whose glancing header fell to Gilberto, the Brazilian lashing a half-volley into the roof of the net on 84 minutes.

Even though they kept on attacking, The Gunners were unable to find another goal and start the 2006/7 season and life at their new stadium without a victory.

2006-08-05

Arsenal win in friendly match

Arsenal is preparing for their Champions League qualifying match against Dinamo Zagreb next week and defeated AZ Alkmaar with a 3-0 win on Friday.

The goals came from Gilberto, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie saw Arsene Wenger's team complete their pre-season in style.

This match officially opened AZ's new DSB Stadion.

It's important to know that neither Thierry Henry nor Jens Lehmann lined up for the Gunners on Friday.

And both players will be absent again next week through a lack of match fitness and suspension respectively.

However, Arsene Wenger's side made light of their absence as, having threatened for much of the first half, they took a deserved lead in the 35th minute.

Midfielder Jose Antonio Reyes was the provider, with a looping free-kick to the far post.

Later, Gilberto's downward header found its way over the line underneath keeper Joseph Didulica.

Just over five minutes into the second half, the Gunners doubled their lead.

Khalid Sinouh, on as a half-time substitute for AZ, could do no better than parry Gilberto's scuffed shot into the path of Emmanuel Adebayor.

And the Togolese forward slotted the ball into the unguarded net.

Three minutes later, Arsenal's Dutch winger Robin Van Persie came agonisingly close to making it 3-0 when his powerfully struck shot ricocheted off both posts, but failed to cross the line.

The third would indeed come for the Gunners, however, as with less than 20 minutes remaining, the hapless Sinouh was penalised for bringing down Van Persie in the area - though it must be said that the Dutch player made the most of any contact.

In fact, Van Persie stepped up himself, and coolly despatched the spot-kick to score the 3-0.

2006-08-04

Reyes wants to go to Madrid

Arsenal talented player Jose Antonio Reyes said he is continuing to dream of a move to Real Madrid. However, compatriot Cesc Fabregas is set to be awarded a bumper pay day for his decision to stay with the Gunners.

Real Madrid were said to be interested in both of the Spanish starlets and Reyes, who has failed to adjust to life in England, has made no secret of his interest in the move.

However, young footballer Fabregas has settled in London and was impressive in the centre of the Gunners midfield throughout last season.

It's important to say that while his contract currently extends to 2011 it is believed his loyalty could be rewarded with a sizeable wage increase.

In fact, winger Reyes has urged Real to move to sign him before the Premiership club kick off their Champions League campaign next week.

In a report on a Spanish website, 22-year-old Spanish international Reyes made it clear he was desperate to make the switch.

Reyes noticed: "I don't know anything but the days are going by and I am not going to deny I am a little worried by those rumours.

"I know I am wanted here at Arsenal and that the fans are behind me but I am not adapting to this life.

"I am missing Spain and I have a unique opportunity to come back with Real Madrid. Everyone must understand I can't let this chance pass by. Madrid are unique."