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Are Hleb and Adebayor now former Gunners?

Once again it's all quiet on the Arsenal front with nothing but speculation in the newspapers about who is leaving and who is joining the club.

Our poll yesterday asking you if you would take Thierry Henry back to the club saw the majority of you (64%) wanting him back in some shape of form, while 36% toed the club line that you don't sign former players.

Nearly 28% of you wanted a part exchange deal for Alex Hleb, 15% would like a part exchange for Emmanuel Adebayor and a more pragmatic 21% would simply buy Titi back.

It's all pure conjecture and a bit of fun, I know, but I'm just wondering whether Hleb and Adebayor have already said goodbye to their team mates. The official Arsenal website had photos of the first team squad back in training yesterday and while the images were limited, none of them showed the duo.

Arsene Wenger has granted the players involved in Euro 2008 some extra days off, but that didn't affect Hleb or Manu and with all the rumours surrounding them you'd think that capturing them back in training with their colleagues would have been a priority if they were there.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, as there were a number of other big names missing from the photos, but Hleb in particular missed the final three games of the season and has therefore had a longer rest than most, so I'm wondering if we'll ever see pictures of him training at London Colney again.

What do you think? Have we seen Hleb and Adebayor play their last games for Arsenal? Share your comments here.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 10, 2008 10:04 AM in Debate of the Day
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Poll: Would you take Thierry Henry back to Arsenal?

I have a simple poll for you today. With Barcelona supposedly interested in two of our star players, I'm just wondering how open us Arsenal fans would be to the prospect of Thierry Henry returning to his spiritual home?

The Gunners certainly have the upper hand in any negotiations with Barca, as quite simply they want something that we have and while I personally hope that Yaya Toure is included in any deal, the prospect of Titi coming back isn't beyond the realms of possibility.

Much has been written about Henry's first season at the Nou Camp being a failure, but what most reports haven't pointed out is that Thierry was Barca's top goalscorer last season. He notched 19 goals in all competitions, despite being played for the most part as a winger, so although it wasn't up to his usual high standards, I wouldn't exactly call it a failure.

Anyway, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on such a deal, so vote away and feel free to leave any comments in the usual manner.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 9, 2008 8:25 AM in Debate of the Day| Transfers
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Will Hleb's swipe at fellow Gunners finally see him sold?

It's a pretty quiet news day when it comes to Arsenal with the good news being that Carlos Vela will join his team mates in pre-season training next week, while the bad news centres on our Belarussian midfielder who is reaching desperation in his bid to find a new club.

Arsene Wenger has always held the belief that you don't want unhappy players in your squad, so it seems as if Alexander Hleb and his agent have been doing their homework to come up with what the newspapers are calling "an astonishing attack" on Wenger and Cesc Fabregas.

For us Gooners, the attack on Cesc is laughable. Hleb apparently blames Fab 4 for being one of the key reasons why he has not fulfilled his potential at the club. Why? Well, Hleb reportedly said, "With scoring opportunities [Fabregas] is even more selfish than I am. Given the chance to shoot he always goes for it, unlike me."

Um, that's why us fans have spent much of the past three years yelling "Shoot!" at you Alex. You may be a good player but your lack of confidence in front of goal is appalling. Cesc scored 13 goals last season and was the fans' player of the year, while you managed a measly four goals. And when it comes to assists, selfish Cesc had 24 in the season, compared to your 8. Need I say more?

And then there's Hleb's reported verbal assault on Wenger...


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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 8, 2008 8:51 AM in Transfers
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Is Arsene Wenger hoping for a change in club ownership?

Q. What does Arsene Wenger have that the Arsenal board of directors do not?
A. An ongoing friendship with former Gunners vice chairman David Dein

So what, you might say. Well if there was any accuracy whatsoever in the comments attributed to Le Gaffer in yesterday's News Of The World newspaper, it would seem that Wenger might slowly be coming around to the idea that the club might benefit from a billionaire taking over at Arsenal.

Personally I hate the idea of a foreign sugardaddy coming in and throwing several hundred million pounds at buying trophies, but having closely followed what Arsene has said over the past decade, his comments - if reported correctly - signal what could be construed as a cry for help.

The News of the Screws claim that Wenger told them that Arsenal is a selling club and that because of the financial strain the new stadium has put on the club's resources, then us fans should expect our best players to be sold. And he wasn't just talking about this season, he was talking about the next 17 years!

"The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players," Wenger reportedly said. "We have to free up - for 17 more years - an annual surplus of £24 million to pay for our stadium. The club's strategy is to favour the policy of youngsters ahead of stars."

Now by my calculations, the club should easily be able to achieve a £24 million surplus every year based on gate receipts and TV money, meaning that player sales should not be part of the equation, so I have a theory about what Wenger was up to...


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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 7, 2008 9:30 AM in Debate of the Day
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£30 million for Adebayor: would you take it or leave it?

According to newspaper reports, Barcelona are set to table a "take it or leave it" £30 million bid for Gunners' striker Emmanuel Adebayor in a desperate attempt to take the 24-year-old to the Nou Camp.

Take it. Bite their hand off, is what I say. £30 million for a player who has shown time and time again this summer that loyalty is an alien concept? Arsene Wenger would be mad not to, in my opinion.

If the rumour is true - and let's face it, it's a pretty big if - then there could be a very sound reason why Arsenal are playing hardball on the deal. Barcelona club president Joan Laporta faces a vote of no confidence this Sunday and is anxious to pull something spectacular out of the bag to appease the club's massive membership.

Intense speculation linking Man United's Ronaldo with Barca's arch rivals Real Madrid, has left the Catalan club's fans baying for blood after a disappointing season, but Laporta sees Adebayor as the magic ingredient to kick start his team and he could be prepared to break the bank to do it...


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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 4, 2008 8:50 AM in Debate of the Day| Transfers
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Is a big name signing a priority for Arsenal?

Knowing what we all do about Arsene Wenger, there's little doubt that he's scouring the planet to find Arsenal some new talent that he can work his magic on and turn into a world class player.

Last season he found us Bacary Sagna and Eduardo, the year before that it was Tomas Rosicky, Denilson and Alexandre Song, while three years ago it was Emmanuel Adebayor, Abou Diaby, Alexander Hleb and Theo Walcott.

At the moment, the new players coming in include Aaron Ramsey, Luke Freeman and, of course, Carlos Vela who should hopefully begin his Arsenal career in the pre-season friendlies.

But after another trophyless season, us fans are needing a bit of a shot in the arm and while I'm not saying that Le Gaffer's brand of football is anything but the best, adding an established world star surely cannot be a bad idea, either for the team or commercially. Otherwise we run the risk of permanently being a team in transition and if that is the case - indeed, if we have another season without silverware - then I can foresee a few more players becoming unsettled and seeking pastures new.

What do you reckon? Should us fans be demanding a big name signing? Or should we be content with relatively unknown players being the only players to come to the club? Perhaps you have a superstar in mind as a potential Gunner. Share your thoughts here

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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 3, 2008 10:14 AM in Debate of the Day| Transfers
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Arsenal sign six English players on pro contracts

Arsene Wenger has spoken about Arsenal's next generation of youngsters being English and as if to accentuate that point, the club yesterday handed professional contracts to half a dozen of its most promising teenagers.

Defenders Kyle Bartley and Thomas Cruise, midfielders Henri Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and strikers Rhys Murphy and Sanchez Watt have all been awarded with professional deals and should feature for the Arsenal first team next season - most likely during the Carling Cup campaign.

Of the six, Lansbury (pictured) is regarded as the most promising player and has represented his country at youth and under-19 levels. Although he's still just 17, Henri has been attending Arsenal's academy since the age of nine and is the only one of the new squad members to have already played for the first team - albeit just seven minutes in the Carling Cup win over Sheffield United last October.

Bartley (17) joined the club last summer from Bolton and along with Cruise he has also represented his country. Emmanuel-Thomas is sure to be a hit with the fans as the 17-year-old is a lifelong Gooner and has spoken publicly about playing for the club that he loves.

And up front, Murphy is prolific in front of goal, netting 17 in just 21 games for the under-18s last season despite suffering from injuries for most of the campaign. Strike partner Watt is the youngest of the bunch, but limited appearances don't seem to have deterred the club from offering him a deal and the fact that he has been at Arsenal since 1999 suggests that the coaching staff know him well and have confidence in his ability.

Let's hope that all six players have long and successful careers with Arsenal and that we get the chance to see them in action soon. Just imagine, if they can all make the grade then "foreign" Arsenal could be providing the bulk of the England team in a few years time.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 2, 2008 9:16 AM in Players
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