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It must be June - Arsenal takeover talk is rearing its ugly head again

You can tell all is quiet in the sports departments of Britain's newspapers because of the major Arsenal stories they are running with today.

First there's the speculation that my favourite player, Gael Clichy, could be on his way to Italy and then there's the story that the winds of change could also be sweeping through Arsenal at board level with the directors lining up a sale to a foreign billionaire.

Handling the Clichy news first, my simple reaction is No Way. Gael seems to be deliriously happy being a Gunner, as under Arsene Wenger he has turned into one of the world's best left backs and unlike some of his peers, he seems to possess something called loyalty.

On the club's ownership, various newspapers are quoting insider sources who suggest that American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke is about to be offered a seat on the board, but will also be offered first refusal on the sale of his fellow directors' shares, paving the way for him to take full ownership of Arsenal Football Club...


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Posted by Gordon Masson on June 20, 2008 9:53 AM in News
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Are Arsenal set to announce two new signings today?

According to various reports today, Arsenal have signed Samir Nasri and should be unveiling him in his new red and white colours some time this week.

Insiders at the club have suggested that the deal for Nasri was completed before the start of Euro 2008, but that both parties agreed to hold off on the announcement until after France had completed their campaign.

And with Nasri's signature apparently in the bag, the departure of Alexander Hleb looks almost certain, with Barcelona now favourites to lure the midfielder away from north London. Quite what Arsene Wenger will do with the £15 million or so he gets for Hleb remains to be seen, but a small portion of that money will fund another of his latest finds - 15-year-old Dutch prodigy Oguzhan Ozyakup.

Wenger supposedly signed the talented midfielder a couple of months ago after Ozyakup's current club AZ Alkmaar agreed terms with the Gunners to allow the youngster to become an Arsenal player when he turns 16 in September.

With money burning a hole in his pocket it'll be interesting to see who else Le Gaffer will bring in during the next few weeks, but if past form is anything to go by, he'll probably have completed all his dealings before pre-season training begins. With our first friendly kicking off one month from today, that doesn't leave a lot of time, so I'm hoping we'll hear some exciting news from Emirates Stadium within days, if not hours.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on June 19, 2008 10:37 AM in Transfers
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As Arsene Wenger returns to work, can we expect a signing soon?

France's exit from Euro 2008 helps Arsenal in three ways: First, it gives William Gallas the chance to have a holiday from football; second, it means that transfer target Samir Nasri can now concentrate on agreeing a deal with the Gunners; and third, it will end Arsene Wenger's punditry with French TV, allowing him to get back to his day job of signing some new talent to strengthen Arsenal's squad.

I'd hope to hear some positive news from Le Gaffer within the next few days, especially on the Nasri front, but as for other future Gunners, I reckon we'll have to remain patient.

Wenger said the other day that he wasn't looking for a defender, but I'm hoping he's playing mind games on that one, as central defence was definitely our weak spot last season and the performances of William Gallas and Philippe Senderos in the past few days hasn't exactly filled me with confidence.

Unlike other websites, I'm not usually one to jump on the merrygoround of transfer rumours because, quite frankly, it's all a load of bollocks until Arsenal confirm anything. Illustrating that point quite nicely are our friends at She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, who have tracked no fewer than 83 players who have now been linked with joining Arsenal...


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Posted by Gordon Masson on June 18, 2008 9:32 AM in Transfers
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Arsenal's Euro 2008 stars begin to eye summer holidays

With the group stages of Euro 2008 set to conclude tomorrow, the good news for us Gooners is that three Arsenal players are now packing their bags for a much deserved summer holiday and there could be another lining up a rest after today's games.

The early knock out for co-hosts Switzerland means that Philippe Senderos and Johan Djourou can take a few weeks break before joining their Arsenal team mates and Poland's exit last night will see Lukasz Fabianski also heading to the beach to recharge his batteries.

Mind you, neither Fabianski nor Djourou saw any action for their countries at the tournament, so they should hopefully be taking advantage of not being involved competitively already.

Tonight could see skipper William Gallas booking his vacation with France struggling and needing a win over world champions Italy to have any hope of progressing. A surprise early exit for the French might also help Arsene Wenger in his attempts to sign Samir Nasri who has pledged a decision on his future once his participation in Euro 2008 is over. So we should all be backing Italy tonight.

If France do falter, that will leave just two Gunners on Euro duty - Cesc Fabregas for Spain and Robin van Persie for Holland. Those nations are the bookies' favourites to win the tournament, so it might be another 12 days before all our players can pencil in some rest, but given that Holland and Spain would meet in the semi finals if they both progress, then at best there can only be one Arsenal player in the Euro final. Sod's law it will be RvP and he'll pick up a serious injury in extra time.

With the tournament ending a week on Sunday, hopefully Le Gaffer will be able to reveal a signing or two in the days to come and we'll maybe see one of Euro 2008's star performers on his way to Arsenal.

So which Euro 2008 player would you most like to see joining the Gunners? Share your thoughts here.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on June 17, 2008 8:58 AM in Players
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First three months could be key for Arsenal's season

Next season's Premier League fixture lists were announced today and handed Arsenal a three month respite before we face one of this season's top four teams.

The Gunners will kick off the campaign at home against West Brom on 16th August, while the final game of the season will see us face Stoke, also at the Emirates Stadium on 24th May.

And with our first 11 Premier League games involving teams that finished significantly below Arsene Wenger's men last season - West Brom, Fulham, Newcastle, Blackburn, Bolton, Hull, Sunderland, Everton, West Ham, Tottenham and Stoke - Arsene Wengers men will hopefully have amassed a hefty number of points before we entertain current champions Man United in early November.

Of course, once Sky and Setanta get their grubby hands on the fixture list most games will be rescheduled, but the season's biggest clashes have been pencilled in and will fall on or around the same weekends, so the dates for your diary are: Manchester United 8th November (H) and 16th May (A); Chelsea 29th November (A) and 9th May (H); Liverpool 20th December (H) and 18th April (A); Tottenham 28th October (H) and 7th February (A).

So if you're as sad as me and have been holding off booking your holidays, now is you chance to get planning. For the full provisional fixture lists continue reading on the next page...


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Posted by Gordon Masson on June 16, 2008 10:03 AM in News
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Which former Gunner would you take back to Arsenal?

With Euro 2008 under way, the sports hacks aren't paying too much attention to domestic matters and as a result there have been some very peculiar stories over the past few days.

One in particular which caught the eye was a suggestion that Patrick Vieira might be on his way back to England to play a starring role for Portsmouth. Just what is is with south coast teams buying formerly great players?

Anyway, I digress. The speculation about Vieira's future led me to think if he could still do a job for Arsenal - maybe a one-year contract as a contender for the Mathieu Flamini vacancy, allowing Cesc Fabregas to continue his more attacking midfield role.

And that thought inevitably led me on to today's discussion for you lot: is there a former Gunner who you would like to see back at Arsenal for a year or two?

Arsene Wenger has spoken in the past about the club's unwritten rule that you never re-sign a player, but I reckon he'll want to break that habit at some point. But who should he do it for - Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Lassana Diarra, Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Vieira?

Who would you bring back to Arsenal if you had the chance? Share your thoughts here.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on June 12, 2008 10:32 AM in Debate of the Day| Transfers
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Carlos Vela becomes instant fans favourite after Tottenham jibe

Mexican wonderkid Carlos Vela is likely to receive a very warm reception with Arsenal fans when he first pulls on the famous red and white colours, after he displayed a remarkable knowledge of the Gunners' north London rivalry with the Spuds.

Vela's international team mate Giovani Dos Santos has just agreed a £4.7 million move from the glamour of Barcelona's Nou Camp to the footballing backwaters of White Hart Lane, and Vela believes that the 19-year-old will be a hit in England.

"I am happy for him," said Vela. "I hope things go well for him at Tottenham, that he gets the minutes he wasn't given at Barcelona and that he shows what he can do."

Vela has spent his first two years as an Arsenal player on loan in Spain while work permit red tape was sorted out. But despite never having kicked a ball for the Gunners, Carlos has shown that he is a true Gooner with his final comment on Giovani's transfer: "He is a very good player and let's hope he can then move on to a better team."

Class! Welcome to Arsenal, Carlos. With your help maybe the gulf between the Gunners and the Spuds will be even greater than 37 points next season.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on June 11, 2008 8:26 AM in News| Players
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