Football Station


Wenger Content With Group of High School Boys
July 31, 2009, 5:31 PM
Filed under: premier league | Tags: ,

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he will not rush to spend the money raised from the sales of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.

Wenger has generated in the region of £40m from the transfers but has made only one summer signing so far, Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax for £10m.

“I feel we are strong enough but if we can add then we will do it,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

Mr. Wenger watches the glory days slip away.

Mr. Wenger watches the glory days slip away.

“In England, people think all problems can be sorted out by buying players.”

Arsenal have been linked with a host of players this summer but Wenger says the club are not “close to signing anyone at the moment”.

Defenders Brede Hangeland of Fulham and Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong as well as strikers Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Real Madrid, Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh, have been linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium.

Former skipper Patrick Vieira, 33, is also rumoured to be on Wenger’s radar after falling out of favour at Inter Milan.

“We have money available so for us it is now (important) to spend it in the right way when we do it or if we do it,” added Wenger after Arsenal’s 1-0 friendly win over German side Hannover on Wednesday.

“The biggest target is to work hard in training, improve what we can improve and have confidence in the players that we have.”

The lack of summer signings, the departures of defender Toure and striker Adebayor and the serious injury to Samir Nasri has put the spotlight on the club’s transfer policy.

The Gunners lost out in their bid to sign Felipe Melo from Fiorentina, with the Brazil midfielder opting to sign for Juventus instead.

Since moving to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, the Gunners boss has focused on nurturing young players rather than capturing experienced stars.

The likes of Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto Silva and Alexander Hleb have all left the club while Wenger has developed the talent of youngsters such as Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.

But Arsenal are without a trophy since 2005 and finished a distant fourth in the Premier League last season, leading to a lively shareholders meeting back in May at which Wenger criticised the negativity of the Emirates crowd.

Analysis:  Arsenal have to beef up their squad.  Fact.  They’ve lost Adebayor and Toure, but still Arsene Wenger declares his intent to rest upon the squad he has now.  That will work wonders for the morale of the younger lads who were on the bench last season, but for the Fabregas’s and Van Persie’s it could spell disaster.  I don’t care who your team is, it usually helps to inject a little new blood here and there – especially when you haven’t won a trophy for four years. They do have some depth up front without Adebayor in that of Eduardo, Arshavin, Van Persie, and Walcott, if needed.  But still, they lack overall depth and experience from their starting XI to the bench.  I don’t know what Wenger is trying to accomplish.  Does he want to become a feeder club?  Is he going to foster all this young talent only so they can be shipped off once they mature into better players? He’d better be eating paint chips and be going insane or have a few tricks and deals up his sleeve this summer, or he could be in for one long, hard season.

Result:  Wenger will be given the year, but if he fails to bring any silverware back to the proud London club, he could face the axe.  He’ll have to face the music and start spending all the money he has (albeit little).



R.I.P. Sir Bobby Robson
July 31, 2009, 10:10 AM
Filed under: International | Tags:

Former England manager Sir Bobby Robson has died at the age of 76.

Robson died at his home in County Durham following a long battle against cancer – it was the fifth bout he had fought in 17 years. His wife Elsie was by his bedside.

The son of a Durham coal miner, Robson trained as an apprentice electrician at the colliery before signing for Fulham as a 17-year-old.

The 76 year old fell victim to lung cancer.

The 76 year old fell victim to lung cancer.

He went on to play for West Brom – and England too, 20 times – but it was as a manager that he really left his mark on the game, with Ipswich, Barcelona and Newcastle among others, and of course England.

He was England’s most successful manager after Sir Alf Ramsey. In the 1982 World Cup his side fell victim to a complicated second group stage and exited the tournament without losing a single match.

In the 1986 World Cup England were defeated by Argentina in the quarter-finals, thanks in large part to Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘hand of God’ goal.

Four years later, Robson took England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Italy before losing on penalties to West Germany.

After England, Robson managed abroad, at PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon and Porto before Barcelona beckoned. At Sporting, he plucked Jose Mourinho to be first his interpreter and then his assistant, and he followed Robson to both Porto and Barcelona before establishing a career of his own.

Robson’s first managerial job had been with Fulham in 1968, though it was at Ipswich – whom he joined a year later – where he emerged as one of the greats, leading them to FA Cup and UEFA Cup triumphs.

Yet it was not until 1999, 31 years after he first became a manager, that Robson took the job he always seemed destined for: Newcastle United’s manager.

A successful five-year spell saw the Magpies qualify twice for the Champions League but in 2004 he was dismissed after a poor start to the season.

Robson had beaten cancer on a number of occasions – bowel cancer in 1992, a malignant melanoma in 1995, and a tumour in his right lung and a brain tumour, both in 2006. Last year he launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to raise money for cancer research.

A statement issued on behalf of his family said: “It is with great sadness that it has been announced that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

“He died very peacefully at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him.

“Sir Bobby’s funeral will be private and for family members only.

“A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby’s life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.

“Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time.”



Transfer News – July 30th

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Transfer News – July 30th, 2009

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THE SUN

  • Arsene Wenger wants Patrick Vieira to make a shock return to Arsenal.
  • Gianfranco Zola is stepping up his bid to sign a new striker after West Ham failed to muster a single shot in China.
  • Hull insist that it will take a ‘ridiculous’ bid to get Michael Turner.
  • Burnley boss Owen Coyle has been unable to sign winger Fernando Guerrero because his Ecuadorian club’s president is on holiday.
  • Kolo Toure was last night unveiled by Manchester City after sealing a £14million move.
  • Croatian forward Nikola Kalinic flew in to join troubled Portsmouth, but left without signing after a row over the £5.5million fee.
  • Portsmouth are close to sealing a shock move for ex-Southampton keeper Antti Niemi.
  • Manchester City’s injury-hit star Valeri Bojinov is poised to join Parma on loan.

    Cattermole, Liverpool and Tottenham target, is currently plying his trade at the JJB

    Cattermole, Liverpool and Tottenham target, is currently plying his trade at the JJB

  • Danny Murphy is set to sign a new one-year deal with Fulham.
  • Alvaro Arbeloa last night completed a £3.5million move from Liverpool to Real Madrid.
  • DAILY MIRROR
  • Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says signing Xabi Alonso from Liverpool is vital.
  • Ian Wright claims Patrick Vieira is going to rejoin Arsenal.
  • Aston Villa are set to make a £12million move for West Ham defender Matthew Upson.
  • Celtic boss Tony Mowbray is preparing to make a £2million bid for Sheffield United defender Matthew Kilgallon.
  • Middlesbrough defender Robert Huth could be set for a £2million move to Fulham.
  • Blackburn have pulled out of a £1.7million swoop for Celta Vigo striker Kamel Ghilas after the Algerian failed a medical.
  • DAILY STAR
  • Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Dimitar Berbatov to finally live up to his £30.75million price tag.
  • Martin O’Neill admits that Aston Villa have to sign five players or risk stretching their threadbare squad to breaking point this season.
  • AWOL Middlesbrough star Mido is ready to take a £15,000 a-week pay cut to return to Egypt.
  • Laurent Blanc has warned Steve Bruce that he is out to scupper Sunderland’s £10million move for Marouane Chamakh.
  • DAILY MAIL
  • Aston Villa are monitoring Robbie Keane’s situation at Tottenham following Peter Crouch’s £9million arrival from Portsmouth.

    Robbie Keane is being monitored by Aston Villa.

    Robbie Keane is being monitored by Aston Villa.

  • Inter Milan are ready to revive their interest in Chelsea midfielder Deco if Alexander Hleb backs out of a loan move to the Italian champions.
  • Newcastle last night accepted a £9million bid for Obafemi Martins from German side Wolfsburg.
  • Manchester City made a £19million bid for Everton’s Joleon Lescott last night as they completed the signing of Kolo Toure from Arsenal.
  • Liverpool are on the verge of striking a compromise deal to sell Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid and will plough part of his transfer fee into bids for Wigan midfielder Lee Cattermole and Hull defender Michael Turner.
  • Former Manchester City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver is training with Sheffield United.
  • DAILY EXPRESS
  • Arsenal could bank an incredible £17million by selling Kolo Toure to Manchester City.
  • Alex McLeish is fuming with new signing Christian Benitez after he played without Birmingham’s permission.
  • Darren Bent has his heart set on a move to Sunderland, but so far the Black Cats and Tottenham cannot agree a fee.
  • DAILY RECORD
  • Furious Kilmarnock players have threatened to strike after popular first-team coach Gary Locke was shown the door by the Rugby Park outfit.


  • Toure Joins City
    July 29, 2009, 5:37 PM
    Filed under: premier league, Transfer | Tags: , ,

    Manchester City have confirmed that Kolo Toure is moving to Eastlands on a four-year contract.

    The 28-year-old defender arrives from Arsenal for an undisclosed fee following seven years with the north London club.

    Toure passed a medical and then finalised the necessary paperwork.

    Toure joined Arsenal as a largely unknown 20-year-old from ASEC Mimosas in 2002, but now moves to City as an accomplished defender with Champions League experience and 70 caps for Ivory Coast.

    Kolo Toure becomes the latest player to prove they're about as loyal as a hyena.

    Kolo Toure becomes the latest player to prove they're about as loyal as a hyena.

    “It is always difficult to leave a place where you have spent the last eight years and had good times but I felt the time was right for a new challenge and I am still at an age where I feel I am at my peak and will play my best football,” Toure told City’s website.

    “For me it was time to move but only for the right club and I feel that Manchester City is that club. The ambition here is clear to see and is big. Everyone knows this club is moving and that is really, really important.

    “I still want to achieve things and I feel as though I can bring something to City and that is what I will be striving to do. It is not just about quality on the pitch it is about blending as a team and with my experience I think I can help City do just that.”

    City hope that Toure is the latest piece in an expensive jigsaw that can catapult them into contention for a Champions League place.

    “I am delighted to welcome Kolo to Manchester City,” manager Mark Hughes said.

    “It is no secret that we have been looking to strengthen our defence, and in Kolo I feel we have recruited a world-class player. He brings a wealth of Premier League experience.”

    Hughes added: “Kolo has been a central figure in a very strong Arsenal team for many years.

    “I have been an admirer of him for a long time. He is strong, quick, reads the game well and will be an influential figure in the dressing room.”

    Hughes turned to Toure after his efforts to bring in John Terry were rebuffed first by Chelsea, then by the player himself.

    Toure struggled to find his best form last season after the African Nations Cup.

    He was shunted out to right-back when Bacary Sagna got injured and went on to make 26 starts in the league.

    Toure, however, was recognised as Arsenal’s most established centre-back and the only remaining regular from the ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003-04.

    A utility player when he arrived in 2002, the Ivorian quickly blossomed into an top-class defender.

    He won over manager Arsene Wenger with his strength, pace and his ability to break up the play.

    Analysis:  This is getting ridiculous.  But I guess it’s not called “silly season” for nothing.  Manchester City could well prove what Chelsea did years ago – money can buy you titles…or at least get you close.  They’ve certainly been busy, and could well make a surge to gatecrash the Top 4.  But hey, if they do, at least this season will be interesting. If they keep signing on big players at this rate, in a season or so the Top 4 could be watching their progress nervously.

    Result:  They won’t get much of a sniff at the title, as managerial incompetency and backroom rifts will tear them apart.  However, I could see the possibilty of them getting their hands on silverware like the Carling Cup or FA Cup.



    Franck-O-Meter
    July 29, 2009, 5:17 PM
    Filed under: bundesliga, la liga, premier league, Transfer | Tags:


    Ribery Back on the Market?
    July 29, 2009, 2:12 PM
    Filed under: Transfer | Tags: , ,

    Franz Beckenbauer says Franck Ribery will remain at Bayern Munich unless the club receives an offer of around 94million euros.

    The Frenchman continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid despite Bayern’s insistence that he will not be sold.

    All Franck.  All the time.

    All Franck. All the time.

    Real have strengthened their squad this summer with the signings of superstars such as Kaka, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Beckenbauer believes Ribery is worth just as much as Ronaldo and has made it clear that only a similarly staggering bid will prise him away from Bayern.

    “All this noise is not necessary,” the president of the Bundesliga club told Sport Bild.

    “Especially not when you have a new coach coming into the team, who wants to prepare it in a calm way and not having to deal with the Ribery issue every day.

    “But should Bayern just give Ribery away? We naturally want what the market demands and if a Cristiano Ronaldo is worth 94millions euro then Ribery is worth a similar amount.

    “And if this is not being offered then he will just have to stay with us as he has a contract until 2011.”

    Analysis:  Just when you thought it was safe to bet on Ribery staying at the Allianz, the club president comes out and shakes things up.  Usually that’s the agent’s job. And honestly?  “All this noise is not necessary”?  The noise had subsided until YOU came out and made the statement! This just speaks unrest in the Munich camp.  Something doesn’t feel right, whether it’s behind the scenes or within the team.

    Result:  Ribery will still stay at Munich.  No team in the world is going to make that sort of cash available, even Real Madrid.  Why would they?  They’re midfield isn’t exactly looking shabby with their new signings and it will still be a selection headache to select his starting XI without the mercurial Frenchman.  However, I’m calling on him to leave next summer, guaranteed.  He’s done all he can at Bayern Munich, he’s still young and will be looking to ply his trade elsewhere.  There are bigger and better things than the Bundesliga and I think Ribery wants to be apart of something bigger.



    Young Eases Villains Fears

    Ashley Young has pledged his future to Aston Villa and insisted he still has things he wants to achieve at the club.

    The 24-year-old winger has been linked to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

    “It’s flattering for me to be linked with such big clubs,” said the 2008/09 Professional Footballers’ Association young player of the year.

    The PFA Young Player of the Year is hot property.

    The PFA Young Player of the Year is hot property.

    “But I’m an Aston Villa player, I’m happy here and I’ve got two and a half years left on my contract.”

    Fellow left-winger Stewart Downing’s arrival from Middlesbrough also led to speculation that Young may be about leave.

    However, Young, who joined Villa from Watford in January 2007, is adamant he has unfinished business with Martin O’Neill’s side.

    “If you look at when I came I set myself a lot of goals,” he added. “I’ve achieved some of them, like getting into the England team, winning player-of-the-month awards and being named the PFA young player of the year.

    “But there are still things that I want to achieve here. The club’s on a high and on it’s way up and hopefully so am I so I’m happy here.”

    Analysis:  It’s good to see that there’s still loyalty left in the world of football.  Terry being the most recent addition to that group of players.  Young is capable of so much more, and it would be interesting to see him under different management.  O’Neill is a capable manager, but it would be interesting to see how he could flourish under superior management, team mates and opportunities (eg Champions League).

    Result:  I’m still not entirely convinced, to be honest.  Young will absolutely want to make the English squad for the upcoming World Cup, and there’s no better way to improve your game and get yourself noticed than Champions League football.  He’s certainly being courted by a number of teams in that realm, and I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if he chose to move towards the end of the window.  I can’t see him going to either Barcelona or Real Madrid as they already have some of the strongest midfield in the world.

    Tipping him to stay in England with moves to any one of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea possible.  It’s just a matter of who is willing to cough up the exorbitantly high price set by Martin O’Neill