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Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is now resigned to the fact that he might not be able to keep his star centre back Brede Hangeland, particularly fearing Arsenal could take him away from Craven Cottage.
Manchester United didn’t want to lose (Cristiano) Ronaldo and they did, Liverpool didn’t want to lose (Xabi) Alonso.
“There comes a time if you’re Fulham, or even Manchester United or Chelsea that things have to be looked at in the cold light of day and you have to take things into account.
“It annoys me when fans say things like ‘it’s ridiculous to get him go’ because to say that you have to know all the facts.
“It’s no surprise he’s been linked with clubs because really good quality centre-halves are always at a premium.
“When a club like Arsenal – or Manchester City or Liverpool – when they lose a player the attention will always turn towards who the other good centre-backs are in the Premier League and who they could be looking at.
“Arsenal have done their business very quietly and they keep things to themselves. We’ve had no contact with Arsenal and whether there’s an interest only Arsene knows.
“When I see him interviewed he says he has enough centre-halves and is not in the market for one. Only he knows what his true feelings are.”
Arsene Wenger is not interested in Brede Hangeland. At least not yet. Gunners have once again been linked with the Fulham centre back as a replacement for the departing Kolo Toure.
But as on most occasions, it is just false speculation. Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has outrightly denied any formal contact by Arsenal:
“We read the speculation about Brede, but you only get concerned when a club contacts you.
“I’m not bothered about it. If Arsenal wanted one of our players and could afford to entice him away, like Manchester City are, we would have to deal with that situation.
“But it’s only speculation brought about by people seeing that Arsenal are losing a centre-back and saying ‘if I were the Arsenal manager I’d go for him’.”
There is still time, just over a month to go till the transfer season ends, so Wenger has sufficient time to buy the two or the players needed. Will Hangeland be one of them? Doesn’t seem so anymore.
Giant killers Burnley have claimed yet another Premier League scalp in West Brom. The FA Cup replay saw the Championship side thrash Tony Mowbray’s side 3-1 at Turf Moor. This means if Arsenal truimph against Cardiff at the Emirates on 16th of February, they will once again play Burnley, who knocked the young guns of Arsenal out of the League Cup. Burnley have already defeated Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham and now West Brom.
Apart from that Fabregas says he wont go anywhere near Nou Camp. The Spaniard said:
“I’d have liked to have gone to watch Barcelona at the Nou Camp, but I wanted to avoid all the speculation about my future. Now my only worry is that I recover as soon as possible to return to Arsenal and help my team.”
No surprises there. Once again the Arsenal captain wastes no time in addressing speculations regarding his future. Hope he returns earlier than expected. He has the will and I am sure he can do it. Arsenal need him back big time!
Meanwhile Andrei Arshavin had a session with the fans. The new Arsenal player looked very excited and claimed that he has been a Gooner for quite some time now. He says he joined Arsenal because he likes he club’s style, Arsene Wenger and a few players. The forward is already looking to spur Arsenal’s silverware ambitions. The Russian said:
“Arsenal’s aim is to win the Premier League title and be European champions. That is always the target for this club, so everybody knows that.
“I have already had a training session, and I am pleased with how I have been welcomed. Everyone has been very hospitable.
“I’m yet to train at the stadium but I’ve trained at the training ground and I was happy with how they took to me. Everything was very good, everyone was welcoming, asking me what I needed and things.
“We trained for an hour and a quarter, in the gym and then on the pitch. I got a positive impression from my new team mates. They believe in me.”
“Arsenal play very fast and attacking football that I really like, and there are many creative players.
“Wenger is a great man, and I never thought I would be able to play in his team.
“Here in London, I have had three or four interviews in English. It is clear that I am unlikely to speak without making errors, but it seems to me that I am being understood. In any case, I have only had to resort to using an interpreter a few times in these interviews. Naturally, I will improve.
“Naturally there are problems with English because I don’t know the language very well and can just chat about basic every day things.
“And today I was sitting in the changing room and it was all French – now that’s a language I have a lot of problems with*laughs*! But I hope we will get over the language barrier and everything else very quickly.”
Looking quite confident and happy from the start! As always the players have made a new player feel at home and that is very vital for one to settle at a new club. It’s good to see he has already had interviews in English. Learning the language will be vital for him to settle in quickly. He seems really confident and hopeful. That’s really good.
by Zain Shahid
As we all know 2008 was one of the worst years in Arsenal’s recent history under Arsene Wenger. We were cruising at the top of the table with a 10 point lead as the year started but with a new year came a complete form slump. Dropping points again and again, Eduardo breaking his leg, Rosicky out, and we eventually end up 3rd despite leading for most part of the season. We also got unluckily knocked out of the Champions League to Liverpool, and were humiliated 4-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. Then came summer and all we sign is young Ramsey who is not part of our first team as for now and Nasri, who is the only good thing that has happened to us this year (apart from that historic truimph at San Siro!). Apart from those two we signed Silvestre, who himself would not remember the last time he played for Manchester United, and Bischoff, who had hardly played for his previous club and has not played for Arsenal apart from a substitute appearance so far. Then this season started and we lost our second game of the season to Fulham, then got into a bit of form which ended at the Emirates to Hull City. Since then we have seen disappointing performances from the club, with only two standout performances against Manchester United and Chelsea. We have already lost more games so far this season than we did all season last season. We are 8 points behind the leaders, once again finished 2nd in the group stages of the Champions League, out of the Carling Cup to lowly Burnley. Luckily there wasn’t FA Cup this season in 2008 otherwise we would have been out of it too! So to sum it up 2008 was a very unlucky year for Arsenal. But luck is not going to betray Arsenal again and again will it?! I don’t think so. We have started the year winnig dirty…we all know teams come and park their bus against Arsenal and in 2008 they had been quite successful in it. However this year we have already been successful of winning against teams that come just to defend twice (if you include late last year’s fixture against Portsmouth in 2009!). We have advanced to the next round of the FA Cup and are looking all set to sign Arshavin. What a start don’t you think?! Last year we could not win against teams that came to just defend; and could anyone have imagined that Arsenal would buy a big name like they are very close to signing Arshavin! So the start is quite good…and if you believe in Lady Luck then maybe 2008 as a whole was meant to be a bad year and 2009 as the start suggests (though I admit it might be too early to start making conclusions) will be a good and ‘lucky’ year for Arsenal! Ok our best player is out but remember what happened when Henry went?! van Persie and company are really coming out of their shell now. van Persie has been producing consistent match winning performances and so has been Nasri. The defence hasn’t looked this good all this season, Vela is really starting to become an impact substitute, Ramsey is impressing, Denilson and Eboue are much improved, and even Bendtner who was hopeless last year has suddenly scored 2 goals from 2 matches in 2009! Eduardo is also back, and once Walcott and Fabregas return they will be like two big name signings for us after returning from long term injuries. So the signs are looking very good I think. Lets just hope for the best! May 2009 be Arsenal’s year!
Now back to the never ending Arshavin transfer speculation! The Russian star expressed his desire to wear the number 10 shirt at Arsenal and also hoped that he wont have a hard time in adjusting to Arsenal’s style of play:
“In some games last season, we played football which was very similar to that of Arsenal. I would prefer my present No 10 but in the team where I hope to move it’s not vacant. So I’m ready for any number they are going to offer me.
“In some games last season, we played football which was very similar to that of Arsenal. “
So he wants the the no. 10 shirt in ‘the team where I hope to move’! Now that is awesome news! In most cases players who are to be sold end up at clubs of their choice and it seems Arshavin wants to join Arsenal.
Meanwhile Arsenal target Everton’s Mikel Arteta has dispelled transfer rumours linking him with Arsenal and Manchester City and assured his commitment to the Toffees.