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KlaasJan_Huntelaar__387527399Arsene Wenger is finding it hard to cough up any more than £6m for Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh but according to Real Madrid’s special advisor Zinedine Zidane, the Arsenal manager has bid a staggering £17m for unwanted Real Madrid forward Klass-Jan Huntelaar.

But despite the huge offer Zidane said the Dutchman is nearing a move to AC Milan instead. I could not find the exact comments anywhere so I am not exactly sure about the authenticity of this story.

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by Zain Shahid

This season has been one of the worst in Arsene Wenger’s career at Arsenal and when you look at the trend with Arsenal’s points tally and performances overall improving since the last 3 seasons, this season has come as a big unpleasant surprise. The big question in everyone’s mind is what has gone wrong this season.

Arsenal miss their partnership
Arsenal miss their partnership

The main reason in most people’s minds would be the departures of Flamini and Gilberto. They were our main holding midfielders and who would not agree to the fact that Flamini was one of our best players of the season, second only to Fabregas. With their departures we have had to play on most ocassions without a holding player or sometimes with Song in that role and everyone knows he is just not good enough to be in our first team. And the fact that Wenger has been more interested in signing Arshavin than a defensive midfielder came as a big surprise to me. (Talking of Arshavin, Zenit have said they are waiting for a reply from Arsenal as negotiations continue; and Wenger has said he wants the deal done before the match against West Ham.) We know there has been a lack of clean sheets this season and it can be blamed on the lack of a natural holding midfielder in the side rather than putting all the blame on Gallas and Toure. But to add to that the lack of defensive cover has also been a big factor. When Gallas and Toure have been out, the far from convincing Silvestre has come to fill in or the inconsistent Djourou. If Arsenal fail to keep a clean sheet against West Ham tomorrow then they will have just 15 clean sheets so far whereas last season in the same period they had 20 and we have conceded 35 goals so far compared to 28 last year at this time.

One of the most creative midfielders Arsenal has had in recent times
One of the most creative midfielders Arsenal has had in recent times

Another reason is Hleb’s departure and with it his creativity that pierced defences open. Ok Hleb did not score as much as he should have but he was exceptionally talented when it comes to creativity. I’ll be honest, I miss Hleb. Some might say Nasri has been a great replacement and I agree, especially considering he scores a lot. But the problem lies in piercing defences open, creating a lot of chances rather than passing sideways all match. Nasri can do the job but he can’t play up to the level he is capable of on the left. Last year Hleb was played as a second striker and he was brilliant there, I see no reason why isn’t Nasri played there too. He has showed with his few performances in the centre how good he can be and especially with Fabregas out he is needed there.

Not good enough...
Not good enough…

Then comes the lack of support Fabregas got in the centre and lack of quality in midfield. This really does not need much explanation. We all know Song has been hopeless and Denilson can’t defend so Fabregas has had to worry more about tracking back rather than doing his job i.e ripping apart defences with his exceptional passing. On the wing we have seen Denilson, Diaby and Eboue. All have not played up to the mark. Imagine for instance if Denilson was in AC Milan, or Barcelona or Manchester United. Would he be in their first team? Noway! He is not good enough to be in the first team of a top European club. Same goes for Song, Diaby and Eboue. We have been just waiting and waiting and waiting for them to come of age. Will they ever be good enough? Doesn’t seem so does it?! Especially Eboue. I have always mantained he should be sold and replaced with a natural, world class winger and I stand by it.

Gone... And injured
Gone… And injured

A lot might say injuries have been the biggest setback this season. Imagine Rosicky on the left, Fabregas in the centre, Walcott on the right, Nasri supporting van Persie and Adebayor. With a defensive midfielder this attack can be the best in the world but poor us, all these guys are hardly fit together. But the point is players get long-term injuries like we have seen with van Persie in the past, now Rosicky is still out, Eduardo is coming back, Walcott and Fabregas still out; these injuries are not going to happen every year will they. That’s what everyone said of van Persie when he got injured time and time again but they were wrong. He has showed his fitness and class. He has been our player of the season so far. So if the aforementioned players remain fit, Arsenal are a side to be feared by all European power houses. They may be injured now, but they won’t be out for 3 4 months every season, hopefully not next season.

These reasons have led to defensive frailty and lack of creativity up front. Right now it’s just van Persie keeping Arsenal in the fight for the title, even though with all the poor results we have got this season and where we lie in the table at the moment thinking of winning the season seems quite unrealistic. This season looks like a fight for a Champions League place and not the title. The only very dim hope remaining is that van Persie contines the form of his life and with Nasri, keeps getting decent results for Arsenal till Fabregas and Walcott return. That might be the turning point of the season if Arsenal are still in the race for the title when the duo make their comebacks.

by Zain Shahid

Gallas - Pledges his immediate future to Arsenal

Gallas - Pledges his immediate future to Arsenal

With rumors linking Arsenal’s ex-captain with a move to AC Milan, the Frenchman has come out and rubbished the rumors. The (big mouthed!) centre half said:

“There is no tension. I play. I give the maximum for the club. I am concentrating on my future, finishing my contract with Arsenal and seeing where I’ll go in two years.”

It’s good news. Arsenal already have a hapless defence, and I can’t imagine Arsenal without Gallas right now unless a good replacement is bought so him staying is wonderful news.

Arshavin - ... no comments!

Arshavin - ... no comments!

Meanwhile *yawn* Dick Advocaat expects Arshavin to be a Gunner soon. The Zenit manager explained:

“Negotiations with Arsenal continue and the chances are very high that Arshavin will soon play in the English Premier League.”

Why can’t anyone say he will soon play for Arsenal!! They all say he will soon play in the Premier League and when they say it, it scares me! Because Manchester City are looking to hijack the move. But still I’m quite optimistic about the move.

Lastly, there have been rumors circulating around since Manchester City bid for Kaka that if the move goes through Milan might turn their attention to van Persie and Adebayor for reinforcements. Seems like a joke to me! Kaka, I bet, won’t go anywhere; at least not to Manchester City so that means Milan wont make a move for the Arsenal stars. I’m not at all worried and same is the case with Wenger.

by Zain Shahid

Gallas - Could be off to Milan

Gallas - Could be off to Milan

Latest reports suggest AC Milan are looking to bid £4m on former Arsenal captain  William Gallas. Gallas has been an integral part of the Arsenal defence so far this season but losing the captaincy unsettled him and he might consider any bid that come in for him. Arsene Wenger though will surely be very reluctant to sell him as he has immense confidence in the most senior player of Arsenal. However, if he finds a suitable replacement Wenger himself might consider getting rid of the moody Gallas. But as for now it seems Wenger is not looking for any defender.

Bendtner - A Gunner for the coming years...

Bendtner - A Gunner for the coming years...

Now for some sad news! Nicklas Bendtner has let his desire to stay at Arsenal, not only now but in the coming years also,known. the tall 20 year old Dane said “I don’t think about all the rumors because I am an Arsenal player and I really love it here. I hope that I can stay here for a long time because, to me, Arsenal are the dream club.” Cerainly Arsenal are his dream club! Because he won’t get as many appearances at any other big club than he does at Arsenal without even performing well! I certainly hope he is sold but looks like he doesn’t want to go…

Djourou - "Arsenal can win it all"

Djourou - "Arsenal can win it all"

Lastly Johan Djourou has now learnt how to be over-optimistic from his manager! The Swiss centre half said Arsenal will be fighting for all the three trophies in 2009.  Despite the extremely inconsistent season so far, Djourou still believes Arsenal can go on and win it all. He has set consistent performances and climbing to the top as his New Year’s Resolution. Lets hope he doesn’t break it!

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