Posts Tagged ‘transfers’
Tags: Arsenal FC, Arsene Wenger, Boardroom, epl, Fans, Kroenke, Mental strength, transfers
…As long as we don’t lose anymore.
Remember Deb? If not, check out her Twitter page and follow! She’s one of our former podcasters and is gooner to the max.
Tags: Arsenal FC, humor, Per Mertesacker, Robin van Persie, transfers, [blank]gate
Welcome back listeners and podcasters. It’s been such a long time, please enjoy our first podcast of the ’12-’13 season!
Tags: Arsenal FC, laurent koscielny, Montpellier, Olivier Giroud, tours, transfers
Of all our signings this summer, Olivier Giroud has been the most elusive. Considered a late bloomer like his former Tours teammate Laurent Koscielny, the 25-year-old Giroud has experienced a meteoric rise in France in the last year, helping Montpellier win their first ever Ligue 1 title and scoring 25 goals in the process. The Frenchman said, ”With Montpellier, it wasn’t written that we were going to be champions, so that’s what made it more beautiful.” (Arsenal.com)
Giroud was first drawn to football as a youth watching Marco van Basten and Zinedine Zidane, joining his first professional club, Grenoble, at age 13. He spent 6 years in the Grenoble youth academy before signing his first official contract at 19. He then spent the next few years with limited playing time in the lower divisions of French football. He was eventually sold to Tours in 2008, where his playing time and exposure began to increase, paving the road for a move to Montpellier in 2010 after a season in which he was named the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Ligue 2 player of the year.
Koscielny looks back fondly on their time together at Tours. He said of the forward: “I played with him at Tours and he was a great player then. Now he is even more confident and scores lots of goals. I know his qualities and he will give a lot for us. I know he has the physical quality to play in this league. For a striker it is about confidence and I am sure he’s working hard to start well with Arsenal.” (Daily Star)
When Arsenal came a-knocking this past summer, Monpellier were powerless in stopping their leading forward from leaving for London after the Gunners met his release clause of just €12M. In this part of the blog series, I will be joined by Montpellier supporter and French Football Weekly contributor Phillipa Booth (@Philby1976) who will share some insight on how she thinks Giroud will adjust in England.
1. What was your initial reaction when you heard Giroud was going to join Arsenal next summer?
It seemed almost inevitable that Olive would leave at the end of the season – I thought that having CL experience as the established star player in the team would have been an easier choice, rather than having to move country, play CL for the first time, and have to compete for a place (wherever he went) but he seemed set on going, and you can understand his motives. As to his choice of club, he had mentioned his love of the Premiership several times, so a move to England was expected – even before the RVP brouhaha, Arsenal looked a good fit. All in all, he will be missed, but no hard feelings from the fans.
2. How much of an impact do you think his departure will have on Montpellier?
Losing your top goalscorer, particularly when he started every match he wasn’t suspended, was always going to be tough, but Montpellier have been very astute in handling that – two strikers (Herrera and Charbonnier) have been brought in, and the remainder of the money from Arsenal has also paid for a winger (Mounier) and a versatile defender (Congre), so overall the squad has been deepened. Herrera was good pre-season but the first game of Ligue 1 (1-1 at home with Toulouse) suggests that someone needs to tell the rest of the team that they aren’t aiming at Giroud any more! Once they’ve got used to having a different style of front-man, they should be OK. On this, I did a round-up of Montpellier’s usual selections, and transfer dealings here.
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses you have observed of Giroud? Both on the pitch and off it.
One strength is his strength! He’s a big guy, and good in the air; to quote one friend (name withheld to protect his reputation) – “I love Giroud’s chest” – he’s a good target man, who can chest down, cushion a header, flick on, etc. He’s also good on the ground, and seems a smart, unselfish player, providing assists as well as goals. He isn’t the fastest, but fortunately knows it, and adapts accordingly.
4. How did Giroud grow as a player while at Montpellier?
He arrived at Montpellier having been top scorer in Ligue 2 in the 2009/10 season with Tours, and his first season was solid (although the team was a bit shaky!). He really blossomed last season, however, taking on the responsibility to be the focal point for the team with playmaker Younes Belhanda. He has mentioned in interviews working on his aerial game to be a provider, not just a goalscorer, so his all-round skills have definitely improved.
5. How do you think Giroud will fit into the Arsenal team?
It sort of depends whether Arsenal hang onto RVP – if so, presumably there would be competition for that striker position, and you would assume Giroud would be the supersub / cup guy / injury cover rather than the starter; either way, you’ve got a strong target man to aim crosses at, but whose game is a bit more nuanced than a traditional ‘big man up front’. I think it’s a good fit, and with Podolski having come in as well, that should be an interesting combination – I’m also eager to see how things work out if Oxlade-Chamberlain plays with him.
6. How do you see Giroud coping in England and the Premier League?
Ligue 1 seems to me to be refereed much more strictly than the Premiership (so, there’s a view here that the Premier League is some kind of lawless wasteland where anything goes, which can cause transition issues – just look at Diakite’s first game for QPR), so it might take a while to adapt to more battering from defenders, but he’s a big bloke, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Off-field? He will get a lot of press attention, no doubt, which will also be different from France (there are very strict laws about privacy, press intrusion, etc). But I suspect he won’t mind that.
7. Giroud and Koscielny seem to be quite close from their time playing together for Tours. How do you think this relationship will help in Giroud’s adjustment to playing outside of France for the first time in his career?
They seem to be good mates and Giroud joked about them sharing a room again when with the French national team, after being ‘roomies’ at Tours – it has to help, one would imagine. I think he speaks English pretty well already, but the general Francophone nature of the Arsenal set-up should also help him to settle in.
Again, I would like to thank Phillipa for her contribution to this blog and look out for Part 3 on Santi Cazorla later today! Also if you haven’t already read part 1 with @GermanGunners on the Podolski signing, click HERE.
I’ll leave you with with this tender moment…
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Tags: Arsenal FC, Cologne FC, German NT, Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker, soccer, sports, transfers
I can’t remember the last time Arsenal bought three established world-class players in one transfer window, no less outside of the dying hours of the window (Arshavin anyone?). It’s certainly a relief to have most of our business out of the way unlike last season when the club made a mad scramble for replacements hours before the deadline on September 1st. It seemed that the club has learnt from mistakes made last summer. They were looking to strengthen the squad ahead of potential departures (Edit: Sayonara RvP. Enjoy your new dull life in Manchester).
Despite the fact that our signings this summer have not incited the usual “WHO?” from most Arsenal supporters, this will still be the first time many of us will be watching them play on a regular basis since none of them have ever played outside of their home country. I thought it would be helpful to ask those who are more familiar with their careers in the last few years about how they think our new signings will fit into life at Arsenal and England.
Lukas Podolski joined the club soon after the 2011-2012 season ended. The German international has scored 44 goals for his country to date, amassing over 100 appearances in the process. He’s the youngest ever player to reach the 100 milestone for Germany at the age of 26. The striker, who is affectionately referred to as ‘Prinz Poldi’ by German fans, was named Best Young Player ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2006 World Cup. Despite making a name for himself on the international stage, Podolski has not been as impressive on the domestic front.
Many would not have blamed Poldi for leaving Cologne for greener pastures after his hometown club was relegated at the end of the 2003-2004 season but he stuck around and helped the club in its promotion to the first division a year later by scoring 24 goals. When Bayern managed to secure his signature ahead of Liverpool and Real Madrid in 2006, they had high hopes for the rising star of German football. However, he failed to impress, and requested to leave in 2008 after being unable to hold down a starting position at the Bavarian club. Cologne’s fans raised some of the money to bring home their son the following summer.
Podolski’s second stint at the Rhine club got off to a slow start but really took off last season when he scored 18 goals in 29 league appearances as Cologne battled relegation unsuccessfully. He was playing the best football of his life according to many German football analysts and looked ready to take the next step in his career. Germany coach Joachim Low said “He’s ready for a move abroad now” in February.
1. What was your initial reaction when you heard Podolski was joining Arsenal?
My initial thought was, finally good striker who can take the goal burden of RVP.
2. How much of an impact do you think his departure will have on Cologne?
The impact will be and already is massive. He was their best player all year long. But even he couldn’t prevent relegation. Cologne had to sell all their experienced players and switch to a youth system for this season. They had a bad start to the new campaign with only one point out of six. So the upcoming season will be very hard for them without these important Poldi goals.
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses you have observed of Podolski? Both on the pitch and off it.
He’s a quick physical striker with a scent finish. He is also a great team player and you can compare his fighting spirit with that of Wilshere or Liverpool’s Gerrard. Off the pitch he is the funniest guy in football I know. He is always good for team spirit.
4. How did Podolski grow as a player while at Cologne and at Bayern?
He was bit young when he went to Munich. He learned a lot in his time in Cologne as he had to lead the team and was the main man in Cologne.
5. How do you think Podolski will fit into the Arsenal team?
He will play up front possibly on the left flank. He could also sit behind a central striker in the central midfield position. With RVP probably leaving, he will link up with Giroud.
6. How do you see Podolski coping in England and the Premier League?
He will have no problems as he is made for the English game. He’s physical and will not be bullied around.
7. Podolski and Per seem to be quite close from their time playing together for Germany. How do you think this relationship will help in Podolski’s adjustment to playing outside of Germany for the first time in his career?
It’s always good to have a guy to turn to for problems. They are good mates. But he learned to manage stuff on his own and speaks some proper English.
Again, I would like to thank Chris for his contribution to this blog and look out for Parts 2 and 3 on Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla in the coming days!
I’ll leave you with a snippet of Poldi’s other ‘talent’. Enjoy!
Tags: Arsenal FC, Fans, Gooners, humor, Nasri, Robin van Persie, Thierry Henry, transfers
The best word to describe the performances during the holiday season.
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Tags: Arsenal FC, Per Mertesacker, transfers, Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Hope you’ve had a lovely holiday so far! Have a Happy New Year, and join us next week in 2012!
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Tags: Arsenal FC, Cesc Fabregas, Nasri, transfers
While there are very few topics relating to Arsenal that Gooners agree upon, the fact that Samir Nasri is a twat is generally not argued. However, while agreeing with the previous statement I am beginning to suspect that we as Gooners are making Nasri into a bigger deal than he ever really was or deserves to be. Was it unclassy of Nasri to join one of our direct rivals and try to fob off his money-wanting ways with excuses of passion and trophies? Yes, but should we really be surprised? This was a player who signed a contract extension with Marseille to keep him at the club until 2012 then left to come and join Arsenal. Past behaviour tends to be indicative of present choices.
I have been surprised to see people label Nasri as a Judas and speak of him on the same terms as Fabregas. For me the only commonality between Fabregas and Nasri is that they both left the club at the same time. There has been much controversy over Fabregas and I myself have been highly critical of the way he left the club, but the facts remain he was a key player for Arsenal for the better part of 8 years. Cesc was our Captain and a brilliant player; he has the ability to change a game with his mere presence on the pitch and is truly a world class performer. The game against Aston Villa in December 2009 is a perfect example. Fabregas spent less than 20 minutes on the pitch and offered two goals and changed the momentum of the game – all while nursing a hamstring injury. He is a player of proven quality and talent who could have gone on to become an Arsenal legend. Cesc appeared in 303 games for Arsenal, provided 57 goals and 101 assists. Although it was painful to see him go, Cesc left to join a club he has always supported and loved. To compare the proven quality of Cesc to Nasri, a player who sole motivation for leaving was money, is a disservice to both Cesc and Arsenal.
I have read that people are of the opinion Nasri is also a world class player, and while I agree he has the talent and the potential to reach that level eventually, I don’t believe he ever showed it at Arsenal. Nasri’s first season didn’t exactly set the world on fire. In 44 matches he provided 5 assists and scored 7 goals, with his brace against Man Utd in November being his most notable goals of the season. He struggled to find form for the remainder of the season.
After dealing with a broken leg in the 09-10 campaign he returned in October and netted goals against AZ Alkmaar, Standard Liège, and Portsmouth. He didn’t score again until his wonder goal against Porto in the Champions League and continued his decidedly average form by not scoring at all in the last seven games of the season. In 34 appearances Nasri provided just 5 goals and 5 assists.
The 2010-2011 season was when Nasri began to shine and cause others to sit up and take notice. At the time it was widely speculated that his exclusion from the World Cup squad was a motivating factor for Nasri. The man himself said:
“When I discovered that I wasn’t part of the squad for the World Cup, I got a big slap in the face. The next day I had a chat with Arsene Wenger and he reassured me.”
Nasri seemed determined to prove his worth. He suffered an injury on Aug 15th against Liverpool in the first game of the season but returned sooner than expected ,and would begin to turn his potential into good form on the pitch. Nasri scored twice against Tottenham in September and then added another brace in our 3–2 home defeat to West Brom. He went on to score in the next three games and bagged himself the PFA Fan’s Player of the Month in October. Nasri continued his goalscoring ways well into December, earning himself the Arsenal player of the month award by racking up 12 goals and was consequently named French Player of the Year. However into the new year we began to see a dip in his form , with only 3 more goals for the rest of the season, and his most notable contribution being the assist to Arshavin for the winner against Barcelona. Despite this, Nasri ended his breakout season for us being nominated for both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards, as well as being selected for the Team of the Year.
The end of the 2010-2011 season had fans and the media excited about Nasri’s game. However, looking back through his performances with a careful eye, it is easy to put Nasri into perspective. That he is a player with potential there is no doubt, but Nasri was never Arsenal. He didn’t grow up a fan of the club, he didn’t fall in love with the Arsenal way and he certainly didn’t achieve anything legendary in his 3 brief seasons with us. He is a football player who came and performed a job for us. By booing him, labelling him a Judas, constantly tweeting him or about him we are raising him to a level that he isn’t worthy of. We are better off focusing on supporting the players that are committed to Arsenal and our fight. We would do well to remember having a fantastic song doesn’t prove anything except that Gooners enjoy a good tune.