T-minus 11 days

who are these dudes and what happened to Phillipe's squad number?

Disclaimer: The following blog contains lame attempts at humor, some of which will stretch the boundaries of reality and may even contain factual errors. Studies have shown that due to the occasional missed fact this blog may have the following side effects: headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, blindness in one eye, correctism, Eboueism, lazy vein syndrome, and acne. If after reading this column you have the overwhelming urge to comment about a mistake the writer made, or an erection that lasts for more than three hours, please seek immediate medical attention.

As I was cruising thought this morning’s “news” I saw an article from the dot com about something something Emirates cup. Like, get to know Valencia or whoever we’re playing, who cares, right? So, looking for a scoop I sauntered over there and took a look at the fixtures list — when is this Emirates Cup, this glorious trophy that Arsenal have won two years in a row now once [who knew people took the Emirates Cup so serious? ed.], this trophy that’s at least as important as the Charity Shield, twice as meaningful as the Club World Cup, and easily traded for a cabinet full of League Cups, I wondered?

Hmmm… August.

Then I noticed it, and it sent a little tingle through my system, July 18th, that’s when Arsenal play Barnet in the first pre-season match! That’s uhhhh, just 11 days from now!

I can’t wait, get some sausages, a beer, and sit down at 7am to watch some pixellated web video of an Arsenal friendly against Barnet, those pesky bees. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll do something else that day, like I said, it was just a minor tingle.

If you really want to get excited, there’s a pictorial of the boys all training together over at the dot com. There’s Thomas Rosicky (yay!), Eduardo (double yay!!), new kid Vermaelen, Andrei Arshavin, some big dude, and Phillipe Senderos. Yes, big Phil is back training with the squad and though he ominously doesn’t have a squad number yet, I’m sure he figures in Arsene’s plans. Right?

Anyway, the transfer line has gone completely dead and I am choosing to believe that’s because Arsenal are deep in negotiations with Lorik Cana to bring him to the club. As I twitted yesterday, L’Equipe are reporting that l’OM have signed M’Bia causing a three-apostrophe pile-up on Google Reader and clearing the way for Cana to sign with some as-yet-unnamed club. Given the fact that Fiorentina are asking £21.5m for Melo while Cana’s buy out is a mere £6.5m, I’m putting the odds on Cana coming to Arsenal.

Though the news is heavily running the Eboue plus cash for Melo story today.

IF we sign anyone else. There’s always that guy Likeanewsigning that Arsene keeps talking about.

Meanwhile, poor put upon Emmanuel Adebayor seems to have dropped from third place to fifth place in the AC Milan beauty pageant with the club now targeting Headcase Huntelaar, Fabulous Fabiano, and the Apostrophul E’t'o’o”’ over him. In fact, Adebayor isn’t even being mentioned, by anyone, except me. I guess this means that he’s not going anywhere? I don’t know, he’s not in any of the training pictures.  I have a bad feeling this is all going to end sadly for Ade.

One of the questions I get most often on here is “why aren’t we being linked with Veloso?” or some variant thereof. Just this morning, I noticed that he’s now being linked to Bolton and Aston Villa. I’m not saying he’s a terrible player, but you have to wonder if he’s Arsenal quality. After all, he’s now being fought over by at least one club who’s idea of a good central midfielder is Kevin Nolan. And considering that all the big clubs have certainly had a good look at him and passed him by, again, you have to wonder if there isn’t an issue there.

And finally, as an American I would be violating some code of conduct if I didn’t mention the two American players who have just inked deals with big European clubs; Oguchi Onyewu and Anton Peterlin. The first one is a bit of a shock, Onyewu is tall and athletic, at the top of his game, but he’s never been overly impressive. I wish him the best of luck at AC Milan, just training with the quality of players that they have on that team is going to be the experience of a lifetime and who knows maybe he can break into the first team?

Anton Peterlin, on the other hand, is a complete Cinderella story — I mean Goal! story. This is a kid who plays holding midfield for a 4th division American club and who somehow got on David Moyes radar and earned a contract with Everton. I don’t think it happens very often that a club as big as Everton dips into amateur development leagues and signs guys, so, as a good American I’ll be rooting for the underdog to make it big. That is, if I see his name ever again.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow, where we will be just 10 days away from an Arsenal match!

I wish The Sun would just die in a fire

cana-nasri1

Well, the Sun is back with more stuff they either simply make up or they let others make up for them and report it as fact.

Tiring of the Arshavin to Barca story, today they claim that an “Arsenal Insider” told them that Arsenal would sell Cesc for £40m. Sigh… the only thing interesting about this story is the fact that they can’t say “Cesc wants to go to Real Madrid” because he’s categorically denied wanting to leave like, what, three times already this month? So, instead they just switch to “the club would sell if the price is right.” Of course the club would consider selling if the price was right AND the player wanted to move on.

But saying that is a far cry from “Arsenal slap £40m price-tag on Cesc.” He’s not for sale, they haven’t slapped anything on anyone, though I’d like to see them slap The Sun.

Maybe next year might be different, Wenger himself has admitted that, but this year, right now, everyone, EVERYONE is committed to this team and this project.

Full Stop.

The only other news stories are that Lorik Cana is NOT transferring to Wolfsburg and that Real Madrid have admitted that they need to sell. The Cana story is really interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, his manager (and dad) admits that he’s looking to leave l’OM but he’s just waiting for his replacement to sign first. That replacement is supposedly none other than supposed Arsenal/Newscastle/Everton target Stephane M’Bia. So, anyway, that’s all well and fine, but the other interesting statement is that l’OM only want £6.5m for Cana. I don’t know about you but I find that price tag incredibly cheap for a player of his stature.

Also, I just want to admit that I am now personally targeting Lorik Cana for Arsenal for the following reasons: he’s a male model and we haven’t had one of those since Freddy Ljungberg left, he’s played with Samir Nasri before, and in the photograph above you can see that he’s not all brawn and beauty, he has a soft side — cradling grown men in his arms as they weep gently on his shoulder.

All that for just £6.5m? Come on!

The second story is obvious, Real Madrid have a squad of some 35 players as it stands and with more players expected to come in (LIKE CESC, AMIRIGHT???) they are saying that they need to sell 10 players. So, in the spirit of The Sun’s journalism I’m going to make something up:

ARSENAL SLAP THE TASTE OUT OF CALDERON’S MOUTH WITH £10m PLUS EBOUE’S RIGHT LEG FOR DANI PAREJO.

Sources inside 7amkickoff spoke exclusively to 7amkickoff and revealed that Arsenal are making a shock bid for 20 year old 6’1″ 76kg U21 Spanish International Dani Parejo. Our source said “well, he had a great loan spell at Queens Park Rangers and that’s “like a Premiership Team” so we think he would be a great addition to this Arsenal team, in fact he would be ‘like a new signing.’  That is, if we can’t get Lorik Cana to do some underwear modeling for us first. Also, if we can’t get Melo in Yellow. Though we’ll be wearing blue as an away kit next year so that joke doesn’t make any sense.” When we attempted to contact Dani Parejo he was unavailable for comment though another source inside 7amkickoff said “honey, are you almost done with the blog? I need you to take out the trash.” And we all know what THAT means!

Oh god, please let there be news tomorrow, real, honest to goodness news.

Calderon’s Super Duper League + Transfer Snooze

Good lord… I think I might have drank a bit too much last night celebrating my independence from something or another.

You know it’s a bad night when you wake up on the living room floor in the middle of the night with a pair of traffic cones and a Scooby Doo comic book. Fortunately, it’s a Sunday and that almost always means little or no news. I guess I get off light today! I need it.

First up, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has expressed his interest in revisiting the “Super League” idea: wherein basically the G-18 would play each other in a special, extra competition. I think of it as sort of a “39th game on steroids.”

I’d like to think that something like this would never happen but when it comes to money and big clubs you just never know so, lets take a second and see just how stupid this idea is.

First, the best clubs in the world already play each other in the Champions League. I know he says that they don’t, but it’s not true. Last year Arsenal played Porto, Fener, Roma, Villareal and Man U in the Champions League. Now, I’m not sure who Perez would include in his little circle jerk of “top clubs” but those are top clubs in their respective divisions. In fact, if you look at the history of the Champions League Finals, it’s almost always 2 clubs from the G-18. So, it’s a lie that the world’s top clubs don’t play each other. What’s really going on is that Real Madrid have been dumped out of the Champions League in the first knockout round 5 years in a row now and haven’t gotten past the second round since they won all the way back in 2001. They are just sore losers.

Second, we don’t need more games because more games means deeper squads. Thus, only clubs that are engaged in financial doping would be able to afford the squad needed to engage in such a system. So basically it would be a “super league” of Chelsea, Man U, Real Madrid, and Manchester City. That would be a lot of fun, wouldn’t it?

Speaking of Man City and buying trophies, Martin Petrov figgers that City could be “as good as” Arsenal. Here’s the thing about that… no chance. I’m not saying they won’t be able to buy a few big names and gather a team of some of the world’s most expensive talent and hell, they might even be able to parley that into a top 4 finish or even a few trophies. But they need about 20 years of challenging for the top of the league to be “as good as” Arsenal. Besides which, it’s temporary, this spending, just look at Chelsea — biggest paychecks in the league, biggest transfers in the league, a BILLION U.S. dollars spent, and all they won was two Premier Leagues and two FA Cups.

And now, as the sun’s setting on Chelsea and the glimmer of gold is shining at Real Madrid and Man Citeh, Chelsea’s having a devil of a time holding on to their current squad of mercenaries, much less attracting top talent like Ribery.  That seems to be the cycle at these clubs; throwing tons of money around gets temporary success, followed by years of mediocrity.

Enjoy it while you can, City supporters.

Transfer Snooze

Evidently, the Alsacian army is storming across Belgium picking up want away players left and right. After signing Tommy Vermaelen, Arsenal are now being begged to snap up Eden Hazard, by none other than Eden Hazard himself. We’re pretty full of attacking options on this team, and he’s a bit young and raw, so I’m not sure we really need him. Which means he’s almost certainly going to be unveiled as the newest Arsenal signing on Monday, right?

Right… Arsene will unveil him right after we send Adebayor to AC Milan for £20m plus Flamini. Wait, £20m PLUS a player for Adebayor? Something doesn’t add up. See, I put Adebayor’s value at around £15m and rumor has it that Flamini has a huge annual salary, one that we didn’t want to pay and that now AC Milan doesn’t really want to pay either. So, if you take Adebayor’s £20m and SUBTRACT the inflation on Flamini’s contract I bet this drags Adebayor’s value down to the £15m range!

Perfect! So this too is a done deal, right?