Gazidis Rejects Usmanov, Like a Boss


Busy day yesterday in Arsenal world, so let’s get stuck in.

First, Arseblog scoops everyone with his interview of Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis. It is an impressive and professional interview, and could easily be used as a template for any aspiring journalists. Remember Giovanni’s goal against Arsenal last year? You know the one, left side of the pitch, he hits a screamer with the outside of his right foot, postage stamp? Arseblog’s interview is like that, except if Giovanni played for Arsenal and hit the goal. You know what I mean… Blogs 1-0 Press.

Then, to add to the surreality of our world, The Telegraph catches on to Arseblogs hilarious Adebayor brochure, after it’s made the rounds, and publishes it in today’s paper. 4 days after even I had made mention of it. Blogs 2-0 Press.

So, now, like the circle of life, here I am talking about that, and how the blogosphere scooped them, which I’m sure they will talk about next week some time, and then it will be 3-0 to the bloggers.

Did that make sense?

Anyway, there’s no reason for me to rehash the Arseblog interview with Gazidis, it’s been hashed plenty. If you want to know how many dozen players Arsenal are signing this year for how many billions of pounds each, you should just go and read it.

I will say this, Ivan Gazidis, in the interview on Arseblog and on the dot com, comes off as a very impressive speaker and thinker and with him at the helm, I think Arsenal’s in very good hands. He says that he wants to grow the club’s brand, to increase the international presence, and there’s more than one hint that Arsene Wenger is at the club for the long haul.  Moreover, the whole club seems to be aching for a trophy and everyone, from players to the CEO, claim that this is going to be our year. From the dot com he said:

We’re laser focused on next season. Our young players have some very valuable high level experience under their belts and will be one year older and better, mentally and physically. They will learn the lessons from last season and will be better players next year as a result. They are ready for the challenge, believe me. If we have a successful and healthy pre-season preparation, we will have extra depth in the squad, with a fully-fit Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky returning, and Andrey Arshavin eligible for all competitions. In addition, Thomas Vermaelen will be available from the outset.

Did he just say that Eduardo, Rosicky, Arshavin and Vermaelen are all going to have frickin lasers on their heads this season? Holy crap, who needs a midfield enforcer when we’ve got Vermaelen with lasers???

Seriously though, every Arsenal supporter would love to see Arsenal bring in an experienced central midfield partner for Cesc. Which makes us all get uptight when we see a story that oft reported Arsenal target Felipe Melo is not signing for Arsenal but is instead signing for Juventus. Two words about that story my friends: The Sun.

This transfer has been up and down, left and right, there’s even an Eboue thrown into the mix, so you’ll pardon me if I take what the Sun has to say about it with a huge grain of salt. In fact, fark that, I’m not even taking it with salt. I will wait until I see him in a Juventus kit before I believe a word that fish-wrapper has to say.

And if we do lose out on Melo, oh well, there’s Blaise Matuidi or, and I really do think he’s on our radar, Lorik Cana. Speaking of which, here’s why I think it’s going to be Cana and not Matuidi or Melo: first, Wenger tried to bring him in to the club when he was younger — that means we’ve been tracking him a long time and we all know how Wenger likes to keep tabs on folks a long time before buying them. Second, he’s cheap. At a mere £6.5m, he fits in Arsenal’s budget, Melo’s reported £21.5m does not. Don’t believe me? Read the Gazidis interviews. Third, he’s not French but speaks the language and plays on a French team (Olympique de Marseille). And finally, when Wenger buys, he likes to surprise. So, erm, don’t be surprised to see someone other than Melo come in.

And finally, in the time honored tradition of “incendiary headline, tiny news blip” I will end today’s article with a huge “meh” and simply say, yes, the board rejected Usmanov’s rights issue. From what I’ve read, it looks like it was exactly what we all feared: a publicity stunt to get Red & White holdings some press over the possibility of big spending on incoming players in the off season. Gazidis basically said that because of the way our debt is structured and our super low interest rate, the rights issue would not have cleared up enough principle to free up a significant amount of money annually.

That’s what they are publicly saying about this rights issue. I have no reason to think they are lying.

That said, I do have every reason to expect that Usmanov and his cronies will now do a full court press in the papers and we should see more “spendthrift Arsenal” and “only a big money backer can get Arsenal fans a trophy” articles in 3… 2…

P.S. Yay for van Persie and yay for Arsenal, him signing a long term deal with the club is one of the strategies that Gazidis talked about in his interviews yesterday. You mean you haven’t read them yet? What’s wrong with you???

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


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:


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.