Blog Archives

Laurent Koscielny: Arsenal wait on news of defender’s head injury


The 27-year-old French centre-back was taken to hospital after being kicked by Fenerbahce forward Pierre Webo.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: “We have to check that there’s no bone broken. He opened the skull but it’s very deep, it’s very, very deep.”

Continue reading the main story

“We have to check that there’s no bone broken. He opened the skull but it’s very deep, it’s very very deep”

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal won the first leg of their play-off tie 3-0 in Istanbul.

The return is at Emirates Stadium on 27 August, with the winners progressing to the group stage.

The Gunners are already missing one of their first-choice centre-backs, captain Thomas Vermaelen, until mid-September because of a back injury.

Arsenal, who will be without midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain until November, have also suffered injuries to other key players such as Mikel Arteta this season while fringe players such as Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci have been allowed to leave.

With no recognised centre-backs on the bench against Fenerbahce, full-back Bacary Sagna had to fill in alongside Per Mertesacker in the middle of defence.

Webo was booked for the challenge that injured Koscielny, and Wenger added: “I was not happy with the kick because I feel always that you can ease a bit off. Only the player in the end will know what he did.

“Koscielny has opened very deeply the skull. We are concerned because we had to send him to hospital to see if he has not broken a bone. We are waiting for him to come back now, for information to find out if he can fly home with us.”


Luis Suarez arrives in Melbourne ahead of showdown talks with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers


Suarez arrived in Melbourne at lunchtime after flying in on an overnight flight from South America.

The Uruguay forward, given an extended summer break by the club after playing in the Confederations Cup last month, is a target for Arsenal and Real Madrid after publicly admitting his determination to leave Liverpool.

Arsenal lodged a £30m bid for Suarez last month, an offer rejected by Liverpool, but the player is understood to remain keen to move this summer, despite linking up with the squad in Australia.

With his Liverpool team-mates yet to arrive in Melbourne following Saturday’s friendly game in Jakarta, Indonesia, Suarez is not expected to meet Rodgers until late Sunday evening in the club’s hotel.

Transfer news: Arsenal could be priced out of Gonzalo Higuain deal with Real Madrid’s valuation rocketing to £37m


Arsenal’s hopes of signing Gonzalo Higuain continue to diminish as Real Madrid have upped their asking price of the striker to a reported £37m.

The Gunners had looked close to securing the move for around £23m, but a lack of progress over the last few weeks has seen the move look less likely to happen as each day goes by.

Napoli have also entered the race for the Argentinian, having sold Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain for £55m. Outspoken club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has claimed that they have £108m to spend on bringing in new faces to the Naples club.

Tottenham target Leandro Damiao is believed to be another target of the Serie A side, although no official bid has been made public yet.

Arsene Wenger will be concerned at the lack of progress over a transfer of Higuain, and he may turn his attention to Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, who has come under serious speculation this week over a move away from Old Trafford.

Speaking in Vietnam where his team are currently on a pre-season tour, Wenger spoke on the matter, and admitted that Ronney’s £250,000-a-week wages are no longer out of Arsenal’s price range.

“We do not have any problem with the wages of Wayne Rooney,” said Wenger. “But it’s very difficult for us to talk about any specific case.”

Wenger also spoke on whether he had considered the impact of signing a player from a league rival, mirroring the Robin van Persie saga last summer.

“Do I get the sense United would be unwise or unwilling to sell to a Premier League rival? It happened to us. It can happen to them. Rooney is under contract. He has two years to go. It’s [Manchester] United who make a decision.”

Rooney’s future came into question this week when Chelsea made an unsuccessful bid for the England striker, with rumours that David Luiz or Juan Mata had been offered in return being rubbished by the Blues.

The 27-year-old forward is believed to be angry over comments made by his manager David Moyes suggesting that Rooney will not be first-choice at the club, and Rooney could hand in another transfer request to try and force a move away from the club.

Transfer news: Manchester United face four-way fight for Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas


Sky sources understand United’s opening bid of £25million, communicated to Barcelona on Monday, has sharpened interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.

And Arsenal must now decide whether to follow up their initial interest and take advantage of a clause in Fabregas’ contract allowing them first refusal on their former captain, who rejoined Barca in 2011 following eight years in north London.

For his part, Fabregas has repeatedly said he is happy in Catalonia, and that stance was reiterated by Barca boss Tito Vilanova on Tuesday.

Vilanova said: “It’s normal to receive offers for our players from other teams. We have very good players, and we have to be very happy to have Cesc with us.

“I am conscious that he has received offers for other teams, but I had a conversation with him and he let me know that we wanted to stay here, and his dream is to be successful here.

“So he is not thinking about any other club, not even for money or for minutes, even if he knows all the competition he has here with Xavi, Iniesta and also this year against Sergi and Roberto, but he told me that his dream is to be here. I’m not worried at all.”

“I’m aware there have been offers, I had a conversation with him and he told me that he wanted to continue here and that he didn’t want to go to another big club. He wants to succeed here.”
Tito Vilanova

Sky sources are indicating, though, that Fabregas would be prepared to move if Barca accepted a bid.

That has not happened yet, and United are still awaiting a response to their offer, which was lodged as David Moyes steps up his chase for a creative influence.

The Spanish champions, meanwhile, may be reluctant to lose another midfielder so soon after Thiago Alcantara’s recent move to Bayern Munich.

Speaking last month, Fabregas confirmed he is happy at Barcelona and dismissed talk of his departure by reiterating his desire to stay at the Camp Nou.

“I’ve always said that I’m happy at Barca. Whoever says that I’m leaving doesn’t know me and has never spoken with me,” said the 26-year-old.

“Nor with my agent, because he knows that I don’t want him to talk with other people about me. I’m very private and I don’t even talk about these things with my family.

“If someone says anything that isn’t that I want to play at Barca, it’s completely absurd.”

New United manager Moyes is still waiting to make his first signing after missing out on Thiago.

However, Moyes says he has money to spend this summer and that the Red Devils are looking to land ‘the best players’ around.

After seeing his first game at the United helm end in a 1-0 defeat to the Singha All Star XI on Saturday, Moyes said: “Isn’t it great that the club says, ‘There’s no budget here, you go get who you want to get, just go and do it’.

“We are looking at the best players. I do think it’s important that we show people we are carrying on the traditions and trying to take the club forward.

“I will not name anybody, but certainly we are always looking at the best players. I think we are trying to strengthen in a couple of areas. We are short in midfield.

“We are also a club which tends to invest in the youth side, so you can expect us to go for players in that age group.

“We are working hard to make sure the first signing is the right one. I have been left a really good team and I want to add to it sensibly.”

AdTech Ad Transfer news: Manchester United to make £35m offer for Cesc Fabregas


The Barcelona midfielder has repeatedly said he wants to stay at his hometown club despite difficulty winning over some supporters last season.

That was his second year back in Catalonia following his return from Arsenal, who reportedly have first refusal on Fabregas if Barca decide to sell.

United’s interest remains firm, despite those possible stumbling blocks, as they search for a creative midfield presence to offset the loss of newly-retired Paul Scholes.

And Sky sources understand that interest will be made official imminently.

Fabregas would become the second former Arsenal captain at Old Trafford, alongside Robin van Persie, if the Premier League champions managed to pull off a deal.

Cesc Fabregas subject of €30m bid from Manchester United


United’s offer is being considered but is understood to be below the Spanish club’s valuation of the player.

While Fabregas is not pushing for a move, it is believed he is open to a return to England.

The 26-year-old will be guided by whether Barcelona are prepared to accept an offer for him.

Fabregas came through the Spanish club’s La Masia academy before Arsenal signed him as a 16-year-old in 2003.

He developed as one of the London club’s key players under manager Arsene Wenger before becoming Arsenal captain in November 2008.

The Spain international spent eight years with the Gunners, playing 303 games and scoring 57 goals.

However, he returned to the Nou Camp when he signed a five-year deal with Barcelona in a £25.4m move in August 2011.

He has since helped the Catalan club win the Copa del Rey in 2011-12 and La Liga in 2012-13.

Fabregas has played 96 times in two seasons with Barcelona, including 60 league games, but has rarely featured in his preferred midfield role, with Xavi, 33, and Andres Iniesta, 29, ahead of him.

Fabregas has made 83 appearances for Spain, winning the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship twice.