2. Alvaro Morata (Juventus)
Described by those with limited vocabulary as a top class centre forward. He is also “only 23” and is already a top class centre forward. (Told you so). He is with Juventus but Los Galacticos (a mountain range in central Spain) can bring him back with payment of around £21m. Which would then raise multiple ??? about Karim Benzema’s future as a naughty boy so Arsenal could get the cast off.
4. “Bayer Leverkusen give Arsene Wenger green light to sign Lars Bender’
This one must be true because it is in the Telegraph. Germany’s Lars Bender is “likely to be out until at least the New Year with an ankle injury.” So of course the papers line him up for Arsenal. A theme, you may notice, is developing.
“Bender would bring experience and authority to Arsenal’s central midfield.” Oh so Ozil doesn’t?
5. “Icardi is not part of the football family” – Maradona.
He has what the upper class press call a “rather lurid personal life played out in the tabloids”. Arsene Wenger is “preparing a huge January offer” for the Inter player according to those who know nothing about such things.
This is because we only have Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck. Icardi wouldn’t get injured like they do (well two of the three) but he would probably be “not in the right frame of mind” a lot, so he’s ideal for the media. The cost is £30m plus some legal fees to settle outstanding affairs.
As 22 he became “the youngest capocannoniere” (that is top goal scorer to the likes of you and me) in the Serie A since Paolo Rossi in 1978. But this is Italy. Top goal scorer means four goals.
Icardi said recently, “I’m a striker and I can only score if the ball gets to me. In 10 games I received four decent passes and scored three goals. That seems like a good average to me.”
6. Ilkay Gundogan, Borussia Dortmund
He’s 25, which is what make the press think that Arsene Wenger will sign him. The one thing that makes this just slightly possible is that he could play in the Coquelin role and then move into any other midfield position.
7. Daniele Rugani – Juventus
Rugani joined Juve but there is some sort of deal that has had him at Empoli for two years only to fail to make any appearances for Juventus when he returned. But that’s Italy for you. Prepare headline: “Arsenal sign Juventus flop.”
8. Rico Henry Walsall
He is a left back, and someone called him the “next Ashley Cole” which is enough to frighten most people away. Cue newspaper talk of “Arsenal have struggled to convince at left-back since Gael Clichy left the club with Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs both failing to lock down to position”. Honest that is an actual quote from the Independent, cut and pasted in a whole raft of other publications. On that basis he’s ours. Also on that basis the Indy really ought to hire a journalist.
9. Adrien Rabiot, Paris St Germain
22 years old (or 20 depending on the paper you read) playing in attack, or further back. But worries abound about the physical side of his game so he could go to Tottenham. Or Roma. But he could come in and replace Coquelin and then move positions when he recovers from injury.
10. Gonzalo Higuian – Napoli
Famously seen at the airport as the football world shuffled around the move of Ozil to Arsenal and Bale to Real Mad, the press still hark back to him when there is not much else to write about. Benitez left in the summer and he was demanding Higuain stayed, and Chelsea are desperate for anyone who can run around a bit.
11. Riechedly Bazoer, Ajax
Another central midfielder, he said no to Arsenal when he was 16. Once again a player who has multiple uses around midfield. Cue: Arsenal buy yet another midfielder shock horror. Oh yes he is injured, so that’s it then. A certainty.
12. Karim Benzema, Real Madrid
“The transfer rumour that just will not die” as one paper put it. “The journalists who are too lazy even to seek out a story,” is more likely.
Here’s another goodie: “Real Madrid may take a dim view if Benzema is convicted for alleged involvement in the Mathieu Valbuena sex tape blackmail plot. Similarly, Arsenal may not be too keen to sign him then, either.”
Cue tears in my eyes. That’s why I love writing this column. “May not be too keen” on a signing a player about to spend four years in prison? Oh surely not.
13. Vincent Koziello, Nice
Played 21 times for Nice as an attacking midfielder about the same height as Santi Caz so he could stand next to Mert in the line ups while Santi is out.
14. Michy Batshuayi – Marseille
He is 22, he is a striker, plays for Belgium and Chelsea want him of course. £35m is the price. The 22-year-old striker is believed to be “on the radar” (what does that really mean in your actual day to day life???) of both Arsenal and Chelsea. Marseille know oil money when it appears through the door and have put the price up to £35m.
15. Ruben Neves, Porto
Hey look here is a defensive midfielder for just £22m. Chelsea want him. Oh that means £30m now.
16. Andrija Zivkovic, Partizan Belgrade
The youngest player ever to play for Serbia, and now captain of Partizan at 19. Chelsea want him. The Serbian Messi he is called. So that’s good then.
17. Alexandre Pato, Corinthians
AC Milan striker, now on loan in Sao Paulo with Corinthians. A loan option because with Theo and Giroud fit, we don’t have any strikers. Er….
18. Jese Rodriguez
“Arsenal could deal with Alexis Sanchez’s absence through injury by signing Real Madrid starlet Jese Rodriguez up front.” And then when Alexis is back in a few weeks? Oh. Yes this signing means that we get Rodriguez just as Sanchez is ready to play again, which makes the normal sort of sense of any transfer.
Here’s a really funny take on this. “Arsenal have been linked with Jese in the past, though his future will likely hinge on what happens with Karim Benzema in the wake of the Mathieu Valbuena sextape scandal.” Oh really?
He has had a serious knee injury so that sounds like Arsenal’s sort of player (in fact I am sure the people who make all this up now do this. Who is injured? Oh right, create the rumour about Arsenal).
19. Abdelhak Nouri, Ajax
“Louis van Gaal sets sights on wonderkid” says the headline and Arsenal are pursuing him. Yes it is Louis van Gaal against Steve Rowley, with Tottenham, Southampton, Everton and PSG hanging on the coat tails.
“United and Arsenal are tracking the attacking midfielder ahead of a potential swoop,” according to the all-seeing Daily Mail. Actually I really want to print their whole report…
Ajax teenager Abdelhak Nouri is being pursued by both Manchester United and Arsenal.
The 18-year-old, a youth international for Holland, has attracted interest from clubs across Europe
Louis van Gaal is taking particular interest in United’s pursuit of Nouri given his close links with the Amsterdam club.
Indeed, Gunners chief scout Steve Rowley has made several personal checks on the talented teen.
Scouts from Tottenham, Southampton and Everton have watched Nouri extensively in recent months.
Scouts from Tottenham, Southampton and Everton have also watched Nouri extensively in recent months
Louis van Gaal, who has close links to Ajax, is taking a personal interest in signing the Dutch youngster
Likewise, Paris Saint Germain and Marseille are also showing a keen interest.
Ajax are understandably keen to keep their promising youngster, who captains Ajax and Holland’s Under-19 teams.
Nouri is expected to become a regular in the Ajax senior squad before the end of the season.
However, the Dutch giants may decided to fast-track the youngster into Frank de Boer’s set-up in an attempt to convince Nouri his future remains in the Dutch capital.
After that I don’t think I can go on any further. You can make up number 20 yourself.
Anniversaries – the full list of anniversaries can be found here
7 December 1909: Henry Norris, acting as Mayor of Fulham, helped the Church Commissioners save face after there was public uproar over the Church’s decision to rent its land in a residential area to an oil storage company. The event undoubtedly led to a rapport which Norris used in his favour when renting Highbury.
7 December 1940: Jack Lambert (Arsenal’s reserve coach) died in car accident aged 38. He had played 143 league games for Arsenal and scored an amazing 98 league goals making him the most prolific goalscorer who played over 100 games in Arsenal’s history.
The Untold Books
Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99. For more details and to buy a copyplease click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search forWoolwich Arsenal.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal
- The Arsenal Yankee By Danny Karbassiyoon
- Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970. By John Sowman. Introduction by Bob Wilson.