Goooooooooooood morning sports people.
Why the big gooooooooood? Because goooooood news hit the newswires last night. So much good news, I felt like doing one of those little dances you do on your own when you're watching Arsenal tanking Spurs.
Anyway, here's the good news in order of goodness.
He's leaving people. The man with the million dollar smile is upping sticks and heading over to Hannover to continue his career. I have no idea what the details of the deal look like, but it's highly likely he took a pay cut to head over to Germany. He was apparently 4 months away from his testimonial season, pretty poor when you consider he barely managed 120 games over that time period. I always find it amusing when people talk about him as a great servant of the club. Please... he was anything but. He had a very small stint as a half decent player, the rest of his career was littered with defensive hashes and big fat pay days.
Still, he's gone now and I think we might have even managed to land a fee.
Yep, he's finally coming to the end of his tether.
"I will be out of contract at the end of the season. As things stand, I will leave, perhaps during the January transfer window or else in June."
'Marseille, Nice, Monaco, Bastia and Ajaccio are clubs who speak to me. I am 32, and I still have two or three good seasons left.'
Now, I can slightly understand this guys intentions for staying with us. He was never going to get another contract that good. He's right at the back end of his career, so it would have been silly for him to go. I also kind of understand why we bought him. He was Champions League experienced (a runner up I think), he'd been capped internationally when France were good and he'd performed well in La Liga. Things just didn't work out for him. Still, at least that's potentially another £3million off our bloated wage bill.
Now, I'm not that excited about this guy going because he's an absolute talent. However, for whatever reason, be it laziness or not being played in his favoured position... he's rumoured to be off. PSV are the favoured destination with Reading dropping out of the race. He'd be looking to link up with former Russia coach Dick Advocaat. I thought obtaining European residency was an issue for him... I was told the other day if you buy property in Spain they'll give you residency within 2 years. Just putting it out there Andrey... they grow nice oranges and they have this stuff called chorizo you might like.
Lille are showing an interest in him. I have nothing more than that. We get this every transfer window. Then his agent writes the number a week he earns in pound notes... and things go down hill pretty sharply after that. I don't really hold out any hope for the Morrocan leaving. From what I've been told, the reason he won't go is because he doesn't want to. He likes living the lazy life in London and he's perfectly happy as he is. How a professional athlete can behave like that is beyond me.
Total Wage Bill Reduction: £277k p/w n(£14.4m)
As for the the other major rumours flying around? Well, they're as followed.
Firstly, the major one for us is that Theo Walcott is apparently set to agree a brand spanking new deal with Arsenal. He's looking ink a new £90k a week contract over the course of 68 years. I half expected him to sign on the dotted line, I don't think he'll get the same footballing opportunities elsewhere unless he proves beyond doubt he can be a striker for Arsenal. This news has apparently shelved our interest in Zaha. I'm not quite sure how that works. Isn't Zaha a winger... and isn't Theo now a striker? If we think the Crystal Palace man is that good, shouldn't we be snapping him up anyway?
Adrian Lopez is a big time on our radar apparently. Wenger isn't interested in paying out on his £14million buyout clause. Why would he? His deal is up in a few months time. Simple fact here is that Arsenal are in for a striker of some sort as Wenger has curtailed his interest in Thierry again. I'll be mightily hacked off if we don't get Lopez this window because we were haggling around the £3million mark. It wouldn't be out of character for Wenger to balls up the second half of a year because he'd rather have depleted squad than spend some money. He did it with Cahill... he went to Chelsea and won the Champions League.
Palermo midfielder Afriyie Acquah whose real first name is Ebeneezer is also on a radar. This seems like a Wenger signing. A big, bustling athlete no one's heard off. On the other hand, it sound so curve ball, I wouldn't be surprised if it was pure agent talk. Zarate of ex-Birmingham notoriety is having a contract fight with Lazio... we always get linked to him, I think he's talented, but I doubt he's on our radar.
It's Swansea in the FA Cup this weekend. The big question is whether our core of British players care about the competition as much as the domestic fans do? Kieran Gibbs, the go to man after a defeat beleives so.
"It would be great to get a trophy, of course. We go to Swansea like it's one of our biggest games of the season,"
Good chat Gibbsy... more on that game tomorrow!
Wow... a busy morning eh? Who do you think is smoke and who do you think is fire? Let us know in the comments!