Official News: Star is staying

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So despite all the rumblings that Hleb can buy out his contract, Le boss has come out and said twinkle toes has 2 years left on his contract and he is not for sale. I am no expert in ‘Websters Law’ but I thought you could only invoke it it if you had 1 year left on your contract… something Wenger seems to believe.

“Alex Hleb has two years’ contract [left],”

“He is not for sale.”

Good for you Arsene, that sounds distinctly like you are telling a player he can’t go? Are you finally showing some back bone when it come to players? If so, Le Grove salutes you! A contract is a contract, end of.

In other news, the Flamster still hasn’t decided what he is doing. Le boss said,

‘The deadline moved for negotiation problems. Only he could tell you [whether he will go or not]. For me yes he stays, but does he tell me the complete truth, I don’t know.’

What a marvelous guy Flamini is, he is most likely waiting to see whether Milan make it into Europe next season before he decides… all at the expense of his current club. If he goes, I would wager some cash on him not making it. Arsenal suits his game, and only this particular team… he has never looked that great in seasons past (Centre Mid), and I would say a few other players are responsible for raising his profile.

Anyway, I’d like him to stay, but if he leaves… so be it. He has certainly shown a lack of class and respect for the fans during this contract debacle. Only at Arsenal eh?

Wenger was in bullish mood in the press conference yesterday,

‘If we won at Man United, which we could have done, we would be champions.’

‘You cannot say just these two have been good and the rest are rubbish.’

‘It was very tight between the three teams.’

I believe there is a saying that goes,

‘If your Aunty had bollocks, she’d be your Uncle.’

I agree that it has been tight this season, but at the end of the day Arsenal capitulated. We weren’t in the chasing pack all season… we led, then fell away with some costly draws.

Lets hope he has some plans for the summer, because a little tweak in the right areas could give us the extra 6 points next year.

At least now you can enjoy your breakfast safe in the knowledge only one player can leave.

Have a good day Grovers!


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£7 Michael Johnson, DD to return and Kolo urges Henry to come home.

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The latest rumour on the mill is that Man City starlet Michael Johnson is being eyed up by Wenger, this is a signing I would like, he reminds me of Carrick/Flamini with a bit of Petit rolled in there, I would prefer Barry but that’s looking unlikely.

There’s talk of Mark Milligan from Sydney coming but that has to be nonsense, not that I have anything against Aussie footballers, but it’s hardly premiership quality in that league and we need finished products, not more hopefuls.

With the departure of Edelman yesterday, talk is of bringing Dein back, I would welcome that as he knew where the cheque book was stored, but that’s a long shot, and by now they may have moved it to a shoebox that Dein doesn’t know about.

I thought that Dein had fallen out with the board about overseas investment and there was no way back except through Trojan horse Usmanov, but why has Edelman gone then? Stranger things have happened.

Unless of course he got canned for lying about how much we had in the transfer kitty, time will tell, but getting rid of him with two games to go tells me something is about to happen.

Kolo has said he will call Thierry and urge him to come home and that I welcome, come back on a reduced salary and help coach the kids through, I know he’s injured a lot, but who isn’t at Arsenal these days eh?

I know a lot of you will be against it, but it does make sense to have some experience back in, a bit like Dennis was and he retired at 36, so with him, Henry and Adams back, it could be a match made in heaven.

Today’s press conference will let us know whether or not Flamini’s going, but if he does I hope to hell we replace him with someone either proven, or ready.

Gattuso isn’t the one for me, he hasn’t the flair we need, Kolo can do a Gattuso job if needed.

There has been talk of Sergio Ramos but I can’t see Madrid letting him go, Robinho would be great, but where would we get the money, unless of course we could peruade them that Eboue would suit them better than what they have currently.

Back to Everton, we need to win not just for the chance of landing the league, but as a send off to us, the fans.

Why Wenger is resting Robin is a mystery, what precaution boss, it’s the end of the season?

Finally with all this talk about climate change and carbon footprints, what would the carbon footprint be to send two lots of fans to Moscow for a day? Or should I say one lot as the Chavs don’t have any supporters.

I know a chav (formerly a Leicester fan until he got free tickets) and he’s going to Portugal to play golf instead, imagine that? Well that’s a Chelsea fan for you.

Finally many of you new bloggers were held in moderation in the early hours, sorry about that, you’re on now, so a belated welcome.

Have a speculative day Grovers, we may know more tonight!


Houston we have a problem: Flamini and Hleb clear lockers

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So without much to talk about in the world of Arsenal, I thought I’d have a look at the worst case scenario for us this summer.

There has been talk of Ade leaving, but I think that is a load of old tosh. Ade has catapulted himself onto the wanted list of most major European clubs this summer and his agent knows this.

Chapter 1 in the ‘Beginners guide to becoming an Agent‘ is titled:

1.0. Why earn less, when you can earn more?

So lets not get our knickers in a twist over this minor problem because at the end of the day, if somone offers you 20k more a year in your current job, you’re not staying loyal to the manager who taught you how to do a pivot table in excel… right?

The problem we have at the moment is that someone is saying to Flamini, here is £20k a week more, oh, and here is another £2million to sweeten the deal. You have to say, that would be pretty hard to turn down. I have faith he will stay, but I had faith that Henry, Paddy, Overmars, Petit and Anelka would stay. I think they call it blind faith or something?

The Hleb deal is also interesting because he has the option of buying himself out of his own contract and getting a signing on fee. Again, I have faith, but lets just say both are greedy bastards and decide to make way.

So what will we be losing?

Flamini is a good player. I like to think of him as Ray Parlour on red bull. He averages 18 miles a game, and rumour has it he runs home instead of getting on the team coach. He has bundles of passion, bundles of drive and he is just about to reach his prime. Since his introduction into the midfield, Cesc has been given more freedom to roam and Arsenal’s attacks have been able to move forward quicker.

He is good, but he is not world class (Yet).

Hleb is a great dribbler of the ball, I like to think of him as Messi with no product. When Messi was running about like a headless chicken the other night I couldn’t help but think of Hleb. The things the man can do with the ball amaze me, he brings Cesc into the game, he pulls defenders out of position and I would say he is just as responsible for the team ticking as Fab4.

Like I said though, he has no end product. No shot and minimal assists. This cannot be over looked, he is there to produce, not look pretty and make the purists go, ‘Wow, he is soooo technically gifted’.

So what are the options from within if both leave?

Flamini internal promotion candidates

Diaby: Patrick Vieira’s younger brother and illegitimate love child of Will Smith. He has been played predominantly out wide this season despite preferring a central role. He is immensely skilful, but a bit tackle shy. He has an eye for the odd spectacular goal, but he also has an eye for a shockingly inaccurate 3 yard pass. Is he good enough to takeover that CM birth? Maybe… but I wouldn’t bet my house on him being a success.

Gilberto: I love him for his loyalty and commitment on the pitch. He is a model professional but some would say he is past it. I wouldn’t agree with them, I think he has a lot to offer the team and his recent form has proved that he doesn’t need to start drawing a pension just yet. There is life in those legs, the question is… is it a step backwards considering our finishing position last year?

Denilson: I don’t get Denilson. He plays some lovely passes, he is quick and does like to stick the boot in every now and then. For me, he has had a bad case of ‘secondseasonitis’. He hasn’t really offered the team that much this year… bar a cracking goal against Newcastle in the Carling Cup and RvP some company in the physio room. He is very light weight for a stocky chap so I think I would rule him out as a candidate.

Hleb internal promotion candidates

Walcott: Theo loves to play down the middle, but with competition stiff up front – a place out wide in the Hleb role could be the only way to secure a starting birth next year. He is fast, he is starting to develop some tricks and he is gaining more confidence with his shooting. I don’t know what you guys think, but I’ve noticed lately that he is trying to thread his passes through the eye of a needle… just like Hleb does. Is Theo impersonating Hleb… to become HLEB! No… because Theo had a shot the other night. A good option though.

Vela: What… the greatest player since God put on a pair of football boots? Oh yes, King of Osasuna… President of Potential… Duke of Youtube…! CARLOS VELA! He did well against Madrid didn’t he? He even has his own blog… how much do I know about him? Zero. Could he be played out on the wing next year? Probably! Would he be good? Maybe… Did I say he played well against Real Madrid? Screw it… he is going to be a sensation! Problem solved!

RvP: Contentious call… but, he does play out wide for Holland and he does a bloody marvellous job too. He could still take all the freekicks, he could score goals from midfield and he could allow us to have a little and large partnership up front (Ade + Eddie, Theo, Vela…). Could he be the perfect solution? I think so… will that happen? Doubtful… he is never fit!

Who could we bring in from outside?

I have no idea! I’ll give you 3 names for each to chew on though:

Flamini replacement:

  • Diarra (Madrid)
  • Veloso (Sporting)
  • Gattuso (Milan)

Hleb replacement:

  • Elano (Man City)
  • Arfa (Lyon)
  • Robinho (Madrid)

I know there will be a minority of people who will come on and moan about the Championship manager type suggestions, but to them I say,

‘Go and blog on Arsenal.com…’

You’ll never get an ounce of transfer speculation over there.

I like talking about potential transfer targets, as do all the Grovers.

So, I have given you 12 names to run the rule over. It’s the age old battle of internal vs external recruitment and Arsene Wenger is going to let you make the decision for him in the comments section.

I hope you have enough to talk about!

Happy blogging Grovers!

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