Arsenal Set to Hijack Utd’s Obradovic Deal?

Sky Sports News report this morning that Arsenal have sensationally thrown their hat into the ring in the race to sign striker Marko Obradovic from Monaco. It had been reported earlier this week that Manchester United and Liverpool both had £19.5m bids for the 22-year old accepted, but news suggests that Arsenal have matched that figure.

Obradovic’s agent Dusan Nikodijevic had already indicated that United had discussed contract terms with the player and his representatives, rumoured to be in the region of £60,000 p/w but it would appear that Arsenal have slapped a higher offer on the table in a bid to scupper them in the race for the Serbian, capped nine times at senior level.

If Anfield sources are to believed, then Liverpool have pulled out of the running as the player’s agent seeks the best financial solution for his client, leaving United and Arsenal in a two-horse race for his signature.

Arsenal currently only have two recognised first-team strikers in the squad, and new manager Surman is keen to give Gianluca Caprari and Kenny Gordon® some competition. Rumours also doing the rounds are that Surman is set to make an offer to his old club Dortmund for the services of £10m-rated right-back Julian Koch.

First Press Conference for New Arsenal Boss

New Arsenal manager Gray Surman has been introduced to the media at the Emirate Stadium in club’s first press day with their new man in charge and the Canadian spoke assertively about his return to club football, and to the stadium he’d visited twice before with Wigan and Dortmund.

Surman’s first trip here was in November 2012 with his Wigan Athletic side winning 1-0 in the Premier League clash, and he visited again with Borussia Dortmund the following year in an entertaining 2-2 Champions League Group Stage draw in December 2013.

Surman has faced Arsenal on four other occasions: a 3-2 FA Cup win in Wigan in January 2013, followed by a 1-1 draw in the Premier League at the DW stadium. In the Champions League, Surman’s Dortmund side won 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park and – most recently – the clubs met in the 2014 UEFA Super Cup with Dortmund winning a five-goal thriller in Cardiff.

During the press conference, Surman revealed that midfielder Jos Verniers had signed a new four-year extension with the club on an increased wage of £50,000 p/w, and spoke about retaining the services of defender Laurent Koscielny and want-away midfidler Jack Wilshere who are both rumoured to be on their way out of Arsenal this summer.

Before Surman spoke, a representative of the Arsenal board announced that the club had sold 22,480 season tickets so far this summer and following Surman’s arrival they were anticipating selling a total of 41,000 before the season kicks-off on 18 August.

Rumours are that Arsenal are in talks with Dortmund over the services of right-back Julian Koch, and may have thrown their hat in the ring late on to scupper the deal taking Serbian striker Marko Obradovic® from Monaco to Manchester United.

FanTV reported afterwards that Koscielny, Vedran Corluka, and Santi Cazorla had all “liked” posts on the club’s social media that featured video clips of Surman’s Q&A.

journalist70Press Conference:
In attendance are Sky Sports News, London Evening Standard,
TEAMtalk, Guardian, Football365, Daily Mirror, and The Metro.

surman70Arsenal FC:
Introducing former-Wigan and Dortmund head coach Gray Surman
as the new First Team Manager here at the Emirates Stadium in London.

“I am absolutely delighted to be here, and be back at the business end of a top club. I’m looking forward to being involved from the seniors to the academy, encouraging attractive football in partnership with the key Arsenal philosophy of nurturing youth on their way into the first team.

“The achievements of the club in Europe over the last three seasons have been great, but my main focus will be on the Premier League and getting the club back in the top four and back in the Champions League. That’s not to diminish any cup competitions we find ourselves in, as a winning run always brings a great morale boost to any squad.

“The backroom staff here are part of a fantastic setup and I feel it would be foolish to meddle with that. They have the experience of the players here. As much as I am very fond of my staff from Dortmund, we haven’t worked with each other for three years and I don’t want to disrupt their various projects.

“I’m aware that Laurent has been linked with other clubs, but I feel he would be an integral part of any title-chasing defence and I’ll do my utmost to keep him here. Similarly, Jack had made his feelings known to the previous management of his desire to move on from Arsenal, but I will take time to sit down with him and see if we’re on the same page with regards to what we should be achieving this season.

“The facilities here are wonderful with a high quality of players and staff so it’s unlikely that I’ll be making sweeping changes at any level. Though with new management comes a new opportunity to inject new life into any squad. I’m keen to add two or three faces to add depth to the squad and provide some competition in key areas.

“We could be a little light at the back should any long-term injuries fall our way by the time the Europa League starts. A World Cup year is always one where some big names make moves, and I’ll be keeping tabs on who could be available for us. We have already made enquiries with a couple of clubs with regards to potential deals, and more details will follow should we enter deeper discussions.

“There’s money in the kitty, and the chairman has provided the facility to increase our current wage budget by about a third of current spending to accommodate additions to the squad, including any contract renewals this season. Jos is a player I’m looking forward to working with again, and I’m pleased to announce that he has agreed a new four-year deal after my arrival here.”

Baewatch: £5m Praet Completes Move to Villa

RTFM’s favourite player in the entire world, Dennis Praet, has today completed a £5m move from Liverpool to Aston Villa. The 24-year old Belgian had spent eighteen months at Anfield following his £8.25m move from Borussia Dortmund in January 2017.

Signed by then-Dortmund manager Gray Surman for £3.5m from Anderlecht in the summer of 2013, the Belgian midfielder made 58 appearances in Bundesliga, making 25 assists and scoring three, winning the league three times, and lifting the Champions League in 2014 as well as making his full international début.

Chances at Liverpool were limited with Praet making just ten Premier League appearances last season as the club laboured to 7th in the league. His last match in red came in the Europa League at Shakhtar where he scored Liverpool’s fourth in a 4-2 win.

Villa have finished 8th-10th-8th in the last three seasons in the Premier League, and have been managed by Pasquale Marino since December 2016.

Angel Di María and the Day’s Free Transfers

Tottenham fans will be waking up this morning to the news that Angel Di María has joined on a free transfer after his contract expired at Real Madrid. The attacking midfielder only made six La Liga appearances for Real over the last two seasons, having made over 150 (scoring 42)  in the previous six seasons since his £22.5m arrival from Benfica.

Left out of Argentina’s 23-man squad for the World Cup, the 30-year old last played for this country in the 1-4 qualifying defeat in Chile which saw him pick-up two yellow cards within five second-half minutes.

Leaving Tottenham today is Olivier Giroud who joins Marseille on a free. The 31-year old striker joined in a part-exchange deal involving Magnus Wolff Eikrem from Bayern Munich in January 2016. He made 27 Premier League appearances for Spurs, scoring thirteen.

Other significant free transfers today see Dusan Tadic joining Manchester Untied from FC Twente, Nathan Aké joins Leicester from Chelsea having spent last season at Hearts, and David Luiz leaves Chelsea for Borussia Dortmund.

Some high-profile players find themselves without gainful employment this morning after not signing contract renewals at their clubs. The list includes: Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester United), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Carlos Tevez (Liverpool), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Mario Mandzukic (Tottenham), Bacary Sagna (PSG), Sven Bender (Dortmund), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern), Daniele Di Rossi (Roma), Nigel De Jong and Kevin-Prince Boateng (AC Milan).

Arise Saint Will! Hughes Completes £18m Move

Will Hughes has today completed an £18m move from Wigan Athletic to Southampton following the Lancashire club’s relegation from the Premier League last season. Hughes, in Ireland at the Euros with England U21s, is the second arrival at St Mary’s after the £6m signing of Karel Stepanek® from Greek side Atromitos.

The 23-year old attacking midfielder had scored 29 Premier League goals since his arrival at Wigan from Derby for £3m in January 2015, but is the first player to leave following the end of Latics’ thirteen-year adventure in the top flight, relegated on the final day with a 1-3 defeat at Newcastle which kept the hosts up.

The £18m fee is a record for both clubs. Saints’ previous largest outlay was the £12m signing of Gaston Ramírez (now at AC Milan) from Bologna in 2012, while the deal beat the £16.75m received by Wigan from Manchester United for Antonio Valencia (now at Spurs) in the summer of 2009.

Hughes has five senior England caps, scoring the only goal in a friendly win over Wales at Wembley in January 2017. So far in Ireland, England have lost to Italy and beat the Netherlands in their opening two group matches at the U21 Euros. They play Scotland tomorrow for a place in the semi-finals.

Fabio Borini Completes £36m Move To Etihad

Fabio Borini has become the biggest transfer between two English clubs since Lucas Leiva’s £42m move from Liverpool to Tottenham in the summer of 2014. The Liverpool striker has joined Manchester City for £36.5m after six seasons at Anfield, netting the club £26m in profit.

With 36 goals in the league over the past two seasons, Borini scored a total of 75 goals in 194 Premier League matches during his time at Liverpool, and was runner-up to Leandro Damião for the Golden Boot in 2017.

Borini joins £20m man Stephan El Shaarawy and Manolo Gabbiadini (Juventus, £10m) as new arrivals at the Etihad Stadium this summer. Man City also look close to a £9m deal for Chelsea’s wantaway midfielder Joe Allen.

With a Euro 2016 winners medal in his collection, the 27-year old has been capped 35 times by his country, scoring 21. Borini is with the Italy squad at the World Cup, but was an unused sub in their opening 4-0 win over Wales on Saturday.