After a play-off weekend, it was always likely that we would be talking about one of the star players on show. Given at Crewe Alexandra’s record of producing good young players, it is no surprise that Arsenal and Manchester United are being linked with matchwinner Nick Powell.
Bendtner Mark II is on form before Arsenal switch?
The teenage midfielder will not be 19 until March, yet as already clocked up over 50 games in the league for Crewe scoring 14 goals in scoring 14 goals in the process. His goal for Crewe in the League Two play-off final opened the scoring and showcased what looks like a prodigious talent: a good first touch with his right foot to set up a volley with his weaker left foot.
There has been transfer speculation linking the England Under 18 international with a move to Arsenal for more than two years. His performance at Wembley indicates that he is certainly one for the future, but whether it will be at Arsenal remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, another so-called long-term Arsenal transfer target Mohamed Diamé is also being linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium. The 24-year-old Wigan defensive midfielder is, apparently, in London looking for a new club now that his contract is about to expire. I think he would make a good squad player but I’m not sure Arsenal will be prepared to offer him regular first-team football, and that’s why I think he is more likely to choose another London club like Fulham, for example.
Another 24-year-old midfielder who could be joining us, according to the Daily Mail, is Odil Ahmedov of the Russian league. He is currently playing for Anzhi Makhachkala, who are interested in signing Robin van Persie. The way this story is going the next thing I expect to see in the newspapers is Anzhi conclude sensational swap deal with Arsenal, with the Uzbekistan International joining us and our Dutch talisman leaving us with our bank balance in super surplus again! Not really! But I thought I should put my thoughts into writing in case it does happen, in which case I will say “you heard it here first”. The good thing about Ahmedov is he has been quoted as saying the following: “I want to try in England or Spain. Clearly all the clubs in Spain and England are wonderful, but I would like, if I had the choice, to play at Arsenal.”
The same newspaper is suggesting that Robin van Persie is almost certain to leave. An unnamed Arsenal source said: “Arsenal know it’s not about money even if they offered them personally what
[Man] City can pay it would make no difference if he doesn’t believe the club can challenge the trophies.”
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, remains convinced that van Persie will stay. He told Fox Soccer: “I am confident you will see Robin van Persie in the Premier league and I’m very confident you will see him and red and white.” The problem I have with that comment is Manchester United also play in red and white! Surely we will not sell our best player to the team that finished just one spot above us in the league! However, stranger things have happened in football so the unexpected never really surprises me.
One striker we want be so sad to lose is Nicklas Bendtner. It sounds like our Great Dane already has a number of options on the table. He is quoted on Sky Sports as saying: “Yes, I have talked to other clubs. I have told all the clubs that I want to wait until after Euro 2012. We have got plenty of time to sort out the future.” It seems that German champions Borussia Dortmund are very interested in signing the 24-year-old Denmark international striker. I know he has a reputation of being a bit of the bighead, to say the least, but I’m still not sure that he want become a big star one day. He’s never going to be a Thierry Henry, yet he still offers an aerial threat in a similar way to Andy Carroll at Liverpool. If Super Nick returns to Arsenal, I for one will not be disappointed as I think the best is yet to come.
Finally, there’s an interesting article on Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth website which questions the club’s policy of signing non-EU youngsters and then loaning them out to get a work permit elsewhere. Without stealing his thunder and going through the article in detail, I will say he mentions Carlos Vela, Pedro Botelho (who is on his fifth loan spell in Spain now), Bolivian international Samuel Galindo, Ryo Miyaichi and fractured-leg victim Wellington. It’s well worth the read so I suggest you have a look for yourself.
Just before I go, I’d like to mention that I saw Arsenal transfer target Olivier Giroud play for France against Iceland as a substitute. He certainly made a difference setting up two goals which turned a certain defeat into a not particularly well deserved victory. Based on what I saw, I’d say Giroud is not blessed with blistering pace, but he’s good in the air and has a deft touch on the ground. A bit like Nicklas Bendtner!