Backpage Roundup: Wenger on Guardiola, Chelsea, RVP Future and More

Arsenal Target Being Chased By Inter and Bayern

It has been reported by the Daily Mail that long-term Arsenal target Yann M’Vila is also attracting interest from Italian giants Inter Milan and Champions League finalists Bayern Munich.

The Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been an admirer of the highly-rated Rennes midfielder for a long time but has been reluctant to match his current employers’ asking price of £20 million. However, now that Bayern and Inter are beginning to show interest, the North London club could be forced into making a quick move for him.

It should be noted the M’Vila has established himself as one of the best young defensive midfielders in Europe and according to former French international Marcel Desailly, the 21-year-old’s talent exceeds that of Arsenal’s legendary captain Patrick Vieira.

A few weeks ago, Desailly said: “I would just say that if I was the chairman of a Premier League club I would just close my eyes and put the figure on the cheque to get him. Because he is really the future. The talent is there. It is obvious. Arsenal is probably a stable club where he can have a bit of time or [Manchester] United where he has time to assimilate the changing of clubs and start slowly to perform.”

 

Wenger to Cheer for Chelsea If Gunners Finish Third

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he will be rooting for a Chelsea victory in next month’s Champions League final in Munich, provided that the Gunners secure a third place finish in the Barclays Premier League.

The Gunners currently have a three point lead over fourth-placed Newcastle United, but it could vanish easily if they lose against Stoke City on Saturday and the Magpies win their clash with Wigan Athletic. Finishing fourth usually isn’t that bad either, but if Chelsea wins the UCL then the fourth-place finishers will be consigned to Europa League football next season.

Therefore, Wenger says that the Blues can have his support against Bayern, but only if his own team maintains its current position until the end of the domestic season.

In Friday’s press conference, Wenger said: Look, if we finish third you want Chelsea to win the Champions League because it’s great for the Premier League. If you are in fourth it would be masochistic to wish that you were out of the Champions League. You cannot ask the impossible.

“That is why maybe the rule is a little bit malicious. Overall I think everyone in England wants an English team to win the Champions League, but the team who is fourth will certainly wish to have a chance to play in it.

“It is the rule that everybody knows before the season starts, nobody complained and if Chelsea win then England will have four clubs represented in the Champions League. We have to accept it.”

RVP Won’t Commit Until Arsenal Shows Ambition

According to BBC Sport’s sources, Arsenal haven’t offered a new contract to their captain and priced asset Robin van Persie yet, as the Dutchman doesn’t want to take a decision on his long-term future before this summer’s European Championship.

The Gunners do want to open talks with van Persie before he leaves to join the Dutch soccer team at the end of the 2011/12 season. But the newly crowned PFA Player of the Year is not in the mood to agree terms just yet, as he first wants to see how the club operates in the summer transfer market.

 

Guardiola’s Imminent Departure Saddens Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said that he is saddened by Pep Guardiola’s decision to relinquish the Barcelona coaching position. The Spaniard decided to quit Barca in the aftermath of his club’s La Liga and Champions League defeats to Real Madrid and Chelsea respectively.

Wenger believes that Guardiola was fully capable of recapturing the domestic and European titles with the Catalonian side and therefore, his abrupt decision to quit the Barca job disappoints him.

In Friday’s pre-match conference, Wenger said: “It comes as a surprise to me because first of all when you make a decision after a big disappointment like he has had in the past week, it may not be the right moment to make this decision. The philosophy of Barcelona has to be bigger than winning or losing a championship.

“Guardiola is one of the representatives of this philosophy and made this philosophy triumph so I would have loved him, even going through a disappointing year, to stay and come back and insist with his philosophy. That would be interesting.”

 

Gunners Ready For Stoke Clash, Says Jenkinson

Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson says that he and his teammates are fully ready to battle with Stoke City at the Britannia on Saturday.

The Gunners, who have struggled to cope with the aerial bombardment and general physical style of Tony Pulis’ men in recent years, need a win tomorrow in order to maintain their three-point lead over Newcastle United. Jenkinson admits that Stoke are formidable opponents but he is confident that Arsenal will be able to overcome them.

In an interview with Arsenal Player, Jenkinson said: “I think it is fair to say that most teams struggle with the physical side that Stoke have. It is something we have to be aware of and it is no surprise anymore, everybody knows how Stoke play.

“They are a big, strong and physical side, but we are prepared for that, know what is coming and just have to deal with it as best as we can.”