Backpage Roundup: Cole’s Taunt, Anzhi’s Massive RVP Bid and More

Ashley Cole Taunts Arsenal after Chelsea’s European Triumph

Former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole hit back at the Gunners after winning the UEFA Champions League final for his current club Chelsea against Bayern Munich on penalties. (ESPN)

The England international left Arsenal for Chelsea in 2006 in what was a highly controversial transfer. He rejected the Gunners’ contract offer and became one of the most hated players by joining the Blues.

Since then, Cole has been regarded as a greedy player who switched club allegiance for money, but he silenced his critics on Sunday by lifting the coveted Champions League trophy. He later declared that Chelsea’s European triumph justifies his infamous decision of 2006.

In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Cole said: “I’m lost for words, we stuck to our tactics and in the end we deserved it….Now no-one can say anything to me. This is the reason I came here.”

 

Hartson Backs Arsenal to Survive Without RVP

Former Gunner John Hartson believes that Arsenal should let their captain Robin van Persie leave if that’s what his wish really is. (ESPN)

The Dutch striker enjoyed an outstanding 2011/12 season, topping the Barclays Premier League goal chart and cleaning up both the PFA and PWA Player of the Year trophies. But in spite of all the individual accolades, he wasn’t able to win a collective trophy for his club and there is a growing belief that he might want to leave the Emirates, as Arsenal’s trophy drought has now stretched to seven years.

Van Persie is clearly the best Arsenal player by a long margin and some people believe that his departure in the summer transfer window could result in a disaster for the North London giants. However, Hartson is of the opinion that the Gunners are bigger than their captain and therefore, they are capable of surviving his loss.

“I can see van Persie leaving Arsenal, he’ll be a massive loss but they recovered when [Thierry] Henry left, they recovered when [Ian] Wright left. Arsenal are not a one man club and if he doesn’t want to stay, they may be better off cashing in. People think it will be the end of their world, but it’s not. Clubs recover,” Hartson told talkSport.

 

Anzhi to Bid £45 Million for RVP

Anzhi Makhachkala’s billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov is set to launch a bid of £45 million in order to lure Arsenal captain Robin van Persie to Russia, according to a report published by the Daily Mail.

Kerimov has made van Persie his number one target for the upcoming summer transfer window and promised Anzhi coach Guus Hiddink as much cash as he wants to secure his fellow Dutchman’s signature.

The mega-rich Russian club are prepared to offer van Persie as much as £300,000 per week after tax, a pay rate that could net the Dutch striker a sum in excess of £15 million on annual basis.

Hiddink hinted of Anzhi’s intentions by saying: “In this summer’s transfer period we are going to get a couple of really well targeted investments to build this Anzhi team into an even bigger side in world football.

“We have made it possible to break into the top five in Russian football. We are now among the traditional strong teams from Moscow and St Petersburg. But we need to make even bigger steps than we have done so far, to play for the top spots.”

Anzhi have a history of luring big-name transfer targets by offering them staggering wages. Their striker Samuel Eto’o reportedly pockets £320,000 per week, which makes him the best paid football player on the planet.

Spurs Leading Vertonghen Chase

Tottenham are trying their best to gain an advantage over Arsenal in the race to sign Ajax’s highly-rated central defender Jan Vertonghen. (The Daily Mirror)

Their chairman Daniel Levy will soon fly off for Amsterdam, where he is expected to negotiate with Vertonghen’s Dutch employers in order to bring him to White Hart Lane.

The Belgium centre-half has previously spoken of his admiration for Arsenal but the Gunners haven’t sealed his signing yet, allowing Levy and Spurs a chance to pounce on him.

Ajax are demanding £10 million for Vertonghen, while Spurs have so far offered only half of that sum. However, it is believed that an agreement could be reached at around the figure of £7 million.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to sign the Belgian international but says that he would have to free up some space on the club’s wage bill before making any more recruitments.