Backpage Roundup: Ljungberg Retires, Sahin Slipping Away, Ox Resumes Full Training and More

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Resumes Full Training

Arsenal attacker Alex Oxlade-Chamberlaine has resumed full training after missing the first match of the new Premier League season due to injury.

The England international is expected to be a part of the Gunners’ travelling party that will take on Stoke City on Sunday at Britannia Stadium.

However, central defender Laurent Koscielny’s calf injury hasn’t healed completely and therefore, he will miss this weekend’s premiership football.

Coach Arsene Wenger told the reporters last night: “He [Koscielny] will not be back [for the Stoke game]. But he should definitely be back next week. So he should play in the game after Stoke.”

About Oxlade-Chamberlaine, he added: “He should be back in the training group from Friday. He has not practiced with the team yet, but he should be in the squad for Stoke.”

 

‘Invincibles’ Member Ljungberg Retires

Former Arsenal midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg has retired from professional football with immediate effect.

The Swede confessed that he had reached a stage where training for matches felt burdensome and therefore, he has decided to hang up his boots.

In an interview with Sweden’s SVT, Ljungberg said: “It’s still fun to play the big games, but when you no longer have the motivation for training then it’s time to call it quits. This is a decision which has come about during a six-month absence.

“During my career I’ve had the possibility to play with some of the best players in the world, as well as some of the best teams. I’m grateful for everything football has given me and all of the fantastic people I’ve met during my career.”

The 35-year-old veteran spent nine years at Arsenal and played 216 competitive matches for the club before leaving for West Ham United in 2007.

 

Wenger: Arsenal’s Transfer Dealings Not Necessarily Over

Arsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal’s transfer dealings for the summer aren’t necessarily over and he could bring in or sell more players before the transfer window shuts close on August 31.

The Gunners lost Robin van Persie and Alex Song this summer but compensated for their exits by signing Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla.

However, despite having already spent cash in excess of £35 million, Wenger believes that he could still add more players to his squad if the right personnel become available in the market.

Arsenal.com have quoted Wenger as saying: “Some things can still happen. I don’t want make a promise that I cannot keep. It does not only depend on me. But there still could be some action on the transfer market – ins and outs. We are working [in the market]. We’ll see what we can do.

“The transfer market is open for two months and yet for one month and three weeks it is nearly closed. It wakes up completely in the last week and then every minute becomes important. Everybody has played for time for seven or eight weeks and now suddenly everyone is in a hurry. And that is when the most intense activity happens.”

 

Sahin on the Verge of Liverpool Move

Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin is all set to go on a season-long loan to Liverpool after Arsenal dropped their interest in his services.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that his club’s negotiations to borrow Sahin for a season are in advanced stages and an agreement could be reached very soon.

Hopefully in the next 24 hours we will get some confirmation on that. It’s quite far along. He’s a very good footballer,” the Reds boss told the press last night.

Arsenal were in pole position to sign Sahin on a similar loan deal but coach Arsene Wenger eventually decided that a temporary switch is not in the Gunners’ best interest. He then purportedly pursued a permanent deal for the playmaker but Real are refusing to let him leave for anything other than a loan deal.

 

Wenger Welcomes Youth Setup Revamp in England

Arsene Wenger believes that the system revamp in England’s youth football setup will improve the quality of local players.

The FA has introduced a new under-21 league this season and a NextGen Series is also being played these days, in which several European youth teams (including Arsenal’s) are taking part.

According to Wenger, these new developments in the youth football scene are a welcome addition and it will do the local footballers a world of good.

The French trainer said: “[under-21 league] It is a good competition for them [youngsters] because sometimes to see them at the Emirates in a different environment highlights a little bit the importance of the game.  Overall there is not a big change but the structure is a little bit different.

“What has changed is that the whole country is better structured, competition-wise. We are in the NextGen competition as well which is a bit like the Champions League of the youth teams. That is interesting as well.”

“I believe overall it is more exciting and what we want to create as well is an elite group of young boys who can play in the NextGen and be compared to what Arsenal will face tomorrow. Football of tomorrow will be played by this generation.”