Backpage Roundup: Wenger Sings Ferguson’s Praise, Henry’s Return in Jeopardy, Huntelaar Rumour Rubbished, Rosicky Not Leaving for Roma, Sow Claims Arsenal Snub and More

Sir Alex Ferguson

Wenger Sings Ferguson’s Praise

Arsene Wenger has paid a glowing tribute to his arch-rival Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Friday’s scheduled unveiling of a statue of the Manchester United manager at Old Trafford.

The Arsenal boss and his long-serving Red Devils counterpart have had numerous clashes with each other in the past 16 years but the Frenchman acknowledges that Ferguson is one of the true greats of the game.

Talking about the 70-year-old Scot and his success, Wenger said: “I don’t remember anybody else being at the top, top level for such a long time. In some ways it is scary as well because you think when this guy leaves the club, no matter of the quality of who comes in after him, it will be a huge hole.

“The club will be destabilised even if the guy who comes after him is top quality because the print of everything, the life of everything, revolves around Ferguson so much at Manchester United. He has to be immortal so the club doesn’t suffer! His commitment is always there, you never feel that his commitment is weakened. What I admire maybe the most in him is his forward-thinking. He is always ready to move with the times and never speaks about what he has done before.

“He knows when to renew the team, when you have to make changes, and that is exceptional because you can sometimes be a little bit lazy when you have so much success. He’s never been like that, he’s always on his toes and he can renew what is needed, when it is needed. It is a job where you need to dedicate your life to football and Ferguson has done that and that deserves massive respect. He has won absolutely everything and, of course, that is something exceptional.”

 

Henry’s Second Arsenal Return in Jeopardy

Arsenal’s hopes of securing the services of New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry on a loan deal are in jeopardy after the MLS club’s sporting director Andy Roxburgh revealed that they are not looking forward to sanctioning any such deal.

While both Henry and Arsene Wenger recently talked positively about the chances of a short-term reunion like last season’s, it seems that they will not be granted their wish.

In a recent interview with the Daily Star, the newly-appointed Roxburgh didn’t completely rule out Henry’s second Arsenal return but his basic tone was quite negative.

He said: “In general terms, I wouldn’t say it would be something we would favour. I think the length of the season we have here, when they get the break over the Christmas, New Year period, they need to regenerate themselves. I’d say in general we wouldn’t be too positive about it.

Right now, no-one has requested for anyone to go on loan. It depends on the individual, it depends on the circumstances. You cannot say never on that one. But it’s unlikely, at the moment, that would happen.”

 

Gunners Yet To Make a Move for Huntelaar

Schalke’s GM Horst Heldt has rubbished media reports linking the Royals Blues striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with a winter transfer to Arsenal FC.

Heldt has revealed that the Gunners have made no contact with Schalke to sign the Dutch hitman and therefore, there is no truth in the rumours being circulated in the press.

When a Sky Germany reporter asked him if Huntelaar could really be allowed to leave the club in January to join the North London club, he replied: “It’s pure speculation. Either Arsenal make us an offer, otherwise it’s a load of nonsense.”

The player himself was also asked to comment on the situation, to which he simple replied: “I know nothing.”

 

Rosicky’s Roma Link Discarded

Tomas Rosicky’s agent Pavel Paska has revealed that there is no truth to the speculation linking his client with a transfer to Italian giants AS Roma.

Several news agencies had claimed that the Arsenal midfielder is a January transfer target for the Giallorossi boss Zdenek Zeman but the player’s rep has totally discarded the rumour.

Gazzettagiallorossa.it have quoted Paska as saying: “Are Roma interested in Tomas? No, there is absolutely no truth in that. The player is only thinking about getting back out on the field and is training hard every day to make sure he recovers as soon as possible. He could be back in January. There has never been anything with Roma. I have never had any contact with the club.”

 

Walcott Urges Gooners to Remain Patient

Theo Walcott has revealed that his representatives and Arsenal officials are doing all they can to reach an agreement over a contract extension and urged the club’s fans to remain patient during the negotiations process.

The 23-year-old winger’s current deal is set to expire next summer and while talks regarding its renewal have been taking place for several months, the two camps are deadlocked and it’s unclear when (or if) an agreement will be reached.

Coach Arsene Wenger has repeatedly said that he wants Walcott to stay at Emirates and now the players has also reaffirmed his desire to do the same.

Before the Montpellier game, the former Southampton man was asked if any progress has been made in the talks, to which he replied: “I am leaving it all to my agents and [the fans] will be the first to hear when something happens. It’s important for me that something gets sorted out, because I enjoy playing for this club. I don’t think you can put a time frame on when it will be resolved though.

“When both parties are sure, it will happen when it happens. My last contract took six or seven months, so we have to be patient, myself as well. But I’m enjoying my football at the moment, so it’s not affecting me at all on the pitch.”

 

Santos Wants an End to Trophy Drought

Andre Santos believes that Arsenal must bring some joy to their fans by ending their trophy drought this season.

The Gunners’ last piece of silverware came in 2005 when they defeated Manchester United in the FA Cup final. Since then, they have failed to land a single trophy and Santos has realised that it is finally time to satisfy the Gooners’ long-neglected thirst for trophies.

The Brazilian wing-back said: “We need to win a trophy this season, no matter what. This is what our fans are expecting from us. We need to improve every day, keep working hard every day to have a chance to play well. The team has had a few problems as we have had many new players and we are trying to find our identity.”

 

Sow Claims He Rejected Arsenal and Liverpool

Fenerbahce star Moussa Sow claims that he shunned offers from Arsenal and Liverpool earlier this year in favour of signing for his current club.

The Senegalese hitman says that his rich goal scoring form for his former club Lille had put him on the shopping list of the two English giants but he decided to sign for Fener due to his Muslim faith.

Sow, who has scored nine goals in just 20 appearances for the Turkish club since joining them in a €10 million move, told reporters: “Both Arsenal and Liverpool had tried to sign me before i ended up in Fenerbahce but I don’t have any regrets having done so. I wanted to play at a team which have a fantastic atmosphere and in a great city like Istanbul. My religious view was also effective in my decision to join Fenerbahce. I’m really happy here.”