Wenger: Contract Talks With RVP Will Begin at Season's End
Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that the Gunner will offer a new deal to club captain Robin van Persie when the 2011/12 Barclays Premier League season ends. Moreover, he declared that even if transfer talks with the Dutchman fail, they will not try to sell him in the summer transfer window. (Goal.com)
Van Persie, who recently won the PFA and PWA's player of the year awards, has just one more season left on his existing deal with the North London club. He has recently been linked with the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona in the British press, but Wenger is confident that the 28-year-old striker will shun their rivals' interest in favour of staying put.
On Friday, Wenger told the press: "We will sit down with him at the end of the season. I believe he is committed to the club. Hopefully he will extend [his] contract. Even if he doesn't we want him to stay.
"I cannot guarantee that it will go smoothly, but I am quite confident. I believe he is committed to the club, I feel that the club has shown great commitment to him over the years and put great faith in him. I brought him here a long, long time ago and he has developed fantastically well as a man and as a player. Today he is a world-class player and he deserves great credit. Hopefully we can keep him here."
Gunners Confirm Pre-Season Tour of Nigeria
It has been confirmed that Arsenal FC will play a pre-season game in the Nigerian city of Abuja on August 5. According to DanJan Sports, the organiser of the one-off friendly, the Gunners' opponents in that match will be a major African national team. (Goal.com)
DanJan Sports' David Omigie told the press: "We are working on the opposition and once that is finalised we will announce it to the public in conjunction with the London club. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the club with arguably the biggest fan base in the country is visiting in August."
Then the Londoners confirmed it by posting a statement on their official website. The statement read: "The club last visited Africa during a tour to South Africa in July 1993, and is returning as a result of the fantastic support which exists for the team, not only in Nigeria, but across the entire continent."
Arsenal Loan Youth Goalie to Oxford United
Arsenal have sent their youth team goalkeeper Damian Martinez to League Two club Oxford United on a short-term loan deal. (BBC)
The U's have a major goalkeeping crisis at the moment and the Gunners have decided to help them out by allowing them to use the 19-year-old Martinez.
The Argentine custodian, who has never been capped at senior level by the Gunners, said: "I am very excited to be playing for the Oxford United first team on Saturday. It is going to be a great experience and I will try and help the team as much as I can. It is exciting and hopefully we can win to get into the playoffs.
"I have played a year-and-a-half for Arsenal so hopefully I can play more years in England because I really like it. It is great to train at Arsenal because there are some great keepers, a great goalkeeping coach and great staff, so it's good to play at Arsenal and it's good to play at Oxford because it is going to be a good experience."
Littbarski Tips Podolski to Find Success At Arsenal
Retired German international Pierre Littbarski believes that Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski has all the ingredients to be a hit in the Barclays Premier League.
Podolski is set to leave his adopted hometown club of FC Köln at the end of the ongoing Bundesliga season and he will then link up with the Gunners for his first ever club football stint outside Germany. Littbarski, who like Podolski, is a favourite of FC Köln's supporters, also said that he understands the 26-year-old forward's decision to leave and is not bitter.
In an interview with Goal.com, Littbarski said: "Lukas Podolski is a unique player. I believe that he will be very successful at Arsenal. It's not up to me to judge whether he has made the right decision to sign for Arsenal. He has always given his all for Köln and has put in many good performances. Who am I to say that he should stay or leave? He has made his own decision and he will definitely do a good job at Arsenal."