Backpage Roundup: Arsenal to Start Zaha Bidding War, Vermaelen Promises Better, Podolski Satisfied, Wenger Talks About RVP’s Impact on Title Race and More

Source Wikipedia, author: James Boyes

Arsenal and Man United Ready to Start Bidding War for Zaha

Arsenal and Manchester United are reportedly ready to step up their interest in Crystal Palace’s in-demand attacker Wilfried Zaha and are expected to submit their bids in the next few days.

The 20-year-old winger is widely considered as the best player in the Championship and the aforementioned PL giants are ready to give him a taste of top flight English football.

It is believed that United have a slight edge in the race to sign Zaha, since the Gunners’ own right winger Theo Walcott, who was previously close to leaving, is now on the verge of committing his long-term future to them.

The Eagles have resigned themselves to losing Zaha but want to keep their prized asset for at least until the remainder of the season.

 

Vermaelen Promises Better Performance against Swansea

Thomas Vermaelen has admitted that Arsenal’s recent 2-0 defeat to Manchester City was a major disappointment but is confident that he and his teammates can bounce back against Swansea City in the FA Cup.

Facing a difficult run of five matches in just 17 days, the Gunners were hoping for a positive result against City. But instead, they suffered a nightmare start on Sunday and got totally outplayed by the Premier League champions.

The Arsenal captain realises that it was a timid showing from his side and has vowed to be a lot better when they take on Swansea in the FA Cup Third Round replay at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

In an interview with Arsenal Player, Vermaelen said: “There are a lot of big, big fixtures coming up against good teams – big games. This [the defeat to City] was the first one, we wanted to have a good start and that is why it is more disappointing we could not get a good result. But against Swansea, I am confident the group will respond on this defeat, and I’m confident we can get a result on Wednesday.”

 

I Knew RVP Would Be Big At Manchester United – Wenger

Arsene Wenger has claimed he was fully aware that the addition of Robin van Persie to Manchester United’s squad will tip the balance in the favour of Sir Alex Ferguson’s men in the Premier League title race.

Both the Manchester clubs strongly chased the former Arsenal superstar’s signature in the summer and it was the Red Devils who came out on top in the end in this particular transfer battle.

Van Persie’s signing was so important to Ferguson that he personally phoned Wenger to take him to Old Trafford ahead of his club’s city rivals. The striker has since become the Red Devils’ best performer, firing his new club to the top of the division and Wenger says he isn’t surprised to see his former prodigy play such a major role in the title race.

It was a very professional phone call (from Ferguson) and there was more than one. I will tell you the rest another day,” the Frenchman recalled before adding: “You know when you sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United, that (they lead the league) will be the case. Robin is one of the best strikers in the world and you know he will score goals for them. If he went to City he would have been just another striker in a bunch of world-class players.”

 

Podolski ‘Happy’ With ‘Good’ Start to Arsenal Career

Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski has expressed his satisfaction with the way things are going for him in his debut season in English football.

Despite being deployed out of position on the left flank, the German international has already found the back of the net 10 times for his new club and he says he is happy with himself.

While evaluating his personal performances, Podolski said: “It’s been a good half-season for me – I’m happy. I’ve come to a new league, a new country, and I think things have gone OK. Then again, I’ve been a professional footballer for 10 years so it’s not as if my environment has changed at a very young age. I’m 27 and have won a lot of caps for Germany, so I expected to come here and adapt.

I now have 10 goals and seven assists, and I think these are good figures. It could be better – you can always be better – but I think it’s decent because I’m playing more as a left-sided midfielder than as a striker. When you play up front or in the number 10 position, like Santi, you have more chances to score. I think I’ve done well on the left and feel good about how things have gone.”

 

Walcott Stay Will Stabilise Arsenal – Wenger

Arsene Wenger is hoping that Arsenal’s re-signing of Theo Walcott will end the trend of quality players leaving them for pastures new, something that has happened a lot in the past few years.

The Gunners are used to nurturing young talent into world class players, only to see them join their rivals once their development is complete. Up until a week or so ago, it looked as if they would lose Walcott in similar fashion too. But they have managed to prevent the winger’s exit and he is now on the verge of re-signing for them.

Wenger says it is very important that a club of Arsenal’s stature retains its best players and he says Walcott’s stay could be a step in that direction.

The Arsenal boss said: “Theo signing would at least give a positive message out for us, to the our fans who love the club, that the way is not necessarily exit, but is stability. We are not there yet (with Walcott), but I hope we will get there. When you go for a policy like we have for young players, you know when they get to 23 to 30 or more, they will play for you – but if you give them a chance at 18 and then at 23 they go somewhere else, you have basically worked for another club.

“What we want is the players to grow up together and say they will be successful together. Chamberlain is 19, Wilshere is 21, Walcott is 23, Jenkinson 20, Gibbs 23 – they are all good players. You need a core inside which represents the strengths and values of the club. We had that before – [Thierry] Henry, [Patrick] Vieira, they stayed eight or nine years all together – and now we have created that again.”

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