Backpage Roundup: Chamakh, Wilshere, Diaby and transfer rumours

After being caught smoking shisha, Marouane Chamakh’s future remains in doubt. The Moroccan was photographed at a London-based Shisha bar smoking with his close friend and international team-mate Adel Taarabt, who opened the scoring for Queens Park Rangers earlier that day in Arsenal’s disappointing 2-1 loss at Loftus Road.
Arsene Wenger revealed his thoughts in a press conference this morning.
“It’s not the best thing to do. Will he stay at club next season? It’s too early to say. We want him to focus completely – without smoking.”
The latest reports are saying that Arsene Wenger has told his chief French scout Gilles Grimandi to compile a dossier on French international Olivier Giroud . The Gunners manager – alongside chief scout Steve Rowley – has identified the Montpellier striker as a potential summer signing.
The Mirror are claiming that Arsenal are in a bidding war with Paris Saint-Germain for Sunderland’s Stephane Sessegnon. The Benin playmaker has attracted interest from some of Europe’s top clubs after Martin O’Neill admitted that Sessegnon’s family have failed to settle in the North East. Sunderland bought the forward for £6m from PSG  in January 2011. However, after a number of impressive performances in the Premier League this year, his value is said to be around £10m ahead of this summer’s transfer window.
Sticking with Sunderland, The Sun say that Nicklas Bendtner will decide on his Arsenal future after this summer’s European Championships. Bendtner is in a tough group, which will see his nation play against Germany, Portugal and Holland. Bendtner’s Denmark will face Robin van Persie’s Holland in the group’s first match.
Arsenal are lining up a bid for Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. That’s according to the Daily Express who say the deal would be worth around £10m for the American midfielder.
The Gunners are also considering a move for Gylfi Sigurdsson. The 22-year-old Icelandic international, currently on-loan at Swansea, has scored 6 goals in just 11 league games for the Swans since leaving Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in January.
This week, Ronald de Boer suggested that Jan Vertonghen is a better player than Thomas Vermaelen. The Ajax youth coach insisted that the Arsenal-linked Belgian centre-back, who’s been given a £7m price tag, is a better defender than his fellow countryman.
“He has what it takes to become as good as Jaap Stam. Just look at Vermaelen. He was a decent player during his spell at Ajax, but is now seen as one of the best defenders around in the Premier League. And Vertonghen is better than Vermaelen.”
Arsene Wenger has revealed that it’s already make or break time for Jack Wilshere, stating that the England international will not be flying to Euro 2012 – unless he’s back for Arsenal by the end of April.
“We will know in the next two or three weeks. We try to keep hope alive for him but without taking too many risks and that means adapting day to day, improving his physical situation and getting him fit as quickly as possible without taking too big a risk. That means whenever he feels any pain, we have to stop him. The fact is we are now at the start of April. To go into a competition at the end of the season without playing at all is impossible. So the next three weeks will be decisive. By the end of April, a player who wants to play in June has to be competitive. The next three weeks will decide if he can go to the Euro’s.”
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Abou Diaby has said he wants to return to first-team action as soon as possible, so he can give something back to Arsene Wenger. Despite being plagued with injuries throughout his Arsenal career, the Gunners boss has remained confident that the French midfielder can still become a “massive” player.
“I just need to carry on and stay focused every day in my rehabilitation. I feel in a good way now. Football itself has motivated me because it’s the thing that I love. There is also my family and team-mates, manager, medical staff – they have all helped me. It is a big motivation for me that the boss said about me [being a “massive” player]. I want to be thankful to him and show him that he is right.”
Diaby also stressed that things could be worse, pointing to the recent and devastating events that have affected his friends in football, most noticeably Eric Abidal and his ex-Arsenal teammate Fabrice Muamba. The Bolton midfielder has been able to walk this week and is also celebrating his 24th birthday today.
“To be honest there are some situations where you think about your future, but it is important to stay positive. When the injuries were happening often and you don’t find the issue it is a bit difficult. The only thing you can do is look forward and stay positive. There are always worse situations in life than me, even in football when you look at what happened to Muamba or Abidal. Me, it’s nothing.”
Arsenal host Manchester City this Sunday in a game which will prove pivotal for both teams. According to Arsene Wenger, Arsenal “want” to win, but Manchester City “need” to win, if they are to stop Manchester United from winning this year’s Premier League title. Arsenal have no new injury problems, while Sergio Aguero is expected to be back for Roberto Mancini’s side.

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