Backpage Roundup: Gotze to Stay Put, Ox Confident of Top-Four Finish, Wenger’s Rejection of Neville’s Views, Vermaelen’s Cry and More

Gotze’s Agent Rules Out Summer Switch

Arsene Wenger’s purported plan of signing Mario Gotze for Arsenal this summer has been dealt a major blow, as the Borussia Dortmund starlet’s agent has announced that his client is not seeking a transfer at all.

Gotze was thought to be one of Arsenal’s primary targets after reports recently emerged that Wenger would be handed £70 million to bolster his squad in the summer. However, the 20-year-old playmaker’s agent Volker Struth has made it clear that his client wants to stay put for at least one more season.

The Daily Mail have quoted Struth as saying: “Mario has not even thought about leaving Dortmund in 2013. He is totally not interested in that and will stay at least another season.”

 

Oxlade-Chamberlain Confident of Top-Four Finish

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes that Arsenal’s experience gives them a major advantage in the race for a top-four place in the Barclays Premier League.

The Gunners have a notorious habit of hitting top gear in the final few months of the season, something which they did last season too. And Oxlade-Chamberlain is confident that he and his teammates can repeat the trick this time too to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The 19-year-old winger said: “That helps to know that we did it last season and we managed to squeeze in last season for the Champions League in the way that we did. Previous experiences can help you and contribute in the way that you feel in the season afterwards. The fact that we did it last season definitely helps our confidence to do it again this season.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain helped his teammates score thrice in the final six minutes in last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of Norwich City. About that incredible turnaround, he added: “We really have built that team spirit, solidarity and winning mentality. We never give up. To come back from a goal down in the last few minutes is brilliant and it gives us a massive boost, massive confidence and a massive three points looking forward to the end of the season.”

 

Vermaelen Wants Winning Run to Continue

Thomas Vermaelen has issued a rallying cry to his Arsenal teammates to win their upcoming league game against Everton, so they could inch closer to their revised target of a top-four finish.

The Gunners have won seven of their last eight PL games and now sit in third place on the points table ahead of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

They can turn their one-point lead into four if they beat Everton on Tuesday at Emirates Stadium, and Vermaelen has urged his side to do just that.

In a recent interview with Arsenal Player, the Belgian centre-half said: “We are on a run now. We have got a good momentum at the moment. We are winning a lot of games. Tuesday is an important game again at home so we have to keep fighting and try to get three points.”

 

Wenger Disagrees With Neville’s Views on Local Talent

Arsene Wenger has rejected Manchester United legend Gary Neville’s theory regarding the problems faced by local youngsters in England and claimed that talent alone is the deciding factor when it comes to getting chances in the Barclays Premier League.

Neville, who has taken up football punditry since retiring from football, recently told the press that the overflow of foreign players in the PL means that the ‘pathway is blocked’ for local talent. But Wenger doesn’t agree with the 38-year-old’s view on the subject, as he said: “I am not convinced by Gary’s theory because if you want to develop their qualities, and if he is talented, you put your child in a good class. If he is in a good class, he develops better than in a poor class.

“Look at Aston Villa. They play plenty of young players. Wilshere was good enough here. He played, You make room for them. It is a theory that it is a bit too protective for me and not enough competitive.

“For young, English players to have the privilege to play in training every day with world-class players gives you an opportunity to improve much quicker than a guy who is isolated in the middle of Africa and has nobody to compare to. If you listen to any player, he will say to you: ‘I improved because I have seen Dennis Bergkamp in training and I play with him every day’.”

 

Miyaichi Targets Japan Return with Arsenal

Ryo Miyaichi has expressed his desire of travelling with Arsenal to his home country of Japan where the Gunners are scheduled to play a pre-season friendly this summer.

Coach Arsene Wenger’s men will take on Nagoya Grampus on July 22, and Miyaichi – who is currently nursing an ankle injury – wants to feature in that game.

In an interview with Arsenal.com, Miyaichi said: “I hope I can play in Japan as an Arsenal player. It would be a great moment for me. Arsenal have a huge (number of) fans in Japan – like in China and Malaysia as well. It will be a good time for the whole team.

“I spoke with my family and my friends and they are happy to see Arsenal in Japan. They want to see me on the pitch of course! To be honest, there would be pressure and I have to play well and show my quality to the Japanese people. I’m a little bit nervous but I’m looking forward to visiting Japan if I am selected.”

 

Wenger Praises Arshavin’s Professionalism

Arsene Wenger has praised Andrey Arshavin for the professionalism he is showing despite the fact that he has no future at Arsenal.

The 31-year-old midfielder’s current deal with the Gunners expires at the end of the season, after which he would leave the North London club.

A few days ago reports emerged that he is so disillusioned with the plight of his career that he is thinking about quitting the game completely. The player distanced himself from those media claims, and now Wenger has also come forward to clarify that there is nothing wrong with the diminutive Russian’s attitude and he seems as hungry as ever.

Wenger said: “He will decide what to do. I don’t think he will stay here because he doesn’t play enough. He is an example to everybody. I must say that publicly I would like to give him credit, because he is working absolutely every session at 100% commitment.

“He has been questioned about his commitment many times. If you saw him every day you would respect him for what he is doing on a daily basis. It is absolutely fantastic.”

Earlier, Arshavin told the London Evening Standard that retirement isn’t on his agenda at all, and he still has several years of topflight football left in him.

It was Arsene’s decision he didn’t use me but I still train and I feel fit enough to play. I do not see any problems playing for another team. I’d consider if there is an offer from another Premier League club. I’m open to Germany or Spain, if there was an offer there. Or Russia,” he said.

 

 

About the Author

Arsenal Insider
Our staff writers!