Backpage roundup: Grimandi's confession, Doumbia's snub, Afobe's loan deal, Afellay and Aguero

Giroud Is RVP’s Replacement, Admits Grimandi
Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi has finally confessed that the club bought Olivier Giroud as a direct replacement for their want-away striker Robin van Persie.
The Arsenal captain recently told the press that he will not be renewing his contract with the club, after which talks of his departure from Emirates Stadium in the ongoing transfer window have intensified.
Until now, the Gunners officials had maintained that the arrival of Giroud had nothing to do with van Persie’s uncertain future. However, Grimandi has now revealed that the Frenchman’s signing is a part of the club’s contingency plan.
In an interview with, Grimandi said: “We want him to stay but there is only one year left on his contract so it’s complicated. The atmosphere is good at Arsenal, he has been with us for eight years and has a real bond with the club. Was Olivier Giroud signed to compensate for his departure? Yes, we worked to avoid finding ourselves in a corner. But we are doing everything we can to keep him and we want him to stay with us.
“However, if there is an exceptional offer and he wants to leave, keeping him will be tough. I would never have thought, for example, that Thiago Silva could be transferable but he was for a while. There are variables that can’t be controlled.”
Barca Offer Dutch Flop To Arsenal and Inter Milan
FC Barcelona have purportedly offered their out-of-favour midfielder Ibrahim Afellay to Arsenal and Inter Milan. (
The 26-year-old playmaker was signed by the Spanish giants from his former club PSV Eindhoven in January 2011, but a serious knee injury and the emergence of starlets like Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello meant that he never flourished at the Camp Nou.
Barca have made Athletic Bilbao defender Javi Martinez their top transfer target this summer and in order to pay his transfer fee, they are willing to cash out on Afellay, who they rate at around €6 million.
Arsenal were interested in signing Afellay last year but the midfielder snubbed them in favour of Barca. The Gunners have already lost Yossi Benayoun, while the career of Andrei Arshavin in London also seems to have run its course. There are still question marks over the fitness of Jack Wilshere and so reviving interest in Afellay does make some sense.
Aguero Rates RVP Ahead Of Ronaldo
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero believes that his club’s transfer target and Arsenal hitman Robin van Persie is among the top five strikers in the world, ahead of even Real Madrid’s prolific superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. (
Van Persie, who recently revealed that he won’t be extending his Arsenal contract, is expected to leave Emirates Stadium this summer and City are keen to recruit him.
In what could be a tactic to lure the Dutchman to Etihad Stadium, Aguero was asked by a fan to reveal his list of the top three strikers in the world, to which he replied: “Messi, Messi and Messi.”
He then added: “Van Persie, and if I have to choose another, [Cristiano] Ronaldo.”
Afobe Set To Go On Loan to Birmingham
Young Gunner Benik Afobe is all set to go on loan to Championship club Birmingham, where he would be reunited with his former mentor and coach Lee Clark. (Daily Mail)
The teenage striker is highly-rated at Emirates Stadium but his progress has been slowed down a bit due to a serious knee injury that he suffered last season. Therefore, the club has decided to loan him to Birmingham so that he could get himself back in shape.
Doumbia Ready to Choose West Brom over Arsenal
Arsenal target Tongo Doumbia has revealed that he wants to sign for BPL minnows West Bromwich Albion instead of the Gunners. (ESPN)
The 22-year-old striker believes that his chances of first-team football at WBA will be far greater than Emirates Stadium and therefore, he is leaning towards snubbing Arsenal for the Baggies.
In a recent interview, Doumbia said: “I felt more desire there [at West Brom]. Obviously, it is less glamorous than Arsenal but I’ll be able to continue my progress. I will have more chances to play. This [the Premier League] is a championship that thrills everybody. I hope this is the beginning of a great adventure.”

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