Backpage roundup: Navas to replace Walcott, Sahin deal delayed, Santos warned, Gervinho’s inspiration and more

Gervinho Wants to Emulate Pires and Then Some

Arsenal attacker Gervinho has identified club legend Robert Pires as his role model and said that he wants to surpass the Frenchman’s achievements with the Gunners.

After a quiet debut season in English football, Gervinho wants to up his game significantly and is looking at Pires’ trophy-laden Arsenal career for inspiration.

In an interview with Arsenal Player, the Ivory Coast international said: “Robert [Pires] is a fantastic player, very experienced, and I saw this for myself [when he was] training here. I really hope to emulate Robert Pires in my second season, hopefully do even better, but I hope to carve out my own niche of course.

“I hope to push on personally, also to progress with the team and to showcase my qualities. I’ve learnt lots of things, coming to a new club, being new to the Premier League. I’ve learnt to adapt on the pitch and, when I think back, also in front of goal. I really feel that I’ve come on a lot, I feel really good in training and I’m ready for my second season.”

 

Wenger Delays Sahin Loan Deal

Real Madrid playmaker Nuri Sahin’s proposed loan move to Arsenal has been delayed as coach Arsene Wenger needs time to think whether the deal is good enough for the Gunners or not.

It had been recently reported that Madrid and Arsenal had reached an agreement regarding the Turkish international’s loan fee and wages, but the deal has still not been concluded as Wenger is unsure whether just a year-long switch is the best option for his club.

Fresh from concluding dual sales of Robin van Persie and Alex Song, the Gunners are understood to have a lot of cash to spend and therefore, Wenger might be looking to buy Sahin instead of just borrowing him for a season. However, the La Liga champions are not too keen to sell 23-year-old midfielder, which is why the deal’s future could be in danger of collapse.

In case, Arsenal refuse to offer Sahin a temporary switch, then Liverpool are expected to move in for his services, as the player’s agent Reza Fazeli is already in contact with the Merseyside club.

 

Zidane Better Than Messi and Ronalo, Says Cazorla

Santi Cazorla has had numerous duels with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during his La Liga days but the Arsenal playmakers says that it’s the legendary Zinedine Zidane whom he regards as the greatest player he has ever shared a football pitch with.

In an interview with EFE, the Spain international is quoted as saying: “During your life you always have different players that you like. When I was a child, because my dad liked the ‘Dream Team’, I liked Michael Laudrup. But I have always said the best player I have played against, and the most elegant player, was Zidane.

“There’s Messi and Ronaldo, but I still think being lucky enough to play against Zidane, and see him play, was amazing. He is still the best. He looked like he was going to be clumsy because of his height, but then you realised he was so skillful and gifted with the ball. I really enjoyed watching him play, it was a pleasure. I would highlight everything about him, because he had everything to be the best player.”

 

Santos Warned Over Car Arrest

Arsenal’s Andre Santos has received a warning from coach Arsene Wenger after the fullback was arrested by police for driving his Maserati sportscar dangerously.

Last Friday, the attack-minded Brazilian failed to stop his vehicle when asked to do so by police and only gave up after a high-speed car chase. He was subsequently apprehended but was released in time for Arsenal’s opening match of the new season the next day.

The Gunners have taken notice of Santos’ offense and they plan to discipline the player internally after the police wrap up their own investigation.

When the press reporters approached the club for a comment over the situation, a spokesman told them: “The player and club are co-operating with the police regarding this matter. Arsenal Football Club expects the highest standard of behaviour from all its employees and is taking this allegation extremely seriously.”

 

Eduardo: Selling RVP and Song a ‘Big Mistake’ but Gunners Will Recover

Former Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva has said that the Gunners have made a massive mistake by allowing superstars such as Robin van Persie and Alexandre Song to leave this summer but believes that they still have enough quality in their squad to remain competitive.

In an interview with BBC, the Shakhtar Donetsk frontman said: “It’s a big mistake to sell them – they were the most important players last season. But they have other quality players to stay as a big club at the top.

Eduardo, who was recently linked with a move to Fulham in the British press, further added: “Every player comes to Arsenal as a simple player and Arsenal make them into a big player. But they can’t keep everyone together to fight for titles. Every year it’s similar – they lose players, buy players, make them class players and the next year they sell again. They are always in the same place.”

“Van Persie and Song were the key players last season. They held the team. When you lose two players like that, your chance of finishing in the top four is less. But Arsenal still have a good team and I’m confident they will do well. Last year when they lost Nasri and Fabregas, everyone thought they would not finish in the top four but they did. When the season finishes, we’ll see if it was a mistake or not. It’s very sad to lose two big players like that but we must respect the new players and believe they can keep Arsenal at the top.”

 

Arsenal to Replace Walcott with Navas – Report

Fresh reports coming from Spain suggest that Arsenal are ready to raid La Liga once again by making a move for Sevilla’s star winger Jesus Navas. (The Daily Mail)

Coach Arsene Wenger has a lot of wing options at the moment but the club has so far not been able to persuade Theo Walcott to sign a contract extension and it is believed that Navas is being lined up as a replacement for the England international.

When Navas was approached by press representatives to comment, he seemed unaware of Arsenal’s alleged interest and said: “I don’t know anything about Arsenal. I’m staying calm and I am enjoying every moment here.”

It is expected that a bid in the region of £18 million will be enough to tempt Sevilla into selling Navas.

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