Podolski Wants More of Same
Lukas Podolski has urged his Arsenal teammates to consistently replicate the high level of play that enabled them to thrash West Ham United by a margin of 5-1 at Upton Park on Wednesday.
The Gunners destroyed the Hammers in a devastating spell of 10 second-half minutes by scoring four unanswered goals. While the victory didn’t change their position on the league ladder, they are now just four points away from the fourth-placed Tottenham.
Podolski, who scored one and played major parts in three other Arsenal goals against West Ham, was satisfied with the lopsided result but wants his side to be ruthless like that on a more consistent basis rather than just sporadic showings.
The 27-year-old German said: “It was one game and we have three points which is important, but we have 15 games more to play. It is not about saying, ‘today Arsenal are back’, because we need more of these games and more of these points. Then I think we are back in the top four.
“There is enough time to get back in the top four, and a lot of points to play for. We need more of these games and then we are back in the first four. We must believe in our game and our players. After the two defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea, the atmosphere was not so good, but now we have won 5-1 and we look to the next game in the FA Cup.”
Gooners Told Not to Expect Any ‘Miracles’ Signings
Arsene Wenger has declared that Arsenal will not be bringing in any ‘miracle’ players this month and his main priority is to manage with whatever options are already available at his disposal.
Towards the end of last year, the Gunners had indicated on several occasions that they might be willing to splash some cash in January on some real quality players. As a result, they were linked with moves for big-name players such David Villa, Falcao, Edinson Cavani, Mats Hummels, Younes Belhanda and Mohamed Diame.
However, Wenger now says that his main focus is to bring out the best of his current squad rather than wait for outside help that may or may not arrive.
During Friday’s presser, the Frenchman said: “What I worry about is getting the players who have been injured back fit, to get the players who play for this club to perform at full potential. If we perform at full potential we cannot expect any miracle from outside, we want to make things happen inside.
“If someone else can strengthen our squad, we will do it of course, but we have the resources inside to do well. We have two players in every position, that should be enough, plus the young players in behind. But if we find the top-class players in any position, we never refuse to strengthen our squad.”
Reading Not Interested In Arshavin
Arsenal outcast Andrey Arshavin’s hopes of securing a January move to Reading FC are all but over after the Royals manager Brian McDermott denied any interest in recruiting him.
The 31-year-old Russian, who has made just seven league appearances for the Gunners so far this season, is in the twilight of his career but could still have been useful for a side battling the drop like Reading. Moreover, the Royals owner Anton Zingarevich is Arshavin’s countryman so his recruitment of the diminutive midfielder would have made sense on multiple levels.
When the transfer window opened up, it was thought that a £4million move was in the works but it now seems that the deal is dead. In fact, judging by the Reading boss’ latest comments, it is quite possible that signing Arshavin may never have been on their agenda whatsoever.
When Sky Sports asked McDermott to comment on Arshavin-to-Reading reports, he said: “It’s one that I’ve heard many times. He’s an Arsenal player. I don’t think he will be a Reading player.”
Diame Staying Put
Rumoured Arsenal target Mohamed Diame has denied that he wants to leave West Ham United and assured the Hammers fans that he sees his long-term future at Upton Park.
It was thought that the Senegalese midfielder has a £3.5million exit clause in his contract, which the Gunners are interested in exercising.
However, Diame, who joined West Ham from Wigan Athletic on a free transfer last summer, has made it clear that he is happy at his current club and is not seeking to change sides this month.
In an interview with Whufc.com, Diame said: “I know there are people out there saying things about me but I have spoken with the manager and told him that I want to stay here. I know the club want to keep me too so I will continue to give my best for them.
“I knew when I signed that West Ham were going to make their mark on the Premier League. Since I came here I am enjoying every game I play on the pitch. I think I made a good choice because I’m very happy at this club.”
Llorente Signs Pre-Contract Agreement with Juve
Athletic Bilbao striker and rumoured Arsenal FC target Fernando Llorente will join Italian champions Juventus on a four-year contract when his current deal with the Spanish club expires next summer.
The 27-year-old Basque man was also being tracked by Arsenal among several other Premier League clubs but the Old Lady have apparently won the battle for his signature.
“Juventus can confirm that Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente will join the club on July 1, 2013. The 27-year-old has agreed terms on a four-year deal and will move to Turin when his Athletic Bilbao contract expires at the end of the current season,” the Serie A outfit confirmed in a statement published on Juventus.com.