Monaco to Offer £34m for Walcott, Arteta Rejects Hansen's Criticism, Rodgers' Views on Arsenal's Suarez Pursuit, Bender Extension...

Monaco to Offer Arsenal £34m for Walcott – Report
AS Monaco are thinking about making a £34million offer to Arsenal for Theo Walcott, according to a report published in the Daily Mail.
The tabloid, as is customary with their rumours, haven’t given away any sources at all. There is no mention either of why the rich Ligue 1 side would even want a player currently sidelined due to abdominal injury and that too at such inflated price. The fact that Walcott, 24, hasn’t featured for Arsenal since September and the emergence of Serge Gnabry could be the basis of their claim.
It’s unlikely coach Arsene Wenger would be under any pressure to sell Walcott, if any offer even arrives, as he has enough money left in his transfer kitty, and the player signed a new long-term deal only last season.
Arteta Rejects Hansen’s Criticism
Mikel Arteta doesn’t agree with Liverpool legend Alan Hansen’s views that Arsenal lack the mental strength required to win the Barclays Premier League title this season. Instead, the Spaniard feels the Gunners have fortitude and self-belief in abundance and are fully capable of negotiating their way out of tough situations.
Despite the fact that Arsenal currently top the PL with more points than anyone else, Hansen recently claimed that they would eventually slip down and settle for their usual fourth place. He based his claim on the North Londoners’ historically weak backline and fragile mentality. While Arteta refused to start an out-and-out war of words with Hansen, he did say: “When I arrived here we were in a very difficult position and we turned it around in a way that no-one ever in Premier League history has done. Last year, the same thing again. I don’t think that’s happened through coincidence twice in 24 months.
“I believe in the mental strength we have and the togetherness we have when bad moments come. They will come, through the season. We can’t expect to win every game. People will wait for us to lose and they will write us off and we have to react. But for me the pressure is much better when you are at the top than when you are eighth, 10th or 15th in the table.”
Hansen had also stated in his column that coach Arsene Wenger’s men may dominate smaller clubs but would struggle to replicate those performances against the big guns due to their defensive frailties. There could be some weight in his argument, for the Gunners have lost to Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea recently. Rebutting that part of Hansen’s jibe, Arteta added: I accept that everyone has an opinion. We want to play football but we don’t need to take unnecessary risk. Our aim might be to score a third one or take the lead. It’s hard to stop the nature of the players.
“But we have to learn from these moments. Against Dortmund we were dominating the game, but one break and they score. We have to demand for our creative players to be incisive and influence the ball. But we need to find the right balance. I think up to now we’ve done really well. But there are moments in the games where we need to draw the line really thin and not make those mistakes.”
Liverpool strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are in brilliant goal-scoring form these days, especially the former, whom Wenger tried to recruit in the summer. The Uruguayan scored a hat-trick in his club’s 4-1 win over West Brom a few days ago, and Arteta knows he and his teammates must pay great attention to him.
We always want the best players but Liverpool did very well to keep him,” said the former Everton man. “He’s come back from suspension and he’s still on fire. He has good imagination and creates fear in the opposition because he is a player who doesn’t need much opportunity. And he’s very competitive. We have to be very aware. When we are in possession they are going to be trying to get the ball and break on us. If we are open we are going to find difficulties.”
Rodgers Claims Suarez to Arsenal was Never Going to Happen
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed that his club were never going to sell their prized asset Luis Suarez to Arsenal in the summer, no matter how hard the North Londoners tried.
The Gunners desperately wanted Suarez to join them and famously offered a £40million and a pound for him, but the Reds didn’t lower their £50million plus asking price. In the end, the deal collapsed and the Uruguayan ended up staying put.
After winning that transfer battle somehow, Rodgers has come forward to give the situation a different spin, claiming that the Gunners’ bids were never even considered.
Ahead of the two clubs’ Premier League clash, the Reds boss said: “I understand why Arsenal would want to buy a player of Luis’s quality because he is one of the leading strikers in the world but it was something that was never going to happen. For us and the institution we are we certainly weren’t going to sell to a rival, a competitor, and that was something which was very strong from the off. There was all sorts of gossip on the summer but we were very firm in our leadership, from the top right the way through, that this was something we didn’t want to do. You have to give credit to the [other] players themselves. It certainly wasn’t an easy situation.
“It was also a great credit to the owners and the leadership of the club that they stood by what my thoughts were as a manager and they backed it all the way. This was the place for Luis to showcase his talents. He is a player, like some of our other players, who deserves to be playing at the highest level of European football but we believe he can do that at Liverpool. Once the window was shut, like we thought, there was never going to be an issue.”
Arsenal Target Bender Extends Leverkusen Contract
Arsenal FC’s chances of signing Bayer Leverkusen star Lars Bender have taken a serious hit after news emerged that the player has signed a contract extension with his current club.
The Gunners’ offer of £18.5million for Bender was rejected by Leverkusen earlier in the summer, but they were expected to return with more money in January. However, now that the 24-year-old is tied to the Bundesliga outfit until 2019, the Londoners’ task of bringing him to the Emirates has gotten extremely difficult.
On the other hand, players attracting interest from rich clubs sometimes sign fresh deals with their current clubs in order to fetch them good price during the negotiation process. When looking from that angle, there is still slight chance that one half of the Bender brothers could be on Arsenal’s books next year.
Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller did admit that foreign interest in Bender’s services greatly influenced their decision to offer the player fresh terms.
The negotiations over a new contract were a reaction to the offers we have received for Lars, and I am delighted that we have secured his services for the foreseeable future,” he said.
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