Ozil’s Injury Nothing Serious
Mesut Ozil’s knee injury is not serious enough to keep him out of Arsenal’s Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich City on Saturday. (The Telegraph)
The 24-year-old summer signing picked up the knock in Germany’s 5-3 win over Sweden in the final World Cup qualifier. He failed to finish the game due to the injury, but it’s believed his substitution was only precautionary, and the German FA’s initial stance is that he won’t be missing any games for his club. He is expected back in London today after which a complete evaluation of his fitness will be made.
There is more injury relief for coach Arsene Wenger as his Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla has recovered from his ankle injury that sidelined him for a month. Moreover, Theo Walcott – who had been missing for the past few weeks due to an abdominal problem – is also closing in on his return to first team. However, it’s unlikely he’d be involved this weekend.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny also came through the international break injury free. He started for Poland in their 2-0 defeat to England and seemed to be shaken up after a collision with the Three Lions striker Danny Welbeck. But he says he is fine and should be ready for the clash with the Canaries.
Monreal Targets PL and UCL Double
Nacho Monreal has been so buoyed by Arsenal’s performances so far this season that he believes they could be holding multiple trophies instead of just one at the end of the current campaign.
And those multiple titles aren’t just any titles. The Spanish left-back feels he and his teammates are capable of pulling off the incredibly difficult double of Champions League and Barclays Premier League.
When asked if the Gunners could end their eight-year-long drought by winning a trophy this season, he told Arsenal Player: “I would not say just one [trophy], I would say a few. The Premier League is very difficult, the Champions League, these are major trophies but we are on a good run.
“The players’ confidence [is different this season]. You can tell that they are very enthusiastic, very happy, the results are going our way and logically that makes everything easier. We have a happy group and that is very important to playing football well.”
Cazorla Says Casillas Still Among the Best
Santi Cazorla believes Real Madrid outcast Iker Casillas is still among the world’s finest goalkeepers.
Some reports have linked the Los Blancos legend with a January move to the Emirates Stadium, and while Cazorla didn’t speculate on the 32-year-old’s future, he did give him a glowing endorsement.
In an interview with AS, Cazorla said: “Iker is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he has demonstrated it and will continue to do so in the future. I played with him [Lopez] at Villarreal and saw how good he was then, just like I’ve seen Casillas with the national team. Diego is an example in many aspects. You can only really give your opinion on it if you are inside the dressing room and I’m far away from the Madrid dressing room.”
An ankle injury forced the former Malaga man to miss a month of football. He has played just four games for the Gunners so far this season. Talking about the current status of his discomfort, he added: “I’m not far away from being free from pain and discomfort. It was a blow when I learned I’d have to miss a month of football, but that’s when you need to be patient. However, I want to recover before the scheduled time. Experience is key and you have to pay attention to what the doctors tell you and what your body is telling you.”
Vrsaljko Not For Sale in January
Genoa manager Gian Piero Gasperini has made it clear that they have no intention of selling their highly-rated defender Sime Vrsaljko to Arsenal in the January transfer window.
The Croatian right-back has long been on the Gunners radar, and they had him watched by their scouts when he played for his country during the international break. His Serie A employers are aware of the North Londoners’ interest in him, but they say they won’t break up their settled backline in the middle of the season.
Sky Sports Italia have quoted Gasperini as saying: “They [Arsenal] want him, but this January? We need all our players available. It is important everyone stays together.”
Vrsaljko’s agent Nikky Vuksan also isn’t in the mood of leading any player revolt. He told TuttoMercatoWeb: “Playing for Genoa is an honour for him and he’s very happy here. Will he leave in January or June? It’s hard to say now because it’s up to the club.”
Arsenal seem set to lose their current first-choice right-back Bacary Sagna next summer on a free transfer. Hence, it’s normal for them to be linked with his replacements. In addition to Vrsaljko, they are purportedly also keeping tabs on Ajax’s Ricardo van Rhijn and Sochaux’s Sébastien Corchia.
Berahino a Target for Both Arsenal and Chelsea
Arsenal FC and their London rivals Chelsea are monitoring England Under-21 international Saido Berahino’s situation at West Bromwich Albion with great interest, the Daily Mail claim.
Berahino, 20, has started the 2013/14 campaign for the Baggies in fine form by finding the net five times in just six games. He also scored the winner in his club’s shock 2-1 defeat of Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this season, and that caught the eye of the two London giants.
The Burundi-born striker has just a year left on his current deal, which is why Steve Clark and company are scrambling these days to tie him to a fresh, new deal.
Latics Tell Chu-Young to Take Pay Cut
Wigan Athletic manager Owen Coyle has admitted he is interested in signing Arsenal flop Park Chu-Young on loan but would do so only if the player takes a pay cut. (Metro)
The South Korea international is not a part of coach Arsene Wenger’s plans and has been told to find himself a new club. His international manager has also pushed him to end his miserable spell in North London or risk losing his place in his World Cup squad. The player wants to move on, but Coyle says his salary demands are threatening to fail the deal.
The Latics boss said: “We’ve spoken to Arsenal about Park, and the discussions regarding the footballing side went very well. We were also having discussions with the financial people at Arsenal, but I think the package was just a little out of our reach at this moment in time.
“We run our football club very astutely, and we make sure we will never be in financial trouble. What people have got to understand is that, while we are looking to bring in very good players – which we have done – we will only pay Championship salaries.”
Chu-Young, who has played just one league game for Arsenal since joining them in the summer of 2011, currently pockets £45,000 on weekly basis at the Emirates Stadium.