Ramsey Disagrees with Rooney
Aaron Ramsey believes that Arsenal FC will prove themselves as genuine contenders for the Barclays Premier League title if they are still in pole position around Christmas.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney recently downplayed the Gunners’ impressive start to the new season and claimed it would mean something only if they lead the division in the second half of the season. The England international’s exact wordings were: “We’ll have to wait and see where Arsenal are in March,” he said. “We’ve seen before that they’ve been in the top two until February or March and then faded away. They are doing brilliantly at the minute, so it’s down to them to try and stay there and us to catch them.”
But Ramsey – arguably Arsenal’s player of the season so far – disagrees with Rooney’s viewpoint. Pointing out the fact that the Gunners have always been better after Christmas, the Welshman says how they fare in the first half would actually make the difference this term.
Ahead of the two giants’ first league meeting of the season, Ramsey said: “I think the boss [Arsène Wenger] said the other day that from January, we’re the team in the league who have picked up the most points. I don’t think our form has been that bad after Christmas. In the last few seasons, we’ve had to dig in and get a load of points to get fourth place. We’ve managed to do that. Our biggest problem over the last few seasons has been [not] starting off well but we’ve managed to do that this season.
“If we get ourselves into a strong position, then our ability to get as many points as we can in the run-in has been second to none. We had a fantastic run-in to last season and after the disappointment of the opening game of the season [the home defeat by Aston Villa], we’ve managed to build. If we can keep it going until Christmas, then we know that we have the ability to compete.”
Llorente ‘Not for Sale’
Arsenal FC’s hopes of landing Juventus striker Fernando Llorente were dealt a major blow on Wednesday when the Serie A club’s general director, Giuseppe Marotta, declared that the Spaniard will not be made available for sale in January.
Llorente, 28, joined the Old Lady last summer on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao but struggled for game time due to competition from Carlos Tevez, Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella. Due to next year being a World Cup year, it was speculated that he might want to make a swift exit from Turin, with joining the Gunners being a practical option as the North Londoners are on the lookout for a new striker.
However, his situation at Juve has improved significantly in recent weeks, which has led Marotta to declare that Llorente is very much a part of coach Antonio Conte’s plans.
He said: “The player is not for sale, he has never been for sale, and he remains with us. There is great confidence in the boy, he is reaching top condition. We are very happy with him and with his progress.”
Prospective options for coach Arsene Wenger are drying up as Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has also hit a goal trail recently and Luis Suarez’s desire to leave Liverpool has also seemingly diminished.
‘Chicharito ‘Hernandez Wanted at Arsenal
Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has become the latest striker linked with a January move to Arsenal FC. (Daily Mail)
Recruiting a big name, top quality striker still remains the Gunners’ top priority, but in case their pursuit of the Karim Benzemas and Luis Suarezs goes awry, they will turn to the Red Devils’ Mexican super-sub, who has struggled for game time at Old Trafford despite his obvious goal-scoring talents.
Apparently, the 25-year-old has been and is being extensively monitored by the club’s scouts and could be a much more easier target to land than the aforementioned duo.
Fabinho Linked with Arsenal Move
AS Monaco’s on-loan Brazilian defender Fabinho is a transfer target for Arsenal FC, according to Daily Mail.
The Gunners’ current first-choice right-back, Bacary Sagna, is expected to leave the club on a free transfer next summer, so the club is in the phase of identifying potential replacements. And Fabinho, whose full name is Fabio Tavares and whose parent club is Rio Ave, has impressed in Ligue 1 this season, which has caught the eye of the North London club’s chief scout in France, Gilles Grimandi.
The website also claim that Arsenal are also keeping tabs on two Brazilians youth players, who go by the name of Boschilia and Nathan.