Wenger Deserves Knighthood – Klopp
Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has once again heaped praise on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger as the two clubs gear up for their crucial UEFA Champions League showdown in Germany.
Klopp, 46 – who is widely regarded as a footballing hipster and never shies away from speaking his mind – first sang the Gunners’ praises before the two teams’ meeting last month, and now he is back repeating the same trick.
In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “For me, he is Sir Arsene Wenger, he is really something, I love him. When I watch Arsenal in the last 10 years, it is nearly perfect football, but we all know they didn’t win a title. In Britain they say that they like Arsenal but they have to win something. This is the philosophy of Arsene Wenger. I love this but I cannot coach this because I am a different guy. You think many things are similar? I hope so in some moments, but there are big differences, too.”
While he has much love for the North Londoners, same wasn’t the case when he switched the subject to Barcelona.
Die Borussen boss added: “If Barcelona’s team of the last four years were the first one that I saw play when I was four years of age, with their serenity, winning 5-0, 6-0, I would have played tennis. Sorry, that is not enough for me. It is not serenity football, it is fighting football – that is what I like. What we call in German – English [football] – rainy day, heavy pitch, everybody is dirty in the face and they go home and can’t play football for the next four weeks. This is Borussia.”
Wenger is believed to be in the final chapter (or at least last few years) of his Arsenal career, and Klopp’s latest burst of Arsenal love could be an early effort to throw his name in the hat for the Frenchman’s successor at the Emirates. It could also be a trick to get into Wenger’s head and make his team give counter-respect on the football field when the two teams square off at Westfalenstadion on Wednesday night.
Wilshere and Gibbs Unlikely to Feature in Dortmund
Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere are highly unlikely to take part in Arsenal’s Champions League encounter with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday as both the players failed to take part in full training sessions with their teammates yesterday.
The injured duo’s fitness levels will be thoroughly assessed today, but coach Arsene Wenger is not expected to gamble on their long-term health due to their history of lengthy injury layoffs. One good news for the Gunners from the treatment room is that Theo Walcott is on the verge of being available for first-team action. The Dortmund game comes too soon for him, but he could be involved in this weekend’s away clash with Manchester United.
Arsenal’s other absentees are Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski.
Grenier Still on Arsenal Radar
Arsenal FC may have missed out on Olympique Lyonnais‘ talented winger Clement Grenier last summer, but reports emerging from the French press suggest that they are still interested in acquiring him. (The Express)
Grenier, 22, was the subject of a £6million bid from the Gunners in the summer transfer window, and despite early interest, he eventually snubbed that offer and extended his contract at Stade de Gerland. But that hasn’t deterred the North London giants, who are keen to take advantage of the financial turmoil Lyon are currently in and add to their already-rich midfield options.
A difficult start to the new campaign means that Grenier’s stock has failed to reach the high levels that both the player and his club expected. The whole motive of snubbing Arsenal’s offer was to fetch a bigger price in future, but the way things are currently going for Les Gones, it’s unlikely their plan would succeed.
About his situation in Lyon, Grenier said: “I have a contract which now runs until 2016. We’ll see what happens here in a year. Anyway, I told the President that whatever happens, I will not leave my club for free. Collectively this is a difficult period, but also on a personal level. This is the first time in my young career things have been complicated for me. This is part of my development. You have to be strong and continue to work.”
The player is also being monitored by Serie A champions, Juventus.
Gunners Contact Juve for Llorente – Report
Arsenal FC have approached Juventus with a view to signing their Spanish striker Fernando Llorento on loan in January, according to a report published by The Independent.
Citing unnamed reports from Italy, the newspaper claim that the Gunners have officially made contact with the Old Lady and want to take him to the Emirates for an initial six-month loan deal when the transfer activity resumes early next year.
Llorente signed for Juve on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao last summer but has found limited game time in Turin due to the presence of extreme competition in the form of Carlos Tevez, Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic. After a difficult start, his situation has improved a bit though.
In the same report, it is also stated that Arsenal are also tracking AC Milan’s 21-year-old striker, Stephan El Shaarawy.
Hernanes Not Interested in Leaving Lazio
Lazio midfielder Hernanes – who is purportedly being tracked by Arsenal and Tottenham – has announced that he has no intention of leaving his Serie A club in January.
The 28-year-old Brazilian has started the 2013/14 season in excellent form, scoring thrice already from his deep midfield position. His performances have led to his name being linked with moves away from Lazio, but he says he is more than happy at his current club.
In a surprising show of loyalty that is not usually associated with modern footballers, Hernanes told Lazio Style Radio: “I want to deny all of those market rumours about me. I have a contract with Lazio and I want to respect it with the same passion and professionalism that I have had from the beginning. During training I do what is asked of me and more and I have played matches when I haven’t been 100 per cent, taking risks.”
While most would at least milk the situation to get a contract extension, Hernanes, the gentleman that he is, wants no part of such tactics. He added: “Extending my contract? I will never ask for a renewal. If the club thinks I deserve to stay here, they’ll call me and we’ll talk. I still have 18 months left and there are other players in the same situation.”
This image is provided courtesy of www.mirror.co.uk