ArseWEB - Fact, fiction, truth, rumour and opinions - Arsenal in the news: week ending 16/10/95

Compiled by Ian Grant from Arsenal-related reports in this week's media. Reports for other weeks are also available.

Quote of the Week: Noll Scott from Sao Paulo in the Guardian Tuesday 10:

"If Middlesbrough counts for little in Brazilian eyes, its effect on the tongue is even more extreme, producing a throttled, gargling noise in those who attempt to conquer the final "gh".

Comment - Juninho the light side:

Articles on Juninho reveal that he is currenly not hitched up with a member of the opposite sex. Does this account for Bruce Rioch's mysterious pull -out? Maybe he couldn't find him a wife before the 24-hour transfer deadline.

Most tantalising comment of the week (in the light of the Juninho affair): FourTwoFour Magazine (November p12)

Summer '95: The Arsenal bid was millimetres away from luring Ginola to Highbury. A mix-up with phone calls meant Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein was waiting for Ginola to contact him while preliminary finances were being agreed with Newcastle.(see below) (what is it about Arsenal and creative midfield players?)


Leeds 0 Arsenal 3:Gunners' title odds slashed to 9/2

Score says it all really. Probably the best result of the season on paper. The odds were reported by Jonathan Pearce on Capital Gold.

However, press reports in the Observer and Sunday Telegraph point to the lack of Gary McAllister (see nw 13/10/95), two rookies in midfield - Couzens and Tinkler and a Lukic blunder, which they say effectively swung the match.

The Daily Telegraph is full of praise for Arsenal with new found aggression and singles out the defence and Glen Helder's speed and ability to beat his man - also mirrored in some of the tabloids. However, DT's Christopher Davies says there is still a suspicion that Arsenal are a couple of players short of genuine Championship material.

Meanwhile the Guardian, which refers to rapidly improving Arsenal, quotes Bruce Rioch on the terrible twins:" they think the world of each other. One is louder than the other, but the other's not as quiet as you think he is." The Sun confirms its Wright for England campaign, followed by other tabloids - which quote Bergkamp and Helder saying he should play for England.

Ray Parlour again was singled out (Capital Gold and Sunday Telegraph) for having an excellent game providing aggression in midfield. Dennis Bergkamp appeared to get stuck in a lot more (Match of the Day), and didn't drop his head when missing with just Lukic to beat; Glenn Helder was commended on CG, but criticised in the STel; for some poor, crossing and finishing. Arsenal's defence were commended on (MoD) for only allowing Yeboah a couple of chances; Soccer Extra highlighted that Arsenal have only conceeded one away goal this season;Paul Merson predicted on CG he would score - and duly did!;Ian Wright after two practice chips with Lukic off his line, got the third down to perfection.

It is capped off by Bruce Rioch's quote in several tabloids that when David Platt returns (maybe next week) it will be like having a new player.

Blomquist and Thatcher latest names in the ever-growing Arsenal transfer hat

Arsenal's interest in Swedish international Jasper Blomquist and Millwall's left back, Ben Thatcher was confirmed on Sky Sports Soccer Extra by Rob Shepherd of Today.

It was reported that Kevin Keegan was at the international last week to watch Blomquist who didn't play,(also in NoW) however more than one source has linked him to Arsenal in the last week.

NoW says Arsenal head the queue for Blomquist, with ,Newcastle ,Everton and Nottingham Forest all tracking. He would go for around £2.5m.

A right sided midfield/winger, he destroyed Man U in last season's Champions League with direct dribbling skills.

The link to Ben Thatcher is solid. He was under Bruce Rioch when he was at Millwall and is tracking developments. Widely regarded as the best young left back in the country, Manchester United have also been tracking him for some time, and, according to Shepherd, have yet to offer Dennis Irwin a new contract.

...as well as Bowyer, Rufus and Boban (revisited)

Sunday Express says Bruce Rioch has checked on Charlton scoring sensation Lee Bowyer and defensive colleague defender Richard Rufus. People reports that Arsenal have checked again on AC Milan's midfielder Boban. As Rob Sheperd says, Arsenal seem to be after everyone at the moment.

Arsenal commended for away fan pricing

In a "round sofa" discussion of Soccer Extra, Arsenal were commended for keeping their ticket prices for away fans down to £11 and £12.

Yeboah could have been an Arsenal player/ Arsenal did not bid for Juninho/ and Bergkamp returns £6m

Saturday morning: Today newspaper interviews Bruce Rioch who says, somewhat regretfully, Tony Yeboah could have been an Arsenal player. Apparently Arsenal could have had him in January, but Leeds reps came to London to meet his agent. Similarly Ginola and Ferdinand are mentioned in connection with Arsenal. The angle of the piece is mirrored, though to a lesser extent, in the Daily Express.

In the piece Bruce Rioch denies he bid for Juninho - one of three agents contacted him (so it was all press speculation - and judging by angry callers on Capital Gold - it had an adverse effect on Arsenal). He says Arsenal already have a "free" player. He says he wants one more player, but that you have to be careful where you spend £5m.

Finally in connection with Dennis Bergkamp, he says the £7.5m outlay has already returned £6m through ticket sales and merchandising etc;

David O'Leary retires

Thirty seven year-old Arsenal stalwart David O'Leary, who is currently on Leeds' books, has announced his retirement due to a persistent achilles injury.

No new names linked with Arsenal's midfield vacancy

Friday: About the first day for a week that Arsenal have not been linked with a new creative midfielder.

This may indicate it has all been paper speculation with no firm bids - hard to tell.

Platt injured again

Daily Telegraph and most of the press report that David Platt pulled a calf muscle in training and will not appear in a reserve game tomorrow.

A specially arranged reserve game will be arranged mid-week and he could return against Villa on 21 October.

Rioch looks at Rudi and Hested

New names to add to Arsenal's shopping list to fill the midfield gap! - they are appearing daily.

The Guardian says Bruce Rioch was in Stavanger on Tuesday watching Molde's midfielders Petter Rudi, and Daniel Berg Hested. Unusually these haven't been picked up in the tabloids. Apparently they have been attracting interest throughout Europe and impressed again on Tuesday.

The Guardian also refers to the two previous names Basler and Emerson in relation to Arsenal.

Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton are after Hartson

Thursday:Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday are said to be locked in a battle for John Hartson, according to the Sun, Mirror, Today and Star. The story arose because both managers Messrs Pleat and Merrington were at the Wales U-21 game on Tuesday.

Adams and Seaman come out tops

David Seaman and Tony Adams came out top/joint top of the individual players performances following the friendly international against Norway, in the Sun an' Mirror.

McAllister out of Saturday clash

Gary McAllister the Leeds and Scottish midfielder was badly injured during the friendly against Sweden and will miss the match against Arsenal (Saturday)(Most papers).

Basler target a possibility

Wednesday:The Sun has a back page piece on the availability of Werder Bremen midfielder Mario Basler, who has been put on the transfer list. A German international, he would go for around £7m.

AC Milan are supposedly interested. However, a later report in the Guardian says that projected moves to AC Milan and Parma have broken down.

Today quotes Jurgen Klinsmann as saying he is a world class player, physically strong and would suit the Premiership, particularly Arsenal and Blackburn. (Comment:It is now fairly clear that Bruce Rioch is genuinely after a world class midfielder).

Morrow show down

Stephen Morrow, in a piece in the Mirror, appears to be getting fed up with life in the reserves and is to seek show down talks with Bruce Rioch, with a view to a transfer request.

Emerson green light?

Tues:Mirror, Today and Star report that Emerson, the Brazilian midfielder (see nd 09/10/95) is considering a move to Arsenal.

In a fairly ambivalent quote he says that he does not deny looking for a move and it is good that clubs like Arsenal are interested, but that any move is up to the club President.

Bruce Rioch has confirmed he went to Portugal to watch Emerson.

Graham quits association

The Mirror reports that George Graham has been forced off the League Managers Association following his year-long ban.

Hartson leads line against Germany

John Hartson has been picked as centre forward for tonight's (Tuesday) game against the German U-21 side.(most papers)

Ginola millimetres away from being an Arsenal player!

Coming hard on the heels of the Juninho affair, the news that makes it hard to be an Arsenal supporter. According to the November issue of the magazine FourTwoFour, but for a mix up over phone calls, the French international David Ginola may have been crossing to Bergkamp rather than Ferdinand.In the summer, Arsenal apparently agreed a fee with PSG and David Dein was waiting for Ginola to contact him. Unfortunately, while waiting, preliminary finances were being sorted out with Newcastle .

"May" maybe the operative word, because although it says both clubs agreed fees with Paris Saint Germain, the feature says that Newcastle offered a wage deal Arsenal could not match.

Nevertheless, but for a bit slicker movement in the transfer market and a midfield of Juninho, Platt, Ginola and Helder with Wright and Bergkamp up front (Keown and Jensen could come on to close games down at 4-0 - well, OK 1-0 for the tougher away matches) and it really would have been fantasy hit reality at Highbury.


iangrant@gn.apc.org