Giroud: Everyone wanted me at Arsenal

Giroud: Everyone wanted me at Arsenal

Olivier Giroud has admitted that he came close to leaving Arsenal during the summer transfer window – but he stayed because everybody at the club wanted him to.

The Gunners’ record signing of Alexandre Lacazette appeared set to push the striker further down the pecking order with Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez already providing competition for places up front.

Although he hasn’t yet started a Premier League game this season, the France international will feature in the North London side’s Europa League group stage opener against FC Koln on Thursday, which you can see live on eir Sport 2, kick-off at 8.05pm and has no regrets about staying with Arsenal.

“It’s true that I was close to leaving the club because I wanted to play, but after big reflection, with everybody around me I wanted to stay at the Arsenal and I thought the story was not finished,” he said.

“The club brings me a lot and I think I give it back. I still want to improve, again and again, and win some more trophies with the club. I said to the boss ‘our story is not finished’ and everyone was pleased with that.”

Indeed, after Giroud scored a late winner in Arsenal’s opening day 4-3 comeback victory over Leicester City not long after coming off the bench, Arsene Wenger praised the player for his “loyalty” and “determination to fight for a place”.

Arsenal Europa League squad

Alexis Sanchez has been included in Arsenal Europa League squad.

The Chile frontman, who missed out on a move to Manchester City on deadline day, has been named in a 42-man squad.

Arsenal Europa League squad

City had a £60m offer for Sanchez accepted on the final day of the transfer window but the deal collapsed when Arsenal were unable to bring in Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as a replacement.

Sanchez is included alongside midfielder Jack Wilshere and a number of youngsters including highly-rated duo Krystian Bielik and Joseph Willock.

Sky Sports are claiming that City will try and sign Sanchez again in January and if a move does go through then the 28-year-old would be eligible to play for Pep Guardiola’s men in the Champions League, according to UEFA rules.

Article 44 of UEFA regulations state: “For all matches from the start of the round of 16, a club may register a maximum of three new eligible players for the remaining matches in the current competition.

“Such registration must be completed by 1 February 2018 at the latest. This deadline cannot be extended.

“One player from the above quota of three who has been fielded in a UEFA club competition group stage match for another club in the current season may exceptionally be registered, provided that the player has not been fielded: a. in the same competition for another club; or b. for another club that is currently in the same competition.”

Valencia have signed defender Gabriel from Arsenal on a five-year-deal

Valencia has signed Gabriel Paulista for a reported €11milllion, the center back agreeing on a five-year deal at the club after leaving Arsenal.

Valencia have signed defender Gabriel from Arsenal on a five-year-deal

Gabriel joined the Premier League side from Villarreal in January 2015 and made 64 appearances in all competitions during his two-and-a-half years in north London.

Valencia, who will present the defender to the media on Saturday, confirmed Gabriel’s contract runs until 2022 and has a release clause of €80m.

“We would like to thank Gabriel for his contribution to the club and to wish him well for his return to La Liga with Valencia,” an official Arsenal statement read.


Gabriel has been allowed to leave Arsenal despite left-backs Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac starting in a back three in their Premier League opener at home to Leicester City last week.

The Brazilian could make his Valencia debut at the Santiago Bernabeu when Marcelino’s side take on Real Madrid in LaLiga on August 27.


Inter from Mangala to Mustafi

Inter continue their search for a defender and, with Manchester City holding on to Eliaquim Mangala, turned to Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi.

Inter from Mangala to Mustafi

The Nerazzurri are looking rather short-staffed at the back and, with Andrea Ranocchia on his way to Burnley and Jeison Murillo towards Valencia, reinforcements are needed quickly.

According to Sky Sports Italia, the first choice is Mangala and the player has given the all-clear, but Manchester City is refusing to release him on loan.

They are only prepared to let the centre-back go on a permanent transfer, having already loaned him to Valencia last season.

Instead, Inter is turning towards another Premier League player, Arsenal defender Mustafi.

The 25-year-old German international was bought from Valencia last summer for €41m and therefore the Gunners want to make back their money.

It would be a return to Serie A for Mustafi, who really found his form at Sampdoria from 2012 to 2014.

There is no way out that Arsenal will sell Mustafi to Inter as is a very important member of our first team, so I think they should keep looking at players from other teams.

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, wants to buy Arsenal, sack Wenger

Africa’s richest man says he is plotting a bid to take over Arsenal — and that his first move as the owner would be to fire Arsene Wenger.

Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man, wants to buy Arsenal, sack Wenger

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote told Bloomberg in an interview that he is planning to make an offer to majority owner Stan Kroenke once the construction of a new oil refinery in Lagos, Nigeria, is completed.

“The first thing I would change is the coach,” Dangote was quoted as saying. “He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck.”

Wenger was handed a new two-year contract as manager at the end of last season despite a turbulent campaign that saw Arsenal finish fifth in the Premier League.

Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa.

While a growing number of fans turned against Wenger, Kroenke remained steadfast in his backing and extended his 21-year reign after the club won the FA Cup in May.

Kroenke also rejected a takeover bid from minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov in May and has said the club is not for sale, though that has not deterred Dangote, who has spoken of wanting to purchase Arsenal in the past.

“If they get the right offer, I’m sure they would walk away,” he said. “Someone will give them an offer that will make them seriously consider walking away. And when we finish the refinery, I think we will be in a position to do that.”

According to Forbes, Dangote has a net worth of nearly $13 billion — considerably more than Kroenke’s $7.5bn.


Arsenal FC starlet Alex Iwobi, who is a Nigerian international, says he has not been overwhelmed by stardom.

The 21-year-old winger was nurtured in the Arsenal academy, before making his first team debut against West Bromwich Albion in the Football League Cup match in September 2013.


Iwobi, who played for England’s youth national teams, before electing to play for Nigeria two years ago, talks about his progression to the English Premier League (EPL) club’s first team.

“I still hang with the same friends when they’re back from uni, every time after training I still go home and sleep,” Iwobi told club website.

“Nothing’s really changed, just playing in the first team I guess. I do get recognized more, people are like ‘ahhh’.

“Two years ago you could just come in, I’d normally go back to my old area and play in my cage and no one would bother me, but if I go and play in my cage now – ‘ahhh Alex Iwobi’s here’.

“I’m still getting used to that because I still feel like I’m the same as my friends and the same person as two years ago, but when people are like ‘do you know what you’ve done?’

“Obviously I was lucky to have an uncle that played football, so he still gives me advice from time to time, but my mum and dad keep me grounded,” he continued.

“The more I’m progressing, the more money, the more the fame comes with it, but they’re helping me invest because football is a really short career, so they’re also making me think about life outside of football as well a bit more,” he added.

“But I’m not one to go spending and living a flashy lifestyle, I try to keep as humble as I can and I’m still the same.

“That’s what I’m going to keep on saying, I’m still the same person as I was two years ago.”

Arsenal defender Gabriel close to sealing £10m move to Valencia

Arsenal is close to confirming their fourth first-team departure of the summer with Gabriel Paulista said to be closing in on a move to Valencia.

Arsenal defender Gabriel close to sealing £10m move to Valencia

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the Gunners’ squad numbers are too high and that there will be a number of departures before the end of the ongoing summer transfer window.

Gabriel arrived from Villarreal during the January transfer window in 2015 but is yet to nail down a regular spot in the starting XI. He has remained a back up to first choice centre-back pairing Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny and fell further behind following the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi and the emergence of Rob Holding.

The 26-year-old Brazilian made just 15 starts in the Premier League last season and with five other centre-backs at Wenger’s disposal, he has been deemed surplus to requirements. Gabriel did impress when he was deployed as a right sided centre-back and also while playing as a right-back at times.

According to Spanish publication Marca, the Gunners defender is close to a move to the La Liga outfit with the clubs agreeing on a fee of around £10m ($12.8m). Valencia manager Marcelino Garcia Toral is said to be keen to reunite with Gabriel with whom he worked during his stint as the manager of Villarreal.

The La Liga club released a teaser video on their official Twitter account showing the club preparing the jersey for the new arrival. They hinted that it was Gabriel, as they showed three letters all part of his name being prepared on the club’s home shirt.


Alexandre Lacazette takes Tino Asprilla 20 year old record

Newcastle’s Tino Asprilla sees the record that has stood for two decades fall to Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Alexandre Lacazette takes Tino Asprilla 20 year old record

His record lasted 20 years and 2 days but Alexandre Lacazette took away Tino Asprilla’s record on Friday night.

Newcastle United took on Sheffield Wednesday on 9 August 1997 and Tino scored both goals in a 2-1 win.

It took the Newcastle forward only 101 seconds at St James Park to score the first of his two goals v the Owls and it became the quickest goal ever scored in a Premier League season.

The Columbian international beating the 121 seconds it took Kevin Campbell to score for Arsenal against Manchester City on the opening day of the 1994/95 season.

The Gunners have now reclaimed the record, with Alexandre Lacazette scoring only 94 seconds into the 4-3 victory over Leicester on Friday night.

Having kicked off the match, it was only the Frenchman’s second touch of the ball when he headed Arsenal into the lead.

Arsenal won just their second opening fixture in the last eight years

Arsenal won just their second opening fixture in the last eight years, they were pushed all the way by the Foxes, who had led twice during a frenetic evening at the Emirates Stadium.

 Arsenal won just their second opening fixture in the last eight years

Alexandre Lacazette marked his Arsenal league debut with a goal in 94 seconds, only for Shinji Okazaki to level less than three minutes later.

Jamie Vardy then struck twice either side of Welbeck’s equalizer as the Foxes looked set for a first league win over Arsenal since 1983.

But it was not to be as substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Giroud struck late on to seal a remarkable three points for Wenger’s side.

Now the Arsene Wenger wants the difficult nature of the win to act as a reminder of how tough the division can be.

“I felt that to lose tonight would have been terrible for us because we had such good preparation and to sit there in the morning and think we had lost at home would have been terrible,” he said.

“It is a relief and I believe as well a reminder to the players that they have hurdles on the way and that we can get around it, like tonight so that is quite positive.

“After that, let’s take it game by game – go to Stoke – then to Liverpool, who are as well one of the teams who want to win the Premier League.

“To win like we did will only strengthen it and overall we have good ingredients in the squad and it is a good opportunity again to show it away from home.”

Arsenal next game will be against Stoke City next weekend.

Alexis Sanchez training again

Alexis Sanchez returned to Arsenal training on Friday as manager Arsene Wenger maintains his stance that the forward will not be sold.

Alexis Sanchez training again

The Chile international has been linked with a move away from the club this summer with less than a year remaining on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium and could walk away for free at the end of the upcoming season.

Wenger has insisted several times that Sanchez will not be sold, although links with Manchester City continue.

Sanchez missed Arsenal’s scintillating start to the new Premier League season, an abdominal injury forcing him to sit out the 4-3 victory over Leicester. The 28-year-old watched from the stands as Olivier Giroud’s late header earned the Gunners three points.

Rumors persist that Sanchez will leave before the window closes, with Wenger suggesting he will also miss the trip to Stoke next weekend.

Asked if there was any update on Sanchez’s situation, Wenger replied: “No. He practiced well today, this morning, had a good session for the first time because he had a little muscular strain. He is focused and happy in the dressing room because we won the game.”

While Arsenal won just their second opening fixture in the last eight years, they were pushed all the way by the Foxes, who had led twice during a frenetic evening at the Emirates Stadium.

The wait is finally over-Preview: Arsenal vs. Leicester City

The wait is finally over. The Premier League is all set and ready to begin.

All eyes will be set towards the game between Arsenal and Leicester City game on Friday night as the first fixture of the 2017/18 season will be played under the Emirates floodlights.

The wait is finally over-Preview: Arsenal vs. Leicester City

The Gunners will look to continue their winning ways after a thrilling encounter at Wembley which saw them triumph on penalties against London rivals Chelsea, as new signings Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac will look to impress their new fanbase.

Leicester, on the other hand, are hoping to get this campaign off to a winning start in a bid to hopefully enjoy something more like the 2015/16 season than the one which ended a few months ago.

The Foxes have kept hold of key players this year – so far, anyway – and also added solid signings to the fray. Newbie Kelechi Iheanacho is set to make his debut after signing this summer and Harry Maguire is also likely to come under the spotlight.

Arsenal are the bookies favourite but a strong Leicester side awaits.

As the new season begins, sit back, relax and enjoy the joys of the Premier League and everything the beautiful game has to offer as we usher in the 17/18 season.

Arsenal team news

Arsenal will be without defender Laurent Koscielny due to a ban. Per Mertesacker suffered a bad head wound recently against Chelsea so he could be a doubt as well as Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, due to fitness doubts. Key player Alexis Sanchez is also ruled out.