Arsenal fans are frustrated with the club management which has forced thousands of them to send a strong letter to owner Stan Kroenke. For a number of seasons they have seen their team fall behind neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and for a third year running have missed out on Champions League football. During the current transfer window only Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli has arrived at the Emirates whereas Tottenham have broken their transfer record by paying French club Lyon £55millon for Tanguy Ndombele. Now the club is in dispute with Laurent Koscielny and he has been stripped of the club captaincy and refused to travel to the United States for their pre-season matches. Koscielny knows that French team Bordeaux want him and have offered a three-year deal. He has one year left on his £120k a week contract at the Arsenal and wants an extension. Arsenal however looked at his recent injuries and lack of playing time and offered a lower basic salary which included a performance related clause based on the number of appearances he makes. He rejected this and has insisted on being allowed to leave for free immediately. Arsenal have ordered him to train with the Under 23 squad. The fans in the meantime have complained in a letter to the board explaining how they have been ignored and are never listened too. There was much anger when Kroenke forced fans to sell their private shares. The resulting protest left many seats empty at the Emirates. Arsenal fans are asking for a sense of belonging to their club and the feeling that all Gunners fans are cared about. Kroenke, first and foremost a businessman, said buying out the shares was what the club needed to compete consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League but as fans shouted back loudly, “We have seen little evidence of how this is to be achieved.” Instead of Korenke’s inner circle of friends and business associates Arsenal need top management with football and related commercial skills. The Managing Director of Arsenal and Head of Football have invited supporters to a meeting on July 25th. It will be interesting to hear what both sides have to say.
Man United new boys impress
Good news for Manchester United on their pre-season tour of Australia. New boys Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka made their debuts and both impressed. James provided speed and incisive runs getting behind defenders and Wan-Bissaka made tackle after tackle with great success. Don’t get carried away though because opponents Perth Glory are hardly Premier League quality and even had two teenagers in their squad. A sterner test will come against Inter-Milan, Tottenham and AC Milan and then it is Chelsea, Wolves, Leicester and Arsenal among their opponents when the new season officially begins. It does however make the point that United seem to have chosen wisely in their two signings.
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Sane opts to stay at City
Leroy Sane arrived for training last week and told Manchester City officials he has no intention of joining German club Bayern Munich even if they put in a bid of £70 million. City value Sane at over £100million however manager Pep Guardiola has said he will not prevent Sane from leaving if he changes his mind. Sane earns £60k a week which by City and Premier League standards is modest however I understand the club are ready to more than double this if he stays. City are competing in the Premier League Asia Trophy and flew out to Shanghai a few days ago.
Maguire sets himself up for Man United
Leicester central defender Harry Maguire has told his club and manager that he wants a move to Manchester United and appears to be a step closer in an £80million switch to Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s team. He would certainly bolster United’s suspect defence for the start of the new season. Manchester City were in with a shout for the England midfielder but have appeared to back away as they do not want to get into a bidding war. Maguire has even told his team-mates that he wants a top six club to play for and United is his choice despite originally favouring City. He put his point to the club this week whilst on their pre-season tour of France at their training camp at Evian. After speaking with United I understand that if Maguire joins them they need to recoup some of the money and Marcus Rojo and Eric Bailley are the likely players to be sold. In the meantime Solskjaer is living up to his promise to have a fitter team and has factored 14 training session into the next 9 days on tour.
Bayern interest in Hudson-Odoi still ongoing
As if to display their intentions for winning the Champions League and being a constant presence in the transfer window, Bayern Munich have shown increased interest in signing Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi. I understand from my contacts they are prepared to offer £45million which is an increase of £10million on the last offer they made in January this year. New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said that 18 year-old Hudson-Odoi is central to his plans for the club. He trained at the Cobham training ground, to recover from a niggling injury, while his team-mates were in Ireland and this week the team flew to Japan to begin their pre-season tour. To prove his belief in the Chelsea youngsters Lampard fielded Mason Mount alongside Olivier Giroud and Emerson who both scored against Irish side St Patrick’s Athletic in Dublin. American international Christian Pulisic who signed from German side Borussia Dortmund in January is flying out to join the Blues in Japan.
Tammy Abraham’s eyeing a starting place
Chelsea have told new manager Frank Lampard to assess some of his new fringe players who did not feature regularly last season and to decide if he wants them or they will be sold. Everton want Kurt Zouma as a permanent player after a season on loan as centre back. Marcos Alonso and David Zappacosta could leave and Michy Batshuayi is wanted by Crystal Palace and it will be Lampard’s decision if he leaves. Chelsea’s two window transfer ban is a golden opportunity for their highly talented crop of youngsters. Tammy Abraham, who was out on loan last season, sees the coming season as his big chance to play regularly for the Blues. “It’s now or never!” said the striker. To prove a point Tammy cut short his summer holidays and went to Chelsea’s Cobham training ground for pre-season work. Chelsea have always had an excellent academy and having been there many times I can tell you that their facilities are superb. The problem is that the youngsters, under previous manager Maurizio Sarri, rarely got a chance to play first team football and most were loaned out to other clubs. Abraham’s said, “I’ve talked to Chelsea about pre-season and I want to hit the ground running. I’m buzzing and with the new manager I want to show what I can do.” Abrahams grew up playing football after school on the streets of south London as did Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jason Sancho, Ademola Lookman, Reiss Nelson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joe Gomez. After a season long loan to Aston Villa, where he scored 26 times in 40 appearances, Tammy is sure 2019/20 will be his big chance at Chelsea.