The Good, The Bad & The David Dein

Okay, I lied – there is no good. Just the bad and the ugly.

By now we all know about David Dein selling his shares to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov for around £70 million. And we also know that Dein is the chairman of a company called ‘Red & White’ – how comforting.

But am I the only one who thinks this is bad, and quite frankly I can only see it getting more and more ugly as the weeks and months pass by.

It’s hard to see what the benefits of this are, and he had this to say:

“I’ve not lost my passion for the club.

“Indeed it’s greater than ever. I’ve always had the best interests of Arsenal at heart – I’ve had a love affair with the club since I was six.

“My ambition remains to play an active role in Arsenal again. My immediate intention is to work with others to provide the financial resources necessary to turn the vision of Arsenal as the world’s No.1 club into reality.

“To provide these financial resources, Arsenal need new investors.”

But whatever you might think, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that Dein wants to come back and run Arsenal but it wouldn’t be for the selfless reasons he’s publicly told the press.

Don’t get me wrong, he has done a lot for the club but how can all this so called ‘investment’ be good for Arsenal? It’s been suggested that when Arsenal’s accounts are shown later this year it will even impress the biggest business men on how much in terms of revenue generated.

The timing of the announcement couldn’t be more selfish.

It overshadowed the Champions League draw and Dein knew that instead of concentrating on who our group opponents were and it would put Keith Edelman on the back foot as he was interviewed after the draw. Then of course although it looks certain Arsene will sign a new contract the apparent ‘uncertainty’ is a great time for Dein to ‘return’ as if he would save Arsenal all by himself.

And this is going to get even uglier.

If the Arsenal board sacked David Dein for trying to get a wealthy, and apparently shrewd American businessman Stan Kroenke to takeover the club then do you think that the board will welcome unknown and quite dodgy entities in Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri?

Will all this new ‘investment’ actually make any difference? Has Arsene suddenly changed his stubborn transfer beliefs and decided to spend money on over-priced superstars instead of unearthing young talent?

And we know where Wenger and Dein stood on the Emirates Stadium issue.

Dein just wants to be the head of Arsenal no matter what it takes.

We’ll just have to see whether or not this is good or not for Arsenal.

The 2007/2008 Champions League Draw In Full

Arsenal were drawn in Group H of the Champions League, alongside Sevilla or AEK Athens, Steaua Bucharest and Slavia Praha.

We will meet Slavia Praha, who are the rivals of Sparta Prague who we beat 3-0 last night and 5-0 overall in the qualifying stage. If Sevilla make it past AEK Athens then they will provide tough opposition, especially winning the UEFA Cup in the last two seasons.

Looking at the group Arsenal fans should be confident of making it to the knock-out stages.

Below is the Champions League Draw in full:

Group A: Liverpool, FC Porto, Marseille & Besiktas.
Group B: Chelsea, Valencia, FC Schalke & Rosenborg.
Group C: Real Madrid, Werder Bremen, Lazio & Olympiacos.
Group D: AC Milan, Benfica, Glasgow Celtic & Shakhtar Donetsk.
Group E: Barcelona, Lyon, VfB Stuttgart & Glasgow Rangers.
Group F: Manchester United, AS Roma, Sporting Lisbon & Dynamo Kyiv.
Group G: Inter Milan, PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow & Fenerbahçe.
Group H: Arsenal, Sevilla/AEK Athens, Steaua Bucharest & Slavia Praha.

There was also a Club Player of the Year Award for each position; Goalkeeper, Defender, Midfielder and Attacker. Below are the players that won the various awards, most of them unsurprisingly going to players of AC Milan who won last years competition:

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Defender: Paolo Maldini
Midfielder: Clarence Seedorf
Attacker: Kaka

The Transfer News Is Starting To Gather Pace…

Only a couple of days left in the tranfer window and it seems the transfer news is starting to pick up speed, with Arsenal today being linked with Brazilian superstar Adriano.

Arsene has officially stated he was offered the forward, but Inter Milan wanted a player in exchange. While there has been no official word about who that Arsenal player is, many reports are saying that it was most likely Tomas Rosicky. Other sources have said Inter were after Gilberto Silva.

Depending how you look at it, this could have been a very good or very bad move for Arsenal.

Adriano has reportedly been overweight and lazy, and apparently hadn’t scored a single club goal in 18 months until recently. And to swap him with Rosicky would be crazy as he is one of only a few players in our squad who is capable of playing out wide.

But is it so mad? Rosicky is much happier playing down the middle and Arsene has shown that in the absense of two fit strikers he would rather play Hleb down the centre. Also, if any coach in the world can transform the fortunes of a mis-guided player then it’s Arsene Wenger. There’s no doubt Adriano has the raw ability and talent to terrorise defenses and score goals when on form.

But it’s not going to happen!

The other news at the moment is over the future of Jens Lehmann, who the boss insists is staying at Arsenal. I think Wenger is telling the truth but if Jens was ever going to leave then before the deadline would make sense, and we’ve seen it before when players have left Arsenal – it’s all under wraps and we don’t actually find out until the deal has been completed.

Will we see any departures or arrivals before the deadline?

I’d be surprised if we didn’t!

Despite what the manager says – he’s hardly going to give away any of his transfer dealings now is he?

Lehmann – Almunia – Gallas – Wenger – Dein – Sven

Well Arsene Wenger has announced that Jens Lehmann is ‘injured’ and will be missing for at least two weeks with an achillies problem. You wonder about the timing of this ‘injury’ and I suspect that it’s the same sort of injury Thierry Henry had at the end of last season. There has been a lot of talk about Lehmann’s costly mistakes of late but Arsene has spoken out and said that Jens is still a top quality goalkeeper.

It’s pretty convenient how Lehmann has become injured following shocking mistakes at Fulham and Blackburn, and a few people thought he should have done better at the near post against Lampard in midweek.

I thought that highly-rated Fabianski might be given a shot but with Arsene’s pecking order it will be Manuel Almunia who fills in for the German. The boss is confident that Almunia can handle the responsibility and admitted it was close in deciding a number one this season. Personally if Lehmann is fully-fit and on top of his game then there really is no contest – but sadly that isn’t the case.

Some people love Almunia and some people hate him. I’m still undecided, even though he’s been at the club over 3 years and seen a decent amount of playing time. I suppose I’m still gutted about the time I travelled all the way to Manchester for the Carling Cup game only for him to let in a pathetic shot after 30 seconds. Man, that was a long trip home!

But as you may or may not have already seen (via Arseblog) that Almunia did win the Arsenal Crossbar Challenge so you can’t say he doesn’t deserve his place in the team!

Unfortunately Willie G will be out for some time and Kolo will captain the side if (and it looks likely) that Gilberto will not take part in the Man City game. I never thought I would say this but Willie has impressed me already this season and we’ll miss his drive – we really could have done with him in the second half against Blackburn.

Meanwhile the manager has said his future will be sorted out ‘soon’ and dismissed talk that delays had anything to do with David Dein. Arsene has always been laid back about signing on the dotted line but is a man of his word so I would be shocked if he did anything other than extend his future.

And of course tomorrow afternoon, we meet Sven’s men who are flying at the top of the league after beating West Ham, Derby and Manchester United. Whatever you want to say about Sven, winning the first 3 games of the season is impressive and Man City are the only team in the league that still have a 100% record. Most people think we will easily beat them but they haven’t conceded a goal yet with Dunne and Richards in fantastic form so I can see tomorrow being a frustration afternoon – especially with Arsenal’s knack of wasting opportunities in front of goal.

On the plus side it looks like Adebayor will start and at least he isn’t scared of shooting.

And hopefully Gilberto will start because Arsenal have problems keeping clean sheets without him.

The smart money would be on 0-0 tomorrow but hopefully Arsenal can grab a goal and nick it 2-1 against a supremely confident Manchester City.

No more blunders please!

Video Link: Arsenal Crossbar Challenge – French TV (YouTube – 3:02)
Download Link: Click Here (Rapidshare – 26MB)

Jens Lehmann: It’s Time To Move On

When I wrote yesterday’s article it was virtually after the game, so I suppose I could have been a little harsh.

But looking at it, Wenger really has to drop Jens.

How many mistakes does he have to make, really?

We all know Lehmann is a quality goalkeeper – there’s no doubt about that. His saves against Riquelme, Solskjaer, Scholes and various others over the last few seasons have literally saved us points, got us to European Finals or won us trophies.

The question is how much power does Lehmann have?

Because in any other circumstances he would be dropped. Just look at Jerzy Dudek, Fabian Bartez, Sander Westerveld – these goalkeepers made less errors than Jens has but that didn’t stop teams like Liverpool and Manchester United dropping them.

If you compiled a list of mistakes Lehmann has made since he has joined then it would be very long indeed. Even in the invincibles season he managed to tarnish the win at White Hart Lane by conceding a stupid foul against Robbie Keane to give away a penalty.

Is Arsene scared of dropping Jens? Will Lehmann sulk and disrupt the dressing room if he’s not playing?

Jens will be 38 years old this year. If he hasn’t got rid of his lapses in judgement by now he never will – or maybe the fact of the matter is the big man is just passed it.

I can’t see the harm in giving Lukasz Fabianski a chance, who is highly rated at the club and Poland’s number one. Arsene has a knack of giving the young guys a chance throughout the different positions in the team so why not at goalkeeper?

Seriously though, does any other team in the world have this many problems with their goalkeeper?