- Xabi Alonso can be added to the list of names Arsene Wenger came close to signing at Arsenal, but ultimately missed out on. The Gunners boss has often spoken down the years of how he was in the market for a number of top talents, only to see them head elsewhere or for interest t...
Another star to have slipped Wenger's net at Arsenal - Alonso reveals Gunners interest while at LiverpoolXabi Alonso can be added to the list of names Arsene Wenger came close to signing at Arsenal, but ultimately missed out on. The Gunners boss has often spoken down the years of how he was in the market for a number of top talents, only to see them head elsewhere or for interest to be shelved. Wenger: Suarez wanted to join Arsenal It has now been revealed that the Frenchman was eager to add ball-playing midfielder Alonso to his ranks while the Spaniard was at Liverpool. With Reds looking to move out a man who would go on to win 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship honours with Spain, Arsenal joined the chase. They were, however, reluctant to meet the asking price of a Premier League rival and Alonso eventually ended up signing for La Liga giants Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo about his time at Anfield, Alonso said: “I was really close to Juventus and I was close to Arsenal. Arsenal and Bayern fined by UEFA “But, it was just £3m. Liverpool were asking £18m and both offered £15m – so that’s why it didn’t happen." Alonso formed part of Liverpool’s remarkable Champions League triumph in 2005 during his time in England, before going on to enjoy further domestic and European success in Madrid. League titles have also been snapped up in Germany with Bayern Munich, but the 35-year-old has announced that he is to slip into retirement at the end of the current campaign. Alonso added: “I have been lucky enough to be at great clubs from my hometown club to Liverpool to Real Madrid to Bayern Munich. Pep: Alonso one of the best ever “For me, I’ve played for the best team in England, the best team in Spain and the best team in Germany. That’s what I wanted to have - a nice career. I’ve played with great players and worked with great managers, I’ve learned a lot from all of them. “I’ve been lucky but I have earned that luck. I’ve been in the right place at the right moment a few times. I would never have dreamed to have had such a nice career as this. I like football and this is like a nice football journey.”
- Arsene Wenger will spend another year at Arsenal before handing the reins to his former captain Patrick Vieira, says Paul Merson. The man currently at the helm is facing plenty of tough questions regarding his suitability to the role. Pires makes big Wenger renewal call Fan pr...Arsene Wenger will spend another year at Arsenal before handing the reins to his former captain Patrick Vieira, says Paul Merson. The man currently at the helm is facing plenty of tough questions regarding his suitability to the role. Pires makes big Wenger renewal call Fan protests have been staged against Wenger, with that disgruntled section of supporters firmly against the awarding of a new contract. Merson, though, believes that a 12-month extension will be put to the long-serving Frenchman. He feels that will get Arsenal enough time to get their house in order before moving in a new direction under the guidance of a man who won three Premier League titles in north London. Merson told Sky Sports: “My instincts tell me he's [Wenger] going to sign and he's waiting for a big win and he'll sign for another year. "I wouldn't be surprised if he stays a year and then Patrick Vieira comes in." Iwobi: Wenger deserves more respect Pressed on whether Vieira would be a suitable candidate for such a big job, the former Gunners forward added: "Yes. He's learning his trade over at New York City, he's been at Man City, and he brings a winning mentality, he won't take any rubbish. "Arsenal look too nice at the moment. I think that could happen and the fans would love that. "The players don't seem like they're working that hard for the manager at the moment, which is sad. "Whoever comes in it's going to be a step-up - it's a big, big football club but I don't see a problem. Podolski: Wenger is Arsenal "He's a legend, which gives you some leeway. I just think he'll get his team playing the way he played the game, which is what they need at the moment." Arsenal, who have collected just three victories from their last nine fixtures in all competitions, return to action after the international break with a crucial clash against Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.
- Arsene Wenger is “convinced” that Luis Suarez wanted to join Arsenal a year before leaving Liverpool for Barcelona. The Gunners famously lodged a bid of £40,000,001 for the Uruguayan in the summer of 2013 in an effort to trigger a release clause. Messi and Suarez in toilet admi...Arsene Wenger is “convinced” that Luis Suarez wanted to join Arsenal a year before leaving Liverpool for Barcelona. The Gunners famously lodged a bid of £40,000,001 for the Uruguayan in the summer of 2013 in an effort to trigger a release clause. Messi and Suarez in toilet admission Liverpool, though, remained unmoved and refused to enter into negotiations with a Premier League rival. Suarez, though, was eager to make the switch, with the South American looking for a way out of Anfield on the back of a biting incident involving Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. He was eventually convinced to stay put and after enjoying a standout 2013/14 campaign, in which he was named PFA Player of the Year, a big-money transfer was completed to La Liga giants Barcelona. Wenger, though, insists that Suarez could just as easily have been turning on the style at the Emirates as Camp Nou. Iwobi: Wenger deserves more respect He told beIN Sports: “He was very close [to signing for Arsenal]. We had an agreement with the player. We had been wrongly advised that he had a clause, with a minimal clause, but we had an agreement with the player. You can ask him. “I'm convinced he wanted to join us and then they sold him. They kept him one more year, improved his contract and promised to sell him the year later to a club abroad." Suarez had been involved in another biting saga by the time he left England for Catalonia – at the 2014 World Cup – but Wenger feels the 30-year-old frontman deserves credit for having put the troubles of his past behind him and focused on becoming a world-class talent. He added: “It's not normal. You cannot accept that. He had some behaviours that were shocking but I think as well you don't see them anymore since two, three years. Arsenal's top five teenage stars “He got rid of all the things that were a handicap for him and today you don't see that anymore. He's still on borderline with what the strikers do well, you know, go down in the penalty box but you want that from an intelligent striker. “Overall I think he got rid of all the rest and rightly so and he deserved to be punished before and now you don't even expect it anymore from him."
- Arsenal need Arsene Wenger to sign a new contract in a move that would be more important than renewing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil's deals, according to Robert Pires. Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season and is coming under intense pressure to leave from some sec...Arsenal need Arsene Wenger to sign a new contract in a move that would be more important than renewing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil's deals, according to Robert Pires. Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season and is coming under intense pressure to leave from some sections of the Gunners' support. Ozil suffers back injury The 67-year-old says he has made a decision on his future, but is yet to announce that verdict publicly. And Pires, who was part of Arsenal's Invincibles team in 2004, thinks Wenger staying would be the best possible scenario for his former club. "I hope even they [Ozil and Sanchez] extend the contracts - the negotiation is very difficult and maybe complicated, but most important is to see Arsene Wenger extend," Pires said to Sky Sports. "I think Arsenal need more stability. Wenger is very, very important for Arsenal for now and for the next season. "I believe in Wenger because for me it was a privilege to work with him over six seasons. "The team was not perfect but it was good because we won some titles. I am a privileged man because I am still training with the team. I can give some advice for the players, can talk with Wenger every morning. Now I think he needs to put some stability on the club. "There are two objectives for Arsenal now – the first is to finish in the top four to play again the Champions League next season and of course the FA Cup it is very important to win this trophy. "Lots of fans talk about Wenger but I think he is the man. He is the manager for Arsenal. Wenger and the players need to fight." Pires thinks the quality is good enough in Arsenal's squad to compete for major honours, but agrees they are lacking in leadership. He also pointed to the long-term injury for Santi Cazorla as one of the reasons for the Gunners' struggles in the second half of the season. "It is very strange - sometimes you play good, sometimes it is not good," Pires said of Arsenal's form. The latest transfer gossip "Some players need more spirit because the quality is there. When you see the names on paper on the pitch I think they are great players like Ozil, Sanchez, but for me the most important is that we have missed Cazorla. "I think he is one of the best players at Arsenal, I think it has been over four months out and this is a problem. "The quality is there in the squad but we need - when you play in the Premier League especially - spirit, fight, commitment. "[My team winning titles] was a long time ago for Arsenal unfortunately. I remember I played with Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, so this is a good example. Maybe we need the same or similar players for Arsenal. But for now the most important is to finish in the top four."
- Arsenal and Bayern Munich have been fined by UEFA following the Champions League clash between the two at the start of March. Ozil suffers another injury The Gunners, already trailing 5-1 from the first leg in Germany, suffered another loss by the same deficit at the Emirates S...Arsenal and Bayern Munich have been fined by UEFA following the Champions League clash between the two at the start of March. Ozil suffers another injury The Gunners, already trailing 5-1 from the first leg in Germany, suffered another loss by the same deficit at the Emirates Stadium on 7 March, bowing out of Europe's elite club competition at the last-16 stage. And both clubs have since been punished by European football's governing body in relation to two separate incidents. Arsenal have been fined €5,000 by UEFA after a number of supporters invaded the pitch, while Bayern have been slapped with a €3,000 fine in relation to objects being thrown by fans. Arsene Wenger's men opened the scoring thanks to Theo Walcott but the game was turned on its head after Laurent Koscielny was sent off for giving away a penalty. Alli hit with UEFA ban Robert Lewandowski converted the spot-kick before Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and two goals from Arturo Vidal consigned Arsenal to an embarrassing Champions League defeat. Arsenal have struggled to recover since, downing non-league Lincoln City 5-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals before losing 3-1 to West Brom in the Premier League. A recent run of bad results has fuelled speculation surrounding Wenger's future, with a section of Arsenal's fan base taking to protesting in favour of the Frenchman's departure at the end of the season. Wenger revealed after the West Brom match that he has made a decision on his future, though no official confirmation has been released.