Gazidis open to safe-standing terraces at Arsenal

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Ivan Gazidis has revealed that he is in favour of Arsenal exploring further the possibility of incorporating a safe standing area at the Emirates.

Speaking at a question and answer session with the Arsenal Supporters Trust the Gunners CEO stressed that it was right for a debate to take place about the return of terracing so long as it did not compromise the safety of spectators.

“It is something that I have always been open to,” confirmed Gazidis.

“The more I learn about it, the more complex an issue it is, but viscerally it is something that I find attractive because it gives fans, a certain group of fans who like to stand who create the atmosphere, another way to be in our stadium.

“Why would you be against that, if you can do it safely?

“There are some issues, some very practical issues around safe standing; the rake of the stands and so on, that may make it cost prohibitive if it is not designed into the stadium at the beginning, but it is not something I am close minded to and I am prepared to explore it.”

Terraces were banned following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and all-seater stadia became compulsory in 1994 for all top flight sides. Over the course of the last eighteen years the enforced changes have been credited for the increased number of women and children attending matches and for a marked drop in hooliganism.

Despite all-seated arenas largely being labelled a success fans have continue to call for specially designed standing areas to be re-introduced with a view to improving match atmosphere and to open up cheaper tickets for fans.

In March the Football Supporters’ Federation launched an online petition calling for the return of standing areas in the top two divisions although it was met with opposition from the Premier League.

To watch a video of Ivan Gazidis answering questions from the Arsenal Supporters Trust, click here.

 

Gazidis: Wenger has 100% support

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Arsenal’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, has told fans and shareholders that Arsene Wenger has the full support of the board and new owner Stan Kroenke.

Gazidis was speaking to members of the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust at an ‘end of season review’ meeting. When asked on what basis the club might consider a change of management, he replied “We 100% support Arsene. He’s done a remarkable job in competing with clubs with greater revenues”.

Wenger has been under intense pressure after another campaign ended without a trophy and the team, which was competiting on four fronts, crumbled after the Carling Cup final defeat to relegated Birmingham City.

Gazidis also confirmed that the manager was currently looking at making signings to strengthen the squad and said there would be a ‘turnover’ of players. However, he refused to name individuals in either case for fear of feeding a media frenzy, saying only that we would be ‘busy’.

For current updates from the AST meeting follow Gingers4Limpar or TimPayton on Twitter.

Riviere flattered by Gunners link

St. Etienne striker Emmanuel Riviere has revealed he is “flattered” to be linked with a move to Arsenal this summer.

Riviere, 21, is a highly rated forward who has drawn comparisons with former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in the French press.

The frontman helped Les Verts to a 10th place finish in Ligue 1 last term scoring 8 goals, and has since been linked with the Gunners and Premier League rivals Liverpool.

“I am flattered to be linked with the clubs mentioned. I am a young player, so to be linked with Arsenal is fantastic for me.

“If Arsene Wenger is interested in you it means you have potential to be a very good player.

“People compare me to Thierry Henry, and that is a big compliment. If I can achieve half of his career I will be happy.”

Wenger: We will do everything to keep Nasri

Arsene Wenger looks set to battle hard to keep both Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas as he attempts to keep together his young Arsenal squad in the face of interest from high profile suitors.

Nasri, who has only one year left on his contract, is playing hardball with the Gunners board as he attempts to negotiate a significant pay rise, while club captain Fabregas is once again thought to be the subject of attention from childhood club Barcelona.

Having spent nearly £16 million securing Nasri’s signature in 2008, Wenger made clear that the former Marseille man should recognise the improvements he has made in North London with help from the Arsenal coaching staff.

“We will do everything to keep Nasri at the club. My wish is that he stays here,” Wenger said in The Sun.

“If he looks back he can see that he’s come quite a long way with us, and I think there is still a bit to do.

“It’s the club that makes the player’s career.”

Last summer Arsenal stubbornly resisted two formal bids from Barcelona for Fabregas and while interest in the Spanish playmaker appears to be less strong this time around, the Frenchman made clear that he was not about to let his protégé return to the Nou Camp anytime soon.

“I will be pretty clear about this. For me, Fabregas is with Arsenal for a long time and he will stay with Arsenal.

“It sometimes happens that the rumour can make the transfer.

With rivals Liverpool and Manchester United already spending big this summer, Wenger also recognised that with new financial regulations on the horizon he expected a great deal of money to change hands before the start of the new season.

“Next year will see the introduction of the financial fair play system, which will limit the big transfers.

“I think this is the last year that the summer will be hot – very hot.”

 

Wenger: Jenkinson is a player with great talent

Arsene Wenger has spoken for the first time about the acquisition of Carl Jenkinson from Charlton Athletic and revealed that Arsenal had kept close tabs on the promising 19-year-old for some time before finally sealing a deal this week.

The under-19 Finnish international looks likely to start his Arsenal career as back-up to Bacary Sagna in the right-back position although with a reputation for versatility is tipped to prove himself a valuable asset for the Gunners in the coming years.

Speaking about his first signing of the summer, Wenger told the Arsenal official website:

“We were watching Carl for some time and he is a player with great talent and natural defensive ability, but also a powerful player who likes to go forward.

“He is a strong defender who has made quick progress with Charlton and also with the younger age categories for the Finland national team, showing many great qualities.

“We are excited that Carl is joining us and he will add strength to our squad.”

To read Jenkinson’s comments about signing for Arsenal, click here.

New boy Jenkinson reveals his long-standing love for Arsenal

New Arsenal signing Carl Jenkinson has conducted his first interview since joining the club from Charlton Athletic and shed light on his long-standing love for the Gunners.

Speaking to ArsenalPlayer, the 19-year-old right-back, who looks likely to provide back-up at right-back for Bacary Sagna, revealed his happiness at signing for the club he and his family have always supported:

“It’s amazing really, words can’t describe how it feels if I’m totally honest with you. Being an Arsenal fan as well it’s an amazing thing for me and something I’m really excited about and over the moon about.

“My dad has been a season ticket holder for 40 years and going regularly since he was a kid. He brought me up as an Arsenal fan an I’ve been going since I was young, I’ve even been going to matches this season. The whole family are massive Arsenal fans. It’s all a bit surreal, but it’s a brilliant feeling to be here and very exciting for me.

“Being a fan is the massive pull, Arsenal is the club I’ve always wanted to play for. The club speaks for itself, it’s a huge club and I’m proud to now be a part of it.

“Arsene Wenger gives young players a chance and that was a main reason why I wanted to come to the club. Obviously it’s up to me to do well and prove myself, but I know that if I do that I’m going to be given a chance. Hopefully I can go on and stake my claim.

Asked to name his favourite Gunner of all time, Jenkinson disclosed his admiration for one of the club’s most loved players:

“I was always a big fan of Tony Adams; I’m reading his book at the moment.  He was always someone I looked at as a great player and a great leader. He’s probably my favourite.

Reflecting on the prospect of following in the footsteps of his hero Adams, as well as other members of Arsenal’s famed back four including Martin Keown, Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn, the Finnish under-19 captain continued:

“Those players are legends aren’t they. It’s a big challenge for me and one I’m looking forward to. Obviously they are great players and they are players I can learn a lot from. I’m looking to follow in their footsteps.”

While Jenkinson has predominantly made a name for himself playing on the right side of defence, the player admits that he has the versatility to play across the backline.

“I’ve played a lot, during my youth team days, at centre-back, but slowly right-back has become my main position. I’ve always felt I had more to give. I like to get forward and help attacking-wise. I think I played six games for Charlton last season at left-back as well, so I’ve played all across the backline and before that even in midfield.

“I’m quite versatile, although sometimes that doesn’t work to your advantage as you want to be in your main position. It’s good for a manager I guess when one of his players can play in many positions.”

To subscribe to ArsenalPlayer, click here.

 

Liverpool test Newcastle resolve with Clichy offer

Reports last night across the British media claim that Gael Clichy has been the subject of a £5 million bid from Liverpool.

Kenny Dalglish is known to be on the lookout for a left-back ahead of the new season and is thought to be an admirer of the French international. While Clichy represents an attractive option for the Reds speculation abounds that Newcastle United’s Enrique remains the Anfield side’s number one target for the position.

In a game of brinksmanship it is now thought that Liverpool have leaked their interest in Clichy to provoke the Magpies into lowering their high asking price for the Spaniard. Having been held to ransom by Mike Ashley in January over the £35 million signing of Andy Carroll, new Reds owners Fenway Sports Group have indicated they will take a more stubborn line in negotiations this time around.

With only one year left on his contract, and having so far rejected the chance to extend his stay in North London on lucrative new terms, Clichy does appear open to life away from the Emirates. Nevertheless, with several clubs on the continent including Juventus, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich all tipped as potential suitors, the £5 million bid lodged by the Liverpool looks likely to comprehensively surpassed.

If Clichy does walk away from Arsenal after eight years at the club, Arsenal fans will no doubt expect to see Arsene Wenger sign an experienced replacement with question marks still surrounding the future suitability of England under-21 star Kieran Gibbs and Frenchman Armand Traore.

While Gibbs has been tipped for a bright future at the top of the game, his repeated struggles with injury hints that he cannot yet be expected to fulfil his duties on a week-to-week basis. Traore meanwhile came close to signing for Benfica last summer before opting to spend a season on loan in Serie A with Italian giants Juventus. Despite making his debut in 2006 his progress at the Emirates has been consistently undermined by lacklustre performances in the first team and he looks more likely to follow Clichy out of the club rather than replace his compatriot in the first team.

Everton’s Leighton Baines and Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre have both been mentioned as possible replacements, although with suitors circling Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas the first concern for Arsene Wenger will be keeping his star players at the Emirates.

 

Pique and Iniesta continue personal crusade to court Fabregas

It will come as little surprise to Arsenal fans that Barcelona’s Gerard Pique has once again spoken publically about his desire to play alongside Cesc Fabregas at the Nou Camp.

The Spanish centre-back, who grew up with the talismanic midfielder at La Masia, has long been a public advocate of a raid on the Emirates often providing sound bites for hungry media men in his homeland.

The former Manchester United man’s latest quotes come hot off the heels of a recent picture, posted on Twitter ahead of the Champions League final, in which he and teammate Gerard Pique were seen snatching a picture of Fabregas from the wall of the Arsenal training ground.

Quoted by The Sun, the 24-year-old made clear that his desire to see his friend wearing the famous shirt of the Catalan giants remained strong: “I would like him to. It’s my wish for that to happen. I can’t be clearer.

“He is a Barcelona fan and has been his whole life and he would love to come. It would be very, very good for us.

“Last year it looked like he would come but he didn’t. Now it looks like he could again but we have to wait. I hope the people in the offices can work well and can bring him in this time.

“I have said before and I still do that my hope is that one day he will play for Barcelona.

“I would love to have him alongside me because as well as a good person, he is a great player.

“I would love him to be here this year or if not then next year. He would give us more.

“I haven’t spoken to him recently. I don’t know how Arsenal are set up economically but I do know that he is a great player and a real friend of mine and he is a Barcelona player – he has been in the youth system here and he knows what we are about. He could perform perfectly here.”

Citing the Arsenal man’s struggle to secure a regular first team place in the Spanish national set-up, many football analysts have suggested that Fabregas could potentially find himself regularly playing back-up to the like of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta if he were to return to his childhood club.

Dismissing such worries, Iniesta himself told Spanish radio station ONA FM, that if the Gunner were signed it could only make Pep Guardiola’s squad stronger.

“(The signing of Cesc) is a matter of Arsenal and Barcelona, ​​we cannot do anything,” he made clear this week.

“Xavi, Cesc and I are not incompatible. If he comes, the team level will be better.”

Despite the calls from their first team squad to make Fabregas the number one target for a second successive summer, Barcelona’s hierarchy announced this week that their total transfer budget would not exceed £45 million; a figure which looks unlikely to cover the cost of persuading Arsenal to sell and rules out funds for pursuing other targets.

Having warded off two bids for former Barcelona president Joan Laporta last summer, Arsene Wenger again reiterated his stubborn stance to keep hold of his captain in May, despite rumours of a potential exodus which could see several established stars quit the Emirates.

Adams admits aspiration to manage Arsenal

Former Arsenal skipper Tony Adams has revealed he would love to return to the Gunners one day but only as a manager, rather than a Number 2 or coach.

Adams enjoyed 22 successful years at the Gunners winning four league titles, three FA Cups, and the Cup Winners Cup, establishing himself in the Arsenal history books as one of the club’s greatest ever players and captains.

The Gunners legend is currently managing in Azerbajan at FC Gabala, following unsuccessful managerial spells in charge at Portsmouth and Wycombe Wanderers.

While rumours are rife with whether Arsene Wenger will strengthen his backroom staff this summer, Adams has ruled out the possibility of returning under his former manager and mentor.

“I would love to go back to Arsenal one day, but not as No 2 or a defensive coach.

“Arsene Wenger would not let me do enough. He does all the coaching, so I don’t think I could work under him. It’s a tougher job at Gabala than at Arsenal.” Adams told the Daily Express.

The former member of the famous Gunners backline also gave an insight into the the strenghts of former manager George Graham compared with that of the Frenchman.

“George’s coaching ability and defensive structural technical ability for me is far better,” said Adams.

“It’s his strength. Coaches have strengths and weaknesses.

“And he is a lovely man, he has the respect of most of the players he has worked with.”

Exclusive: Arsenal make contact with Lille for Hazard

Arsenal have made contact with Lille regarding the summer transfer of Belgian international Eden Hazard.

A source close to the player revealed to Arseblog News that the Gunners are in discussions with the club regarding a move this summer, however, the talks are at an early stage with more news expected next week.

Negotiations have stalled over the contract of playmaker Samir Nasri while the future of skipper Cesc Fabregas is still uncertain, and Wenger is actively looking to strengthen the Gunner’s squad ahead of the new season.

The source explained that both clubs were in talks over a move although details will remain private, with the Belgian international tipped to replace Nasri at Arsenal following the club’s refusal to break the club’s wage structure to keep the 24-year-old.

Hazard, 20, was a principal protagonist in Lille’s historic Ligue 1 and French Cup Double win last season and has regularly spoken of his preference to move to Arsenal over other rival suitors.

During an Arsenal press conference in January Wenger even responded to speculation when asked by a French reporter if he was aware that it was the Belgian’s “dream” to seal a move to the Emirates.

“It’s a very good question. We follow him. And personally I think he’s a real talent, and he’s good enough to play for Arsenal, yes.” Wenger explained.

Hazard became the youngest player to win the Ligue 1 Player of the Season award last term with Wenger keeping a regular watch over the talented forward. The Frenchman recently sent a scout to monitor his performance in the European Championship qualifier against Turkey last Friday.