Djourou in midfield? – Nasri stars for France – Fabregas gets No10 – Hleb to Real Madrid?

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First things first today I just want to say a big ‘thank-you’ to all the Aussie Arsenal supporters who left their comments on yesterday’s post – they were most appreciated. Cheers also to the other supporters around the world who left their thoughts as well. It’s amazing to think this blog has readers from Mexico, France, Switzerland and South Africa (to name but a few) as well as virtually every major city – and some not so major – in Australia.

The idea to develop some sort of a pub community in Australia via the blog seems to be something that a lot of you want to get involved in and as such I will pursue the potential with the folks at Arsenal Australia. I’ll let you know how things progress.

Moving on now and virtually all of the Arsenal news around the place at the moment relates to Euro 2008. The tournament kicks off in just over ten days and with a multitude of Arsenal players on show in Switzerland and Austria it will be essential viewing.

One of the lesser-known Arsenal players who will be looking to impress is Johan Djourou. Although he plays as a central defender for both club and country, Djourou today spoke of his desire to have the opportunity to play as a defensive midfielder at some point in the future.

“Playing in front of the defence is the position where my qualities are expressed best. Arsene Wenger says this to me too. Unfortunately, we do not play a system which enables me to hold this spot, like Claude Makelele does with Chelsea. [As such] I have not had many possibilities of showing my midfield capabilities. I hope my chance will come in the next few years.”

Is it a case of the manager trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? There’s no question that he had a difficult season just passed, struggling on loan while at Birmingham and spending most of the time on the injury table after to returning to Arsenal midway through the campaign. As such, it will be interesting to see how things pan out both during Euro 2008 and over the next few seasons.

In other news Arsenal-bound attacking midfielder Samir Nasri apparently had a ripper of a game for France overnight, running the show in his country’s 2-0 win over Ecuador. Substitute striker Bafétimbi Gomis (what a name!) may have grabbed the goals but according to the player ratings dished out by Nasri was the star performer, finishing up with a score of 8.5. It doesn’t need saying that a few 8.5 performances for Arsenal next season by Nasri would be most welcome. He’ll certainly be one to watch for France as Euro 2008 rolls on.

To complete the sprinkling of Euro 2008-related news it was announced yesterday that every Arsenal supporter’s favourite little Spaniard – Cesc Fabregas – has been given his country’s Number 10 jersey for the tournament. Fabregas is yet to start a major competition for Spain as a first-choice player but after the award of the Number 10 shirt it seems he is set to line up in the starting team for their first game against “Golden” Guus Hiddink’s Russia on June 10. I will definitely have a soft spot for the Russians in this tournament after everything that Hiddink did for Australia in the World Cup in Germany but I’m also hoping the Fabregas has a good tournament as well.

The final news of the day is that Real Madrid look set to bid for Alex Hleb. I said a couple of days ago after it was confirmed that Hleb would be leaving that I couldn’t care less where he ends up playing but having said that, the more club’s that want him the more money Arsenal will get for his sale. So all in all, good news I feel.

And that’s about it. Once again, thanks to everyone for their great feedback yesterday. If you went MIA I encourage you to leave a comment today and let me know what you think. Have a good one.

What do you think?

Have your say on Djourou, Nasri, Fabregas or Hleb by leaving a comment.


27 thoughts on “Djourou in midfield? – Nasri stars for France – Fabregas gets No10 – Hleb to Real Madrid?

  1. Thanks mate. Just a quikie; don’t you think that with Nasri pulling the strings in yesterday’s game, other suiters will want to come in and spoil his transfer to Arsenal?

  2. The general consensus is that we’ve already tied the Nasri deal up but it will be officially announced at the end of the week. Let’s hope that’s true.

  3. Indeed. I think if anyone wanted Nasri before last night they would have made an offer. He’ll end up an Arsenal player, I’d virtually guarantee it.

  4. I Like Helb a lot but If he wants to go let him go. Nasri is a creative and goal scoring player. therefore we are on the safe side. Gooner 4 life. from Ethiopia

  5. djourou might became a good player one day coz with wenger any player could discover himself.also i am happy for my guy fabregas coz he his doing well and i think that is the reason the 10 shirt as been given to him,as for hleb he as always been a guy i like but his attitude in the past week as suprise me but that is human for u.i can’t wait to see nasir in the arsenal shirt.

  6. Glad your site is cooking right along.

    I’m a journalist living in central California but also have lived in Scotland — I’m a card-carrying member of the Arsenal Scotland Supporters Club — and plan to move back there in a few months.

    It’s a great feeling to know that there are Gooners around the world — and that there is such incredible knowledge of the club in addition to overall interest.

    If you have a supporters club Down Under, you should get in contact with our lads based in Edinburgh. Quite a few worthwhile events, news, ticket sharing and other things go on between the groups. Contact Fraz MacKenzie at

    By the way, there is a story now going around that Hleb may decide to stick it out at Arsenal. If it’s true, it’ll be interesting to see how supporters accept him. Probably would help if he tossed his agent under a bus.

    But I agree with you that if Hleb leaves, we need as much interest as possible. There are some swap possibilities with Real, although my dream swamp+cash deal would be with Inter. Hleb becomes a bit surplus anyway with Nasri coming aboard and I’d love to see a true tough central defender like Chivu at the Emirates.

    Best of luck with your site.

    G’day, mate, from sunny California!

    (You can e-mail me at the address listed when I registered on your site. Be happy to share info anytime.)

  7. Nice one me old pal. Ive watched johan playing in midfield for the reserves and for me hes not athletic enough, his movement and touch are just not good enough to play in midfield. To be honest i cant see him making his name at Arsenal. Remember we have a bucket full of young men coming through and some fall away from us and go onto build reputations at other clubs. Nasri looks to me as if he will move today or tomorrow, remember the French leage window only opened today. Anyone worrying about players going elsewhere please dont underestimate the pull of the most attractive footballing side in Europe and of course Wenger. I cant wait for next season. Your round the world get together sounds really exciting, hope it takes off for you.

  8. I actually think Djourou should be given a chance to exhibit his wares. If he says that is whr he can best play, maybe AW should consider a pattern which will make this possible. On Hleb, I think ppl should stop talking about him. Agreed, he is good, but how many goals has he scored for arsenal? Nasri is a scorer, and a very prolific midfielder. I look forward to seeing Nasri donning Arsenal Jersey.

    Kayode from Nigeria

  9. I wouldn’t believe the Nasri deal is done until he has been pictured signing on Arsenal.Com. You never know when a sh*t bag of an agent is dangling his client in public and waiting for a bigger dollar shark to bite.

  10. Hi there, good blog.

    If Djourou wants to play a mid def role then perhaps he should be used in reserve games in the positon to see how he fares.
    if he plays well, maybe then he can play there in the Carling Cup, with i guess Nordviet and maybe Song taking the central defecne positons.
    Unfortuanlty for him, in the 1st squd we already have our fair share of central midfielders even if most are attacking minded, then there is always the persistent Yaya rumors.

  11. I am increasingly getting the feeling that the Professor will try someone already in the squad rather than getting a new DM. Djourou is an option, and even Kolo could be an option… But I do hope he gets someone like a Barry in that position.

    Btw, I have been a silent reader to this site so far.. Am from India, and in case you didnt know, there are loads of gooners here!

  12. If mr Djourou canot even fit in the starting carling cup lineup as wholeholding midfield over song then he should think twice before asking for that role.
    Having nunber 10 on international duties is a sign of sucess to u mr Fabregas therefore u should work hard to over come those likes of aloso,xave’s among others.keep it up.
    l like mr helb so much especially his role in the team but if he wants to leave let me go and follow his former team mate like viera, periz and father tea , good luck mr helb

  13. First of all, I can’t wait for Euro2008 even though Denmark isn’t playing:)

    And then i really hopes that Nasri signs for Arsenal soon…
    I don’t like djourou very much and I hope Wenger will find another central (defending) midfielder for Flamini. And still use Djourou as a reserve central defender because we always get injuries anyway:)

  14. Give him a shot. Why not? If we add to our central defense and we decide to keep Senderos (which I think we should) why not experiment with Djourou in the holding slot. Obviously start him gradually with the reserves or a cup spot. He certainly at least has a shot at working there unlike Senderos.

    Number 10 eh? Looks like I might have to be purchasing a number 10 Cesc shirt in the near future.

    Helb to Madrid now? I bet their offering Ice Cream for life.

  15. I like Djourou a lot. I see a great future for him at Arsenal. He’s only 21 and for me has more strengths and less weaknesses than Senderos. He’s even taller, which a lot of people aren’t aware of.

    He actually played as a defensive midfielder in the very last game of the 06/07 season against Portsmouth which ended 0-0. Wenger is well aware of his abilities so we’ll just have to wait and see how things progress.

    In short, I’m personally a big fan of Johan.

  16. first of all the idea of djourou filling flamoney’s role sounds interesting. but im not too optimistic about it, bcos it came from him. bear in mind he’s desperate to play in the first team so probably he might just say that to be in the team. but for what its worth, i think he’s worth a look. i think wenger should try him in that role during the pre-season and see how it goes.

    the continuous speculation surrounding yaya toure doesn’t convince me either. he’s good, but i doubt wenger would break the bank for someone like him. let’s face it, when was the last time wenger spent more than 10 million ? when wenger does that, he definitely see some huge potential in that player. and i could be wrong, but i definitely don’t see some huge potential in yaya toure.

    i reckon wenger would just fill in somebody temporarily. somebody like djourou or gilberto could play that role, while he finds somebody that could fit the bill. i reckon wenger has already set his sights on mark randall (who’s having some impressive reviews from the manager himself) as a long term replacement for that central midfield role. i think he’s a season away from being a regular in the team. next season he has surely got to play more regularly (maybe few subs appearance in epl, and a couple of fa/carling cup starts). perhaps, when given a chance, he can prove his potential to everyone.

  17. Djourous engine just not ready for 90+ in the middle of the park not when it will come to the big games .I too have seen him in the reserves (granted 2 yrs ago) and has potential but more for me as central defender.I think Randall is a more likely choice. Pretty good holding cm we got there but not ready to trust implicitly yet needs a little more experience.yaya would however could be wicked good he gots supremo engino,speedy, good vision ,far better ball control and dribbling than flams and built like kolo but with saying that success depends on his ability to adapt to arsenals pacey (not a real word but i like it anyway) passing and movement and plus with all i had mentioned barca would be fools to let him go cannot see that but ya never know. i imagine it will take one serious effort for whom ever AW decides to fill the void left by flams just not pure talent(which makes us lucky really)and for all those who see fit to exile hleb lest us not forget he is very very gifted and would be sorely missed no matter who we bring in.he may not get on the score sheet much and is at times frustrating with his lack of desire to have a go on goal but i have never seen a player better at creating space for others and that my fair gooners is what gives us arsenal football space for speed.anyway he has yet to personally come out and say he is leaving so until then it as is my rant on toure pointless but wtf

  18. hey nice info, we are yet to c DJOROU prove his worth at Arsenal, nway am happy cesc, he deserves first ream football, he’s awonder boy. we lov arsenal. not that we are the fastest growing brand in the world of football. keep it up.

  19. hey nice info, we are yet to c DJOROU prove his worth at Arsenal, nway am happy for cesc, he deserves first ream football, he’s awonder boy. we lov arsenal. not that we are the fastest growing brand in the world of football. keep it up.

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