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Paul Merson is of the opinion that Dennis Bergkamp
Former Arsenal star Paul Merson is of the opinion that Dennis Bergkamp – and not Thierry Henry – is the best Arsenal player of all-time.
The Dutchman joined the gunners 20 years ago at the start of the campaign. Even though his first few years were not exactly the best, he formed an impeccable partnership with Henry in the Arsenal forward line up towards the latter part of the 20th century. Arsenal went on to dominate domestic football by being the ultimate challenge for Manchester United. During a spell with Arsenal, Bergkamp won titles like the Premier league and the FA Cup.
Even though he was not able to lift the ultimate crown in club football – the Champions League, his time at Arsenal is seen with fond memories by the supporters. Many of the new supporters regard Thierry Henry as the greatest ever player for Arsenal largely because of his records. However, Merson believes that Bergkamp provided more joy than Henry with this exquisite skills and control. One of the goals scored by Bergkamp against Newcastle United is still regarded as one of the best goals and history of the game. His goals against Leicester City are also regarded as one of the best.
“He’s the best I’ve ever played with by a long, long way. I can’t talk high enough of the bloke – he was absolutely phenomenal.I think he’s the greatest Arsenal player of all time. He and Thierry Henry are completely different players. You talk to Thierry or Ian Wright and they can’t speak highly enough of the man. As a centre forward you’re only as good as the player you’re playing with. If you look at Fernando Torres, his best year was at Liverpool when he was playing with Steven Gerrard,” said Merson, who played with Bergkamp for a couple of seasons.
George Graham has claimed that Mauricio Pochettino needs a big campaign
George Graham has claimed that Mauricio Pochettino needs a big campaign at Tottenham Hotspur in order to keep his job going into next season.
The former Southampton boss had a relatively mixed campaign last time around after falling out of the top four once again. Pochettino was widely expected to revive and bring back Champions League football to White Hart Lane. However, it will be Thursday night football once more often they could only qualify for the Europa league. Despite this, Pochettino has been kept in the job and he has also been backed substantially in the transfer market.
The club has brought in Toby Alderweireld for just over £ 10 million from Atletico Madrid. After having proved himself with his defensive capabilities that Southampton last season, the addition ofAlderweireld already improves a weak Spurs defence even without the player kicking a ball. Former Arsenal boss Graham believes that Pochettino is one of the most exciting and young managers in English football right now, but he may not be given the time that he needs at Spurs. Now is the time of quickfire results and Pochettino has to deliver them immediately if he is to keep his job according to Graham.
“Even though they’ve got one of the most exciting young managers – The expectations at Tottenham are very high and he’s got to have a very good season.Levy is hungry for a top four finish, which equates to a place in the Champions League.With a new stadium on the horizon, it’s a platform which will create extra financial strength for Spurs which is important for them as they look to continue developing and growing as a team. Pochettino needs to aim high and aim for the top four if he wants to preserve his job long term,” said Graham.
Thomas Vermaelen finally made his much awaited Barcelona debut
Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen finally made his much awaited Barcelona debut – almost a year after joining the club – in the 2-2 draw with Deportivo la Coruna.
The versatile defender moved to the Camp Nou in a £ 15 million deal. However, he has suffered several injuries during the course of the year.Most of those injuries were hamstring in nature and they even required surgery. Vermaelen, though, will feel a happy man with regard to one aspect – trophies. After having managed only one title with Arsenal in almost 5 years, Vermaelen has already won two trophies without kicking the ball for Barcelona.
After making his much awaited debut at the Camp Nou, the defender has pleaded for patience from the supporters. Vermaelen was seen as an important signing for the club given that he would be in a position to replace Carlos Puyol. The former club captain used to be a rock in the centre of the defence. Barcelona have been able to get by in Vermaelen’s due to the presence ofJeremy Mathieu, who has already established himself in the hearts of the Barcelona faithful after scoring in the El Clasico. The draw with Deportivo la Coruna did not affect Barcelona since they had already won the league title.
“I had a good feeling on the pitch and I really enjoyed playing football again.I am very ambitious and I am sure we will end up achieving more success this season.But I only ask the fans to be patient. I understand the criticism I received, but it has been a very difficult season for me.I am convinced that next year will be much better,” said Vermaelen. Injuries were a major reason behind convincing Wenger to sell Vermaelen to Barcelona. The Belgian had played more than 40 games only once in five years at Arsenal.
Thomas Vermaelen is a target of Everton
Thomas Vermalen’s €15 million transfer to Barcelona has been a disappointing one as the Belgium defender has not made a single appearance for the Spanish club since arriving to the Camp Nou in August of 2014.
Everton has emerged as a club that is interested in securing the services of the player but a transfer will not occur unless Barcelona’s Luis Enrique decides to sell Vermaelen before the player even manages to make an appearance.
Vermaelen has experience playing in the Premier League as the 29 year old defender made over 100 appearances for Arsenal and even managed to wear the captain armband for the Premier League club. Making a move to Everton would feel like something natural to Vermaelen and his vast experience at the English League.
A loan deal is an option that would benefit both Barcelona and Everton as Vermaelen can return to fitness and try to get back to his former self with Everton. This allows the player to get back into the pitch and not have the same kind of pressure and obstacles that would arise with Barcelona.
Signing a solid defender is one of the things that Roberto Martinez wants to do and Vermaelen is certainly a good one if he does manage to fully recover and play like he did a few years ago. Everton has conceded 43 goals in 33 Premier League matches and Roberto Martinez would like to cut that down in the next season.
Roberto Martinez confirmed that him and his team are searching for possible additions to the team as the English manager said:
Everton’s Martinez said: “Yeah, always we are looking at players. As a football club you always do that, even if you are restricted by the windows. We have got a lot of people working and identifying the players that we need to help the players that we already have in place.’’
Thomas Vermaelen isnt able to Feature for Spanish Club
Since moving to Barcelona, Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen has been unable to feature for the Spanish club. It has made him a target amongst the media especially after having cost around £ 15 million in transfer fees.
The defender had been keen to leave Arsenal for the last couple of years, but this move finally arrived in the form of a £ 15 million transfer. He was widely anticipated to be the replacement for Carlos Puyol, who had just retired after decades of service. Further, the uncertainty surrounding Gerard Pique also made the centre back position a highly vulnerable place for Barcelona.
A string of injury problems meant that Vermaelen has been unable to make a debut even after almost 6 months of being Barcelona player. He was widely expected to make his much anticipated debut towards the end of February. However, even this has evaded the Catalan club after it is learnt that the 29-year-old has suffered a new setback in his attempts to make his first start for the team. The plethora of injury problems is likely to be a major worry for Barcelona given that they have made a sizeable investment in the player. Last season, he made 21 appearances for Arsenal with most of them as a substitute.
This is the second major season where injuries have robbed him of making an impact. During the 2010-11 season, Vermaelen featured in only five matches throughout the whole campaign. This was the start of his injury troubles and also the decline of his Arsenal career. After this injury ravaged the campaign, Vermaelen saw his place in the Arsenal team being taken by Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker on a permanent basis. Despite being a captain, Vermaelen never made it to the field for many important matches for the Premier League outfit.
John Aldridge thinks avoiding Toure wasnt good for Liverpool
Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge reckons that manage Brendan Rodgers may have missed a great opportunity to take advantage of the recent good form shown by defender Kolo Toure.
The Ivory Coast international made a rare start in the Champions League group stage match against Real Madrid. It was a surprise inclusion given thatToure had played only one minute of Premier League football this season. The 33-year-old is on the fringes of first-team and he is widely expected to leave the club in January. However, his impressive performance against Madrid has called for inclusion into the team especially at a time when Liverpool have been struggling defensively.
The club signed Dejan Lovren from Southampton for £ 20 million, but he has been a major disappointment. Despite having been partnered with Martin Skrtel almost every match, Lovren is yet to show any signs of a partnership developing between the two. This has seen Liverpool make no improvements in the defensive area of the pitch, while they have also regressed in an attacking sense. The club conceded more than 50 league goals last season and they are on course to doing the same.Aldridge says thatToure showed enough against Madrid, especially by playing against Cristiano Ronaldo, that he still has enough quality.
“Brendan is the manager and stands or falls by his decisions, but I have to say I was surprised that Kolo Toure was left out following his performance in Spain.He was by far our best player in the Bernabeu and had a great game.He is playing with confidence and I would have asked him to continue on Saturday.If he is playing with confidence, that will spread to his defensive partners and the goalkeeper – and suddenly the defensive unit immediately starts to look more secure,” said Aldridge after the 2-0 defeat against Chelsea.
Thomas Vermaelen struggling with performance after Barcelona Joining
Thomas Vermaelen has had a very difficult period since joining Barcelona in the summer for around £ 15 million.
The Belgian international was widely expected to plug the gap left by Carlos Puyol’s retirement. However, Vermaelen is yet to make his debut for the club even though it is almost 6 months since he made the move. The injury problems faced by the 29-year-old as certainly not new given that he managed to make only 21 appearances for Arsenal last season. However, Barcelona would have expected much more from the Belgian when they brought him in the summer.
Some of the injuries that have affected Vermaelen include hamstring problems and knee issues. Barcelona have put the estimated recovery time at around four months, which may effectively rule him out for the season. Only a few weeks ago, the prospect of Vermaelen returning back to the Premier League was suggested given that he may not establish himself in the Barcelona first-team. Arsenal even looked at the possibility of bringing the player back due to their own injury crisis. Such transfer rumours have been put to halt due to this new injury.
“Thomas Vermaelen successfully underwent surgery on Wednesday on the semitendinosus muscle in his right hamstring.The recovery period is estimated at approximately four months,” said a statement from the Catalan club. Barcelona have not missed the defender much given that Jeremy Mathieu has been able to excel in defence. The 31-year-old has featured in most of the la Liga matches this season. But, Luis Enrique has not had a steady centre back partnership this season due to the poor form of Gerard Pique, which has led to the Spanish international being dropped for some high-profile matches. Barcelona remain two points behind table leaders Real Madrid after 13 matches in the season.
Vermaelen still unsure of when he will return to playing
The Belgian defender of Barcelona, Thomas Vermaelen still has not managed to make an official appearance with the Spanish club due to not being completely recovery from a hamstring injury. Vermaelen completed a move from Arsenal to Barcelona on August of the current year with a transfer fee of €15 million.
Vermaelen was brought to the Camp Nou as a player that can reinforce the defensive section of Barcelona as they have recently saw Carles Puyol hanging up his boots and retiring from playing competitive football and the introduction of Vermaelen is expected to help fill the absence left by Puyol.
Out of the 6 Spanish League matches that have been played Barcelona still has not conceded a single goal as the team of Luis Enrique is going through a superb start of the season scoring goals after goals and not conceding any.
The arrival of Thomas Vermaelen will only further improve the defensive record which has been performing so well recently in the Spanish League.
It still remains exactly unsure as to when Vermaelen will be back in action and ready to make his debut appearance for Barcelona as Luis Enrique a few weeks stated that Vermaelen was fully fit and prepared to play a match for an entire 90 minutes but more recently it has been revealed that the former coach of As.Roma does not want to rush Vermaelen and might want to give the defender and extended period of time recovering before entering the pitch in an official league match.
Barcelona’s start of the season in the Spanish League has been superb but they have suffered a setback in the Champions League after losing 3-2 against PSG and the arrival of Vermaelen can help the Spanish club when they perform in the European tournament and aid in their progression to the next stages of the Champions League.
Vermaelen House Shopping
Thomas Vermaelen is currently trying to find a good, rented apartment for himself and his better half, Polly Parsons, in Barcelona.
Vermaelen has recently made his way to Spain after being bought by Barcelona FC. Manchester United was interested in his services as well, but, at the end, the deal was sealed by Barcelona as they paid a transfer fee of about 15 million Pounds to Arsenal.
Yesterday, Interacting to the Spanish press for the first time since becoming a Barca player, Vermaelen said, “Moving to Barca wasn’t a tough call. I don’t think there is any player around who would have let such an opportunity go.”
Vermaelen might have come to Barca thinking that he would get starting opportunities at the club straightaway, but, the Spanish media doesn’t think that it’s going to be the case.
A couple of days ago, one of the leading dailies in Spain selected the XI players who would ideally be starting for Barcelona in the first few weeks of the season and Vermaelen’s name wasn’t there in that.
According to that daily which is named Mundo Deportivo, it is Gerard Pique who is most likely to pair with Jeremy Mathieu in the heart of defence for Barcelona.
Vermaelen didn’t play that much of football last season either at club or international level. He featured only about 14 times for the Gunners in the league, while, he was in the starting XI of his national team Belgium in just one match in 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In total, Vermaelen played 150 matches for Arsenal in his 5-year stint there.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that La Blaugrana are not done with their shopping of players just yet as they are looking to get a couple more in the squad, one of which is rumoured to be the Colombia international Juan Cuadrado.
Wengar Resigned To Vermaelen Move
Arsene Wenger appears resigned to the fact that defender Thomas Vermaelen will leave the club. The Belgian international has been linked with a move away from Arsenal for the last few transfer windows, but Manchester United have emerged as the surprise destination for the 28-year-old. Despite being on the sidelines consistently for the last few seasons, United see Vermaelen has someone who can effectively replace Patrice Evra and Ferdinand at the same time. This is because of his versatility that allows him to play at centre back or left back.
Further, since he has only 12 months left on his contract, he is unlikely to cost more than £ 6 million. This is substantially lower than the £ 10 million Arsenal paid to Ajax for his transfer in 2009. Only a few summers ago, he was linked with a £ 20 million move to Barcelona. It was the start of his decline at Arsenal after Arsene Wenger dropped due to the transfer rumours affecting him. Despite not playing regularly, Vermaelen has been part of the Belgian national team and was also seen at the World Cup 2014. He recently refused to give assurance that he would remain an Arsenal player after the transfer window.
Arsenal and United have recently negotiated in the transfer of Robin van Persie, who joined Old Trafford in a £24 million deal. “I cannot guarantee he will stay, but should he go I would bring another centre-back in for sure. I haven’t spoken to him [Wilshere] so it’s very difficult for me to make any statement. I know what you can make of pictures – I have to speak to him really to see what happened before I come out publicly,” said Wenger about the future of Vermaelen, while also speaking about Jack Wilshere being caught smoking once again.