Middlesbrough to sign Aliadiere at second attempt
It seems that Arsenal’s French striker Jeremie Aliadiere will be playing for Middlesbrough next season after both clubs have reached an agreement to trade him. Middlesbrough have always been keen on the young player and attempted to buy Aliadiere midway through last season, but Arsene Wenger blocked the transfer when Robin van Persie broke his foot against Manchester United – leaving the club short of attacking options.
Aliadiere’s career at Arsenal has not been what many – including Wenger – thought it would be. He joined Arsenal at the age of 16 from the famous Clairefontaine football academy in France, following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry and Nicholas Anelka. Wenger has always been a fan of Aliadiere but the sad fact is that consistent injuries and a lack of quality in his performances when given the chance meant that he was never able to become a first-team regular.
I personally think that move will be good for both Aliadiere and Arsenal. Whilst he has been disappointing for Arsenal the club has given him plenty of chances to progress and Aliadiere has never been able to deliver. A fresh start at a new club will give Aliadiere – who is still only 24 – the chance to rebuild his career. I think he has the ability to do it and it will just be a matter of staying fit and available. As with the exit of Julio Baptista, I wish Aliadiere all the best and hope he move on and fulfill his potential.
Keown hopes Arsenal can do a Manchester United
Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown has suggested that Arsenal can win the Premier League title next season. Arsenal have not won a trophy for three years but Keown has pointed out that Manchester United were in a similar position before winning the league last season.
“Manager Arsene Wenger is starting to come under pressure because he’s gone three years without lifting the title. But United were in that position coming into last season — and look what happened. It’s not about buying into a dream, it’s about believing the opposition will crack. It’s about mental toughness.”
Remember the ghost signings
I think Keown has got it spot on. Whilst a lot of the talk at the moment is focused on which players Arsenal will bring in, Keown’s words are a timely reminder that Arsenal do have the nucleus of a team that can win the title next season. I spoke previously about how important getting the likes of Thierry Henry, William Gallas, Freddie Ljungberg and Robin van Persie fit for next season will be to Arsenal’s chances of success. These are all quality players whose previous seasons were virtually ruined by injury and getting them fit will be like signing new players.
Complementing these players with a new winger like Florent Malouda or even Morton Gamst Pedersen – who is reportedly being tracked by Arsenal – would give the club a team capable of competing for both the Premiership and the Champions League. Whilst it is impossible to predict whether Arsenal will win some silverware next season most supporters would agree that constructing a team capable of challenging the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea is the goal for 2006/2007.
I believe that Arsenal certainly have the squad to do this and am looking forward to see whether Keown’s words prove to be correct.
For those of you who missed it, read “The Light-Hearted Arsenal Season Review” here