The 30 Most Valuable Players In Europe

Messi-PricelessA new report by the Football Observatory ranks the top 30 players in Europe based on transfer value.

Footballers with the highest transfer values generally play in competitive teams, are active full internationals, play in attacking positions, have long-term contracts and are under 27 years of age. The 100 footballers listed below3 do not only differentiate themselves from the point of view of the transfer value, but also from that of transfer probability.

Unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi tops the ranking. For the first time, in second place is Chelsea star Eden Hazard, ahead of Christian Ronaldo. Aside from the Portuguese, only six other players having already celebrated their 30th birthday figure on the top 100 places: Yaya Touré, Santi Cazorla, Andrés Iniesta, Carlos Tévez, Thiago Silva and Luiz Fernandinho.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are tied with six players each on the list, while Barcelona have four. Surprisingly, Bayern Munich and PSG both have only one player each valued in the top 30. Despite spending close to £200m on new players last summer, not one Manchester United player cracks the top 30. Angel Di Maria is 31st with a valuation of €36.9-40.6 and Wayne Rooney is ranked 33rd with a valuation of €35.9-39.5.



Liverpool Want Walcott And Gibbs For Sterling

Theo-Walcott-newAccording to ESPN FC, Liverpool have told Arsenal that they will only do a deal for want-away winger Raheem Sterling if Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs are included. The conversation would be the first indication that Liverpool will sell the want-away England winger who is refusing to sign a new contract at Anfield.

Liverpool believe that Gibbs and Walcott would fill some of the holes in their squad, while also adding an element pace that was too often missing last season.

Gibbs has found himself behind Nacho Monreal in the pecking order for Arsenal during the second half of the season, while Walcott’s future is unclear as he has yet to pen an extension to his current deal which expires next summer.

Walcott has jut returned from a long injury and finds himself battling with Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a place in the Gunners starting XI.

Liverpool are desperate to find a striker with pace, and Walcott and Sturridge could offer Brendan Rodgers a dynamic attack.

The question is why would Arsenal do this deal? While Sterling is a terrific talent, I cannot see how he gets into the Gunners line-up. If Walcott, a more accomplished winger and finisher is struggling to hold down a place, how will Sterling?

The betting money is still on Manchester City winning the race to sign Sterling for around £40 million.

But if you are Liverpool, would you rather take the cash from City and go out and buy a left back and striker, or wouold you strike a deal with Arsene Wenger for the two Arsenal players?


Emirates Cup 2015 Line-Up Confirmed

emirates_cup2015The  Emirates Cup has quickly become one of the best pre-season touraments and the 2015 edition is shaping up to have some great games.

Olympique Lyonnais, Villarreal and VfL Wolfsburg will join Arsenal for the Emirates Cup 2015 on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26.

One of the highlights will be Nicklas Bendtner’s return to the Emirates Stadium with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, who will take on Santi Cazorla’s former club Villarreal in the opening match of the tournament at 2pm on Saturday, July 25. Arsenal will then host Lyon at 4.20pm.

On July 26 Lyon will face Villarreal at 2pm, before the Gunners bring the tournament to a close against Wolfsburg.
Ticket information for Sunday, July 26 can be found here

“We are delighted to be able to confirm three leading European club teams for this year’s Emirates Cup,” chief executive Ivan Gazidis told the club’s official website.

“Lyon, Villarreal and Wolfsburg have some fantastic players and will all contribute to an entertaining weekend of football for our supporters.

“Lyon and Wolfsburg will also provide a good competitive challenge for our players as they prepare for the new season.

“Emirates have sponsored this tournament since 2007 and we thank them again for their long-standing commitment to Arsenal Football Club, and their support in helping to make this a great weekend of football each year.”

Emirates Cup 2015 match schedule
Saturday, July 25

14.00: VfL Wolfsburg v Villarreal and 16.20: Arsenal v Olympique Lyonnais – Buy Tickets

Sunday, July 26
14.00: Olympique Lyonnais v Villarreal and 16.20: Arsenal v VfL Wolfsburg – Buy Tickets

What makes the Emirates Cup an exciting event is that teams are awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. The competition also rewards attacking play, with teams earning a point for each goal they score. In addition, shots on target will be taken into account and will be used to decide the tournament winners if teams are level on points and goal difference, with the winning team being presented with the Emirates Cup trophy after the final match on Sunday.


Premier League TV Payouts Show Why Financial Fair Play Failed

Arsenal FCThe Premier League has released the payouts that clubs received from the leagues new TV deals, and the size of the payouts make it clear that Financial Fair Play in Europe is doomed to fail.

Chelsea’s Premier League title success earned them £9 9 million in total prize money according to official figures, the most ever earned by a single club in one season from central funds.

The precise eye-watering sum was £98,999,554, made up of £24.9 million ‘merit’ cash for finishing top of the table, £19.98 million ‘facility fees’ for being in so many live TV games, plus equal shares of the domestic TV deal (nearly £22 million), overseas TV deals (£27.8 million) and commercial income from the leagues sponsors, such as Barclays (£4.4 million).

Manchester City were second in the table and are second in the cash league with £98.5 million, but Manchester United are the next highest earners (£96.8 million) despite finishing fourth because they were live on TV more than third-placed Arsenal, who are fourth in the money table with £96.5 million.

Even bottom of the table Queens Park Rangers were handsomely rewarded as they received 64,886,028 million.

Outside of the Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, no other club in Europe will receive more money from domestic TV revenue than QPR.

And that is at the heart of the FFP’s problems. The Premier League is so popular worldwide, and the new TV is so lucrative that the English clubs have a huge financial advantage over the rest of Europe.

Consider German giants Bayern Munich, one of the top five richest clubs in the world. According to Deloitte, in 2014 Bayern’s total revenue from TV rights (both Champions League and Bundesliga) was £90.1 million. Five Premier League clubs earned more than that this year just from domestic rights. Add in the £40-50 million from Champions League football, and suddenly Bayern is at a financial disadvantage to Premier League clubs who can afford to pay more in transfer fees and wages than anyone else in Europe.

Fallen Italian giants Inter Milan had total revenue, from all sources, of £137.1 million in 2014. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City will make more than that just from domestic and European TV rights. Under FFP there is no way that Inter will ever be able to attract the kind of top players they need to become a European power again. And that is why FFP will go away. Because without it, nobody will be able to compete with even a mid-table English team for players.



Arsenal v Chelsea In Community Shield 2 August

Mourinho-WengerArsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho will renew their rivalry on 2 August when Premier League champions Chelsea and FA Cup winners Arsenal meet at Wembley in the FA Community Shield, the official opening of the 2015-16 football season in England.

While it’s technically a friendly, this is a match that neither Mourinho or Wenger will want to lose. Both teams are expected to challenge for the title next season, and the winner will take an early lead in the head games that these managers like to play with each other.

The Community Shield will be also the first opportunity that Arsene Wenger has next season in ending his 13-match winless streak against the Special One, having never beaten the Chelsea manager yet.

Amazingly these two clubs have only met once in the Community Shield and that was in 2005 when Chelsea won 201 thanks to two goals from Didier Drogba. Scoring for Arsenal that day was Cesc Fabregas!

Neither team is expected to be at full-strength for this match due to this summer’s Copa America tournament. Chelsea have already announced that FFilipe Luis, Willian, and Juan Cuadrado will miss the start of the season while Arsenal have announced that Alexis Sanchez will also miss this match.

Getting To Wembley
Wembley Stadium is closer than you think. Wembley is only two stops from Baker Street (Metropolitan Line) and nine minutes from London Marylebone (Chiltern Line).

For London Tube, Road, Bus and other services, please visit Transport for London. Find train times and fares at National Rail Enquiries or call 0871 200 4950.

Pubs Near Wembley  
A few days prior to the game, pubs nearest to Wembley Stadium may be allocated to fans of one team or the other. So we advise calling the pub in advance to check if your team’s fans will be allowed in on the day.

  • The Torch, 1-5 Bridge Road, Wembley, HA9 9AB
  • Crock of Gold, 23 Bridge Road, Wembley, HA9 9AB
  • Moore Spice, Wembley Retail Park, Unit 2, Engineers Way, HA9 0EH
  • Watkins Folly, 1 Empire Way, Wembley, HA9 0EW
  • Blue Check Café, 12-13 Empire Way, Wembley, HA9 0RQ
  • Crystal Club (Silverspoon), South Way, Wembley
  • The Parish, 120 Wembley Park Drive, Wembley, HA9 8HP
  • First Class Sports Bar, 125 Wembley Park Drive, HA9 8HG
  • The Wembley Tavern, 121 Wembley Park Drive, HA9 8HG
  • Flyers Last Stand (Cheers Bar), 45 Blackbird Hill, NW9 8RS.
    The Green Man Dagmar Avenue, Wembley, HA9 8DF.
  • Blue Room 53 Wembley Hill Road, Wembley, HA9 8BE.
  • Liquor Station 379 High Road, Wembley, HA9 6AA.
  • JJ Moons 397 High Road, Wembley, HA9 7DT.
  • Thirsty Eddie’s 412 High Road, Wembley, HA9 6AH.
  • Masti 576 – 582 High Road, Wembley, HA0 2AA.
  • Flannery’s 610 High Road, Wembley, HA0 2AF.
  • Station 31 (Speakeasy) 299 -303 Harrow Road, Wembley, HA9 6BD.
  • The Corner House (Mannions) 313 Harrow Road, Wembley, HA9 6BA.
  • Fusilier 652 Harrow Road, Wembley, HA0 2HA.
  • The Copper Jug 10 The Broadway, Wembley, HA9 8JU.
  • Powerleague Olympic Way, Wembley.



Historic FA Cup Win For Arsenal

AFC-FA-Cup-WinA brilliant Arsenal performance at Wembley on Saturday saw the Gunners coast to the biggest English FA Cup final win in 21 years. After escaping relegation, Tim Sherwood brought his Villa side to Wembley looking to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1957, but left in dejection following a 4-0 hammering.

Surprise starter Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead at the end of a first half in which the Londoners dominated, Per Mertesacker scored the third and substitute Olivier Giroud rounded off the win in the final minutes. But the pick of the goals undoubtedly came from Alexis Sanchez, who hammered a 25-yard screamer in off the bar just after the restart.

Some of the Villa fans who had made the 115-mile trip to the capital left early while the Arsenal supporters rejoiced at retaining the FA Cup with ease. The Gunners have now won the trophy a record 12 times and Wenger has been at the helm for half of them.

The Frenchman may have had his critics over the second part of his 19-year reign at Arsenal, but his cup pedigree cannot be questioned. Only George Ramsay, who managed Villa from 1884-1926, has won the same number of FA Cups as Wenger.

It was the early-season form of Sanchez, a £30m summer signing from Barcelona, that propelled Arsenal to their third-placed league finish this term, and the final will be remembered for the Chilean’s fantastic strike. But the likes of Mesut Ozil, Walcott, and Santi Cazorla deserve credit for their excellent performances in this win – the biggest in an FA Cup final since Manchester United beat Chelsea by the same scoreline in 1994.

The Villa defence had to work extremely hard to repel the Gunners as they launched attack after attack on Shay Given’s goal. Cazorla performed a series of stepovers to bamboozle the Villa defence, but his square ball across the box was cut out by Ron Vlaar.

By the time ten minutes had passed, Arsenal had taken three corners and Villa’s defence was creaking. Villa had to resort to underhand means to stop their opponents. Villa’s fifth foul in the opening quarter of an hour resulted in Tom Cleverley being booked when he took out Nacho Monreal.

Given kept Villa in it, clubbing the ball away to deny Laurent Koscielny from close range. Aaron Ramsey, selected ahead of Jack Wilshere, rippled the side-netting shortly after volleying over from close range and Alan Hutton put in a last-ditch block to deny Sanchez.

Ozil, playing full of confidence, crossed for Walcott, who would have scored had Kieran Richardson not cleared off the line. Fabian Delph followed Hutton into the book as Villa tried desperately to reach half-time without conceding, but Arsenal finally broke through five minutes before the break.

Walcott, now operating on the flank, started the move down the left, feeding the ball to Monreal, whose cross was knocked down by Sanchez. Walcott steadied himself before driving the ball past Given and embarking on a wild celebration in front of the Gunners fans. The Villa support kept the faith, but five minutes into the second half, they were 2-0 down.

Given had shown athleticism beyond his years in the first half, but the 39-year-old could do nothing to stop Sanchez’s screamer, which flew in from 25 yards off the underside of the bar. Any faint hopes of a Villa revival were dashed in the 62nd minute when Mertesacker slipped away from Christian Benteke to meet Cazorla’s corner. The German international tried – and failed – to head the ball in, but the ball brushed off his shoulder into the net. It was rotten luck for Villa, but no more than Arsenal deserved.

Substitute Gabriel Agbonlahor tried to inject some life into Villa. He thought he should have been awarded a penalty when he was hacked down by Francis Coquelin, but Jon Moss waved play on and Arsenal completed their win when Giroud tapped in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross in the final minute of injury time.


Gazidis Predicts DIFFICULT Summer Transfer Window For Arsenal

Emirates_NightArsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis says the Gunners face a difficult task getting the balance right in the transfer market this summer.

Arsene Wenger insists he has money to spend ahead of next season but claims he will only make top-quality additions.

And Gazidis says the north London club are very aware of the potential to upset the balance in a harmonious squad with too many new additions. He told Arsenal Player:

“We’ve got a good financial position at the club, so we’re really healthy going into the summer.

“I think we can make investments. Arsene [Wenger] has said we’ve got a big and deep squad, and a top quality squad. So it’s not just turning over for the sake of turning over.

“The additions that Arsene will make will only be if we’re finding really top class players that fulfil a need that we have.

“One of the really important balances to get right this summer is yes, to improve where we can, but also to retain the cohesiveness of the team because that’s been a really important ingredient in the second half of this season; the team spirit, the cohesiveness of the group, you don’t want to destroy it.

“So it’s a delicate operation this summer to get that balance right, but I’m sure we’re going to do it. I think in the last three or four years we’ve made good decisions over the transfer windows that have proven to be good over time.

“I’m hopeful we’ll continue to do that and deliver the types of additions we need to make sure we’re in a position to compete next year.”

I am all for team spirit, but that only carries you so far. At the end of the day it is quality that wins title’s and Arsenal need to add two or three top class player.

They need a new goalkeeper and Petr Cech would be perfect. They need a defensive midfielder and Morgan Schneiderlin would be perfect. Finally, the Gunners need a world class striker and Porto’s Jackson Martinez is available for only £24.7 million which is a bargain.


Danny Welbeck To Miss FA Cup final

danny-welbeck-afcArsenal manager Arsene Wenger says striker Danny Welbeck will miss the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Wenger confirmed Welbeck’s knee problem is likely to rule him out next weekend and could put a question mark over whether the striker will be fit for England’s upcoming friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and the EURO 2016 qualifier away to Slovenia.

Asked if he thought the 24-year-old former Manchester United player could be fit for the final, Wenger said:

“Welbeck will be short because he has not practised yet.”

The injury ends what has been a massively disappointing season for Welbeck. The signing of the 24-year-old England striker from Manchester United last summer for £16 million was seen as a big coup for the Gunners.

United manager Louis van Gaal justified the sale by noting that Welbeck lacked the scoring record of players like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

For the most part van Gaal has been proven right as Welbeck has struggled to score this season, his goal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup and his hat-trick against Galatasaray aside.

Welbeck finished the season with just seven goals, scoring just four times in the league this season (with the last coming in December). Not quite the return that Arsenal fans were expecting.

While injuries have caused Welbeck to miss a lot of the season, he only made 18 appearances in the summer, even when fit it seemed that Arsene Wenger preferred to play him on the wing, rather than through the middle, as Welbeck clearly wants. Unfortunately for Welbeck, that is also a position where Wenger has a lot of options including Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott.

There is a lot of chatter that Arsene Wenger is in the market for a world class striker this summer to replace Oliver Giroud. It is telling that nobody believes that Welbeck could fill that role.

Nine months ago Welbeck left Old Trafford because of a lack of playing time as a central forward. It appears that despite a new postal code that Welbeck faces the same situation. A manager who is not convinced that he is clinical enough in front of goal to lead their attack.


Can Arsenal Launch A Title Challenge Next Season?

The only problem with all the optimism at the Emirates right now is that, really, we’ve been here before. All the talk about being the best team in a given year is reminiscent of what happened in 2013.

There is that perpetual sense of the club self-correcting itself: never suffering the true kind of crisis that would bring them below fourth, but never enjoying the genuine evolution that would lift them to a proper challenge. For the latter to happen, there needs to deeper development of performance. The excellent recent run needs to be an indication of structural improvement, rather than just a streak.

That does seem the case, especially in the defensive side of the game. You only have to look at the drastic increase in tackles and – especially – interceptions, with the latter jumping from 14.3 to 20.3. That kind of aggression offered the platform for sleeker football. Things are looking encouraging – more so than usual.

So the stats show that Arsene Wenger has finally got around to making the Gunners harder to score against. Has he laid a foundation for a title challenge next season?



Wilshere To Miss Dortmund Game

Jack-Wilshere-FACupJack Wilshere’s ankle injury is not as bad as we first throught, but he will still miss Arsenal‘s Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund.

Wilshere suffered an ankle injury in the Gunners’ defeat to Manchester United but X-rays have shown there was no break but the England midfielder has got potential ligament damage.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Wilshere

“has very little chance” of facing Dortmund on Wednesday while Wojciech Szczesny’s hip injury is not serious but is also likely to force him out of the game.

What I don’t understand with Wilshere is why he was allowed to return to play in the first place? He signaled to the bench as soon as he was tackled and with his history of ankle injures what as the thought process of the Gunners medical staff in seeing if he could run it off. Surely the risk of potential losing Jack for months if he played on and injured his ankle even further, was greater than the need to keep him on the pitch?