Those hoping to see how good Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be in an Arsene Wenger system will be disappointed to hear that the Frenchman has ruled out a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Arsenal manager dismissed speculation linking him to the Parisian club on Friday insisting that he still loves life at the Emirates. After yet another stressful season in North London where Wenger’s media-based dissentors laid attacks left, right and center, reports suggested the Frenchman could be in line for a return to his homeland. From failing to land a trophy yet again (Spurs fans will have you know it’s been 7 years, 11 months and 11 days) to an increasingly frosty relationship with fans, many believed Wenger had hit his tipping point.
Instead, he’s looking to extend his reign. When queried about his future, the manager said: “I respect my contracts. Football excites me… my love for this club excites me.” And when questioned about extending his stay in North London, Wenger was optimistic and inviting, explaining: “I want to stay if I do well, if the club considers I do well.”
Wenger also touched upon the tumultuous season the club has had and his positive outlook going forward. “I want this club to do well,” the manager said. “We have gone through a sensitive period but I believe the club is in a good position for the future.”
So the question becomes – will Wenger ever leave Arsenal? If he’s not willing to go to PSG the answer looks more and more likely to be, ‘no’. At the age of 63 years old there are few jobs that could spark Wenger’s interest more than PSG – a French based club with infinite resources and, of course, Zlatan. Perhaps the only other club one could foresee him leaving the Gunners for would be Barcelona. But even that job doesn’t seem to line up well with Wenger’s goals.
He doesn’t appear to be bothered by things like money and fame. He also doesn’t seem to be excited at the idea of starting over. When he talks about Arsenal he speaks with passion and dedication: “I do my job with a lot of commitment and a lot of loyalty.” These are words seldom heard from managers and ones that the Arsenal board would do well to appease.
Someday Wenger inevitably will leave the North London club. But when it happens it looks likely to be for one of two things: retirement or to take a crack at coaching Les Blues. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
It makes a lot of sense, you know?
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will turn 30 in 2018, not a spring chicken for a striker but still plenty productive if healthy.
His national team, Mexico, will likely be revving its engines for the World Cup, and won’t be upset to have the forward playing a bit less soccer and a lot closer to home.
[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines ]
And Los Angeles FC will want to make a massive mark as it seeks to butt its head into a market dominated by the LA Galaxy (and, perhaps still then, Mexico national teamer Giovani Dos Santos).
So, tell us more, Steve Brisendine of MLSSoccer.com:
“[LAFC] are going to do everything possible to sign the current Bayer Leverkusen player, whose contract ends in 2018 and could therefore leave for a reduced fee. That’s what AS.com has confirmed with sources close to the project. LAFC hope to announce their new manager this spring and dream, a little later, to do the same with Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito.”
Make it happen. Make. It. Happen. We’re already reserving his spot on our MLS fantasy teams.
There’s action all over England, from those defending the goal mouth to others striving to conquer it.
[ MORE: More transfer gossip ]
— Bournemouth wants an upgrade on Artur Boruc, according to The Telegraph, and that could come in the form of Chelsea backstop Asmir Begovic.
The Cherries reportedly had a $12.5 million bid turned down by Antonio Conte, who has Thibaut Courtois in the No. 1 seat and Portugal national team backup Eduardo in the ranks (along with three keepers on loan and young goalie Mitchell Beanie).
— Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger shut the door on acquiring West Ham wantaway Dimitri Payet according to Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre:
“We have many players offensively who can play in this position. You are interested by the quality of the player but there needs to be a need as well, and we have no need in this domain.”
— Clubs in need of experienced Premier League backs need look no further than Everton, where manager Ronald Koeman has admitted that England international Phil Jagielka could leave Goodison Park. The 34-year-old center back has 40 caps for England and has made 337 appearances for Everton. He could be a massive upgrade for Sunderland if David Moyes is up for a reunion.
— Stoke City chairman Peter Coates says a purchase of Saido Berahino from West Brom is not contingent on a sale of Bojan Krkic. The latter has been linked to Middlesbrough.
— Mauro Zarate may be returning the Premier League. Watford boss Walter Mazzarri has been largely let down by his strike corps as Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have taken steps back this season. Could $4 be enough to bring the ex-West Ham and QPR man from Fiorentina to Vicarage Road? Zarate has four goals in nine matches for La Viola, and has nine goals in 40 Premier League matches.
New LA Galaxy midfielder and USMNT mainstay Jermaine Jones is hoping he can clarify Tim Howard’s controversial comments about dual nationals.
Howard said Wednesday that there were commitment issues with some of the dual nationals on the United States squad, adding that players like Jones and Fabian Johnson were great for the team.
[ MORE: Galaxy adds Portugal CM ]
Jones answered those thoughts on Thursday, labeling them “dangerous stuff”.
From ESPNFC’s Doug McIntyre:
“With all the respect for Timmy, I feel it’s not if you’re half American or full-American. It’s more what you have in here [taps his chest].
“If you go on the field and you give everything for this country, then of course sometimes there’s a situation where you’re not playing good.
“But it’s normal. That can happen to everybody, and that’s what you have to understand.”
Jones isn’t shy to share his comments on anything, and it was definitely a surprise to hear Howard’s thoughts on dual nationals. Salient words from Jones.
Robbie Keane is still sorting out his future, and it seems unlikely he’s heading back to the past.
Keane is training in Dublin ahead of a return to the pitch. The 36-year-old striker left the LA Galaxy this offseason, and says he’s had several offers from Championship squads in England as well as a few clubs abroad.
[ MORE: Top Premier League story lines ]
Although he’s starred for Wolverhampton and Leeds, destinations where fans would welcome his arrival, Keane says not to hold your breath.
“I’ve had a lot of people asking me about coming back to Leeds and Wolves, and they’re great clubs I’ve played for, but you can’t go somewhere if people actually don’t offer you anything.
“Until it’s actually in writing to me I can’t comment much on it, but I definitely haven’t heard from Leeds or Wolves.”
Whether Stateside or in England, Keane can still have an impact on a team’s fortunes. We look forward to seeing him back on the field, and to hear some more quips as well.
Consider his answer to whether he’d entertain an offer from China:
“If they gave the money Diego Costa was offered, I’d walk there now,” Keane said.