Arsenal transfer news: Club legend on van Dijk pursuit, Chelsea 'perfect' for Giroud, and more, 14th February 2018
Thierry Henry reveals reason behind not pursuing Virgil van Dijk
The Dutchman became the most expensive defender in world football when he completed a stunning £75 million move to Liverpool from Southampton in the January transfer window.
Despite the centre-back stating he only wanted to join the Reds, there has been considerable doubt on why Arsenal did not pursue the 26-year old, touted to be one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
Now, club legend, Thierry Henry, explained the situation on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football as another pundit, Jamie Carragher questioned how could Arsene Wenger not afford Jonny Evans while spending more than £50 million on strikers. As the Liverpool legend asked why Wenger did not go for van Dijk, Henry said:
"Maybe he doesn't see it as a problem when we all can see it is. Why didn't he go for Van Dijk? In the history of Arsenal, Kolo Toure was almost nothing, Sol Campbell was nothing. I know we're talking about other times and now people have a price which goes beyond what it should be."
"Does he know the qualities of defenders? Yes. That's the story with Arsene. People always say he doesn't want to pay big and he thinks some of the players are not worth the price that you put on the table. But it's a new era. If you want someone good, you need to but £60m, £70m, whatever the position is. I think he finds that really difficult. He does it easily for a striker or a creative player but no disrespect to defenders but he is like 'that might be a lot'."
If this is indeed true, then the Gunners' faithful have every reason to be worried as the club's defence is struggling to hold itself well enough to finish in the UEFA Champions League spots.
Olivier Giroud explains why he HAD to move
The Frenchman left the Emirates to join local rivals Chelsea on transfer deadline day in January for a fee of around £18 million. The centre-forward impressed in his first start by setting up Eden Hazard's opening goal en route to a much-needed 3-0 win against West Brom. As per reports from The Mirror, The 31-year old spoke after the match on why he 'had' to leave Arsenal and said:
“It’s been a while since I played regularly and that’s why I needed to move. I needed a new challenge and Chelsea was the perfect club for me.
“It’s the Premier League, a club which has won more titles in the past ten years than any other. It’s a massive club and I am very proud to be here and to carry on my career in the Premier League."
“I had five amazing years there, but now it’s a new chapter of my career and I am focused 100 per cent on the Blues to reach our targets. I’m very happy to be here.”
While the statements could make Arsenal fans turn away, Giroud definitely states things as they are and it is true that the North London side need to rediscover their mojo of the last decade if they want to get back among the absolute best in England.
Arsenal offer Oguzhan Ozyakup a contract to re-join in summer
The Turkish international joined as a youngster back in 2008 and played a part in the Gunners winning the FA Youth Cup in 2009. He made his first-team debut in a League Cup match against Shrewsbury in 2011 before he was sold to Turkish side Besiktas in 2012.
However, the midfielder found his verve in his homeland and played over 200 games, winning a couple of league titles along the way.
Now, Ozyakup's contract is set to expire in the summer and he is free to discuss a pre-agreement with foreign clubs. As per Turkish outlet, Aksam, Wenger himself has spoken to the 25-year old and presented an astronomical offer to rejoin the Gunners in the summer.
The report further states that the Besiktas club captain is seriously considering a return to England. Prior to that, Ozyakup is set to face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, where he gets another chance to prove his mettle on Europe's biggest stage.
Thus, signing Ozyakup will definitely help Wenger bolster the midfield ranks on the cheap and the Frenchman can focus his transfer budget towards more pressing areas.