Tag Archives: Arsenal News

Watford have confirmed the signing of seven new players-including former Arsenal ‘keeper Manuel Almunia and Fitz Hall.

Watford have announced the signing of seven new players as Gianfranco Zola begins to make his mark following his recent appointment as boss.  The Hornets have tonight confirmed former Queens Park Rangers defender Fitz Hall and ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia have signed one-year contracts. Both Almunia, 35, and Hall, 31, have agreed one-year deals at Vicarage Road and will add experience to Gianfranco Zola’s Hornet’s squad, reports the club’s official website. The other five players are on season-long loans from Udinese and Granada – both owned by the Pozzo family, who took over Watford last month.

Images From telegraph.co.uk
Images From telegraph.co.uk

They are Udinese trio Almen Abdi, Steve Leo Beleck and Matej Vydra and Granada duo Daniel Pudil and Ikechi Anya. Manager Gianfranco Zola also used the strength of new owners the Pozzo family’s extensive European network to complete loan deals for five new recruits. Midfielder Almen Abdi and forwards Matej Vydra and Steve Leo Beleck have arrived from the Italian club and defender Daniel Pudil and striker Ikechi Anya were brought in from the La Liga outfit. Watford technical director Gianluca Nani expressed his delight with the acquisitions but voiced his intention to make further additions. Nani told the club’s official website: “We expect these players to make a very positive impact on Gianfranco Zola’s squad. We are constantly looking to add quality here for Watford, and this is a task which will be ongoing throughout the season.” Almunia was released by Arsenal at the end of last season after eight years in north London, during which he made over 100 league appearances for the club.

He is expected to be Watford’s new number one, after Scott Loach’s departure. Almunia, who made 175 appearances for Arsenal after joining them in 2004, will fill the gap left by Scott Loach’s departure to Ipswich. Journeyman centre-half Hall, who has arrived at Vicarage Road has spent time with Southampton, Newcastle and QPR during his career, has the task of replacing Adrian Mariappa, who left the club to join Premier League new boys Reading. Among the others, only Glasgow-born Anya, 24, has played league football in England before, having had spells with Wycombe and Northampton before heading for Spain, where he spent last season on loan at Cadiz from Granada. Pudil, 26, and Udinese midfielder Abdi, 25, are both full internationals, for the Czech Republic and Switzerland respectively, and have impressed in pre-season friendlies for Watford. Both Anya and Pudil join the north Londoners from La Liga outfit Granada. Vydra, 20, has represented the Czech Republic at youth level, while Udinese club-mate Beleck, 19, was born in Cameroon and played for AEK Athens on loan last season, scoring five goals in 27 appearances.
Watford’s opening game of the season is against Wycombe Wanderers in the Captial One Cup on August 11. However, some of the loan signings may cause misgivings among some fans. Prior to the takeover by the Pozzos, and the installation of Zola as manager, the Watford Supporters’ Trust expressed concern about the possibility of the club being used as a ‘nursery’ to provide experience for youngsters from Udinese.

Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey keeping his fingers crossed to stay skipper Robin van Persie

Aaron Ramsey is staying hopeful that Arsenal captain Robin van Persie will decide to stick with the club and resist the temptation to leave. He  is keeping his fingers crossed that skipper Robin van Persie will resist the temptation to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer. Speculation over the Holland international’s future has been rife in recent weeks with Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus having all been linked with moves for the 28-year-old in the wake of his announcement that he would not be signing a new contract,which expires next year.

Images from sport.uk
Images from Sport.uk

Manchester United have already confirmed an interest in signing the striker, while Manchester City and Juventus are also understood to have made bids for the Dutchman. Van Persie scored 37 goals last season, 30 of them in the Barclays Premier League, and claimed both the PFA and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year awards, and Ramsey is hopeful that despite all the rumours, the club can retain his services. They still finished 19 points behind the two Manchester clubs, but Ramsey is convinced a better start this time around could help them to close that gap. Ramsey is also keen to see his team-mate stick around in North London, particularly after Van Persie scored 37 goals for Arsenal in all competitions last season.”He had a brilliant season last year and he is a big player for us, so we are just hopeful that he will stay.” said Ramsey, who is on Team GB Olympic duty.

He said: We don’t know anything that goes on. We hope that he stays at Arsenal.   He said that If we get off to a better start this season than we did last season, we know we are capable of finishing pretty strongly, like we did last year.We have brought in a couple of players who are well known and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to compete early on. Van Persie’s sparkling form helped the Gunners to stage a fightback after a poor start to the season which saw them win just two of their first seven league games, a run which included an 8-2 drubbing at Manchester United and a derby defeat at Tottenham. They rallied to such an extent that they eventually ended the campaign in third place and secured a Champions League qualification berth which at one point looked beyond them as they claimed 33 of the final 45 points on offer. Nevertheless, the Gunners, who have added Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to the squad during the summer, still finished 19 points behind the two Manchester clubs, and Ramsey is convinced a better start this time around could help them to close that gap.