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ArseWEB summer rumour machine 1996

Arsenal get linked with just about every half-decent footballer there is, so this isn't a comprehensive list. It's amazing the number of times one hears from a newspaper that a player is on the verge of signing, only to discover later on that there was never any substance to the story whatsoever. Add to this the fact that Arsenal, of all clubs, tend to do their transfers quietly, so that when we do make a major signing there's a good chance no-one outside the club will have had a sniff of it before it happened, and this page adds up to something that must be taken with a huge pinch of salt. Anyway, people keep asking who we're being linked with so here's a list of some of the players we've been said to be looking at since the end of last season....
Barton, Beresford, Ferdinand, Sherwood, Jarni, Thatcher, Lombardo, Ronaldo, Southgate, Ince, Sinclair, Sergi, Nedved, Poborsky, Dublin, McAllister, Lizarazu, Zidane, Dugarry, Stoitchkov, Thomas, Kinkladze, O'Neill, Berger, Vialli, Djorkaeff, Karembeu, Le Saux, Shearer, Klinsmann, Hazem Imam, Moore, Letchkov, De La Pena, Speed, Seedorf.
There must be loads we've forgotten - please email us if you remember any of them.

...and here are some of the main rumours as they happen...

  • Let us stress once again that none of this stuff is to be taken too seriously, we are just passing on rumours that come to us, mostly via the gutter press (let's be frank - mostly made up by the gutter press) in order that others can share the mayhem that is Arsenal summer transfer gossip. The fact that a story appears here does not mean that it contains even a shred of truth. See the ArseWEB news index for other ways of getting news on the www)
  • Note that the most recent stories appear at the top of the list. If you want to read them chronologically start at the bottom.

Thursday August 15th - Arsene WENGER, Tim SHERWOOD
Arsene Wenger seems ever more likely to be the new Arsenal manager. Today he announced that there would be a joint statement from him and his club Grampus 8 next Tuesday 20th August. Without explicitly sayign he was leaving for Arsenal he did say things like
"Arsenal are right up there as one of the biggest clubs, so it would be a very big challenge for me, probably the biggest of my career. English football has become high-profile in the last few years...I know the English game very well -- what the demands are, what the passion is and how desperate everyone is for success. Therefore the prospect of being the coach at a club like Arsenal is a very exciting one for me but I can't say too much about it because nothing has been officially confirmed yet."
In addition Remi Garde said something rather revealing:
"I'm glad to be signing for a club like Arsenal and working with Arsene Wenger."
We are also still being linked with Tim Sherwood. The Mirror claims that a £4million deal is being finalised.

Weds August 14th - Arsene Wenger, Remi GARDE, Patrick VIERA, George WEAH, Trevor SINCLAIR

5:05 BBC R5 News are now reporting that we have also signed Patrick Viera from Milan for £3.5 million (SKY Teletext reportedly says £4million). (Viera picture).
13 months of waiting and we sign 2 French midfielders in a day. Strange times. In addition they report that Arsenal have said there is unlikely to be an announcement regarding the manager before the start of the new season on Saturday.

11:30 BBC R5 News just reported that Arsenal have signed Remi Garde from Strasbourg
(see below). Once again ArseWEB brings you the news first !! (unless you were listening to the radio too, that is....). It has to be admitted that this adds credence to the Wenger stories. See the Wenger facts in today's ArseWEB news review.

12:30 BBC R5 news a little confusing. No mention of Garde (although French Teletext is confirming the transfer). Wenger said to be holding a press conference tomorrow. Arsenal said to be NOT doing the same.

Most sources seem to have installed Wenger as the new favourite to take over from Rioch. However it has been suggested that he might move upstairs to a technical director position as early as November with a younger man (the Mirror mentions David O'Leary in this context) taking over as team coach. In addition, Wenger is said to be unavailable until September. If this is the case, it would seem that some player signings might be required to allay supporters' unease going into the new season, and most papers etc reckon that this will happen. Some say that Wenger has given Arsenal a list of 5 players he wants signed before he arrives. Others say that deals are already done. For example, a French journalist from L'Equipe, talking on Capital Radio, claimed that a French player has already signed for Arsenal and that he would be unveiled on Thursday. Specific players mentioned in various sources include: Remi Garde French Strasbourg midfielder on a free transfer (see below), Patrick Viera (see below), £2million), and George Weah (the Mirror says £6 million which must be wrong, surely?).
QPR have rejected Leeds bid for Trevor Sinclair, saying that he is not for sale and is happy to stay at the Rs. That can't be right.
Patrick Viera information: midfielder (can also play at left wing-back). Born: Dakar (Senegal) June 23 1976. began as a youth at Tours; he played his first match in the first division aged 17, in November 1993 with Cannes. He is apparently under contract with A.C. Milan till year 2000, but Auxerre, PSG, Monaco and Bordeaux have all been linked with bringing him back to France this summer and Ajax are rumoured to have been expecting him to move to Amsterdam as part of the "special relationship" that has seen Davids etc move the other way. He is an U21 French international. Was ruled out of the French Olympic squad through injury. We have a picture of him)
Remi Garde information: midfielder (can also play at Centre-half). 30 year sold. 6 French caps. In Platini's French Euro92 squad.

Tues 13th August - Robbie ELLIOTT, Trevor SINCLAIR, Johann CRUYFF, Arsene WENGER, etc
R5 news reports that Elliott has agreed terms with Blackburn.
Bookies have installed Cruyff as favourite to take over from Rioch, followed by Venables. After that come (in different orders depending on the bookmaker) Dalglish, Graham, Brady, Adams, O'Leary, Houston, Howe, and Charlton J.
Suprisingly, Arsene Wenger (of the absurdly appropriate first name) is not on this list. This Evening's Standard, and reports from France (which of course could be based on the Standard's story or vice versa!), claim that Wenger is in fact the manager-in-waiting. Wenger is manager of Grampus 8 (Lineker's Japanese club) and is said to be highly respected on the continent. He was Hoddle's manager at Monaco and has been touted as a possible candidate (and Hoddle's choice) for FA technical director. IRN say that the announcement is expected tomorrow (which would at least leave us a day before the UEFA deadline).
Leeds have made an official bid, believed to be under £5 million for Trevor Sinclair.

Monday 12th August - Bruce RIOCH
16:20 We're getting reports of radio news programmes saying that Arsenal have "released Bruce Rioch from his contract". No further details available. This could be a hoax, like the Tony Adams to Man Utd one of a couple of weeks ago. More here as soon as we get it.
16:28 The news is now appearing on the Bloomberg News server as well as IRN. It seems to be no hoax. Bruce Rioch has been sacked as manager of Arsenal. The statement from the club says that "The Board have decided that it was in the best long-term interest of the club that Mr Rioch should now leave." Possible replacements? Well, Terry Venables has just gotten himself involved at Portsmouth. Liam Brady has just taken a post at Arsenal but while his qualifications for the youth development post are unchallengable, he is "unproven" as a manager. Johann Cruyff is free, but then again, so's George Graham.....
16.50Initial suspicions that the extraordinary timing of the move suggests that the Board know exactly who Rioch's successor is going to be seem to have been confirmed. Chairman Peter-Hill Wood's statement (above) continued... "The club have identified a successor and expect to announce the new appointment shortly. In the meantime, the assistant manager Stewart Houston and coach Pat Rice will be responsible for team affairs." The statement also said that Liam Brady would continue in his youth development role.
Rioch was only the 18th manager in Arsenal's history, and his term of office was the shortest since the war. In his first and only season at Highbury he took us to the Coca-Cola Cup semi-finals and 5th place in the league, earning us a place in this season's UEFA cup.

Sunday 11th August - Lee SHARPE, Tim SHERWOOD, Robbie ELLIOTT, Patrick VIERA, Marek SAGANOWSKI
Various papers, telly, etc, report that Sharpe has gone to Leeds United despite (some say) interest from Arsenal.
The People reckons we'll try for Sherwood and Elliott, a six million pound combination to be completed by Thursday's UEFA deadline. They say Arsenal are prepared to pay 2million for Elliott but Newcastle want 3. It could go to a tribunal, or someone else (Blackburn?) could snatch him from us.
Saturday's Express reckoned we're about to bid £.4.5 million for Patrick Viera (see 26th July below).
Saganowski (see 5th August below) is said to have signed for Feywnoord.

Friday 9th August - George WEAH, Lee SHARPE, Stuart RIPLEY, Tim SHERWOOD
The Daily Mirror says Rioch is planning a "daring £8million swoop for Milan striker George Weah. They claim that Arsenal have already sounded out Milan with regard to the Liberian. The Sun says that we've bid £4.5million and that Milan thought we were taking the mickey: they want double figures.
They also say that Arsenal are leading the chase for Lee Sharpe.
Other Arsenal transfer rumours from today's papers:
AFC bid £5million for Stuart Ripley
AFC bid £4million for Tim Sherwood
ManUtd to buy Tony Adams for £4million. That's just FOUR million! (Daily Star, Capital Radio).

Mon 5th August - Marek SAGANOWSKI
The Hamburger Morgenpost report today that "Arsenal London" is chasing Polish "Wunderkind" Marek Saganowski (17-year old forward). Apparently he's " the biggest talent in Europe since ages" (blah,blah...). It's in the Hamburg press, 'cause the Hamburger SV nearly had him for nothing, but now Ajax, Arsenal and other German teams trying to snap him away.

Sunday 4th August - SEAMAN, Brian LAUDRUP, David BECKHAM, Patrick KLUIVERT, Michael BRIDGES, Lee SHARPE, BOBAN
The Sunday Mirror reckons Keegan will make a £5million bid for David Seaman.
The News of the World reports that Rioch says he would go after Brian Laudrup if he was available (who wouldn't?!).
The People say Arsenal will bid £4.5million for David Beckham, reasoning that Poborsky will take his first team place at Moan Utd. They, along with other papers, also have us bidding around £12million for Patrick Kluivert. The Ajax manager has said that he's not for sale but he accepts he'd have to listen to offers around the £15million mark. The People also link us with Sunderland's England U-18 player Michael Bridges.
Arsenal and Leeds will compete for the signing of Lee Sharpe for around £4million. Reasoning: Poborsky will take his first team place. (Come on guys, how many players' places can Poborsky take???).
The Sunday World says we inquired about Milan's Boban last week.
The papers have finally caught up with the Valur Fannar (Gislasen) story (see 2nd July, below), reprting that we have signed the Icelandic youngster from Fram for "an undisclosed fee".

Weds 1st August - Bruce RIOCH, Celestine BABAYARO, Dean HOLDSWORTH, Albert FERRER, RAUL, Liam BRADY, George WEAH
Various papers and Ceefax report that Bruce Rioch has now signed his contract with Arsenal. Rioch is quoted as saying that he has put pen to paper and is waiting for the club to counter-sign the document. The deal Rioch was offered last year was for 4 years. When asked last night how long the contract would be for he replied "a lifetime". Incidentally a rumour came to ArseWEB yesterday, apparently originating at a national newspaper, that Rioch had resigned! Whether this was malicious or just a case of Chinese whispers ("resigned" sounding not completely dissimilar to "signed") we do not know.
Rioch also "revelade" that he'd like to sign a couple of players before the August 15th deadline for eligibility for the 1st round of the UEFA cup.
One ofthose players could be (according to the Mirror) 18 year old Nigerian international left-back Celestine Babayaro. David Dein was in Atlanta last night watching Babayaro in action for Nigeria in their spectacular semi-final win over Brasil. Babayaro, currently an Anderlecht player, is said to be an Arsenal target by "sources close to the Nigerian camp". Not "sources close to the Arsenal camp", then.
Other tabloid stories link us with Barcelona's right back Albert Ferrer, Real Madrid's Raul, and a £4million bid for Dean Holdsworth.
The Press Association reports that Liam Brady will be taking the post of Head of Youth Development.
There seems to be a rumour gathering momentum that Arsenal are going to bid for George Weah. This has appeared in 2 Irish newspapers today as well as the Daily Star. Reasons given: wanting to play in England, wanting to play with his mate Ian Wright, his native language being English. It still seems rather unlikely that he'd want to leave Milan, or that Milan would want to part with their "footballer of the year".

Tues 30th July - Les FERDINAND
Newcastle have said that they are "not a selling club". Last night's local papers in Newcastle had the Ferdinand to Arsenal rumour. There doesn't seem to be any real content to it. Keegan has said "...I must stress I have signed him to play alongside Les Ferdinand in a partnership which I am convince will be the most important strikeforce anywhere.".

Mon 29th July - Alan SHEARER, Les FERDINAND, Trevor SINCLAIR
Shearer has moved to Newcastle United for £15 million (a new world record). While this is not directly connected to Arsenal, we report it here because of persistent end-of-season stories that had Shearer moving to St James's and Les Ferdinand coming to Highbury, stories which will presumably resurface in the light of today's events. Ferdinand, a Tottenham fan as a child, was said to be missing London, and would presumably be too ambitious for trophies to move to Spurs. There have been reports (attributed to unnamed dodgy tabloid) that Ferdinand has recently bought a house near to Arsenal's training ground.
This evening's Standard is a bit late on the Shearer story (they say that Arsenal are still prepared to compete with ManUtd for Shearer's signature but we assure you that he has definitely signed for Newcatsel!). They also link Arsenal with Trevor Sinclair but to be fair, they do point out that QPR have repeatedly said he's not for sale. A gooner at the Wycombe-QPR friendly on Friday night, where Rioch was seen furiously scribbling in a notebook, had the nerve to ask Rioch if he was there to watch Sinclair. Rioch replied with a smile and a shake of the head.

Fri 26th July - John LUKIC, Ronald DE BOER, Patrick VIEIRA
The Press Association reports that Leeds goalie John Lukic has returned to Highbury on a free transfer. Lukic, 35, has spent 6 years at Elland Road, having been sold to them by George Graham on his signing of David Seaman. Leeds have just spent £2.25million on Crystal Palace's Nigel Martyn, which put the squeeze on Lukic. Ironically, 15 years ago in Lukic's first spell at Leeds, his goalkeeping deputy was none other than Seaman. Lukic has 2 championship medals with Arsenal (89) and Leeds (92).
The Dutch press are clearly not impressed with the De Boer rumour. There's no hint of it on Dutch Teletekst, Voetbal International, or De Telegraaf.
De Telegraaf does report today that Arsenal is one of several teams interested in pursuing 20 yr old French U-21 intl midfielder Patrick Vieira, if the proposed transfer between Ajax and AC Milan fall through. Vieira recently suffered a knee injury in prep for the Olympics and will be sidelined several months.

Thurs 25th July - Terry VENABLES, Ronald DE BOER, Roberto CARLOS
One of the tabloids this morning (don't remember which - I just saw it in the Newsagent) has an "Exclusive" linking Arsenal with a move for Terry Venables. This is a bit of gossip that's actually been going around for months on the back of Rioch's not having signed a contract and rumours of player dissatisfaction.
The Daily Star picks up on the De Boer story: "Arsenal are closing in on Ajax's 4.5 m-rated midfield marvel Ronald De Boer. The Gunners made inquiries last week and are now in a position to agree a fee with the Dutch giants and open talks with De Boer's advisors. De Boer, who played in Holland's Euro 96 campaign alongside his twin brother Frank, was originally not for sale. But despite four years still remaining on his current deal, Ajax now look resigned to letting him go after a meeting to discuss his future. Gunners vice-chairman David Dein is armed with enough money to persuade Ajax to part. De Boer looks set to become the first of a number of expensive swoops. I understand Arsenal haven't given up hope of persuading Inter Milan to part with Brazilian full-back Roberto Carlos. And manager Bruce Rioch insists there are other foreigners he'd like. De Boer first became interested in a move to Arsenal when his old Ajax team-mate Dennis Bergkamp moved to Highbury from Italy. And despite Bergkamp's difficulty in settling on the field (!!!!), De Boer has not been put off moving to English football. De Boer's pedigree is unquestioned. He has European Cup, Dutch Cup and four Dutch Championships medals. "

Weds 24th July - Vladimir RADIMOV, Ronald DE BOER, Attilo LOMBARDO, Robbie Elliot
Clubcall reports that Arsenal are inquiring about 21 yr-old Radimov, "midfield maestro" of CSK Sofia.
Clubcall are also now reporting that the possible reason Arsenal have postponed their photo-call from 2.00 pm today is so a new signing won't be 'diluted'. They speculate that that new signing may be the exceptional Ajax and Holland attacking midfielder Ronald de Boer (26), who is said to be mates with Bergkamp. They say that he would cost just £4m. There is another possible reason for the postponement: it is absolutely p!ss!ing down out there.... and De Boer has recently signed a contract keeping him at Ajax till the year 2000.
Bloomberg report that Sheff Wednesday and Juventus have agreed a fee of £4m for Lombardo.
The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle reported last night that Newcastle's Robbie Elliot is a target for Arsenal. Price approx 3 million. Elliot is a left-sided player, usually at left-back but he can also play in midfield. (It's getting to the point where we're being linked with every left-sided player in Europe).

Tues 23rd July - Lee SHARPE, Liam BRADY
Clubcall today speculates that the imminent arrival of Karel Poborsky at Moan United will prompt Arsenal to make a bid for Sharpe. Bloomberg's footy news web page reports that former ARSENAL midfield maestro Liam Brady is believed to be top of the short list as head of Arsenal's youth development program.

18th - 21st July - Eddie MCGOLDRICK, Tim SHERWOOD
Blackburn deny tHat Sherwood has been talking to Arsenal.
Various sources report that McGoldrick will move to Portsmouth for 300,000.

Weds 17th July - Rui COSTA, Tim SHERWOOD, Scott MARSHALL, Steve MORROW
Yesterday Arsenal admitted that Costa had been offered to the club by agents, but denied that there was any truth at all to the stories that such a deal was about to be made.
Today's Mirror claims that Rioch has made a £3million bid for Sherwood. Blackburn are said to be considering the move for their 27yr old midfielder and captain of their title winning side, and that Arsenal are expecting an answer today. They also say that Sherwood would "jump at the chance" to double his wages, particularly since he has a house in Harpenden and was getting some stick from sections of Rovers' support last season.
Clubcall reports that Marshall has now signed a new contract at Arsenal. This presumably means he's been re-assured regarding his prospects for first-team football in the coming season.
In contrast, it looks like Steve Morrow might be leaving us. France Football reports that the Corsican club Bastia are looking for a centre-back and are giving Morrow a two match trial in the position. The second match is scheduled for next Friday.

Tues 16th July - Rui COSTA
The Daily Express and Daily Mail reckon we're looking at Fiorentina's portuguese midfielder Rui Costa, which could very probably break our transfer record. The Express says that David Dein cut short a holiday in Barbados to negotiate the deal, although some sources say it was Jamaica.(see ArseWEB news)

Sun 14th July - Bruce RIOCH, Paul INCE
The News of the World has an interview with Rioch, in which he says that he will sign his contract in the very near future. He basically said that it was just a matter of "dotting the I's and crossing the T's" and that it was just a formality that it hadn't been signed earlier. He said that he was very happy with his management deal and confirmed that it was down to him to suggest new signings and that it was up to the board to sign the players that he had nominated. He also said that any rumours suggesting a rift with David Dein were rubbish. Amongst players that he had desparately wanted but just missed out on were Seedorf, Lizarazu, and Roberto Carlos. Also Shearer, Ince, McAllister, and Kanchelskis had been on Rioch's wanted list since last year.
The Sunday Mirror has resurrected the Ince to Arsenal rumour. They also continue recent speculation about Pollock and Lombardo. The latter's agent is said to be in the country and visiting several clubs starting with Arsenal (Independent Arsenal recorded phone line).

Sat 13th July - Bruce RIOCH (!)
Newspapers, Radio and Teletext report that Peter Hill-Wood has been quoted as saying that he wants Rioch to sign his contract before the start of the new season. "I would like to feel that Bruce is fully committed to Arsenal," Hill Wood told The Sun. "I do have a nagging feeling that he is not sure in the long term. I have no idea why he has not signed his contract. I would like him to."

Fri 12th July - Steve MORROW, Dean GORDON
CarlingNet reports that Steve Morrow has refused a new contract at Highbury and is having talks with a French club that he cannot name for contractual reasons.
Clubcall says we're looking at Crystal Palace's Dean Gordon who is likely to be edged out by new signings at Selhurst Park! Gordon's a fast left-sided full back, good going forward.

Thurs 11th July - Tony ADAMS, Omar TETRADZE, Jamie POLLOCK
As far as we're aware, there's been absolutely nothing on the ADAMS rumour in any papers, radio, or TV reports since it was brought to our attention yesterday. It's been said that the story originated from a City news source (who are known to be unreliable).
On the Arsenal Clubcall line David Dein says that "we WILL be signing players shortly". They also report that Arsenal are interested in Tetradze, a Russian right-back/midfielder. Actually we should point out that our correspondent on this one only heard the first name clearly but they thought the second name was "something like Trezpan" and Tetradze seems to fit the description.
Capital Radio claims that we will be signing Jamie Pollock from 'Boro this evening. No fee is mentioned but it is said that Villa thought they had got him but we came in with a late bid. Teletext last night linked Pollock with Villa and another club (probably Leeds). It makes sense that Boror would be looking to get some money back after their huge spending spree (they've already shelled out on Emerson and Ravanelli and now reports are linking them with an 11million pound bid for Batistuta which would take Robson's spending there to 20 million billion pounds.

Weds 10th July - Tony ADAMS
15:35 We haven't heard this ourselves at ArseWEB, but have been told that Radio 5 are reporting that Tony Adams has been bought by Manchester United for 6 million pounds plus David May. Apparently there will be an announcement at a press conference at 4pm. More news as we get it....

(16.35) R5 sports news at 16.33 contained only the following footy stories: Bobby Robson's Barca bid 4million for David Ginola. Panic over, for now, we hope. Just a hoax, we hope....

Weds 10th July - Attilo LOMBARDO, Tim SHERWOOD, Michael THOMAS
In the Italian press this morning, Lombardo is said to be considering an interesting offer from Arsenal. Lombardo failed to establish himself in Juventus's first team last season following an injury.
Contrary to yesterday's "Sherwood has already signed for Arsenal" stories, today's Mirror claims that Chelsea boss Ruud Gullitt is considering a swap deal: Sherwood for Dennis Wise.
And there seems to be some confusion over the fate of Arsenal hero Michael Thomas. The Mirror says that Graeme Souness is hoping to take him to Southampton after Thomas "shelved plans to go to Italy", whereas the Clubcall website says he's agreed to join Reggiana!
Incidentally, It is one year today since we signed David Platt - our last new signing.

Tues 9th July - David SEAMAN, Tim SHERWOOD, Winston BOGARDE
Inter are said to be hoping to prise our keeper away. But Seaman's just signed a new contract that'll keep him at THOF till the turn of the millenium, and Arsenal say he's not for sale so stop panicking. There have even been suggestions that he'd only have been reserve keeper at Inter behind Pagliuca!!!
Blackburn midfielder Tim Sherwood, who we were said to be interested in last season, has re-emerged as a rumoured possible target. There is even speculation that it's a done deal to be announced later this week. This follows reports that a steward at Highbury on Saturday (for the unveiling of the new home shirt) said that 2 new signings would be announced this Thursday. The assumption was that Jarni was one of these and Sherwood could be the other.
The Arsenal Clubcall line today reports that Arsenal are interested in Ajax and Holland's Winston Bogarde and are offering around 5million. Bogarde would be a hugely useful player to us: he's a fast left-sided defender/midfielder who can play central defence too. He's big and strong, only 25 years old, and was pretty impressive for Holland in Euro96.
Incidentally, no more news about Jarni emerged yesterday (see Sat 7th below). Well I never.

Sat 7th July - Robert JARNI
Several of the papers reckon we're close to signing Jarni, the Croatian left-back from their Euro96 team. Arsenal have been rumoured to be interested in him for some time. A former team-mate of Platt's in Italy, and one of the most impressive players in Croatia's squad last month, he is seen as the ideal replacement for Nigel Winterburn. One paper says the deal will be done on Monday....

Weds July 3rd - Ben THATCHER
Former rumoured Arsenal target Thatcher (Millwall's left back) has signed for Wimbledon for 2million.

Tues July 2nd - Valur FANNAR
The Icelandic "wonderkid" Fannar is said to be having talks with Arsenal and to have been offered a 3 year contract. He's 19 and has played in the Icelandic Premier League and won man of the tournament last year in an international (U18) competition.

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