Nigerian Blasts Arsene Wenger and Arsenal for Disrespecting His Country.
The Metro (http://metro.co.uk/2013/04/24/newcastle-hopeful-of-beating-arsenal-to-godfrey-oboabona-transfer-3665695/) believes both Arsenal and Newcastle United are tracking the defender, who started all three of his country's games at June's FIFA Confederations Cup; the Super Eagles finished third in group B after defeats to Spain and Uruguay. Oboabona also started all six games at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, as Nigeria claimed a third continental title.
The centre-back already has 25 senior caps to his name and believes he deserves more respect than Arsenal have shown so far. However, there seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding Oboabona's transfer claims.
An earlier report by The Sun (from March) claims Wenger has already had Oboabona on trial at the Emirates, prior to a possible (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/4856849/Arsenal-hand-trial-to-Godfrey-Oboabona.html) [pounds sterling]1m bid. At the time, the youngster confirmed his desire to play for the north London side, saying: "Arsenal are my favourite club from childhood. It is the club I want to play for."
However, in a more recent report, The Sun (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/5037394/Liverpool-stars-including-Stewart-Downing-beg-Luis-Suarez-to-stay.html) quotes Oboabona as saying: "Arsenal's management tell me to come for a trial when I won the African Nations Cup. I think I should be above such requests. It is high time some of these clubs started respecting Nigeria."
Either way, signing a new centre-back should be high up on Wenger's list of summer tasks. At present, the Gunners have only three senior central defenders - Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen. Of the three, Koscielny and Mertesacker will likely start the season as first choice, following an impressive finish to the 2012/13 Premier League campaign.
Meanwhile, Vermaelen's future at the Emirates is still a trifle uncertain. The Belgian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/jul/14/thomas-vermaelen-arsenal-captain) retains the faith of his manager despite poor performances last season but the fact Arsenal were strongly (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2329490/Arsenal-agree-terms-Ashley-Williams-Thomas-Vermaelen-plans-Emirates-exit.html) linked to Swansea City defender Ashley Williams earlier this summer suggests Wenger is keeping his options open.
The only other first team centre-back at Arsenal is Swiss international Johan Djourou. However, considering the 26-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan to Bundesliga side Hannover and has returned to the German league for the new season, with Hamburger SV, it is unlikely he will feature in Wenger's long-term plans.
For now though, Arsenal's transfer efforts seem focused solely on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
The Gunners have already made two bids for the Uruguayan, (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/494684/20130726/luis-suarez-transfer-news-arsenal-liverpool-rodgers.htm) at [pounds sterling]35m and [pounds sterling]40m . And the second of those bids, it is believed has triggered a clause in Suarez's contract that allows the player to discuss terms with Arsene Wenger. The Independent, however, claims no transfer will be permitted unless Arsenal offer a fee in excess of (http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/transfers/transfer-news-luis-suarez-allowed-to-hold-talks-with-arsenal-after-bid-triggers-clause--but-liverpool-want-in-excess-of-50m-8729410.html) [pounds sterling]50m .
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|Publication:||International Business Times - US ed.|
|Date:||Jul 28, 2013|
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