Arsenal latest: Jack Wee-shire video, Wenger on Ozil & more

All the latest news and views from Ashburton Grove.

While British journalists are focused mostly on England's chances of victory ahead of their Poland examination on Tuesday evening, a game that could, in theory, halt the nation's hopes of progression into the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer, most club news has fallen by the wayside.

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Not at Arsenal.

Manager Arsene Wenger has revealed to the club's official website that he was always confident of landing marquee playmaking midfielder Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid during the summer market, despite apparent interest from Manchester United.

He said: 'We had a big advantage, and that was I had been in contact with Mesut before, when he went to Real Madrid three years ago. I spoke to him back then on the phone, in the end he told me he wanted to go to Real Madrid, so I wished him well, but that first contact had been made. He knew that I wanted him for a long time, and this was not the first time I tried to sign him.'

Ozil has received punditry accolades by the gallon-load since his switch to North London, Wenger too has received a lot of credit for spending the £42.4m it took to convince Real to do business, a club record purchase by quite some distance.

There is ample evidence, though, that Wenger enjoys developing academy graduates or teenage acquisitions more so than he does recruiting a superstar, however, while the breakout season Aaron Ramsey is no doubt a great cause for a wry smile on Arsene's face, the Frenchman did claim that, if the money was right, he would always bring in another Ozil, or two.

'The policy is exactly the same - I always want to bring the best players in here, world-class players, at the best possible price. And I want to continue to educate 60 to 80 per cent of the squad ourselves. The culture of the club, the way we want to play football and the way we want to behave, comes from within.'

In contrast to the lavish recruitment of Ozil, the free transfer of Mathieu Flamini was, at the time, largely unheralded but after the tenacious midfielder's performances this season, his presence at the heart of Arsenal's midfield is effectively as important as Ozil's location as the Gunners' finest and most technically-proficient trequartista further ahead.

This is not lost on former Highbury favourite Ray Parlour, who told Arsenal Player: 'Flamini has been very important. He's always in those areas where the ball breaks loose and is always trying to win the ball back. He then moves it quickly to the likes of Wilshere and Ozil. 

'He's doing a great job shielding [Mertesacker and Koscielny] because at times they do look a bit open when they play with all the attacking players they have got. [And] what I like about him is that he's been bossing a few players about and you need players like that.'

One player who will be an unlikely Arsenal signing in the January market, is Barcelona shot-stopper Victor Valdes, who will reportedly shun Wenger's apparent interest in favour of a prospective move to AS Monaco.

He is quoted by Telefoot to have said: 'Ligue 1 attracts me a lot - Monaco or elsewhere in France. This is one of my options. Monaco is a good option. I know that Abidal is very happy at Monaco and I am good friends with him. I consider him a brother. He is an example as a human being. To go back and play at his side again could be very special.'

And finally… is Jack Wilshere weeing?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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