Before landing Mesut Özil from Real Madrid for a club record fee, Arsenal made offers for PSG's Javier Pastore, Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, and Aston Villa's own Christian Benteke. That's according to the Daily Star at least, and considering the source this should probably take with a grain or (or several million) of salt. It's difficult to believe that Arsenal's offer, if it ever did actually exist, would have been anywhere near enough to pry Benteke from Villa, but it is somewhat chilling to imagine what an unexpected kick in the gut it would have been to lose him after this summer's will-he-won't-he drama.
This headline makes me mildly uncomfortable, but then again I am 12 years old. It's still worth a read, as Mat Kendrick makes the case for trusting Paul Lambert's decision not to sign a creative midfielder in the summer window. There isn't a lot of insider info here, but Kendrick does have a record of being very much in tune with the thought process of the club and he makes several common-sense points about Villa's lack pursuit of a traditional #10.
In sad news, Aston Villa academy product Thomas Hitzlsperger has called it a career at the far too young age of 31, with persistent injuries the main cause. After a productive four years at Villa Park, Der Hammer moved to VfB Stuttgart, where he scored 20 goals in 125 games, won the Bundesliga in 2007, and was eventually named captain. He left the club in 2010 and had short spells with Lazio, West Ham, Wolfsburg and Everton, who released him at the end of last season. Though it's always sad to see a promising career marred and ultimately cut short due to injury, it sounds like Hitzlsperger is at peace with the decision and happy to start a new life after football.
This isn't news, but it is pretty cool; a Palestinian design studio called Manara has redesigned the crests of football clubs from around the world in a minimalist style. It's pure eye-candy, but if you're at all interested in graphic design it's a highly recommended way to spend a few minutes of your time.