Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona’

Football

Arsenal update: Fabregas and Williams back on? Abate in for Sagna?

By Stefano on July 11th, 2013

Well they keep on reeling us in… The Daily Mail has a story today that suggests that the Cesc Fanregas to Arsenal might be back on. It says that as the summer has worn on Fabregas has felt increasingly isolated at Barcelona and is mulling over igniting the clause in his contract that would see him return to north London.

The paper says

Publicly, the Spaniard maintains he wants to stay at the Nou Camp, but doubts over how he fits into manager Tito Vilanova’s plans after being regularly overlooked for big games last season has left Fabregas in two minds.

And the Gunners are poised to strike should the midfielder decide his future lies elsewhere with the Emirates Stadium club being kept updated on developments regarding the 26-year-old’s future as the summer progresses.
A deal to re-sign Fabregas will be relatively straightforward to conclude. As part of the deal that took Fabregas back to Spain, Arsenal secured a £25million first-option clause as part of the transfer.

If that is the case then it might be one of the reasons why Arsenal have appeared sluggish in the transfer market.

The Mail also says that following the injury to Thomas Vermaelen, Arsene Wenger is tracking Swansea defender Ashley Williams again. Wenger initially balked at Swanbsea’ £10 million price tag, but with the Belgian apparently out for three months he may now see it as worthwhile investment.

Finally a few sources are running with a story that says that Bacary Sagna is likely to leave north London and return to France. The Daily Star says that high on the list of potential replacements is AC Milan’s Ignazio Abate, a 26 year old who only has one year left on his contract.



Football

Arsenal update: Rooney latest, Vermaelen on his way, Gervinho exit

By Stefano on June 7th, 2013

After last night’s shock news that the Gunners have made a bid for Everton’s talismanic midfielder Marouane Fellaini things are a bit quieter on the gossip front this morning.

There’s a little more about Wayne Rooney plus some whispers about a couple of players who might be on their way out.

Firstly Rooney, and Arsenal’s CE has been talking about how the club can now comfortably afford both a big transfer and his astronomical wages.

At a press conference Ivan Gazidis was asked if the Gunners could afford a £20 million deal, plus £200,00-a-week wage.

He responded…

“Of course we could do that. We could do more than that.”

“We have a certain amount which we’ve held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you.

“If Arsene thinks signing big names is the right thing to do, yes. The fact is this year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower.

“We can look at some options that weren’t really in our financial capability. It’s a progression over the next two seasons. It’s quite significant for the club.”

So the big question revolves around whether Wayne Rooney wants to come. In The Mirror yesterday Arsenal authority John Cross said that he thought it would be ‘easier for Rooney to stay at United.’ He will first have to make his peace with new boss David Moyes though.

Meanwhile Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo is claiming that Thomas Vermaelen is now very close to the exit door at Arsenal. Following a season blighted by injury and poor form the Belgian centre back Mundo says that Barcelona would be cheap enough and keen enough to join Barcelona.

Finally is Gervinho now surplus to requirements? French team Marseilles hope so. They want to take the player on loan says Le 10 Sport.

Marseilles finished second in the French league last year, but face more competition this time round from a big spending PSG and Monaco.



Football

Fabregas could return to Arsenal this summer – says his agent’s dad David Dein

By Stefano on June 5th, 2013

David Dein may be an ex-Arsenal board member who left in acrimonious circumstances a few years ago. He is also the father of agent Darren Dein who represents, among others, Cesc Fabregas, so when Dein senior speaks about potential transfers it is worth taking in every word

So despite saying that he wanted to stay at Barca earlier this week and arranging a meeting with manager Tito Vilanova to discuss the problem it is by no means certain that the Spaniard won’t be returning to Arsenal.

Quizzed about Fabregas Dein senior said

‘You can never say never in football,’

‘I know Arsene Wenger will try to improve the squad if he can.’

I do wonder if the Fabregas is the reason why Arsenal haven’t put the money down for Jovetic. Since his transfer Fabregas has been playing in a more advanced position than he did at Arsenal and there would potentially be a clash with Jovetic who is a deep lying striker. What do you think?



Football

Arsenal update: David Villa, Lukasz Piszczek, Julian Draxler

By Stefano on May 10th, 2013

Another of the winter’s main targets for Arsene Wenger is back in the news again. Barca’s David Villa is the subject of much speculation this morning as it was revealed that he allegedly had one one foot at Arsenal in the winter.

Spanish paper Mundo Deportivo claims that the North Londoners had offered £8.5m for the 31-year-old, but the La Liga leaders wanted a larger sum. Villa was so keen to leave that he even offered to negotiate part of the deal himself.

Ultimately Barca decided that they needed the 31 year old for their domestic and European campaigns and he stayed.

Villa has had a disappointing end to his season with poor personal form as well as Barca’s undignified Champions League exit. He is still likely to leave Barca at the end of the season, but whether Arsene Wenger re-ignites his interest in the player is another matter.

A couple of sources have reiterated that Arsene Wenger has his sights on a new right back in case Bacary Sagna decides to leave the club in the summer. The Mail reports that the club are after Borussia Dortmund defender Lukasz Piszczek as a potential replacement for Sagna after the Frenchman refused to sign a one year contract extension.

The 27 year old Pole has been in excellent form this season, but doubts remain over whether Dortmund will let yet another star player leave.

Finally one player who seemingly isn’t Emirates-bound is Schalke’s Julian Draxler. Yesterday the 19 year old signed a deal with the German club that will take him through until 2018.



Football

Arsenal round up: Gonalons, Fabregas, Koscielny and Cesar

By Stefano on May 3rd, 2013

It is no secret that Arsenal are looking to strengthen their midfield this summer with one, maybe two signings. On the Emirates wants list somewhere is likely to be the £15m-rated Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons.

Wenger has sent scouts to watch the 24-year-old on several occasions this season and Lyon have hinted that it take offers of over £15 million seriously.

Gonalons is a defensively minded midfielder and is another option for along side old boy Alex Sony and Etienne Capoue.

Meanwhile Laurent Koscielny is continuing to attract attention from Europe’s footballing elite. After a supposed inquiry from Barcelona, Goal is reporting that Bayern Munich are also interested in the French defender.

Apparently they are mulling over a £20 million bid, but but the good news for Arsenal fans is that the club is confident that he will stay.

Meanwhile Cesc Fabregas has spoken openly for the first time about a possible return to The Emirates. Quizzed about his life in Spain and a possible move back to London Cesc told Sky Sports.

“I do not know what is being said and even what is written. I can only say that I alone know my own future.”

Which hardly sounds like a resounding commitment to the Catalan club. This one is going to run all summer.

Finally the gossip over the future of QPR’s star player continues with three and in speculating that Arsenal may make a move for the Brazilian keeper Cesar, but they might find his wages too much to accommodate.

I guess you could say the same for several other Rangers players too.



Football

Is Cesc Fabregas on his way back to Arsenal? The four reasons why he might be

By Stefano on April 28th, 2013

Well that’s what the Star is suggesting this morning. The theory runs like this.

1 Barcelona can’t seem to accommodate him in their team. This article looks in depth about how they have chosen to use him. The evidence is clear is that while he was brought in to replace Xavi he just hasn’t worked in that role. He has played best just behind the strikers or as a fake number nine – roles that Barca find tricky to offer him on a regular basis.

2 Barca need a big spend this summer - The shock defeat at Bayern has set alarm bells ringing. The club needs to spend and the cash received for Cesc could help fund that spree.

3 Arsenal are rumoured to have first option on the player – Is there a clause which gives the north London club first option on a Cesc return to the Premiership? Possibly. Wenger would clearly jump at the chance of re-signing his star player.

4 Fabregas’ girlfriend is London based - Daniella Semaan, which has just given birth to his first child, is London based and Cesc is rumoured to have tried to buy a flat in London for her.

So it does kind of add up. I think it would be hard for Fabregas to leave his home club with his tail between his legs. He has been reasonably successful at the club but not really replicated his astonishing form for Arsenal.

Might he be part of a £50 million package along with Villa and Song? Keep dreaming Arsenal fans…



Football

Wenger doesn’t expect Alex Song to return to Arsenal, yet

By Stefano on April 19th, 2013

After his cousin/uncle (no one seem to know) Rigobert Song’s intervention yesterday claiming that Alex Song was unhappy at Barcelona and itching to return to England, Arsene Wenger has responded.

In particular he has emphasised that the rumours that Arsenal have a buy back clause on Song simply aren’t true

Wenger said

“There is no buy-back clause. I heard he wants to give it a go for another season, which you can understand because it’s the first season [with Barcelona].”

“I think he is a quality player and sometimes the players have to persist when it doesn’t go well and not change their mind too soon. My personal advice for him would be to give it another go and after two seasons he can still make a decision.”

Which sounds fair enough. Song was a special player for Arsenal. But he left under a bit of a cloud with reports of changing room bust ups and poor relationships with other players. Besides, is he the type of player that Arsenal need to anchor the midfield to let Cazorla and Wilshere roam freely? I am not so sure.

But maybe in a year’s time he could be a very worthwhile, and possibly inexpensive, addition to the squad.



Football

Song wants Arsenal return says Song

By Stefano on April 18th, 2013

It has been a least a week since the last Alex Song back to Arsenal story so no surprises that Metro has dug out a new angle.

The paper has a quote from Alex’s cousin Rigobert which underlines how unhappy he is at Barcelona and how he longs to return to North London.

‘Barcelona put so much effort into signing him last summer, and Alex turned down many great teams in order to sign with them,’ he said.

‘But this season he has only been a substitute. He is not happy.’

‘At Arsenal he was a leader on and off the field – he doesn’t feel like this in Spain and it makes him feel bad.’

Barcelona paid Arsenal £17million fee for Song last summer, but so far he has been limited to a bench role in Spain, making just 15 appearances.

The paper says that Song is desperate to leave but ‘it’s thought that he would only consider returning to England with Arsenal.’



Football

Yaya Toure tells City to sort his contract out – or he will be off

By Stefano on March 20th, 2013

The Sun has a huge football exclusive this morning which concerns the fate of Man City’s massively talented midfielder Yaya Toure.

Apparently the player has been in contract talks with City for six months now and according to the paper if he doesn’t sign a new deal by the weekend the 29 year old will look for a move.

And depressingly for City fans Toure’s agent has said that the deal isn’t about money.

Dimitri Seluk said

“I do not feel he will stay at City. This is not about money. He wants to leave because of many reasons.

“He is one of the best players at Manchester City but does not feel the respect of the staff. Only Roberto Mancini respects Yaya.”

It could be that City simply have decided that they can’t afford to keep their star player. He is currently on £220,000 a week which makes him the club’s top earner and is one reason why City’s wages bill is astronomical.

The tricky part for City though would be finding a a club willing to pay his gargantuan wages, especially as Toure heads towards the end of this career.

The most obvious destinations would be PSG or a Russian club like Anzhi Makhachkala who are ambitious and could afford to pay him. Though Barca, Chelsea or even Man United might be tempted to stretch their wage bill further to land one of the most talented players on the planet.

To be honest though this feels like agent posturing. My money would be on the player singing a new contract at the club very soon as he angles for a better deal. What do you think?



Football

Arsenal update: Alexis Sanchez for Thomas Vermaelen swap? Striker Carr on radar

By Stefano on March 20th, 2013

There’s more buzz about the Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal transfer this morning with several papers suggesting that the Barca winger/striker is one of Arsene Wenger’s top targets for the summer.

Wenger has been helped in his quest by the former sporting director at Udinese, Fabrizio Larini, the club where Sanchze made his name.

Larini thinks that his former protege should join The Gunners because their style of football complements the way that Sanchez plays.

“Sanchez needs to play the ball on the ground, just like Arsenal. That would be his ideal game. I do not know his current situation at the Spanish club. But his fitness problems have definitely limited his performances.The only thing that these teams will have to consider is that he is a player who needs freedom to play his way. In teams that have particularly rigid patterns of play he might have a few problems,” Larini said.

Several papers are also suggesting that one way of bagging Sanchez would be to include him as part of a swap deal for Arsenal centre back Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian has been out of sorts this season so a new start in Spain might appeal to him.

The Mail also reports that Arsenal are tracking the Dulwich Hamlets striker Daniel Carr. The player, who the paper claims is one of the hottest prospects in non-league football, was apparently on his way to Liverpool but Arsenal are keen to hijack the move.



Football

Italian website says Arsenal will raid Barca for players. But might Man City cast offs be a better bet

By Stefano on March 19th, 2013

It is a story that has been bubbling under for a few days now, but a number of sources are now saying that Arsene Wenger is looking at buying a job lot of Barcelona players in the summer.

The latest news source to confirm The Gunners’ growing interest in players from the Catalan club is Italian website Tutto Mercato.

It suggests that Wenger has his eye on winger Alexis Sanchez, defender Martin Montoya and former Gunners midfielder Alex Song.

Song, we know all about. His Barcelona sojourn has been a disaster and the player is keen to get back to the Premierhsip. Arsenal is the obvious port of call, but both Song and Wenger will have to resolve some of the issues that precipitated the player’s move to Spain last summer. I wonder if there are better, more defensively minded holding midfielders to be considered, but I don’t think too many Arsenal fans will be too disappointed to see Alex return.

As for Sanchez, great things were predicted for the Chilean when when he landed at Barca, but they just haven’t materialised. These days he is marginalised as a squad player which is waste of his undoubted talents. With Arshavin out the door in the summer he would be an obvious replacement.

The article also mentions Barca defender Martin Montoya, but it could also have namechecked keeper Valdes and that man Villa.

I guess that Barca still owe Arsenal a fair chunk of cash for the Song and Fabregas transfers and that offloading a few players would be quick and easy business for them. But then again I thought that might be the case with Villa in the winter window too.

As much as all five are great players and would undoubtedly grace any future Arsenal team I wonder if Arsene Wenger would be better off shopping closer to home. Man City are supposedly on the verge of a huge clear out and there are several players that would be ideal for Arsenal. Unlike the Spaniards they have lots of Premiership experience and unlike a lot of the current Arsenal team they are used to winning trophies.

So Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Edin Djeko and even old boys Kolo Toure and Sami Nasri are worth looking at, especially if Arsenal don’t make the Champions League cut this season.



Football

Is the David Villa to Arsenal story dead if Barca offer him a new contract?

By Stefano on March 18th, 2013

The Daily Mail this morning is running with a story that Barcelona are about to offer Arsenal target David Villa a new contract. The 31 year old was hankering for a move in the transfer window as injuries had pushed him down the Catalan club’s pecking order.

However after some excellent recent performances the club have decided that they want the striker to stay at the Nou Camp and the Mail says that a contract extension – his contract expires in 14 months is on the cards.

So should Arsenal fans be concerned? I don’t think so.

Villa would have been a superb addition to the squad on loan during the winter window and I think his goals would have guaranteed a CL placing for the Gunners. However the team needs some new younger striking blood, and as he is likely to be priced out of Napoli’s Edinson Cavani Arsene Wenger has identified Fiorentina’s 23 year old Stevan Jevetic as a more suitable long term replacement for Robin Van Persie.

I think the door on the Villa transfer for Arsen Wenger shut over a month ago. Besides if Arsenal fail to quality for the Champions League I can’t imagine that Villa would sign anyhow.

Of course the story may have more twists and turns, especially if Vila is dropped again.

But I don’t think Wenger cares too greatly now anyhow.



Football

Arsenal update: Song return, Vermaelen to Barca, Real defender targeted

By Stefano on March 8th, 2013

Today’s Arsenal news is all about Spain. The big story is that, unhappy with his lot at Barcelona Alex Song is pondering a move back to The Emirates.

Less then a year after questioning the player’s commitment and attitude Arsene Wenger is reported to be happy to welcome the Cameroonian back to London.

Song, who has been pretty much sidelined by current Barca coach Jordi Roura, is apparently very keen to leave with PSG also monitoring his situation.

Arsenal are of course in need of a solid and powerful defensive midfielder – though there is a question mark over whether Song fits that bill. In his last season at The Emirates he was chastised by the manager for pushing forward too often and not maintaining his position.

One possible deal could see Song return to Arsenal and Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen head the other way - with Barca adding a few million pounds as a sweetener.

The move might make sense for Vermaelen whose form has been poor this season.

One replacement then could be Real Madird’s Raul Albiol. The player has featured less and less for the side this season and may also be looking for a new challenge. The Daily Mail thinks that Arsene Wenger might be tempted.



Football

Too late for Arsenal? David Villa told he can leave Barcelona by club’s VP

By Stefano on February 26th, 2013

Here is yet another thing guaranteed to set Arsene Wenger’s teeth on edge this morning. After spending days chasing the player in the transfer window only to be told that the club wouldn’t let him go, it now transpires that Barcelona are willing to let David Villa leave.

Talk Sports is reporting that he will not be kept at Barcelona against his wishes, according to the club’s vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.’

As you may remember Wenger was desperate to sign Villa in the window and it is pretty clear that Arsenal’s lack of firepower (and the not too clinical finishing from Gervinho and Giroud) might be the thing that prevents them from securing a Champions League qualification place.

Talk Sports says that

In an interview with BTV, Bartomeu said: “The coaches hope he is here next season but we will not retain any player that is uncomfortable. In that case, we will talk to him to seek a solution.”

So are Arsenal likely to renew their interest in Vila in the summer? I wouldn’t have thought so. He would have been a perfect fit at a time when the club had a very real (and still unaddressed) problem. Come the summer and Wenger will have a lot of other options to look at (Jovetić, Cavani, Benteke) and a player who is pushing 32 and has been wracked by injuries probably isn’t going to top his list.

He might want Champions League football too – and that may or may not be an issue for Arsenal.



Football

Dani Alves urges Barcelona to sign Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere

By Stefano on February 19th, 2013

Yesterday it was Thomas Vermaelen’s turn to be linked with a move to the Nou Camp, today it is Jack Wilshere. For Danio Alves has been saying how much he would love the English midfielder in the Barca team, possibly as a replacement for Xavi or Iniesta.

Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Petit, Alex Song and Marc Overmars have all, made the move to the Catalan club in recent years and now Alves believes that his clubs should be in for the 21 year old.

Alves told reporters in Spain (which was reported in the UK by Goal)

“He is a great player who we have met playing against Arsenal and without doubt he can reach the height of the players we have here at Barcelona like Xavi and Iniesta.”

“He has a lot of quality and a great personality. If I was given the chance to choose, he is a player that I would sign for Barcelona.”

Alves also saw Wilshere close up during the recent international between Brazil and England.

Wilshere, who signed a new contract last year, is obviously going nowhere for now. However were Arsenal not to qualify for the Champions League on a regular basis it would be clear that there would be plenty of clubs ready to taker the player.

The Daily Mail reports on the parallels between Wilshere and Bayern’s midfield maestro Bastian Schweinsteiger. The paper notes that in many way they are very similar players and that…

Bastian Schweinsteiger once sparkled in the gloom for Bayern Munich and Germany much as Wilshere does now for Arsenal and England.

The midfield battle between Wilshere and Arteta and Schweinsteiger and Kroos tonight will be a fascinating one.




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