Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry, Alex Song, Thomas Vermaelen, Aleksandar Hleb. What do each of those five men have in common, besides being universally adored by Arsenal fans? Each have indeed left the club for Barcelona within the past decade. And there could be another to follow…
According to Spanish daily Sport, Barcelona players want the club to pursue the signing of Hector Bellerin. Déjà vu. Reports emanated earlier in the week, after the European champions beat the Gunners 2-0 in the Champions League, that Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique asked the right-back about his situation at the Emirates. That doesn’t sound at all familiar.
‘Iniesta and Pique were interested in the personal situation of Bellerín,’ reports Sport, who add: ‘They stressed the great progression of Bellerín and wished him luck.‘
Bellerin left the Nou Camp for London as a 16-year-old in 2011. He has since emerged as one of the finest full-backs in the Premier League at age 20, and he signed a new ‘long-term’ contract in the summer, thought to be for the next five years. Arsenal do not need to sell, and he would not come cheap.
MANCHESTER RAIDS THE OLD LADY
Those pesky Manchester clubs always want the same player, don’t they? On Friday it was Reece Oxford; on Saturday, it is Alex Sandro.
According to Italian bullsh*t merchants Calciomercato, the two clubs have made bids for Juventus left-back Sandro. They were rejected. Simple.
Sandro joined The Old Lady in the summer, but he has made just eight league starts for the Serie A leader thus far. Some old bloke called Patrice Evra is keeping him on the sidelines. But Juve still see the 25-year-old as their future on the left.
While it is understandable that Manchester City would target a left-back, with Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov both being a) old, and b) not really that good, why are United still being linked with them? Luke Shaw will return next season after his broken-leg nightmare this campaign, and will surely earn back his spot in the first team. Were United to sign a left-back, they would have done it in January.
ARSENAL WANT IGHALO
‘Arsenal transfer news: Watford boss Quique Flores admits Odion Ighalo could leave in £20million deal,’ reads the headline in The Sun. Vikki Orvice is the
“Speculation about Ighalo is very normal,” Flores said on Friday. “He is one of the best strikers in the league. It’s good — I love this speculation for all the players. When other teams want Watford players it means we are doing something right. It also improves the value of the players! I cannot talk about what will happen to Ighalo in the future but it will be positive.”
Are we missing something here? The sub headline reads: ‘Gunners have joined Chelsea and Atletico in race to sign Hornets hitman.’ No further mention is made of any of the three clubs. We weren’t even aware the other two were actually in a ‘race’.
THE NAME’S JAMES, JAMES RODRIGUEZ
Prepare for plenty of ‘James Rodriguez to Manchester United’ stories in the coming days.
Said Spanish football expert Guillem Balague to Sky Sports on Friday:
‘Now that it looks like Cristiano [Ronaldo] cannot find a team to buy him, and Real Madrid cannot find a team to sell Ronaldo to, they have to look for alternatives to finance the new signings they plan to make. So, as a consequence Real Madrid want to sell James.’
Real signed Rodriguez for £63million in summer 2014. He is still only 24. He might cost a fair bit, and probably wants Champions League football.
Roma want to sign Manchester City captain Vicent Kompany, according to Italian daily Corriere dello Sport.