'Get Wilshere', Barcelona urged to launch another raid on Arsenal
Dani Alves says that Gunners star could take over from Xavi and Iniesta in Barcelona jmidfield
A COUPLE of weeks ago Barcelona defender Dani Alves was being linked with a amove to Arsenal, now he is calling on the Catalans to launch what would be their most audacious and devastating raid yet on the Emirates and poach the one remaining jewel in Arsene Wenger's crown - Jack Wilshere.
Today's Daily Telegraph will make grim reading for Arsenal fans already coming to terms with FA Cup defeat to Blackburn, confusion over the future of manager Wenger and the impending threat of humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
But, it seems that the Barca full back has no qualms about rubbing salt into Arsenal's open wounds.
Alves, who played against Wilshere in the international between England and Brazil earlier this month and has also faced him in European club competition, said he had been impressed by the midfielder, and even buttered him up by comparing him to some of Barcelona's current galaxy of stars.
"He is a great player," declared the 29-year-old. "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."
Losing Wilshere is almost unthinkable to Arsenal fans, but then, so was losing Cesc Fabregas, and he now wears a Barcelona shirt. Fortunately for Arsenal Wilshere signed a new deal before Christmas that will keep him at the Emirates until 2018 - as long as he can resist the lure of his suitors.
But on a happier note there could be some new arrivals at the Emirates in the summer, the Daily Mirror claims that the Gunners have already identified Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta as a man to give them some steel next season.
According to Gines Carvaja, Amorebieta's representative, Arsenal have already held talks with the 27-year-old centre half. It's no secret that the Venezualan blocker wants to leave Bilbao in the summer but it had been rumoured that Russian outfit Anzhi were close to agreeing terms.
Not so, claims Carvaja, who is quoted by the Mirror as saying: "We have had some contacts with Anzhi… but my client wants to play in England, so the transfer to Russia was not possible. We are in talks with Arsenal, he could join them in June."
It's believed that Amorebieta, who is a free agent at the end of the season, caught Arsenal's eye as he helped Bilbao reach the final of last season's Europa League, a campaign which included victory over Manchester United.
Not for the first time in recent months, Manchester United find themselves mentioned in the same sentence as Porto winger James Rodriguez. According to Caughtoffside, the Premier League leaders are preparing to offload Nani and replace him with the 21-year-old Colombian.
Citing Italian rag CalcioMercato as their source, Caughtoffside claims that United are desperate to land Rodriguez but just aren't too happy with the idea of paying £36m for the privilege. That's what it will take apparently as the South American's stock continues to rise this season. It's believed that United will try and lessen the cost by offering Nani as a sweetener in a deal that "may well suit all parties".
The Portuguese international has struggled to get much game time at Old Trafford this season, and though he scored one of United's goals in their 2-1 defeat of Reading in the FA Cup last night he is allegedly gagging to get back to his homeland.
Malaga magician Isco has hinted that he might be up for a move to England. It wasn't so long ago that the 20-year-old tease was pooh-poohing the idea of leaving La Liga. Now the Spanish paper AS reports that should it be in the best interest of the club he would up sticks to England.
"If it's helping Malaga, I would have no problem in accepting an outcome that was good for both," declared Isco, who last month made his debut for Spain. Manchester United are known to have eyed up the youngster but Manchester City and Chelsea are also said to be circling for the twinkle-toed playmaker.
West Ham will have to battle Borussia Dortmund if that want to bring Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling to Upton Park. That's the view of Talksport, which reports that the Hammers are already scouting around for a replacement for Andy Carroll, expected to return to Liverpool when his loan spell expires in May.
Having been blown out by Ivory Coast star Wilfried Bony last week, West Ham are now hoping they might be able to persuade the 29-year-old Kiessling to sign on the dotted line. However Talksport says that the player's agent, Ali Bulut, has admitted that Dortmund are interested and a deal could be in the pipeline.