Arsenal clear the decks for Isco, Vermaelen and Szczesny to go
Arsene Wenger still hopes to sign Pepe Reina from Liverpool as the Gunner's number one keeper
IS THE CLEAR-OUT about to commence at the Emirates? Yes, according to the Daily Mirror, which claims that Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny could both be on their way out of Arsenal this summer after too many tame performances in a red and white shirt.
As we mentioned last week, Barcelona have for some reason got it into their heads that Vermaelen is still a world-class defender. Arsenal fans would beg to differ after a season in which the Belgian defender has been guilty of too many back-four blunders. Still, the Mirror says the Spanish club are likely to make a move for Vermaelen in the summer.
Goalkeeper Szczesny is also facing an uncertain future after being dropped from the squad for the Champions League trip to Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Though Lukasz Fabianski deputised on that occasion, Arsene Wenger is tipped to try to prise Pepe Reina from Liverpool in the summer and the Mirror says Szczesny will quit the club rather than play "second fiddle" to another gloveman.
The Mirror also carries rather more welcome news about the Emirates summer sales. It reports that Nicklas Bendtner could make a move to Russia this summer. His agent apparently believes that he is a "big-money" target for Anzhi Makhachkala and Zenit St Petersburg.
With all the departures Arsenal fans will be hoping for some new arrivals, and the rumour is that Wenger is clearing the decks in order to free up cash for Spanish midfielder Isco.
The 20-year-old Malaga starlet is one of the hottest properties in Europe and made his international debut for the world and European champions last month. But he is also reported to have caught the eye of Manchester United and Chelsea and would not come cheap. The Daily Star says that Wenger would have to smash the Arsenal transfer record and use up £30m of his £70m transfer kitty to lure him to the Emirates.
However, Caughtoffside.com says he has two things in his favour. Former Malaga team-mates Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal are both now at Arsenal and are enjoying life in north London.
Is Gaston Ramirez set to be a Gunner next season? That’s the question posed by Caughtoffside.com, which claims that Arsenal are "monitoring the progress" of Southampton's Uruguayan striker.
Since arriving at the Saints last summer in a £12 million deal from Italian outfit Bologna, the strapping 6ft Ramirez has impressed with his touch and technique. And apparently no one is more impressed with the 22-year-old South American that Arsene Wenger. Caughtoffside says the Arsenal boss is lining up a summer swoop for Ramirez after reaching the conclusion that there’s more chance of finding life on Mars than there is of Lukas Podoloski and Olivier Giroud finding the net week in week out.
Though the Saints are said to be keen to hold on to Ramirez, it’s believed the south coast club will bow to the inevitable and sell the striker should they end up in the Championship next season.
Talking of the Championship, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has rubbished rumours that Raheem Sterling and Suso will be sent out on loan to Championship clubs.
The Metro says there is growing speculation the two strikers will be sent on a development loan spell at a lower-tier club, but when asked about the possibility Rodgers snapped: "It’s very simple, neither of them are available for loan." The Reds gaffer went on to explain that Suso and Sterling are "very much" part of the Liverpool squad and will remain at Anfield for the foreseeable future.
Talksport reports that Manchester United target Adil Rami has hinted that he will reject any advance from Anzhi Makhachkala should they come calling with their cheque book in the summer.
The 27-year-old Valencia defender has been courted by the wealthy Russian club of late, despite the fact he’s been linked with a high-profile move to Manchester United in the past.
Rami, who moved to Valencia from Lille in 2011, is adamant however that when it comes to deciding between United and Anzhi it will be a purely footballing choice. "For me the most important thing is to play,” he said. “Money does not matter to me at this time in my life."