Arsenal face Ozil Barcelona battle as Sagna talks stall
Catalans given the green light to sign players this summer and reportedly target Gunners man
IT SHOULD come as a surprise to no-one that Barcelona have been given the green light by Fifa, the masters of flip-flopping, to rejoin the transfer market after their ban for dodgy dealings was suspended.
And according to Talksport, the Catalans have already cast their covetous eyes on none other than Mesut Ozil. Talksport report that Barcelona are "set to bid £30m" for the Arsenal midfielder in the belief that the German international "has struggled to settle" in London since his £42m move from real Madrid last summer.
The 25-year-old has shown glimpses of brilliance for the Gunners, but the length and physicality of the Premier League have allegedly taken him by surprise and Barcelona are quietly confident they can lure him back to the softer surrounds of Spain. But would Arsenal accept an offer £12m lower than the sum they paid to Real Madrid last August? Talksport's Spanish football expert, Paul Breen-Turner told the station he "can't quite believe Arsenal would even consider" selling Ozil for such a pittance.
One player who genuinely does look like leaving at the end of the season is full back Bacary Sagna, after Arsene Wenger revealed that contract talks with the defender had broken down. The 31-year-old Frenchman's deal expires in the summer and he is yet to agree an extension, reports the Evening Standard, even though he has been offered a three-year deal. "The ball is not in our camp anymore," admitted manager Arsene Wenger.
According to the Daily Express, Wenger has also achieved the impressive feat of remaining tight-lipped about the chances of Arsenal making a move for Loic Remy in the summer, while at the same time heaping praise on him. Wenger described the QPR man, currently on loan with Newcastle United, as a "good striker", but insisted he was more focused on the Gunners final games of the season than the gaping striker-sized hole in his squad.
Meanwhile the Daily Star says that Arsenal and Liverpool are on a state of heightened alert after Salomon Kalou made it clear he is "angling for a return" to the Premier League this summer. The paper claims Arsenal is the preferred destination for the 29-year-old Ivory Coast frontman, who has scored 25 goals in 54 appearances for Lille. Kalou last graced the Premier League two years ago with Chelsea and despite his goals in the French first division, it's believed Kalou wants to test himself once more in the cut and thrust of Europe's most entertaining league. As for how much it would cost to prise Kalou from Lille, the Star reckons £2.5m would do the trick.
In other news Sky Sports say that Manchester United's state of managerial limbo hasn't stopped them talent-spotting ahead of next season. Sunderland defender Louis Laing is the latest to be given a trial with the Red Devils with the youngster expected to be given a run out with United's Under-21 side in the coming weeks. Centre-back Laing has represented England at all levels between Under-16 and Under-19 and Sky says his progress at the Black Cats has been hampered by the club's managerial changes over the last couple of seasons. And with a name like his, United are hoping Laing can become their man of steel at the back.
There are also conflicting reports about the future of Southampton duo Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana. The Daily Mail claims that United are set to make a £55m bid for the pair at the end of the season, despite the fact that they are without a manager. Southampton are not so convinced and have informed the BBC that their players are "not in transfer talks with other clubs".
The Daily Express claims that ageing Frank Lampard "is set to sign a new one-year deal with Chelsea in the next ten days". The 35-year-old veteran, who got himself booked in the Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, has been linked for much of the season with a lucrative move to the USA in the summer. But the Express says Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is keen to have Lampard's experience for at least another season and both parties are close to agreeing a deal that will see the England midfielder remain at the Bridge on a salary close to his existing deal of around £125,000 a week. A source close to Lampard whispered to Express Sport: "Frank loves playing for Chelsea and he loves playing under Jose. He wants to finish his career at the club."
And finally, the Daily Mail says Lampard isn't the only Blue on the brink of being offered a new deal by Mourinho. Apparently Cesar Azpilicueta is to "be rewarded for his excellent season" with a new contract in the coming weeks, one that will see the Spaniard – who has kept Ashley Cole out of the Chelsea team for the much of the season – receive a wage hike to around £70,000 per week.