PSG join race for Arsenal's Van Persie, Arshavin deal in doubt
French club think they can lure Gunners' captain, as Zenit reconsider Arshavin deal
THE SAGA of where Robin van Persie will play his football next season has taken another twist with the news that Paris Saint-Germain have signaled their interest in the Arsenal striker.
According to the Daily Mirror, the French outfit are preparing to go head-to-head with Manchester City in the race to sign the Dutch master. Apparently PSG's director of football, Leonardo, "has made discreet enquiries" to the Gunners and as a result he believes a deal could be done for Van Persie.
Initially PSG didn't believe there was much point in going after the 29-year-old Arsenal captain because of the size of the chasing pack. But with Barcelona and Juventus having both reportedly decided against making a bid for the Dutchman, PSG are increasingly confident they can nip in ahead of Manchester City who must offload some of their highly-paid players before they can make a realistic offer.
For Gunners fans the nightmare of losing Van Persie could be compounded by the news that Andrey Arshavin might be back in Arsenal colours next season as Zenit Saint Petersburg threaten to pull the plug on their bid to re-sign Arshavin, following his outburst against Russia fans at Euro 2012.
The winger, who has been on loan at Zenit, was expected to seal a permanent move back to his old club this summer, but it seems he is now as unpopular in his homeland as he is in north London thanks to his tirade against supporters after Russia were knocked out of the Euros. According to Talksport he is not public enemy number one in Russia. But the good news is that he could be off to Italy instead, with Arsenal hoping to recoup £8m for the player they signed for £15m in 2009.
Manchester United can forget about landing Spain full-back Jordi Alba after Barcelona announced they'd signed the 23-year-old on a five-year contract. Once Alba has passed his medical he'll be heading to the Camp Nou and not Old Trafford, a bitter blow to Alex Ferguson who had coveted Alba for months.
A statement on the Barcelona website revealed that they had "reached an agreement with Valencia for the transfer of Jordi Alba… the cost of the operation will be €14 million and the player will sign a contract for the next five seasons."
Alba came up through the Barcelona youth academy with Cesc Fabregas before joining Valencia in 2007. Having appeared for Spain in all their Euro 2012 matches, Alba is one of the most highly-rated defenders in Europe and United had been hoping he'd bolster their brittle back four next season.
Talking of brittle back fours, Arsenal fans must be wondering what needs to be done to finally get shot of gaffe-prone Sebastien Squillaci. The French international defender has spent two pointless seasons at the Emirates during which time his wayward performances made even Chloe Smith look solid in defence.
Earlier in the month French Division Two club Bastia were said to be chasing the 31-year-old but now L'Equipe reports that they have called off the dogs. The sports paper quotes Bastia president Pierre-Marie Geronimi as saying: "I can't even begin to imagine what his salary is at Arsenal so how do you expect him to come to Bastia… One has to be realistic."
In other news, Martin Skrtel has scotched speculation that he has been in talks to leave Liverpool for Manchester City. It's been reported that the Sky Blues have been monitoring both Skrtel and Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini ahead of next season but Talksport reports that the 27-year-old Slovakia defender is still very much a Liverpool man. For the moment, at least.
"In the press there have been rumours about my future," Skrtel explains. "I would like to say that so far I have not received any specific offers and I have not been in talks with any club."
One deal that is in the bag concerns Hamburg striker Mladen Petric. The 31-year Croatian international has joined Fulham on a one-year deal having scored against the Cottagers in the semi-final of the 2010 Europa League. Capped 44 times by his country, Petric told the Fulham website: "I'm very happy to be part of what is happening at Fulham. The club is doing very well and that was why I decided to come here."
There is plenty going on at Fulham at the moment. The Cottagers offloaded Danny Murphy to Blackburn earlier this month and are said to be eyeing up Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey. Now the Mirror reports that Martin Jol is set to make a move for forgotten Spurs winger David Bentley.
The former Arsenal and Blackburn man, who somehow earned an international call-up earlier in his career, is said to have fallen out with Tottenham and is now looking for pastures new. If he can't agree a permanent deal then both clubs would be happy for him to head to Craven Cottage on loan.