Arsenal could miss out on Villa, Neymar linked to Chelsea

David Villa

Race for David Villa will hot up this summer, Carroll back to Newcastle in Ben Arfa swap deal?

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:21 ON Wed 6 Feb 2013

ARSENAL may have been strongly linked to Barcelona striker David Villa during the January transfer window, but their chances of finally landing him in the summer appear to be diminishing.

The 31-year-old Spanish hit-man made it clear that he fancied a fresh start away from the Camp Nou at the turn of the year, but despite interest from Arsenal and Manchester City any move was blocked by Barca. It seems inevitable that he will leave in the summer, but Metro reports that Atletico Madrid will enter the race to sign him. The paper suggests that Villa may prefer to carry on plying his trade in Spain rather than move to a new country.

Meanwhile, Bacary Sagna, having failed to orchestrate a move away from the Emirates during the transfer window, has apparently decided that he will try and make a go of things with the Gunners. Caughtoffside reports that the defender will stick with Arsenal until the end of next season, when his contract expires. At that point, of course, he will walk away on a free transfer.

Brazil are in town so what a surprise that at least one paper has managed to come up with a story linking the hottest of the samba stars to the Premier League. Yes, Neymar, who has managed to avoid moving to Europe for years, will finally arrive on this side of the Atlantic in the summer according to the Daily Star.

Neymar, who turned 21 this week, has been linked with a move to one of Euope's big guns since he was a teenager, but has so far remained loyal to Santos. But the Star confidently predicts that he will head for Chelsea in the summer, after David Luiz, Oscar and Ramirez reportedly told him how great life was at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps he is going to take over as manager.

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa was once an Arsenal target but he could be on his way to Anfield rather than the Emirates this summer if Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has his way.

After several years at St James' Park, Ben Arfa could have decided that having mastered Geordie it is time to try his hand at Scouse. The Independent even raises the possibility that Liverpool misfit Andy Carroll could end up back on Tyneside as part of the deal.

Liverpool look like they'll lose out on Seydou Keita after the Mali magician declared he has no intention of following Didier Drogba back to Europe from China.

While former Chelsea striker Drogba last month joined Galatasaray after his failed foray into the Chinese Super League, Keita is loving life at Dalian Aerbin FC. "I'm not going back," he told Talksport. "The difference between me and others is that they left because of payment problems, that is not the case with me."

The 33-year-old former Barcelona midfielder, currently playing for his country in the African Cup of Nations, has been targeted by Liverpool for nearly a year and it's reported the Reds are still hoping to bring the ageing playmaker to Anfield. But Talksport claims Keita is more than happy to see out his career in China.

Still with Liverpool and Hungarian rag Nemzeti Sport says that the Reds failed in an audacious bid to sign Balazs Dzsudzsak last month. The Hungarian midfielder was approached by Liverpool with a view to moving to Merseyside, but it's alleged Dinamo Moscow vetoed the idea. "I stay, but it wasn't up to me," Dzsudzsak told the paper. "Dinamo didn't let me go, not even to Liverpool."

Pressed for more details of the reported offer, the Hungarian clammed up but he did hint that a move could still materialise a few months down the line, saying: "What I couldn't do during the winter transfer window can be done in the summer."

The Metro reports that Manchester United's ambition to sign "long-term target" Robert Lewandowski have gone up in smoke. Alex Ferguson has been after the 24-year-old striker for ages, and a deal was apparently close to completion last month. But now all bets are off – relax, Europol, we're speaking figuratively – after German media sources reported that the Borussia Dortmund ace was on his way to Bayern Munich.

It's alleged that the lure of working under Pep Guardiola (who'll be in charge at the Allianz Arena next season) was a big factor in the decision of Lewandowski to make the move to Bayern. United first expressed an interest in Lewandowski last summer and his prolific form this season – 17 goals already – had only heightened their desire to snap up the Polish frontman.

Finally, The Sun says West Ham United are lining up a move for Ivory Coast hitman Wilfried Bony. The 24-year-old has set the Dutch league alight this season, scoring 16 goals in just 18 league games for Vitesse Arnhem and according to the Sun that's increased his market value to £12m.

Recently returned from the African Nations Cup, Bony is seen by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce as the man to replace Andy Carroll when his loan deal from Liverpool expires at the end of the season. The Sun claims that the Hammers fear Carroll will snub the possibility of a £17m full-time deal at Upton Park and either have another crack with Liverpool or rejoin his former club Newcastle United. · 

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