Arsenal and Liverpool want Williams, David Villa deal closer

Defender has impressed during Swansea's march to League Cup, Barca will let Villa leave

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:22 ON Wed 27 Feb 2013

FRESH from helping Swansea to their first major silverware, club captain Ashley Williams is now being chased by Arsenal and Liverpool. According to Caughtoffside, the strapping 28-year-old defender has impressed both managers during the Swans' glorious run to the Capital One Cup final, culminating in Sunday's 5-0 thrashing of Bradford.

As a result, Swansea "face a summer struggle" to hold on the Wales international. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers knows Williams well from his time in charge of Swansea while Caughtoffside claims Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is more convinced than ever that he needs to bolster his back four next season after more "shaky displays" from Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker this season.

After failing to rescue Barcelona during last night's El Clasico clash with Real Madrid, it looks as though David Villa may be one step closer to a move to the Emirates.

Talksport reports that Barcelona's vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted that the Catalan giants will not keep the 31-year-old kidney-stone sufferer at the Camp Nou against his wishes, paving the way for a £10m switch to Arsenal in the summer.

Villa, who returned from a year out with a broken leg at the start of the season, has struggled to force his way into the Barcelona team and has started nine out of Barcelona's 25 La Liga matches this season.

Bringing in a 31-year-old and offloading a promising youngster might sound like the very opposite of Wenger's football philosophy, however, the Arsenal manager could be about to do just that, says Caught Offside.

The website reports that promising Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell is set to spend a second season on loan at Real Betis after taking a liking to the place. The 20-year-old striker signed for Arsenal in 2011 but was denied a work permit in England and spent last season on loan in France, and this season has been plying his trade for Real Betis in La Liga. Despite scoring only twice so far this term he appears to enjoy life in Spain and is keen to spend another season there.

Fifteen million quid or forget it, that's the message delivered from Sevilla to Manchester City if they want to buy their 20-year-old midfield star Geoffrey Kondogbia.

Kondogbia has been in scintillating form this season in La Liga, attracting interest not just from City but a host of other top European clubs. But with the French Under-20 international contracted to Sevilla until 2016, Talksport says the club have made it clear they'll expect a substantial fee. Talksport says that won't deter City, with manager Roberto Mancini "lining up a move" for the playmaker.

Talking of Frenchmen, the Metro reports that Inter Milan are set to offer Samir Nasri a "dream escape route" from Manchester this summer.

Perhaps giving credence to the rumours surrounding City and Kondogbia, the Metro says Nasri will leave the Etihad this summer after failing to win over Mancini since his £25m move in 2011. Milan are tipped to hand over £20m for the 25-year-old French midfielder, a player they believe will plug the gap left by the recently departed Wesley Sneijder.

Portuguese rag Record says Manchester United are making eyes at West Bromwich Albion defensive midfielder Claudio Yacob. Apparently Alex Ferguson wants to "add steel to his midfield" and he sees the 25-year-old Argentine international as just the man.

Yacob arrived at the Baggies last summer from Racing Club de Avellaneda and he's looked the part in his first Premier League season. With Paul Scholes heading towards the knackers' yard at the end of the season it's believed Ferguson will deploy Yacob in a similar role to that played by the ginger-headed hardman.

Finally, the Evening Standard says that Hamburg sporting director Frank Arnesen has "confirmed" he will hold talks with Chelsea about signing defender Jeffrey Bruma on a permanent basis. The 21-year-old Dutchman is enjoying his second loan season with the Bundesliga club and Hamburg are hoping they can make the deal full-time.

Arnesen was director of youth and development at the Bridge when Bruma arrived at the Blues in 2007 in a £100,000 move from Feyenoord. But Bruma has struggled to break into the first team and now Arnesen is hoping his connections with Chelsea will enable a deal to be struck.

"Chelsea have been keeping an eye on him but I don't know what they are thinking regarding his future," said Arnesen. "In a couple of months we will have talks with them and see what happens. I would like to take him on loan again and if they want to sell him, we would be in the market." · 

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