Barcelona plan raids on Arsenal and Liverpool for defenders

Thomas Vermaelen Arsenal

Meanwhile Gunners are linked to Andreas Cornelius -the new Nicklas Bendtner

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:25 ON Thu 7 Mar 2013

SPRING has almost sprung and another Arsenal star is being linked to Barcelona. Yes, it's that time of the year when the Catalan giants come sniffing around the Emirates looking for fresh meat. And this time it is Arsenal's only quality defender they are after.

According to The Sun, Thomas Vermaelen has caught the eye of the Spanish side and he could soon be following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry, Alexander Hleb, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song and wending his merry way to Camp Nou, where they keep the silverware on display in trophy cabinets rather than in drawers in the canteen.

The paper says that Barca believe an offer of £15m should do the trick.

The other centre back on the Barcelona wishlist is Liverpool's Daniel Agger, who they flirted with last summer. He would command a fee of closer to £20m.

The Sun explains that the Catalans need replacements for the ageing duo of Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal and have turned to the Premier Leauge after being put off by the price tag Borussia Dortmund have placed on Mats Hummels. It could also explain why both Arsenal and Liverpool have been linked with Swansea captain Ashley Williams in recent days.

And if that wasn't worrying enough, Gooners fans should brace themselves as we've got more bad news. The man the Metro dubs "the new Nicklas Bendtner" could be coming to the Emirates. The heir apparent to the Danish patsy is FC Copenhagen striker Andreas Cornelius, described as a "6ft 4in hitman". People once said the same thing of Bendtner before it turned out the only thing he could hit was Row Z.

According to the Metro, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is "a long-term admirer" of Cornelius, who has scored 14 goals in 20 matches for Copenhagen this season. It's believed Inter Milan and Juventus are also eyeing up the 19-year-old but a fat lot of good it will do them.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world, and I would love to play in it," Cornelius is quoted as saying, with Arsenal his preferred choice. Arsenal's trusted Scandinavian scout Bobby Bennett has reportedly been watching the teenager since November and a £3m bid will be on its way to Denmark in the summer.

According to Russian rag Izvestia, Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun could be on his way to the Russian premier league at the end of the season. The 32-year-old, who enjoyed a loan spell at Arsenal last season, is a free agent in May and he's said to be considering his options in the knowledge he won't be offered an extension by the Blues.

The Israel international is reportedly being targeted by a couple of Russian clubs with agent Ronen Katsav telling Izvestia: "Benayoun will be a free agent in the summer and there is bound to be an interest in such a good player… before his contract ends, we will consider all offers."

Finally, Talksport reports that France international Aly Cissokho has "opened the door" on a move to Liverpool after admitting he would like to test himself in the Premier League. According to Talksport, Liverpool gaffer Brendan Rodgers is on the hunt for a new left back and his eye has fallen on the 25-year-old Cissokho.

The Frenchmen has previously played for Porto and Lyon before moving to Valencia last summer, and now it appears he could be about to up sticks again.

"I have never hidden the fact that the Premier League is the league that attracts me the most," he told the French press.

When asked if there was any club in particular that tickled his fancy, Cissokho replied: "It's a pleasure to see my name linked to that of the Reds. They are a great club… for now, however, they are just rumours." · 

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