Alex Song set for Arsenal return, Ashley Williams race hots up

Arsenal could steal Swansea defender from under Liverpool's nose, but Thomas Vermaelen won't quit

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:32 ON Thu 18 Apr 2013

HAS the curse of Arsene Wenger struck again? Down the years few Gunners have prospered after quitting the club and the latest to admit that their dream move away from north London has fallen flat is Alex Song, according to his cousin Rigobert, that is.

Song left London last summer and headed off to Barcelona, possibly in the belief that he was the new Andres Iniesta. Unfortunately he has not become a tiki-taka master and has made just 15 appearances for the Catalans. Now, Metro believes that the midfielder has seen the errror of his ways and is hoping for a rapprochement with his old boss at the Emirates.

"He is not happy," said cousin Rigobert, a former West Ham and Liverpool player and Cameroonian international, who shares with Zinedine Zidane the dubious distinction of being the only man to be sent off in two World Cups.

"At Arsenal he was a leader on and off the field – he doesn’t feel like this in Spain and it makes him feel bad," added Rigobert.

It's not just the weather that's warming up. So is the battle to sign Swansea defender Ashley Williams with the Liverpool Echo warning that Arsenal are "serious" about bringing the 28-year-old to the Emirates next season.

The paper reports that the Gunners are "ready to step up their interest" in Williams, which won't go down well at Anfield.

It's been widely reported this season that Liverpool gaffer Brendan Rodgers is keen to be reunited with the Wales captain, a player he knows well from his time in charge of the Swans. The Echo claims Swansea have put a £12m price tag on the head of Williams, which is £4m more than Liverpool reckon he's worth, but not out of Arsenal's range.

Apparently Rodgers is hoping his "strong relationship" with Swansea will help finesse a deal but the Echo warns that cold hard cash might win out with the London club "now ready to make a formal offer".

Williams is said to be happy with life at Swansea but the prospect of playing in the Champions League – should Arsenal qualify for next season's tournament – might be the clinching factor in any putative deal. The Echo goes on to say that Liverpool are already drawing up a Plan B in the event Williams plumps for Arsenal, which would involve signing Toby Alderweireld from Ajax.

If Williams does rock up at Arsenal it will do nothing to quell rumours that Thomas Vermaelen is set for the exit door. The Belgian defender is Arsenal's club captain, and it is therefore odds on that he will follow in the footsteps of previous holders of the armband, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie and leave the club.

But according to the Mirror, Vermaelen is not cut from the same cloth as those two and is intent on staying at the Emirates and fighting for his place... just like Andrey Arshavin.

Still with the Gunners and The Sun claims Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou "has opened the door" on a summer move to the Emirates. The former Chelsea frontman is now plying his trade with Lille in the French first division but the Sun says rumours linking the 27-year-old with Arsenal have come to the attention of Kalou.

"I'd love to go back to England," he said when asked about a move across the Channel. "I spent six seasons there and I am crazy about the Premier League... you never know what will happen tomorrow."

Talksport reports that Ajax star Christian Eriksen "won't be signing a new contract" at the end of the season. That disclosure will put a spring in the step of several Premier League clubs, notably Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool. The trio have been tailing the 21-year-old playmaker for months, as have the two Milan clubs and Barcelona, and it appears that Christian likes the sound of joining a bigger club.

"Christian has informed us that he will not sign a new contract," explained Ajax director of football Marc Overmars. "I think he and his agent want to see what their options are in the summer."

Meanwhile Brazilian broadcaster Lancenet reckons Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz could leave the Etihad for Botafogo when his contract runs out in the summer. The Brazilian side have made plain their interest in the Paraguayan, currently on loan at Spanish outfit Malaga, and Lancenet quote Cruz's agent – Robson Lima – as saying preliminary discussions are already underway.

"Talks were very good, Botafogo are a very serious club," said Lima. "We are negotiating with Botafogo but we can't say if the deal will work out in the end." · 

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