Arsenal and Liverpool fight for Fazio after Barcelona ban

Sevilla defender Federico Fazio

Sevilla defender was expected to head to Spain, along with Azmoun, but now Gunners fancy their chances

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:43 ON Wed 9 Apr 2014

WITH Spanish giants Barcelona supposedly barred from buying any players for the next year, the future of sought-after defender Federico Fazio now looks to lie in England.

According to Talksport the 27-year-old Sevilla centre-back had been top of Barcelona's summer shopping list but in the wake of Fifa's transfer ban representatives of Liverpool and Arsenal "will travel to Sevilla this month to discuss his future with club officials". Fazio has been in fine form for the La Liga outfit this season and he was tipped by many to be the natural successor to Carles Puyol at the Camp Nou. But now it appears he could be the man to fill the boots of Bacary Sagna or Thomas Vermaelen or indeed any of the hopeless Arsenal back-four. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is also said to be keen on the Spanish centre-back with his £8m price tag posing no problem for either club.

Another player on the Arsenal radar is young Rubin Kazan striker Sardar Azmoun, aka the 'Iranian Messi', who has been linked with a move to the Emirates over the last few days. Now he has confirmed those rumours, telling the Daily Star that he has been in talks with Arsenal, AC Milan and Juventus, and that negotiations are getting "very serious". The young whippersnapper even boasted that Barcelona were interested in his services, but had been prevented from signing him because of the Fifa ban.

Meanwhile Talksport also claims that Arsenal are still hopeful of signing Maxime Gonalons in the summer but they'll have to first see off competition from both Manchester United and Napoli. The 25-year-old midfielder has spent his entire career at Lyon although he nearly made the move to Napoli in January. Nothing came of it, however, and Gonalons was retained by the French first division club. But Talksport report that "financial issues may force Lyon to cash in" on Gonalons at the end of the season. The bad news for Arsenal and United is that the player is said to prefer a move to Italy rather than the prospect of playing for a mediocre Premier League outfit.

‘Mediocre' used to be an apt description of Everton but that was before Roberto Martinez got hold of the Merseysides and turned them into a team worthy of playing in the Champions League. According to the International Business Times, who in turn take their cue from Spanish rag AS, Martinez will remain at Goodison Park next season (despite recent rumours linking him to Arsenal) and he has already started to plan for the campaign.

Not only will he try and persuade "Barcelona starlet" Gerard Deulofeu to stay another season, he will also look to turn Romelu Lukaku's loan spell from Chelsea into a permanent deal while also luring Jack Rodwell back to Everton from his unsettled stint with Manchester City.

And talking of Man City, the The Guardian reports that the club's longest-serving player, Micah Richards, "has reluctantly accepted he needs to leave" the Etihad in spite of the offer of a new contract and a pay rise. The England defender has made nearly 250 appearances for the Sky Blues since joining at the start of the 2005-06 season, but the Guardian says he has decided he "needs a fresh start". Still only 25, Richards is said to crave more regular game time and though the talks with manager Manuel Pellegrini have been "amicable", the right-back is adamant it's time to move on.

City will expect £7m in return for Richards and the Guardian says they have already lined up his replacement – Arsenal's Bacary Sagna, who is said to be "tempted by a move to Manchester". · 

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