Arsenal sell Vermaelen to Barcelona, is Wilshere off too?

Thomas Vermaelen Arsenal

Rumours swirl around the Emirates as Barcelona beat Man United to defender deal

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:56 ON Fri 8 Aug 2014

It's all go at Arsenal these days with transfer rumours swirling around the Emirates like spies round a packet of crisps. Some are more believable than others, and one of the more outlandish claims appears in the Evening Standard, which asserts that Juventus "are interested in signing" midfielder Jack Wilshere. The paper claims that the Italian champions have "sounded out" Wilshere's agent and could be about to table a big money bid along, presumably, with a packet of fags.

However, it's not all pie in the sky as Thomas Vermaelen prepares to quit the Emirates for Barcelona. The Gunners' club captain couldn't force his way into the starting XI last season and after being deemed surplus to requirements is set to head to Spain in a £15m deal, reports the BBC.

But although the fee has been agreed the 28-year-old Belgium centre-back must yet agree personal terms and pass a medical before he can be unveiled as a team-mate to Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, warns the Beeb. He will also hope his career at the Camp Nou goes better than those of other former Gunners, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song. Spaniard Fabregas hoped to become a Catalan hero, but was sold this summer to Chelsea, and Song was voted worst signing of the year in 2012.

Vermaelen had also been targeted by Manchester United but Arsenal were unwilling to sell to a domestic rival without being given a player in return.

Talking of Arsenal defenders who couldn't make the grade, Goal.com reports that Hamburg have completed the signing of Johan Djourou, arguably the worst player to have worn the red and white shirt in recent years – along, obviously, with Andre Santos. The 27-year-old Swiss disaster zone spent last season on loan with the German club and he has now made the move permanent.

Back to the outlandish, and could PSG striker Edinson Cavani become Arsenal's latest big name signing? Spanish rag El Telegrafo carries the comments of the Uruguayan forward's agent, Claudio Anelluci, who revealed: "I can confirm that Cavani heard proposals from Liverpool and Arsenal." Asked if a move was likely to one of the two clubs – although surely Liverpool have had their fill of Uruguayan hitmen – Anelluci responded: "[Cavani] has already said he would love to play in England, but has not yet made a final decision. He is not interested in money and fame; just want to be happy playing football."

One player who won't be seen anytime soon at the Emirates is Sami Khedira. Earlier in the summer it seemed a dead cert that the Real Madrid midfielder would be a Gunner this season but Wenger has revealed the stories were as wide of the mark as a Mesut Ozil spot kick. "I don't know who has put Khedira on the market - is it his agent or the press?" scoffed the Nutty Professor when it was suggested he was primed to sign the German playmaker. "We were never close to signing him... and in midfield we have offensive midfielders and quite a few box-to-box players.

But what about PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot? If the Daily Star is to be believed the Gunners are "close to signing" the 19-year-old in an £8m deal after opening talks with the French champions.

Finally, Dutch website Heldenonline has gleaned an exclusive from Ajax youth coach Richard Witschge in which he reveals Holland defender Daley Blind is set to leave the club. The left-back is training away from the rest of the Ajax squad, fuelling speculation he is angling for a move to Old Trafford so he can be reunited with Louis van Gaal, until last month his coach at international level. "I think Daley Blind will be leaving soon, I have a feeling," admitted Witschge, adding. "He has been training by himself. I think he has done that because there's something going on." · 

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