In Brief

Arsenal transfer news: Piccini to replace Bellerin?

Sporting Lisbon right-back is the latest defender linked with a move to the Emirates

With Arsenal’s defence in disarray for much of the season, it’s no surprise to learn that the Gunners are being linked with a number of back-four blockers.

Yesterday it was Manchester City’s John Stones and now Talksport claims that Arsenal are closing in on Sporting Lisbon defender Cristiano Piccini. Although West Ham and Juventus have checked out the 25-year-old right-back in recent months, it’s reported that Arsenal will beat both to his signature this summer.

Taking its cue from a report in Portuguese rag Jornal de Noticias, Talksport says Arsenal are “in the driving seat” to land Piccini. Sporting signed the Italian from Real Betis in a £2.6m deal last year but they are apparently prepared to offload the defender because Arsenal are “ready to pay £17.5m to secure his signature”.

Why such a sum? It may be an indication that the north London club are resigned to seeing Hector Bellerin return to Spain with rumours of late indicating that Barcelona have been making overtures.

On the subject of Barcelona, Spanish paper Sport reports that 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz will spurn advances from Arsenal to remain at the Camp Nou. Described as a “starlet”, as teenagers invariably are, Ruiz has caught the eye of Arsenal and Chelsea scouts with his composed performances for Spain Under-19s. But in conversation with Sport, Ruiz dismissed talk that he could move to London and revealed he hopes to negotiate a new contract with Barca: “I don’t see myself playing for any other club...we are in talks and we could close the deal in the coming days.”

Recommended

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry

Qatar’s tainted World Cup
Workers at the site of the Lusail Stadium in 2019
Why we’re talking about . . .

Qatar’s tainted World Cup

Ralf ‘professor’ Rangnick takes charge at Man Utd
Ralf Rangnick: a hatred of star players
Profile

Ralf ‘professor’ Rangnick takes charge at Man Utd

Peng Shuai: WTA makes ‘unprecedented statement’ on China
Peng Shuai has won two grand slam women’s doubles titles
The latest on . . .

Peng Shuai: WTA makes ‘unprecedented statement’ on China

Popular articles

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?
Boris Johnson
Behind the scenes

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

19 advent calendars for adults
Selection of advent calendars
The wish list

19 advent calendars for adults

The Week Footer Banner