Arsenal set to raid FC Barcelona for second successive summer

Arsenal could sign FC Barcelona‘s Pedro Rodriguez for as little as £10 million, according to Fichajes.net.

Last summer’s marquee signing of Alexis Sanchez has proved to be great business by Arsene Wenger and it looks as if he could be set to raid the Catalans for a second pre season in succession.

Pedro has seen his game time limited this season and a number of clubs are interested in signing the Spanish World Cup winner, but he could favour a move to link up with former teammate Sanchez.

The 27-year-old cannot be blamed for wanting a new challenge as he has played second fiddle to Barca’s deadly trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Embed from Getty Images

At just £10 million, Pedro would be an absolute bargain for any potential new club and he will certainly be looking to move somewhere where he is guaranteed playing time and Champions League football.

The skilful winger boasts an impressive trophy cabinet, with the likes of the World Cup and Champions League winners medals, and he has a wealth of experience.

In 2010 he scored Barca’s opener against Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley and is still just as sharp and calm in front of goal.

Pedro has scored six times this season in 34 league appearances, 20 of which are from the bench and it looks likely that he will be moving on this summer for a new challenge at a cut-price.

Will Pedro leave FC Barcelona this summer and is Arsenal a possible destination?

Advertisements

Wenger delivers worrying news for Arsenal fans ahead of United clash

Arsene Wenger has revealed worrying news for Arsenal fans if his side are beaten to third place in the Premier League by rivals Manchester United this season.

Wenger feels his side could struggle to sign new players in the summer if they come fourth once again.

This has added pressure to their now ‘showdown’ clash on Sunday as the sides go head-to-head at Old Trafford.

Wenger has admitted that it makes bringing in star signings more difficult and avoiding the qualifying rounds for the Champions League is a ‘must’.

“It’s very important [we avoid a Champions League qualifier], not to have that stress over your head from the first day when you start again is vital,” he is quoted as saying in the Daily Express.

Embed from Getty Images

“Finishing fourth can make it more difficult to bring players in. They think most of the time that you will play in the Champions League but you are not sure.

“We have to convince them by saying that statistically we have always progressed.”

Arsenal have finished in fourth in six of their last ten seasons and with second place looking as good as Manchester City’s, United and Arsenal will both be gunning for third with two weeks to go.

Does finishing fourth make signing top players harder? How important is it that Arsenal finish third?

Arsenal closing in on £10m-rated defender – report

Arsenal are readying a £10 million offer for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Arsene Wenger has been heavily tipped to delve into the Arsenal bank account again this summer as he looks to further improve his defensive options.

Italian under-21, Rugani, has played this season for Empoli on loan from parent club Juventus. The Old Lady have been expected to loan him out again for the coming season so he can gain more experience, but Wenger is reportedly looking to tempt them with an offer.

Embed from Getty Images

Rugani is yet to make a senior appearance for Juve and given how strong their defensive options are it is unlikely he would be breaking into the side anytime soon.

The 20-year-old centre-back could be a replacement for Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker and he could learn a lot training and playing alongside Wenger’s current defensive options Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista.

Are Arsenal taking a risk if they sign Daniele Rugani? Or is youth the right option in defence?

£35m-rated goal machine deals HUGE blow to Arsenal and Liverpool

Arsenal and Liverpool’s pursuit of Lyon’s goal machine, Alexandre Lacazette, has been dealt a huge blow as the 23-year-old striker says he will be with the French club next season, the Express has reported.

The Lyon forward is Ligue 1’s top scorer with 26 goals in 30 appearances and his form has attracted interest from clubs across Europe but any chances of a move away from the club is unlikely, despite the reported interest from the Premier League duo surrounding a £35 million move.

“I do not know what will happen, but at the moment I can say that I will play in Lyon next year,” Lacazette told Footmercato.net.

Embed from Getty Images

Arsene Wenger’s side could have mounted a stronger title charge had they had an out-and-out goalscorer this season. Olivier Giroud’s absence through injury certainly affected their chances of winning the Premier League as they have lacked depth in their frontline.

While Liverpool’s injury woes have probably cost them any chance of playing in the Champions League next season. Daniel Sturridge has barely featured this campaign, making just 12 Premier League appearances.

Brendan Rodgers’ gamble on signing Mario Balotelli looks as if it has backfired as the Italian has scored just once in the league and looks likely to move on this summer.

Embed from Getty Images

The Merseyside club have failed to replace Luis Suarez and Lacazette could have been an ideal acquisition, but Lyon are pushing Paris Saint Germain all the way for the Ligue 1 title and he will want to be playing in Europe’s top competition next season.

Lacazette appears to be settled for now, so it would appear both Premier League clubs will have to venture elsewhere in their search for a top striker this summer.

Would Alexandre Lacazette have been an ideal signing for Arsenal or Liverpool?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal FC vs. Chelsea FC

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, April 26th – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 11/8 – Draw 11/5 – Chelsea 21/10

Match Preview

Arsenal and Chelsea meet in arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, with Arsenal’s faint hopes of a title dependant on the outcome of this game.

Any game between these London rivals is fiery as both sets of fans want to come away with a victory, but the Gunners know that three points in this one will leave them seven behind the leaders with five games to go.

Arsene Wenger‘s side have been in incredible form of late and booked their place in the FA Cup final with an extra-time win against Reading at Wembley last weekend as they hope to retain their trophy.

Embed from Getty Images

In the league, they are in the best form of any side, having won their last eight on the bounce and have now won their last nine at home in the league too.

The visit of Jose Mourinho‘s Chelsea will likely be their toughest test of the season though and Wenger will have to try and beat the Portuguese head coach for the first time in his career if the Gunners are to be celebrating at full time.

The Blues have not looked as dominant as they did through the early stages of the season but have still won four on the bounce and have not lost since their last visit to North London as Spurs beat them 5-3 on New Years Day.

Mourinho is an expert at setting his sides up to avoid defeat in the big games and he showed that against last weekend in the 1-0 win against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea frustrated Arsenal in last season’s meeting at the Emirates as the game ended 0-0 and a similar scoreline could be on the cards in this one, unless the Gunners can overpower the Blues defence.

Chelsea have not conceded the first goal in any of their 20 games in all competitions in 2015 so if Arsenal can find the net first, things could be interesting.

Team News

Arsenal look set to be without two players as Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is set to miss out with a groin strain, while Per Mertesacker is a doubt with an ankle problem, but will face a late fitness test. Gabriel Paulista will play in defence alongside Laurent Koscielny if Mertesacker is out, while Hector Bellerin is expected to return to right-back after Mathieu Debuchy started against Reading last week.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho could travel to the Emirates without a recognised striker as Didier Drogba (ankle), Loic Remy (calf) and Diego Costa (hamstring) are all doubts. Costa could make an unlikely return to the side but that could be too much of a risk. Kurt Zouma is expected to keep his place in midfield after performing well against Marouane Fellaini last Saturday.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Chelsea’s last five: D/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Arsenal have won more points than any other Premier League side in 2015 so far but haven’t beaten Chelsea in their last seven games against their London rivals.

Embed from Getty Images

Key Player: Olivier Giroud – The French striker has scored 10 in his last 12 in all competitions and Arsenal fans will hope he can provide the difference in this one.

Score Prediction

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea – Many are expecting the Arsenal title charge to keep rolling with what would be a huge victory against Chelsea but it’s tough to see that happening. Jose Mourinho has never lost to Arsene Wenger and he is the best coach in the world when it comes to closing up to avoid defeat. Expect them to sit deep and look to break late in the game.

Arsenal set to beat United, City and Spurs to £33m-rated star

Arsenal are preparing a £33 million bid to see off Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur interest in FC Porto star Yacine Brahimi, according to the Daily Star.

Brahimi caught the eye of some of the top clubs in Europe after displaying some impressive form in this seasons Champions League campaign with Porto, scoring five goals, including a hat-trick against BATE Borisov.

The Algerian winger has been in scintillating form since signing for the Portuguese champions last summer and has netted 11 goals in 29 appearances this season.

Portuguese reports have claimed Arsene Wenger has been monitoring the 25-year-old attacker and add that the Gunners are keen to beat their Premier League rivals to secure his services.

Embed from Getty Images

This has further fuelled speculation that Theo Walcott’s time as an Arsenal player is drawing to a close.

Arsene Wenger is reported to be looking to bolster his forward line over the summer to ensure they can mount a stronger title challenge next season.

The Gunners are currently second in the Premier League with seven games to go and Wenger seems to be on the money with his transfers after criticism in recent years that he was unwilling to sign top players.

Do you think Arsene Wenger will splash the cash on Yacine Brahimi this summer? Is he what Arsenal need?

Arsenal preparing move for £10m-rated former Newcastle star

Arsenal are weighing up another move for Paris Saint-Germain and former Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye, according to the Daily Mirror.

Cabaye has made 19 appearances for PSG this season, nine of which have come from the bench, and could be open to a move in the search of regular first team football.

Arsenal were unsuccessful in signing the French international twice during his time at Newcastle but  it looks like Arsene Wenger has a great chance of landing his man this summer.

It is reported that Arsenal could sign the 29 year old for as little as £10m and his wealth of Premier League experience would make him a steal for such a low fee.

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal appear to be lacking a quality holding midfielder and Cabaye could be a perfect addition to the side. Francis Coquelin has been excellent in midfield for the past few months but Cabaye offers something different.

The midfielder possesses the qualities to score goals and is renowned for his set piece speciality, and his wide range of passing from a deep midfield position could be something Arsene Wenger values highly.

Should Arsenal make a move for Yohan Cabaye this summer?

Philadelphia Union stars hoping for much improved April

Philadelphia Union have endured a dreadful start to the new MLS season in the Eastern Conference after drawing two and losing two of their opening four games.

Those results have certainly intensified the pressure ahead of April’s fixtures, and Union players are aware that they have to turn things around.

Andrew Wenger and Sebastien LeToux spoke to MLSsoccer.com about their disappointment of their poor start to the season.

Embed from Getty Images

Wenger stated: “We’re not pleased with where we’re at.

“You can probably look at it and say we’ve had a month of weird things happen that it normally might take a full season to see, but we’ve also had some poor performances. And that’s the thing that we can control.”

While teammate Le Toux added: “We’re disappointed about March, for sure.

“We’d like to start April in a new way. It’s a new month, so we can kind of wash out what happened and start fresh, starting this week against Sporting Kansas City.”

Head coach Jim Curtin is under pressure to get results already but said “the mentality is still good in the group” and he will be hoping to pick up a first win away at Sporting Park on Sunday night.

Philadelphia Union’s April schedule:

6 April
Sporting Kansas City

vs

Philadelphia Union
11 April
Philadelphia Union

vs

New York City FC
17 April
New York City FC

vs

Philadelphia Union
19 April
Philadelphia Union

vs

New England Revolution
26 April
Columbus Crew

vs

Philadelphia Union

Will the Philadelphia Union turn it around this month?

Arsenal legend urges Wenger to sign Liverpool star

Legendary Arsenal striker Ian Wright has urged Arsene Wenger to sign unsettled Liverpool star Raheem Sterling this summer.

Sterling, who is yet to sign a new deal amidst reports that he is unhappy with his playing position, has been tipped for a summer move away from Liverpool.

And Wright has responded by tweeting: “Come on Arsene! Go in and get ‘Raheem the dream Sterling’ from Liverpool and play him where he wants.”

https://twitter.com/IanWright0/status/582524105213231104

If a move to the Gunners is on the cards they will have to offload at least one of their current attacking options and a likely candidate would be Theo Walcott, who is in a similar contract position himself.

Don’t miss: Are Chelsea and Arsenal set for huge £100,000-a-week swap deal?

Sterling has reportedly refused to negotiate any new Liverpool deal until the summer, which could mean he is waiting to see if the Reds make the Champions League as the race for the top four in the Premier League is so close.

If Brendan Rodgers’ side fail to make the top four, a move away from the club looks ominous. With eight games remaining Liverpool trail Manchester United in fourth spot by five points.

Is Arsenal a possible destination for Raheem Sterling?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: QPR vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Queens Park Rangers vs Arsenal

Venue: Loftus Road – Wednesday, March 4th – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: QPR 9/2 – Draw 100/30 – Arsenal 8/15

Match Preview

Queens Park Rangers welcome Arsenal to Loftus Road on Wednesday night for a London derby that has implications for both sides at opposite ends of the Premier League table.

QPR are currently 18th and positioned ominously in the relegation zone. However, they do have two games in hand over 17th placed Aston Villa and one game in hand over 19th placed Burnley as the battle for survival intensifies.

Arsenal recovered from last week’s devastating Champions League knockout round first-leg defeat at home to Monaco with a hard fought 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday as they look to keep on track for a top-four finish.

Embed from Getty Images

Stand-in managerial team Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond inspired QPR to an impressive 2-0 away win at Sunderland three weeks ago, but that’s the club’s only win in their last nine Premier League games (D2, L6). They also haven’t recorded a victory over any team in the top 12 this season.

The Hoops will be looking to take inspiration from their relatively good home form though, as 19 out of their 22 points have come when playing at Loftus Road.

Arsenal have been in good Premier League form with nine wins from their last 12 games, which has lifted them up to third place and the Gunners are now just four points behind Manchester City.

However, it’s still very tight and the chasing pack will be ready to pounce on any slip-ups with just seven points separating Arsene Wenger’s side and seventh-placed Tottenham who also have a game in hand.

Embed from Getty Images

Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky helped Arsenal to a 2-1 win over QPR in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, with Charlie Austin’s late penalty setting up a nervy finish, but the Gunners held on.

Loftus Road is one of the smaller pitches in the Premier League and QPR will try and make life difficult for Arsenal with a tight, compact performance, as they did back in March 2012 when a Samba Diakite strike helped them beat the Gunners 2-1.

Team News

QPR will be without skipper Joey Barton who is serving a three-match ban following his red card at Hull. Leroy Fer (knee), Richard Dunne (knee), and Alejandro Faurlin (knee) will all miss out through injury. Nedum Onuoha, Mauricio Isla, Niko Kranjcar and Sandro could return to the squad following injuries.

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal are still without the injured Mikel Arteta (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), Abou Diaby (calf), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) and Jack Wilshere (ankle). Midfielder Aaron Ramsey will return to the squad following injury. Francis Coquelin took a knock to the face against Everton at the weekend and will be checked over by medical staff but will need to wear a protective face mask should he play.

Key Points

QPR’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/L/W/L

Arsenal’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: The last five Premier League games between QPR and Arsenal have finished 1-0 or 2-1 to either side, so we can expect a tight encounter.

Embed from Getty Images

Key Player: Charlie Austin – The Englishman has notched 14 goals this season and QPR will need their free-scoring striker to be at his absolute best if they’re to get anything from the game. He can cause problems for any defence on his day so Arsenal will have to be wary of the threat Austin poses.

Score Prediction

QPR 1-2 Arsenal – This may not be a free-flowing classic and Arsenal may have to grind out a result against a QPR side fighting for their lives.