Gunners after Spain keeper: Arsenal are chasing Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas this summer, reports The Sun. Their information comes from none other than Gunners' midfielder Santi Cazorla, who has revealed the club are keen on bringing the Spain international to the Emirates at the end of the season. Casillas, 32, is currently vying with Diego Lopez to be first choice at the Bernabeu (although Casillas did start ahead of Lopez in last night's Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund) and Cazorla has urged his international colleague to quit the Spanish capital and become Arsenal's undisputed number one.
Paper Round's view: Cazorla said that so far Casillas has only been "curious" about playing in the Premier League, but if that curiosity develops into anything more concrete, the Spanish connection at Arsenal - Mikel Arteta and Nacho Monreal are also on the books - could prove crucial. And even at the age of 32, Casillas still has plenty to offer a club like Arsenal, if he can adapt to the rigours of the Premier League in a similar way to how compatriot David De Gea has at Manchester United.
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Arsenal target keen on Emirates move: Right-back Serge Aurier is ready to snub the advances of French billionaires Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain to move to Arsenal this summer. The Sun reports that the Toulouse defender, who is being lined up to replace Bacary Sagna at the Emirates, has made no secret of his desire to move to London. Sagna is set to leave Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of the season, having rejected the club's offer of a new contract, and Ivorian international Aurier is seen as an option to fill the hole. Arsenal will be looking to pay around £7.5 million for the 21-year-old but Toulouse will be hoping to get as much as £12m, with interest from Monaco and PSG, as well as Chelsea and Newcastle set to hike the price up.
Paper Round's view: Aurier said: “You cannot turn down Arsenal. Ask any player if they would like to play for Arsenal and they’ll respond favourably without hesitation." Well, he obviously isn't aware of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's history with Arsenal, but anyway, the Gunners do command a certain amount of awe for young players in France, largely thanks to the efforts of Arsene Wenger over the years. This is a deal that seems inevitable with both parties keen, but the price could yet prove a stumbling block.
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Richards to leave City: The Guardian reports in an exclusive that Micah Richards, Manchester City's longest serving player, will leave the club at the end of the season. The defender has reluctantly agreed that his future no longer lies at the Etihad and has turned down the offer of a new contract and a pay rise. His move will be part of a gradual exodus of English players from the club, with at least four others on their way out this summer. The paper reports that City want around £7m for the 25-year-old, with the club having already sounded out Sagna as a possible replacement. Indeed, the article points out that Richards, a boyhood Arsenal fan, could even swap places with the Frenchman and end up at the Emirates himself.
Paper Round's view: While it will be a shame to see Richards depart, given his long service to one club in an ever more capricious football world, he is clearly better off elsewhere. And at his age - it's rather difficult to believe he's still just 25 - he has many more years in him. A fresh start, quite possibly at Arsenal, could well re-ignite his international career too, although whether Sagna would head in the opposite direction is unlikely - would he really offer anything that Pablo Zabaleta cannot?
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Ramirez wants Milan move: Gaston Ramirez wants to leave Southampton and join AC Milan, according to his agent. The Daily Mirror relays quotes from Pablo Betancourt, who said the 23-year-old midfielder would be "honoured" to replace Kaka at the San Siro. Brazilian Kaka is reportedly bound for the MLS at the end of the season and the Italian giants are searching for his successor.
Paper Round's view: Southampton to AC Milan would a move most players would jump at, so there are no surprises Ramirez appears keen. And no wonder his agent is salivating at the prospect - he would no doubt be in line to benefit handsomely from such a deal. It's just a shame Ramirez has never really lived up to expectation at St. Mary's, although it's clear he should find another club to get his career back on track now.
Hammers pursue Bardsley: West Ham are trying to sign Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley, reports the Daily Mirror. The former Manchester United defender is out of contract at the end of the season and could lead an exodus from the Stadium of Light if Sunderland are relegated. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is hopeful of snapping him up on a free, with the offer of a lucrative contract and signing-on fee.
Paper Round's view: Bardsley's a typical Allardyce player and he could well thrive at Upton Park. He's also a player who deserves to be playing Premier League football and it's entirely understandable that he wouldn't want to take a 40 per cent pay cut to stay with Sunderland if they drop down to the Championship. Another deal that could well happen.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Iker Casillas
- Santi Cazorla
- Premier League
- Bacary Sagna
- Micah Richards
- Serge Aurier