United and Liverpool fight for Song: According to the Mirror, Manchester United and Liverpool are set for a summer scrap over the signing of Barcelona midfielder Alex Song. The Cameroonian is set to leave the Camp Nou, two years after making the switch to the Spanish giants from Arsenal, and could be keen on a return to England’s top flight. United and Liverpool are said to be keen on acquiring the 26-year-old’s services and would be willing to offer the Blaugrana £8 million. Song is reportedly happy to join either club, revealing back in March that, if he were to leave Barca, his favoured destination would be the Premier League. He said: “If I leave Barcelona it will be to return to the Premier League. I will return to England one day, that’s for sure.”
Paper round’s view: Song has found playing time hard to come by since his move to Barcelona in 2012, though that was always going to be the case with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas all vying for midfield spots. However, the Cameroonian star was a key figure for the Gunners during his six-year stint in the Premier League, so it’s not too unsurprising that he would be keen on a return to England. Strong, quick, with good feet and an eye for goal, Song would be a perfect fit for United, who have struggled in the central midfield position all season following the Marouane Fellaini panic-buy. Liverpool, on the other hand, have looked very strong in midfield this campaign, but £8 million for a proven Premier League player could just be too good to turn down.
- - -
Sagna to leave Arsenal: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is expecting full-back Bacary Sagna to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer, according to the Sun. The French defender’s contract is due to expire when the current season comes to an end, and it is reported that the 31-year-old would be receptive to signing a new deal – but only if the Gunners drastically increase his wages. Wenger has sanctioned improved terms for the right-sided defender in an attempt to keep him on their books – increasing his pay cheque to £75,000-per-week – but is not willing to meet Sagna’s demands. The Frenchman, who joined Arsenal in 2007, is reportedly holding out for a whopping £100,000-per-week.
Paper round’s view: On numerous occasions in the past we have seen players threaten to quit a club, only to sign a bumper new deal in the coming weeks or months. But don’t expect that here. Sagna has been a loyal servant to Wenger and Arsenal, and is being rewarded with an offer that would see his wages rise. The defender is also being offered a two-year contract, despite being 31. It sounds like a pretty good deal to us, but if he’s not willing to accept it that you can bet your bottom dollar that Wenger will allow him to leave north London in the summer – albeit quite reluctantly.
- - -
Inter want cut-price Torres: According to a report in the Daily Mail, Fernando Torres could be set to leave Chelsea this summer and join Italian giants Inter Milan. The £50-million striker is a target of the Nerazzurri, who would be willing to end the Spaniard’s Stamford Bridge nightmare. However, the Serie A club would only be willing to secure a deal that would see the 31-year-old join on loan for next season before wrapping up a £10 million deal next year. The Mail report that Torres’ wage demands could be a potential stumbling block, with Inter prepared to offer £3 million per year, which would fall well short of his current Chelsea wage.
Paper round’s view: It finally looks like Fernando Torres could be leaving Chelsea. The striker’s time at Stamford Bridge has been nothing short of a disaster, and he could probably do with a fresh start at another club in another league. ‘El Nino’ was a tremendous success in three of his four years at Liverpool, but a huge dip in form and a £50 million price tag following his move to Chelsea appeared to affect the Spaniard. He’s not been the same player since, and would surely be keen on ending his Stamford Bridge hell. Whether Chelsea would allow Torres to first leave on loan, and then for £10 million – a fifth of what they paid for him just three years ago – remains to be seen, but Jose Mourinho is keen on a new striker so may cut his losses and let the striker join Inter.
- - -
Liverpool and Chelsea keen on Fenerbahce’s Erkin: Liverpool and Chelsea are set for battle to sign Fenerbahce’s Caner Erkin, according to the Metro. The utility man, whose contract is due to expire at the Istanbul club, has reportedly already received a number of offers, which includes the Premier League duo as well as clubs in La Liga and Serie A. However, Erkin’s agent has revealed that his client would prefer to stay with his current club, though he would consider a switch to England. “I don’t usually like giving names but it is great for the players confidence that clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea are showing an interest,” Erkin’s agent Batur Altiparmak said. “However, a few clubs have made offers for Caner, two clubs from England have made a bid and he has also received offers from Spain and Italy. We have received offers but have not held direct talks with any club yet, first of all we are going to listen to Fenerbahce’s offer. We have not received an offer from Inter. Reports that we have held talks are a complete fabrication.”
Paper round’s view: Just two days ago, Italian news agency Sport Mediaset reported that Inter had beaten Roma to the signing of the Turkish defender/midfielder, claiming that the Nerazzurri had agreed a pre-contractual agreement with Erkin and would sign him on a Bosman-free in the summer. But that all now appears to be untrue, and the 25-year-old could well make a move to the Premier League. Erkin has enjoyed a spending season in the Fenerbahce team, helping them to another league title, and has unsurprisingly attracted attention from around Europe. Erkin’s love for Fener may see him sign a bumper new deal, but if his demands are not met then expect him to light up one of the continents more-prestigious leagues next season.
- Sports & Recreation
- Premier League
- Alex Song
- Manchester United
- Bacary Sagna
- Fernando Torres
- Arsene Wenger