Are Arsenal going to finally get their own back on Barcelona this summer?
For years Arsenal fans have been sick of the club being raided by Barcelona, who have snapped up the cream of their talent; with Marc Overmars, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas among those to leave the Gunners for Spain. Oh and Alexander Hleb too.
But there appears to be a change in the air... at least if the papers are to be believed. Ahem.
As many as five players from Barcelona have been linked with signing for Arsenal over the past week, and here they are...
The Mail reported last night that Alexis Sanchez is growing unhappy at Barcelona, falling out of favour of late and struggling for goals. The paper claim Arsenal have a long-held interest in the player, but there are going to be a number of clubs battling to sign him. Barcelona are likely to listen to offers for him, but they signed him for £22 million two years ago and will not want to take a big loss. Manchester City are likely to be in the hunt.
Arsenal hoped to sign David Villa in January but were rebuffed by Barcelona. Last month Arsene Wenger bizarrely insisted Villa was 'not a priority' for this summer, but last week Spanish paper AS still claimed the Gunners were interested. However after he netted for them in the Champions League last week against Milan, he is said to be back in favour and reports have stated he could even be offered a new deal at the club over the coming weeks.
Goalkeeper Victor Valdes is the name most prominently linked with the Gunners, as the striker has made clear his intention to leave Barcelona for a new challenge abroad. Arsenal's goalkeeping situation is far from certain, with Szczesny underperforming this season and Fabianski seen as only a short-term solution until the end of the campaign. Arsenal are said to have set aside £10 million for Valdes, but much could depend on their finishing in the top four as he will have other offers.
Montoya is perhaps the most intriguing of names linked, a 21-year-old right-back who could replace Bacary Sagna and compete with Carl Jenkinson. A Spain under-21 regular, he has only featured nine times in La Liga, and Arsenal are credited with an interest in him again by AS along with Inter Milan. He is said to be keen on a move and snapping him up could be a great piece of business.
Yes this is one which would divide Arsenal fans, but it is a rumour which has persisted over the past month and was run by the Express a fortnight back. Song has failed to break into the Barcelona side, and Arsenal have yet to replace him, and could likely buy him back for less than they received. Inter and PSG are also interested, and Song may feel a move would not be in the right direction.
Which of these five will sign for Arsenal? And which would you like to?
image: © jeroen_bennink