There are rumours that Koscielny will be offered an improved deal from Arsenal on the back of an impressive second season at the club. His performances have been so composed that many Arsenal fans see him as one of the first names on the teamsheet. Even fan-favourite Vermaelen is often cited as being behind Laurent in the pecking order.
It’s highly unlikely that such form would have gone unnoticed. As we know, there are two clubs that enjoy preying on our players – Man City and Barcelona. So it comes as little surprise that Spanish paper El Mundo Deportivo has reported that Barca want to bid for Koscielny for around €18 million.
LadyArse Gossip notes that Barca may use Fabregas to attract Koscielny to the club, not that it would be necessary – most players would want to play alongside Messi, Iniesta and Xavi. I’d be surprised if Arsenal accepted such a bid given that it is not much more than the sum we paid for Koscielny two years ago. I also doubt that Laurent himself would want to leave a club that his helped him gain international caps and put him on the world stage – at least not so soon. He plays alongside plenty of French-speaking players and seems to be enjoying him time at the club given the comments he regularly comes out with.
In other news, Marca are reporting that Ibrahim Afellay will reject a move to Lille because he would prefer to play for a top European club. In this case, both Arsenal and Inter Milan are being heavily linked with the 26-year-old, who made only 5 appearances for Barcelona last season because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered in September.
There is little doubt that Afellay will be on his way out of the Nou Camp this summer. The Dutch winger struggles to feature regularly in the Barca starting line-up, which will prove to be even more difficult if the Catalan giants complete the signing of Athletic Bilbao star Javi Martinez.
It is suggested that Afellay’s friendship with Robin van Persie could be a major factor in his decision. However, assuming that Robin is leaving the club then this has very little to do with anything. The big question is whether Arsenal signing Afellay could convince RvP to stay on that much longer.
Finally, Berbatov is supposedly set to leave United, with the media speculating that he could go for as low as £5 million. He has said the following regarding the Manchester club:
“I love this club, but I am not going to be useful to anyone if I am not playing.”
Naturally, Arsenal has been linked with the Bulgarian. He’s 31 years old with plenty of Premier League experience. He has scored 102 goals in 251 appearances, although recently many of these appearances have been from the bench. It would be ironic if we signed ex-Spurs player Berbatov in the same summer than Spurs signed ex-Arsenal player Adebayor. However, it is pretty unlikely that Utd would sell a player of his quality to us – the only player they have sold to us in recent times was the woeful Silvestre. We have also already signed two strikers this summer, so I don’t expect Wenger to sign a third even if van Persie were to leave.
All three rumours seem far-fetched, probably resulting from a period of few transfers and a lack of real football news.