TRANSFER ROUNDUP: Ben Arfa To Barcelona, Ibrahimovic To Return To Milan, And More
Hatem Ben Arfa In Talks With Barcelona
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere has confirmed that Barcelona are interested in signing Hatem Ben Arfa at the end of the season.
Ben Arfa made 86 appearances for Newcastle United, where he showed glimpses of exceptional top-class ability, but then left the Magpies unceremoniously, moving to Hull City on a disappointing loan spell, before finally returning to Ligue 1 on a free transfer last summer. At Ligue 1 outfit Nice, however, the winger has been revitalized. The 29-year-old has managed to bag 17 goals and 5 assists in 32 league appearances, and is under consideration for an international call-up for the French national team for Euro 2016.
His recent performances may have earned him a ticket to Barcelona, as per Rivere, who was quoted as saying: “Barcelona are indeed one of the numerous clubs who have asked for Hatem. Frankly if it could happen I would be very, very happy for Hatem, who deserves to go to a club like Barca. You don’t refuse a club like Barca, in my opinion, but it’s his decision. But it’s not yet done, according to what Hatem has told me. They’re still in discussions.”
L’Equipe have stated that the Catalan giants intend to sign Ben Arfa, whose contract with Nice expires this summer, to provide back-up for their front trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Tottenham Could Lose Midfield Duo This Summer
Tottenham could lose midfielders Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason this summer, according to reports.
Mousa Dembele has been linked with potential summer moves to Roma, Chelsea, and Juventus, despite claiming that he is “very happy (at Spurs) at the moment” in an interview with Spurs’ official website last month. However, contrasting reports have now come to light following the recent comments of Roma director Walter Sabatini, who reportedly told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Dembele has already been sold, and for a ridiculous price.”
Where the Belgian midfielder will play next, if at all he switches clubs this summer, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, Bournemouth are readying an ambitious £6 million bid for Ryan Mason, as per a report by the London Standard. Spurs are, however, expected to reject the bid and ask for more money for their 24-year-old England international, who has made 20 appearances for the North London club in the Premier League this season. But with Mason being high on Bournemouth’s list of priorities, the Cherries may just increase their initial bid.
Varane Won’t Move To Manchester United, Claims Guillem Balague
Raphael Varane will not be moving to Manchester United this summer, Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has stated.
United have been targeting Varane for quite a while, and even attempted to sign Varane back when Sir Alex was in charge at the Old Trafford club. And according to Le10 Sport, the Red Devils have now stepped up their pursuit for Varane, as it is being rumoured that the 23-year-old defender has been left upset for being dropped to the bench for Real Madrid’s crucial Champions League games this season.
However, Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague has claimed that he thinks it’s very unlikely for Varane to move to the Theatre of Dreams. Speaking to Sky Sports, Balague said: “So do you think Varane will leave a team that could win another Champions League, that is battling to the end for the title, coached by his hero Zizou to go to a club that might not even get in the Champions League? Would he move to a team that is still a long way from being a powerful title-winning side? I don’t think so.”
Former AC Milan Chief Highly Optimistic Over Ibrahimovic Return
Former AC Milan sporting director Ariedo Braida has claimed that he thinks Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to AC Milan is quite possible.
Ibrahimovic’s contract with Paris-Saint Germain is set to expire at the end of this season, and the Swede star has numerous offers on his table from England, Italy, Qatar, China and even the MLS, with huge speculation stating the 34-year-old is set to join Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
However, Braida has echoed the rumours suggesting Zlatan would much rather favour a sentimental return to Milan over financial rewards, as the Milan chief believes that there is a strong possibility of the forward running riot in the Serie A next season. Speaking to Sport Mediaset, Braida said: “Ibra isn’t thinking about money. He will seek a move that he likes. And Milan know that he likes the city.”
Alexandre Lacazette Rejects Barcelona Move
Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has rejected a potential summer move to FC Barcelona, according to L’Equipe.
The France international managed to score 20 goals for club and country this season, but is set to leave Lyon this summer. The 24-year-old’s lethal nature in front of goal caught the interest of Barcelona, who were believed to be the frontrunners for the striker’s signature, until now.
New reports by L’Equipe have now emerged, revealing Lacazette has snubbed the offer made by the Spanish champions, as he believes the move would not be beneficial due to a non-guaranteed starting spot, thanks to the likes of Luis Suarez and Leo Messi.
The news will come as a boost to Premier League clubs Tottenham and West Ham, who are believed to be in hot pursuit of Lacazette’s services.