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Wednesday, Apr 16th

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Manchester City have set their sight on Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna and are considering a move for the Frenchman during the summer, reports the Daily Star. Despite boasting of a star-studded squad, the City hierarchy have failed to provide a quality deputy to Pablo Zabaleta and have identified Sagna as one of the potential candidate who can provide the same class and consistency as the Argentine.

Sagna’s contract with the Gunners will expire at the end of the current season and even though there have been negotiations with the Arsenal board regarding a new agreement, it was rumoured that the French international’s representatives are not content with the financial remuneration that the club is willing to put on the table. According to reports, Arsenal have decided against improving Sagna’s wages, which are currently 60,000 pounds per week, and are prepared to extend his current contract by two more years, something which the former Auxerre man might consider as an insult to the years of service and loyalty that he laid down for the team.

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Arsenal edging closer to landing Draxler

Arsenal’s slender hopes of strengthening their squad before the close of the January transfer window got a significant boost today with the Metroreporting that Schalke are prepared to talk shop about the sale of Julian Draxler.

Sagna to get bumper payday… but not at Arsenal

Manchester City, one of the many clubs that have robbed Arsenal of their talented stars over the last decade are attempting one last audacious capture by offering French international Bacary Sagna what he and many others believes he deserves, one last major payday. The Daily Star reports that Man City are looking to take advantage of the Frenchman’s contract situation at the club and will sign him on a free transfer in the summer.

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Chelsea are pretty used to swimming their way out of scandals in recent years, with the John Terry affairs and Jon Obi Mikel’s shenanigans embroiling the London club in tabloid controversies. But the reigning king of controversies has declared his interest in wearing the Blue of Chelsea, which would surely garner the club regular appearances in the front pages. Mario Balotelli has left an enigmatic void in the Premier League since being shipped out of Man City last year but he is hoping for a return to England and specifically to Jose Mourinho.

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In what was a nightmare draw for the four concerned parties and total delight for all the remaining teams in the FA Cup 5th Round, the four favourites still very much in the running for football's oldest prize have been drawn against each other. Arsenal, chasing a record equalling 12th FA Cup triumph will play host to Liverpool in what will be a blockbuster February for the Gunners, while Manchester City will have the honour of welcoming Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium. Crucially for three of the aforementioned sides, they will also be involved in the UEFA Champions League in February with the Gunners and the Citizens having particularly tough tasks ahead of them in that competition as they take on Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively.

The FA Cup ties are scheduled on the weekend of the 15th and 16th of February, thereby taking place exactly the weekend before the aforementioned Champions League encounters. The saving grace for both Arsenal and Man City is that both the games, the FA Cup and the Champions League Round of 16 First Leg ties will be played in home comforts.

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Chelsea made a positive start to life without Juan Mata as they claimed a 1-0 victory over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge to progress into the fifth round of the FA Cup where they have earned themselves a bonus trip to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City. The Blues took the lead through an Oscar free kick and held on to their lead. They rattled the post twice but failed to the tally but it didn't matter as Stoke barely had a chance throughout the entire game.

Jose Mourinho made six changes to the side that outclassed Manchester United last time around. Captain John Terry was given a breather with David Luiz, who played in midfield last week, switching to central defence and Frank Lampard returning to the midfield after his injury lay off. New signing Nemanja Matic was handed his first start after his return to Chelsea while experienced left back Ashley Cole came in for Cesar Azpilicueta. There was also a change in goal as the ever reliable Petr Cech was rested and Mark Schwarzer continued to play the Cup matches. Andre Schurrle got a rare start as Willian only made the bench. There was disappointment for Demba Ba as he surprisingly started only on the bench. Mourinho had indicated that it was Ba's time to shine after an injury to Fernando Torres but the Portuguese continued with in form Samuel Eto'o perhaps hoping for the Cameroonian to go on a scoring run.

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The magic of the FA Cup was nowhere to be seen on Saturday as all but one Premier League club cruised into the fifth round. The only losers from the top flight were an under strength Crystal Palace side who went down fighting to holders Wigan Athletic.

In the early kick off, Liverpool were largely untroubled as they cruised into the fifth round with a victory over Bournemouth. The Merseysiders scored on either side of half time through Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge and were never under any sort of threat despite Bournemouth having a strong first half. Moses, the on loan Chelsea winger, scored from a Luis Suarez pass on 26 minutes and Liverpool led at the break. The game was put to bed when Sturridge was set up by Suarez, and the Englishman gleefully made it 2-0 t confirm Liverpool's progress.

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Arsenal and Schalke remain locked in talks for Draxler

All the parties involved in the Julian Draxler transfer story have now given their sound bites to the media as Arsene Wenger fed the rumours further by saying this: “We don’t rule it out but at the moment I cannot announce anything.” The player himself has clearly stated that he wants a move to the Emirates in January and Schalke are resigned to letting him go, only if their asking price of £35m is met. The Gunners contingent has even traveled to Germany according to the Mirror, with the hopes of concluding a deal by the end of the month.

Man United finally announce Mata deal

Manchester United have taken a step in the right direction to end the Juan Mata saga as they announced the capture of the Spanish playmaker on their official website: “Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with Chelsea Football Club for the transfer of Juan Mata for a club-record fee. The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms.” The official unveiling of the 25 year old will happen early next week in all likelihood, with the move being delayed by Chelsea’s move for Mohamed Salah.

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