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Afellay ready to consider Liverpool, Arsenal offers

Liverpool and Arsenal have been put on high alert by Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay, who is considering his future after falling down the pecking order at Barcelona.

Afellay, who signed for the Catalans 18 months ago from youth club PSV Eindhoven, has played a largely peripheral role for the La Liga giants over the previous two seasons, and was informed again by new manager Tito Vilanova earlier this week that he would not be anything more than a squad player in the coming term according to reports in TalkSPORT.


Juventus worry they could be priced out of move for Van Persie

Juventus director general Beppe Marotta has admitted that landing Premier League Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie this summer would be a major coup, but also stressed that the Bianconeri are unwilling to break the bank for the iconic Dutchman's signature, reported ESPN Soccernet.

Van Persie, who has seen seven trophy-less seasons with Arsenal, had declined a new deal with the Gunners, questioning the club's ambition and direction. Arsene Wenger is hopeful of convincing the star to reverse his decision to depart but if he fails in his bid, Arsenal would prefer to cash in on his being in top form, rather than lose him for nothing next summer.


Fergie open to Berbatov stay

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has conveyed that he is interested in keeping Dimitar Berbatov at Old Trafford for another season. However, if the striker is keen on a departure, he will consider the offers received for the Bulgarian, revealed ESPN Soccernet.

Berbatov, who joined the Red Devils from Tottenham in 2008, had been a key feature of the United setup. However, last season saw his role in the team diminish due to the rise in prominence of Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in the forward position. The 2010-11 Golden Boot winner managed just 12 league appearances for the Red Devils last season. The 30 year-old had voiced his dissatisfaction with club officials and even accused Ferguson of pricing him out of a possible transfer.


Fearful of losing another star, Wenger finally opens contract talks with Walcott

Whilst the Robin Van Persie saga has managed to overshadow the Theo Walcott contract situation thus far, the last thing Arsene Wenger needs is another month of drama. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the Arsenal manager is all set to sit across the negotiating table with Walcott and his agents, and engage in what he hopes will be fruitful talks to tie down his high-flying England ace to a new long term contract. The Gunners are in a losing battle over holding on to their talismanic striker RVP, and they definitely don't want Theo Walcott to follow in the Captain's footsteps and reject a contract extension.

The negotiations between the two parties have been unsuccessful till now as the 23 year old is believed to be keen on much higher wages (to the tune of £100,000 per week) than those currently being offered. And now the Metro reports that Arsene Wenger would hold talks with the player on the flight to Asia for their pre-season tour to discuss terms and persuade the player to stay put.


Arsenal and Chelsea set to battle for defensive midfield reinforcements

Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean has announced that they are ready to sell midfield star Steven N'Zonzi, reports the Daily Star. The former French youth international was left out of Rovers' pre-season training camp at Austria after he signaled his desire to leave Ewood Park this summer.

The 23 year-old joined Blackburn in 2009 from French side Amiens. After a brilliant first season, where he was voted the Player of the Year by Blackburn fans, the defensive midfielder has been a regular feature in the team. Although Rovers were relegated last season, N'Zonzi's performances stood out, drawing attention from top clubs, including Arsenal and Chelsea.


Sir Alex confident that Van Persie will join the Red Devils

The Daily Mirror brought forward some quite unexpected news this morning, with Manchester United's legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson declaring (albeit to his friends) that Arsenal's contract rebel Robin van Persie would be joining the Red Devils this summer. Should the transfer actualize, Van Persie is certain to be branded a traitor for joining a team which for the better part of the previous decade were the Gunners' arch rivals.

The Van Persie saga has been dragging on for quite some time, and now both the striker and the club are thought to be keen on taking a decision before the team embarks on their tour of the Far East this weekend. Italian Champions Juventus and last gasp Premier League winners Manchester City were considered as the two main contenders for the Dutchman's signature, with Manchester United always in the running, but being mostly considered a distant third. However, if the aforementioned story is deemed accurate, United could well have a fantasy league type dream partnership to choose from this coming season.


Shakhtar reject £26 million Chelsea bid for Willian

Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu has revealed that Chelsea have had a £26 million bid for Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian rejected by the Ukrainian outfit. Chelsea are long-term admirers of the 23-year old, and had a £16.7 million bid rejected during the January transfer window this year according to reports on Soccernet.

And while Lucescu suggested that the club wouldn't fight tooth and nail to hold onto Willian, the player would only leave for his complete valuation.

"I told Willian he can leave, but only if the right offer is made," Lucescu told Romanian TV station Dolce Sport. "He's a great player. Willian was the biggest investment Shakhtar have made in a young player, we have to respect that. He played only seven or eight games in Brazil."


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