Rumour Has It: Barca turn to Man City and Man Utd to bolster attack, Aubameyang to leave Arsenal in Jan?

By Sports Desk December 18, 2021

Barcelona are struggling financially but Xavi is desperate to reinforce his attack following Sergio Aguero's retirement.

Ferran Torres and Edinson Cavani are believed to top Barca's transfer list heading into the January window.

It could be a busy month ahead for the LaLiga outfit.

 

TOP STORY – TORRES, CAVANI TO BARCA?

Manchester City's Ferran Torres and Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani are priority objectives for Barcelona, according to Marca.

Barca continue to be linked with Spain international Torres as Xavi attempts to bolster the embattled LaLiga giants.

Cavani has also emerged as a top target after Sergio Aguero retired from football and the duo could reportedly arrive in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are open to selling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang next month, but the Gunners are more likely to move on from the former skipper at the end of the season. Aubameyang has been stripped of the captaincy and linked with Barca and Juventus.

Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt are eyeing Yusuf Demir as Diario Sport reports Barca have decided to cut short the 18-year-old's loan spell from Rapid Vienna.

Rafael Leao is poised to sign a contract extension with Milan until 2026, per Nicolo Schira.

- Calciomercato says Arsenal have not given up on signing Juve attacker Dejan Kulusevski. The Sweden international has also been linked to London rivals Tottenham.

Barca are monitoring United sensation Mason Greenwood, reports El Nacional. England international Greenwood is highly rated at Old Trafford.

- Jeunes Footeux says Liverpool have joined the race to sign Lille star Jonathan David. The Canada international is reportedly wanted by Arsenal, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

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    Olivier Giroud says he still harbours hopes of featuring for France at the World Cup later this year, having contributed to Milan's extraordinary Serie A title win in his first season in Italy.

    Giroud has been left out of Didier Deschamps' squad for France's four UEFA Nations League fixtures next month, with the World Cup holders' schedule including a double-header against 2018 final foes Croatia.

    But the striker, who appeared in all seven matches during France's second triumphant World Cup campaign in Russia, has impressed since joining Milan at the start of the season, joining Rafael Leao (both 11) as the Rossoneri's highest league goalscorers as Stefano Pioli's men won their first league title since 2010-11.

    Giroud and has 112 caps for France and is just three goals away from equalling Thierry Henry's record of 51 goals for Les Blues, but will be 36 years old by the time his country begin their World Cup campaign on November 22.

    But the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker admits he is keen on making a final appearance at world football's showpiece competition, although he is currently focused on celebrating a successful club campaign.

    "It would be a lie to say that I don't want to play a third World Cup, certainly my last competition," Giroud told Europe1 Sport.

    "At that point I will be 36 years old. And if I am still competitive with my club, yes, I hope to continue helping France. 

    "There are still many months to go. Until then, I'll take advantage of my holidays and savour this title with my club. Then we'll see what happens."

    While Giroud has World Cup, Champions League and Europa League winner's medals, his Serie A triumph represented just the second league title win of his career, and his first since winning Ligue 1 with Montpellier in 2011-12.

    Having held off the challenge of rivals Inter to move level with the Nerazzurri's tally of 19 league titles, Giroud says the current Rossoneri squad have earned a place in the storied history of Milan.

    "There have been great players who have passed from Milan," he added. "But it is a source of pride to have contributed to the construction of this Scudetto, eleven years later with experienced players like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, it is fantastic. 

    "We had a great season, we were rewarded for all our efforts and yes, we are entering the history of Milan. We are still a long way from the big names in Milan, but it's nice to be associated with all these great players."

    Referring to the side's incredible celebrations, Giroud added: "I think you really realise the impact it has had in Milan and Italy on the open bus, seeing these hundreds of thousands of Milanese fans who have been waiting for a while. 

    "We are all very proud to bring Milan back to the top. It was a tough fight to the end, and you realise you are joining a very big club when you see all this passion around you and the class that reigns in this historic club. 

    "Not everything was written when we arrived this year. The goal was to qualify for the Champions League, to get back on top of the table. The goal, initially, was not to win the Scudetto. 

    "Being at Milan and fully participating in this beautiful story is incredible. It was another challenge that I needed and in addition, it led to a Scudetto. I could not have dreamed of better."

    Meanwhile, Milan's successful title tilt was aided by several French players, including goalkeeper Mike Maignan and defenders Pierre Kalulu and Theo Hernandez, as well as a number of other French speakers.

    And Giroud says it has been a great source of pride to contribute to the success of a side with a significant French influence.

    "The Milanese dressing room has a strong French accent, so to speak, with all the French," he said. "There are also other players who speak French, like Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer, [Fode] Ballo-Toure. There are other French players, like [Tiemoue] Bakayoko. 

    "We speak French, so it is true that there really is this slightly French team, as there was at Arsenal at the time. We are fortunate to have spent most of the season with four Frenchmen in this team and it is a pride."

  • Salah reveals Kane motivation after Premier League Golden Boot win Salah reveals Kane motivation after Premier League Golden Boot win

    Mohamed Salah has revealed how missing out on the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2020-21 season, when Tottenham's Harry Kane pipped him by just one goal, motivated him to enjoy an incredible individual campaign for Liverpool this time around.

    Salah finished as the Premier League's joint-highest goalscorer this season, matching Son Heung-min's tally of 23 goals as Liverpool finished just one point short of champions Manchester City.

    The forward also edged out team-mate Trent Alexander Arnold by one league assist, laying on 13 goals to emulate Kane's feat of winning both awards in the 2020-21 campaign, as he led Liverpool's fight for silverware. 

    Having already lifted the EFL Cup and FA Cup this season, Jurgen Klopp's team could add the Champions League when they face Real Madrid in Saturday's final, with the Egypt winger looking for revenge after sustaining an injury in Liverpool's 2018 defeat to the same opponents.

    Speaking to Rio Ferdinand for BT Sport ahead of that contest in Paris, Salah revealed how missing out on topping the Premier League's goalscoring charts last season motivated him to "work like crazy" to outdo his fellow forwards this term.

    "When I signed here, I can't say I thought 'I expect myself to go and win three golden boots!'", Salah said. "But in the first season [2017-18] I was fighting with Kane in the beginning, and I thought I had a big chance to win it.

    "When I won it from Kane – and Kane was winning it [each of] the two years before – in the summer I went on holiday and said, 'look, why not?' I did it one time, I took it from Kane, a top goalscorer, so give it a try for a second one.

    "I won it the second year, and once I won the second one, I said, 'you've got to go for four or five!' I think in my mind, for five years now I've always competed for it. I lost some, [like] last season in the last game to Kane.

    "That last year was painful for me, trust me! It pushed me to be who I am now, this year. 

    "I believe that last season as a team, it was not really good, but for the golden boot, in the last game, with one goal difference... that's not good.

    "It didn't kill my summer, I was so motivated, I was working [like] crazy. I said 'look, next year I'm going to win both things – golden boot and assists. I'm going for both from now'. I was working like crazy and I did it."

    Despite Liverpool finishing third last season after enduring an injury-hit campaign, Salah scored 22 league goals, only to see Kane net his 23rd in a final-day 4-2 win over Leicester City.

    But the Liverpool star responded to win his third Golden Boot in five seasons this term, drawing level with Kane and Alan Shearer with three such awards. Only Thierry Henry, with four, has won more.

  • Deschamps expects Pogba to change club after Man Utd struggles Deschamps expects Pogba to change club after Man Utd struggles

    France coach Didier Deschamps has backed Paul Pogba to find a new club and arrest his slump in domestic form, as he hailed the upcoming Aurelien Tchouameni.

    Pogba endured another frustrating season with Manchester United, who finished sixth in the Premier League and will hope Erik ten Hag can transform their fortunes next campaign.

    World Cup-winning midfielder Pogba is widely expected to depart Old Trafford when his contract expires in June, with Juventus seemingly in the running to bring the 29-year-old back to Turin, while Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked.

    Pogba has come under scrutiny for failing to replicate his international performances for France, who he will not feature for in upcoming Nations League games due to injury.

    Deschamps heaped praise on Pogba's efforts for his country and expects the France star to move on from United after another underwhelming campaign.

    "Pogba has had a lot of injuries, with his club's results not up to par," Deschamps told a news conference on Saturday.

    "He too will have to change scenery this summer."

    Deschamps additionally spoke of players who may have struggled on club duty, saying: "There has to be credit for what they have been able to do with the France team."

    Tchouameni has enjoyed another productive season in Ligue 1 with Monaco, leading to reports he could join Liverpool, Chelsea or Real Madrid in the next transfer window.

    The midfielder appeared 35 times in Ligue 1 this campaign, with only Wissam Ben Yedder (37) and goalkeeper Alexander Nubel (38) featuring more for Philippe Clement's side.

    The 22-year-old represents a threat at both ends of the pitch, leading Monaco's charts for successful opposition-half passes (932), while making the most tackles (86) and winning the most duels (260).

    Tchouameni will compete with the likes of N'Golo Kante, Adrien Rabiot and Matteo Guendouzi for a spot in midfield, and Deschamps is delighted to see the Monaco man coming into contention.

    "He doesn't have the experience of Pogba and Kante, but he has potential... I took him on quite early, and in his head, he has the necessary maturity," Deschamps said.

    "It's good to have these young people who make sure the older players do not rest on their laurels! The young players continue to grow, and even the others who are not selected are also growing.

    "It's the new generation. Today a 19-year-old, it can seem a bit presumptuous, they go to the big clubs, but they have no worries, they do everything to succeed."

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