Barcelona have said that they will talk to Arsenal target David Villa in the summer to try and resolve his situation, but will not keep the player against his wishes.
Arsenal were strongly linked to the forward throughout the January transfer window and manager Arsene Wenger admitted to making an approach for the 31-year-old. The interest was knocked back, however, with Barcelona unwilling to sell Villa in midseason.
Villa, Spain’s all-time record goal scorer, has struggled for a regular place in the Barcelona side since his return from a broken leg at the beginning of the season. Yet, despite only starting 14 games this season, he has still scored 12 goals.
While Villa could yet play a significant role at Camp Nou for the remainder of the season, Barcelona’s vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu suggested that there could be a parting of ways in the summer.
“The coaches hope he is here next season but we will not retain any player that is uncomfortable,” he told Barcelona TV. “In that case, we will talk to him to seek a solution.”
It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will reignite their interest in Villa, with some reports claiming that Wenger will turn to younger targets, such as Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic.
There has been strong speculation that Arsenal have been pursuing a deal to bring Fernando Amorebieta to the Emirates when his Athletic Bilbao contract expires this summer. The central defender’s agent even claimed last week that he was already in talks with the Gunners.
However, Arsenal look set to face serious competition for the 27-year-old’s signature with Sky Sports reporting that three leading Italian clubs are now increasing their efforts to get a deal done.
Juventus, Milan and Internazionale are all said to be pursuing Amorebieta.
A Venezuela international, Amorebieta has failed to agree a new deal with Bilbao and the La Liga side have now withdrawn their deal. He has been free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a club outside Spain since the beginning of January.
According to TalkSport, Arsenal could revive their interest in Dutch attacking midfielder Ibrahim Afellay at the end of the season. The Gunners were strongly linked to the Barcelona man last summer before he moved on a season-long loan to Schalke.
The 26-year-old has not had the best of times in Germany, however, as successive injuries have meant that he hasn’t played since November. Schalke have revealed that they will not attempt to keep Afellay at the club beyond this campaign.
With the former PSV Eindhoven man likely to be surplus to requirements at Barcelona, he could again be looking for a club this summer. TalkSport believes that Arsenal, along with Liverpool and Tottenham are all still interested.
In other news, Metro reports that Arsenal are increasing their efforts to sign Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons. At the age of 23, Gonalons is already captaining the Ligue 1 side and has become a regular in the France squad.
It is believed that Arsenal have had Gonalons watched several times recently and will continue to send scouts to check on him in the coming weeks.
According to Metro, Lyon value the defensive midfielder at £12 million.