Liverpool have reignited their interest in Hatem Ben Arfa. Andre Villas-Boas cools Barcelona talk and reiterates Gareth Bale stance. AC Milan are considering to make a move for Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen.
Liverpool have reignited their interest in Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa.
Liverpool have perhaps resigned to the thought of losing Luis Suarez for good. They are certain to go for a replacement, but not too many footballers in Europe can replace the diminutive Uruguayan. After the recent rumours about a prospective move for Shaqiri, Liverpool have reportedly ignited their interest in Frenchman, Hatem Ben Arfa. On his day, Ben Arfa is almost as good as Suarez and has some incredible goals to his credit to vouch for that. However, the problem is that Liverpool do not have an out and out striker, who can do the job of finding the back of the net regularly.
In 2011-12, when Newcastle finished 5th, many credit the arrival of Papiss Cisse as the catalyst to Newcastle’s propulsion. However, they fail to see the impact Ben Arfa had. When Demba Ba did not want to play anywhere but the centre, the Frenchman had to bear the brunt. He does exceptionally well in a three-pronged attack and at Liverpool he can expect that. Best suited for a free-role, Ben Arfa, however, has poor work-rate and is a tad too injury-prone. The appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football at Newcastle, further adds fuel to fire for a possible transfer. Kinnear will be inclined to cash-in on the mercurial, yet injury-prone, player because the owner, Mike Ashley, has not approved the kind of the spending that they did in the last 3 seasons. Ben Arfa has two years left on his contract but earns a meagre £40,000 a week – a figure which can very well be matched and increased by Liverpool. A bid in the region of £12-£15 million could be enough for Kinnear to give him away.
Tottenham’s reiterates Gareth Bale stance
Less than 2 days back, Barcelona declared the departure of their manager Tito Vilanova, who had a cancer relapse. And unsurprisingly a host of name cropped up as tentative candidates to fill the void and among them, Villas-Boas is one. The young Portuguese manager came under the radar with an impressive show for Porto and was signed by Chelsea. However, the lack of results and internal politics got him the pink-slip a few months down the line. His potential has never in doubt but the responsibility of a club as big as Barcelona might just be a little too much on his young shoulders. However, Andre Villas-Boas refused to comment on speculations linking him with the Barcelona job, instead he sent his best wishes to departing coach Tito Vilanova.
“It’s a difficult situation. At this time, all my wishes are with Tito. If he has to resign over illness, it’s not the time to speak about speculation. We’re speaking about a person’s health; it’s not even a question,” said the former Chelsea manager.
Another hot-shot Tottenham star has been under speculation for quite some time and Villas-Boas also made it clear that the winger will stay put.
“Bale is not for sale at any price,” confirmed the Portuguese manager.
However, a concrete bid in the region of £70-£75 million might just be enough to test the resolve of the north-London club.
AC Milan are considering to make a move for Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen
AC Milan finished a distant third in Serie A, last season and will be striving hard to make of for lost ground this season. Napoli have been quite active this summer in the transfer window and a transfer kitty of about 125 million Euros has made them strong enough. Milan have their eyes set on a few players and Eriksen is at the top of that list.
As an attacking midfielder, the Dane is perhaps as good as it gets at his age. His versatility – playing both as a pivot and a ‘false 9’ provides a lot of scope for managers to improvise. Although more comfortable as a typical ‘number 10’ – Eriksen likes to be sandwiched between the strikers and the deeper lying midfielders. His marvellous display against Manchester City in the group stages of the Champions League 2012-13, has made him a sought-after player and also manifested his desire to fall back and help out his teammates in opening up spaces. Gifted with excellent vision, the young Dane is a blessing for wingers who, if time their runs to perfection will only be left with a goal-scoring chance. He is one of those players who can rip-open a defense with just one pass – a la a long forgotten Riquelme. Recently he rejected a contract offer from Ajax and might just be looking at a lucrative offer from the bigger teams in Europe and AC Milan fit the bill.
However, the prodigy won’t be cheap – as a matter of fact, no prodigies are and Milan might just have to shell out something in the region of £25-£28 million to have him on their payroll. Often touted as the ‘new Laudrup’, Eriksen has 36 caps to his name for Denmark and scored 13 goals in all competitions last season. Milan might finally fill in the void left by Pirlo – partially if not in totality, should they go ahead and acquire the young Dane.