Walcott To Follow Van Persie Out?

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott could be the next in line to force an exit after Gunner Captain Robin Van Persie decided not to sign a contract extension last week.

Walcott, 23, joined Arsenal as a 16 year old from Southampton turning down various top clubs in the process. The England international impressed everyone with his displays last season especially against Milan and gradually found himself as one of the mainstays of the side. But Van Persie’s decision to leave has unsettled Walcott who also has a year remaining on his current contract.

Chelsea are monitoring the situation closely and could be tempted to put in an official offer if Walcott refuses to sign an extension. Meanwhile, the officials at the Emirates are still hopeful of persuading their Dutch striker into signing a new deal according to insiders. The club leaves for their pre season tour on Jul 24th and Arsene Wenger and officials would hold another round of talks with Van Persie before that.

Belhanda Snubs Arsenal Offer?

Moroccan playmaker Younes Belhanda has pledged his immediate future to Ligue 1 champions Montpellier amidst intense speculation linking him to Arsenal.

The 22 year old had a terrific season last time helping Montpellier to their historic Ligue 1 triumph. PSG were also believed to be interested in the playmaker but young star has moved to calm down all talks of a possible exit.

“I want to make it clear that it is my choice to carry on with the adventure with my friends at Montpellier,” he posted on his Facebook account.

Belhanda expressed his desire to represent Montpellier in the Champions League coming season. The French club, who have already lost Olivier Giroud to Arsenal, were extremely intent on keeping hold of the young playmaker.

“I really want to play in the Champions League with the club where I have been educated.

“I am very happy to defend the colours of this club again next season.”

Montpellier coach Remi Girard, whom the player largely credits for his footballing education,  has been trying hard to tie down Belhanda to a long term contract.

Di Matteo says Torres has no guarantees

New Chelsea boss, Roberto Di Matteo has warned their Spanish striker Fernando Torres that he needs to compete hard or he might lose his place in the starting line up.

The Italian led the Blues to a historic Champions League triumph last season and has recently been appointed as the permanent manager of the club. Fernando Torres, who has struggled to adjust to life at Stamford Bridge, launched a scathing attack on the club after the final at Allianz Arena accusing them of mistreatment. However, since then the Spaniard has been spoken to and Russian owner Roman Abramovich has promised to build the side around the Euro Golden Boot winner.

But Di Matteo insists that there are no guarantees and everyone has to fight for a place in the team.

“There is no concerns about Fernando at all,” said Di Matteo.

“I did have a chat with him the morning after the final, and have been in touch since as well.

“It (disappointment) was a feeling he had at the time, but I will continue to speak to the players.

“I am expecting him here in a good mood, to be buzzing and be very good next season.

“Certainly winning the Golden Boot and the Euros, along with the trophies they won with us should give them a lot of confidence.

“I expect him next season to be a fantastic player with us.”

Di Matteo, though, added: “We have three strikers at the moment in the squad, and I would not be saying who is going to be playing.

“They will all have to fight for their position and there is healthy competition. Whomever is in the best form and can give the best for the team will be playing.”

 

Galatasaray deny rumors about Arshavin and Berbatov

Turkish side Galatasaray have released a statement denying any interest in the Premiership duo of Andrei Arshavin and Dimitar Berbatov.

According to recent reports, Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin had generated interest in Galatasaray but the club moved quickly to quash the rumors. United striker Dimitar Berbatov, who has been asked to look for a new club by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, was also linked to the Super Lig side.

Arshavin who has struggled to make a mark in England ever since his move to Arsenal in 2008 was set to join his former employers in Zenit but his post Euro outlash put the deal off. Meanwhile, Bulgarian frontman Berbatov has been linked to a host of clubs recently as he continues his search for a new club. The Premier League top scorer in 2010-11 edition found himself pushed further down the pecking order and spent most of the time on the bench.

South American duo of Alex Pato and Gonzalo Higuain have also been linked to Galatasaray as both of them face uncertain futures at their respective clubs.

“Reports regarding the club’s interest in a number of players, such as Andrey Arshavin, Dimitar Berbatov, Alexandre Pato and Gonzalo Higuain, does not reflect the truth,” read a statement on Galatasaray’s official website.

 

United Close To Sign Portuguese Star?

Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho could be set for a move to Premier League after Manchester United opened talks with Porto over a £20m deal.

The 25 year old joined the Primeira Liga champions in 2010 and has since been one of the constant figures in their side. The former Sporting youth player enhanced his reputation as one of Europe’s finest this Euro putting together a string of impressive displays for the national team.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is in search of a central midfielder to step into Paul Scholes’ shoes. The veteran has extended his current contract by a year but is unlikely to feature on a weekly basis for the Reds. Luka Modric was the frontrunner to join United this summer but Real Madrid won the bidding war for the Croat and the Spurs playmaker is set for a move to the Bernabeu.

Porto were believed to be disinterested to sell Moutinho but they have had a change of heart and are willing to listen to offers. A fee in the range of 20m could be enough to lure the Portuguese to Old Trafford.