Marchetti in the dark over Arsenal links

The Italy shot-stopper has caught the attention of the Gunners, who are looking to bolster their goalkeeping options, but the Lazio man says he is not aware of any interest

Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti has insisted he knows nothing of rumours linking him with a move to Arsenal.

Marchetti, 30, has starred for the Biancocelesti since his arrival in 2011 and played a prominent role in their 2012-13 Coppa Italia success.

His form during last season has reportedly piqued the interest of Arsene Wenger, who is believed to be preparing a significant close-season outlay and could look to replace current No.1 Wojciech Szczesny.

“I don’t know anything,” Marchetti told Sky Italia. “I am on holiday and I’m only thinking about relaxing. The president knows what to do.”

Marchetti, whose contract with Lazio runs until 2016, has made 85 appearances for the Stadio Olimpico outfit.

The goalkeeper has nine senior caps with Italy.

Illarramendi to Real Madrid not a done deal – Ansotegui

The Real Sociedad midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu but his defensive team-mate denies that a transfer has been completed

Asier Illarramendi is not a Real Madrid player yet and it is not worth speculating about his future, according to his Real Sociedad team-mate Ion Ansotegi.

According to reports, Madrid are set to offer la Real €30 million, which would be enough to prise the highly-rated Under-21 Spain international away from the Basque club as it triggers a release clause in his contract.

On Friday current skipper Xabi Prieto was adamant that it would take a hefty offer to lure Illarramendi away from the Anoeta and centre-back Ansotegui refused to be drawn on the rumours.

“Until we’re told anything, there’s no point talking about possibilities and hypothetical situations,” he told AS.

“For the moment all we know is that Asier is a ‘La Real’ player. Unless we’re told otherwise, he has to be here on Thursday [for training]. Those of us who are here should keep calm and not take any notice of what is being said.

 “It’s not down to me or any player to talk about what could happen in the future. Last year, Asier was very important for us; if he stays, he’ll continue to be important.

“He is a high-quality player, but he isn’t the only one. There are other players who played to a very high level [last season], and there will be teams who want to sign them. I don’t think it’s down to me to tell him to stay or to go. It’s something that Real, Madrid and he should decide.”

Illarramendi has a contract with Real Sociedad until 2018.

Giaccherini keen for Juventus stay

The Bianconeri attacker caught the attention of “international clubs” following his impressive displays at the Confederations Cup but his agent insists he is happy in Turin

Emanuele Giaccherini is happy at Juventus and does not want to leave the club, according to his representative Fulvio Valcareggi.

Giaccherini, 28, produced some impressive performances for Italy in the Confederations Cup following a season of sporadic opportunities to showcase his talents for the Bianconeri.

But his agent says the attacker is quite content with his squad status at the Serie A champions, even with interest coming from abroad.

 “The great performances at the Confederations Cup certainly caught the attention of international clubs, but Emanuele is happy at Juventus,” Fulvio Valcareggi told TuttoJuve.

“In Turin there have always been signs of respect and admiration for Emanuele, so there are absolutely no doubts. We want Giaccherini to stay with Juventus.”

Giaccherini, who has a contract with Juve until the summer of 2015, made 17 league appearances last season.

Messi: Barcelona are ideal for Neymar

The Argentina superstar says he has had the privilege of playing with many world-class players and believes the Brazilian will fit right in at the Blaugrana

Lionel Messi says Barcelona are the “ideal club” for new striker Neymar.

The €57million signing from Santos lit up June’s Confederations Cup with an array of stunning performances, including a venomous left-footed drive for Brazil in a 3-0 final win against Spain.

Many have questioned whether or not the 21-year-old will be able to play alongside Messi but the Argentine himself insists Barcelona can help nurture Neymar’s development.

“I have the good fortune to play with many world champions and Neymar is another great player who has joined the club. It’s very nice to play with great players and I think this is the ideal club for him,” he told El Mundo Deportivo.

The Blaugrana romped to Liga success last season but suffered the ignominy of losing 7-0 on aggregate to eventual winners Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final and Messi says the target this year is to collect more silverware.

“The goal is to get all the titles with Barca,” he added. Every year we prepare for that and we also want to have a good pre-season.”

Zico revealed he believes Messi is the greatest player never to have lifted a World Cup and the four-time Ballon d’Or winner appreciated the Brazil legend’s comments.

“I appreciate those words of Zico,” he continued.

“I always try to perform to the highest level and get all the titles. Obviously the World Cup is a dream of mine, my team-mates and the entire country.

“But it’s not only the World Cup that I want to play in, it’s all competitions. I always want to play every game with the same desire.

“It’s too far away to think about the World Cup just now with it being a year away.”

Wanyama good enough for a top Premier League club, says Ledley

The Kenyan looks destined to leave Neil Lennon’s side this summer and his fellow midfielder feels that he would be a hit should he opt to move to England’s top flight

Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley says that team-mate Victor Wanyama is good enough to play for a top Premier League club.

The Kenyan’s future is the subject of hot debate. Goal understands that Southampton, whose interest has been confirmed by Mauricio Pochettino, have had a £12 million bid accepted but have been joined by Liverpool, Everton and Cardiff City in the race for his signature.

Ledley expects his team-mate to leave and feels that he has the ability to become a huge success in the Premier League.

“He’s been great but it looks like he’ll continue his career somewhere else now,” he told the Daily Record.
“The Celtic fans know how good Victor is and realise we got him at a steal. He can play for a top team in the Premier League, easily. He’s got great potential and, if he can get to a top club, it would be fantastic to go up against him in the Champions League in the future.

“Anyone who saw him in that competition last year will know how good he is. I’m surprised none of the top clubs have come in for him but it’s early days in the transfer window.

“If Victor goes it will be a massive blow to us. He was terrific in the Champions League for us last season.”

Ledley, who spent six years at Cardiff prior to his move to Celtic, also feels that the Bluebirds would be an excellent move for Wanyama.

“The way Cardiff play would suit him as he could be their midfield holding player. He would be a fantastic signing for them,” he argued. “They are nowhere near as big as Celtic but it’s the capital of Wales and they’re getting more recognition now they are in the Premier League.

“If Victor went there, he’d enjoy it. I have friends who are fans and they’ve seen him when they’re up watching me at Celtic. I know they were excited about the prospect of him going there.”