Premier League - Paper Round: Guardiola to replace Wenger?

Sun, 19 Feb 08:29:00 2012

Not surprisingly Arsenal's FA Cup defeat to Sunderland has got the papers talking and everyone is speculating as to what will happen next at the Emirates.

Pep Guardiola comparece en rueda de prensa previa al enfrentamiento del Barça ante el Bayer Leverkusen - 0

The most sensational claim comes in the Mail on Sunday who reckon Wenger could be replaced by current Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola in the summer.

The papers says that: "Senior sources at Arsenal have indicated that plans are being discussed to move the Frenchman into the boardroom after another season of disappointment looks certain to condemn the club to missing out on a trophy for the seventh year running."

Convincing Guardiola to leave the European Champions for a club struggling to even make the Champions League seems like it might be a tough ask for Arsenal but the Mail uses quotes from the man himself on Saturday night to try and build on their hypothesis.

Guardiola has been working on a rolling contract for the last few seasons and would be a free agent in the summer and has yet to sign a deal to coach Barcelona next season.

"I can't be at such a demanding club without being certain that I have the strength to do it,' said Guardiola on Saturday night, in response to questions about a new contract.

"I still don't have it clear in mind. When I am sure then the club will know. To renew my contract, I have to feel it. We have been together for four years and the decision needs to be thought out thoroughly.

"I feel that it is better to have a bit more time. If that is okay then fine, if not then too bad. I have to be true to myself."

The Sunday Mirror meanwhile claims that Wenger is still sitting on a £57 million transfer kitty from the sales of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas last season.

The paper says that: "Arsenal's August signings - Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andre Santos - were brought in using funds already set aside for Wenger."

The Mirror also claims that the war chest could be increased even more with Paris St Germain linked with a £15 million summer move for Alex Song.

The People's take on the situation is that Arsenal are set to smash their rigid wage structure in the summer in a bid to reverse their recent bad fortune.

At the moment wages for the club's top players is capped at around £100,000-a-week, but if they loosen that, the hope is they might be able to persuade Robin van Persie to sign a new deal while being able to go after Lille star Eden Hazard too.

Hazard is now an official target of Arsenal's North London rivals Tottenham with various papers quoting Harry Redknapp as saying the Belgian is "definitely on our list."

Of course, Redknapp may not be Tottenham manager by the summer, with England still set to come calling.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Spurs will fight hard to keep him though and will look for big compensation should he walk but the FA are ready for that too and are "in the process of considering other candidates which would strengthen their negotiating position when they do begin the process of appointing the new man."

Another man who may or may not be at White Hart Lane next season is Luka Modric. According to the People the Croat has told pals he is relieved he did not get his wish of a move to Chelsea last year but that he would still be interested in joining Manchester United this summer in a £40 million deal.

A final note on Tottenham and they have stepped up their interest in Ajax skipper and central defender Jan Vertonghen according to the Mail on Sunday.

Steve Bruce has turned down Wolves' offer to take charge of the club's battle against relegation because they are only offering the job for the remaining 13 games of the season according to the Mail on Sunday.

However, the Mirror claims that it is Alan Curbishley who has turned down the job and they say that Bruce will now be approached.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton have stepped up their interest in Anderlecht's Matias Suarez. All three clubs have sent scouts to watch the 23-year-old Argentine striker. (The People)

Manchester City striker John Guidetti is a summer target for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. The Dutch teenager has been in fine form while on loan at Feyenoord this season (The People).

And finally, Chelsea chief Roman Abramovich is setting up a sensational swoop for Serbian starlet Lazar Markovic - the teenage forward rated at a staggering £14million. Abramovich is making his move for the Partizan Belgrade hitman after Liverpool were scared off by the price tag. (The People)

Reuters

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