Top play­ers and the premier­ship

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — To­mas Rosicky ( has taken aim at Ar­se­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger hav­ing been marginalised in north Lon­don af­ter com­mit­ting his short-term fu­ture to the club.

Wenger con­firmed in May that the Gun­ners had ex­er­cised the op­tion of ex­tend­ing Rosicky’s con­tract by a fur­ther year but fea­tured in just one of the club’s last 10 games of the sea­son and was left out of the squad en­tirely for the FA Cup fi­nal against As­ton Villa.

The Czech Re­pub­lic in­ter­na­tional has regularly hinted that his fu­ture could lie away from Ar­se­nal and the 34-year-old has risked be­com­ing fur­ther os­tracised by slam­ming Wenger’s se­lec­tion pol­icy.

“Since the mo­ment Arsene Wenger ‘used’ the op­tion in my con­tract, I haven’t even been on the bench. I am laugh­ing but it’s not funny. It’s frus­trat­ing but I am a pro­fes­sional. Even if you lose your place, you must still be pre­pared be­cause the sit­u­a­tion can change. I’ll start the sum­mer prepa­ra­tion with Ar­se­nal and that’s the whole of my plan for the time be­ing,” he said.

Rosicky made eight starts in all com­pe­ti­tions for Ar­se­nal and his op­por­tu­ni­ties next sea­son could be re­duced fur­ther if Wenger caves to pres­sure and signs a hold­ing midfielder to pro­vide com­pe­ti­tion to Fran­cis Co­quelin.

“It is purely a coach’s de­ci­sion,” he told “It’s not my de­cline. My health is fine too. Of course I want to play, but there’s not much I can do about it. I’m not in this alone, there are other play­ers in a sim­i­lar boat. When we do get a chance it’s harder for us to get into our rhythm.” — IOL LON­DON — The Premier League earns the big­gest tele­vi­sion rev­enue in the lead­ing leagues. But, can they at­tract the top stars? Si­mon Jones has a look. Paul Pogba: Ju­ven­tus — Cost: £65m Manch­ester City, United and Chelsea want the Ju­ven­tus star but agent Mino Raiola is blunt about him go­ing to the high­est bid­der. Paris Saint-ger­main think the France in­ter­na­tional can spear­head a Cham­pi­ons League push, as do Barcelona, who can do a deal from Jan­uary 2016. CHANCES: 3/5 Lars Bender: Bayer Lev­erkusen — Cost: £22m City have con­tin­gency plans should they fail to land Pogba and Bender, 26, is on the list. Watched by Ar­se­nal and Manch­ester United, he is the twin of Dort­mund’s Sven. Lars is a rangy de­fen­sive midfielder com­fort­able bring­ing the ball out of de­fence. Con­tracted un­til 2019 but has had in­jury prob­lems. CHANCES: 2/5 Gon­zalo Higuain: Napoli — Cost: £37mil­lion The Ar­gentina striker wants to leave but Napoli are re­luc­tant to sell with­out re­coup­ing the £32mil­lion they paid. He is 27 and car­ry­ing a lit­tle weight, which con­cerned scouts at Manch­ester United. Ju­ven­tus ex­pressed an in­ter­est while Ar­se­nal and Chelsea have mon­i­tored his progress. Jose Mour­inho is a fan from his time at Real Madrid. CHANCES: 3/5 Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger: Cost: £8m Manch­ester United have ear­marked Sch­we­in­steiger (right) for mid­field and are also con­sid­er­ing Mor­gan Sch­nei­der­lin of Southamp­ton. The Ger­man is on big wages and will be 31 on Au­gust 1 but Louis van Gaal wants some­one to share Michael Car­rick’s bur­den of pulling the strings in mid­field. CHANCES: 2/5 Kevin de Bruyne: Cost: £45m The ex-chelsea midfielder was named best player in the Bun­desliga and City sport­ing di­rec­tor Txiki Be­giris­tain has spo­ken to agent Pa­trick de Koster. Bay­ern Mu­nich, PSG and Ju­ven­tus are also keen. Wolfs­burg want him to sign a new con­tract. CHANCES: 3/5 Dou­glas Costa:

Bay­ern Mu­nich —

Wolfs­burg —

Shakhtar Donetsk — Cost:

£24m Brazil­ian has made his love of Chelsea and Jose Mour­inho clear and nearly moved in Jan­uary. In­stead Chelsea signed Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado, who has failed to shine. In­ter Mi­lan want Cuadrado on loan with a view to a per­ma­nent deal and that could pave the way for Costa. Liver­pool and Ar­se­nal have also shown an in­ter­est in the at­tacker, who has a Por­tuguese pass­port. CHANCES: 4/5 Karim Ben­zema: Real Madrid — Cost: £35m Could strug­gle to make the start­ing XI at Real Madrid next sea­son, with Rafa Ben­itez con­sid­er­ing play­ing Cris­tiano Ron­aldo as cen­tre for­ward. Agent Karim Da­jziri is un­de­terred. ‘I haven’t met with any club in Lon­don,’ he said. ‘Not with United or any­one else. He would only leave if Real Madrid told him he was sur­plus to re­quire­ments, be­cause he isn’t go­ing to leave of his own ac­cord.’ CHANCES: 1/5

These are more likely to ar­rive Yo­han Cabaye -(PSG) £10m The stylish midfielder (be­low) has been pushed out by PSG’S all-star cast so wants a re­turn to the Premier League and Crys­tal Palace want to sign him. Cedric Soares-( Sport­ing Lis­bon) £3.5m Stoke have bid £3.5m for the Por­tu­gal right back, also watched by Ar­se­nal and Barcelona. An­thony Mar­tial-( Monaco) £18.5m Ex­cit­ing French for­ward, 19, who shone in the Cham­pi­ons League. Tot­ten­ham will push for a deal. Cris­tian Be­navente-( Real Madrid) £4m ‘Peru­vian Ronald­inho’ has starred for Castilla and is in talks with West Brom. Pe­dro Obiang-( Sam­p­do­ria) £4.4m A tough, tech­ni­cal midfielder, 23, who is head­ing to West Ham. Shinji Okazaki-( Mainz) £9m A long-term Le­ices­ter tar­get, the Ja­pan striker looks set to move for £8m. Franck Ta­banou-( St Eti­enne) £3.5m French left back wants to join Swansea., and the clubs are close to a deal. — Daily Mail

Gon­zalo Higuain

Kevin de Bruyne

Paul Pogba

lars Bender

Bas­tian sch­we­in­steiger

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