Friday Kickoff: Wenger hints at contract extension; Chelsea linked with Costa; and more

ArseneWengerArsenal1-WestHam2013 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Arsene Wenger’s contract at Arsenal comes to an end at the close of the season, but the Frenchman hinted that he could remain on the Emirates Stadium sideline into the future.

Nearly six months ago, some Arsenal fans were calling for the veteran manager to be sacked as the club continues a seven-year search for silverware. But following the signing of Mesut Özil on transfer deadline day and the reverse of Arsenal’s domestic fortunes, the club and Wenger himself is ready to extend his current deal.

“There is a point where you have to decide (to stay) and there is a point where you have to make your decision public,” Wenger hinted, to English newspaper The Guardian. “You can take of that sentence the way you want.”

Wenger last extended his contract in August 2010. The 64-year-old first joined Arsenal in 1996 and lead the club to 11 trophies including three English Premier League titles between 1997 and 2004. Since 2005, the Gunners have failed to win any silverware, though they’ve managed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League every year for the last 15 years.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

MOURINHO TARGETS COSTA SIGNING IN SUMMER

Jose Mourinho has already ruled out signing a forward in January but he’s already working on bringing in one of the world’s best forward’s this summer.

According to a report in The Times of London, Chelsea “have opened preliminary discussions” to make Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa their main signing ahead of next season. The report states that while Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United are also interested (as well as the previously reported Borussia Dortmund), Chelsea are currently the “firm favorites” to sign the Brazilian-born forward.

The report also adds that a deal for Costa could include goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has spent the last three seasons on loan with Atletico from Chelsea.

Costa, who made headlines last fall for deciding to pledge his international future to his adopted nation Spain, has made Atletico fans quickly forget about losing Radamel Falcao in the summer. The 25-year-old has scored 19 goals in 19 La Liga games and another four goals in the Champions League.

FORLAN REFUTES RUMORS OF BOTAFOGO MOVE

With Clarence Seedorf’s sudden retirement, reports are flying around in Brazil that Botafogo will replace the Dutchman with another player who formerly starred in Europe.

Uruguayan international Diego Forlan’s name has been mentioned in a number of reports as a player that Botofogo is willing to offer, but the 34-year-old forward is happy at his current club SC Internacional and has no plans of leaving, for now.

“What there is are just rumors,” Forlan told Globoesporte at a FIFA World Cup event in his native Uruguay. “I have a contract with Internacional, I just arrived from Brazil. I thank the Internacional president for having released me for this special event. This Friday I’ll be back to work and get on with preseason training.

“So far there is no concrete offer from Botafogo. If something concrete appears, we can talk. But I have another year and a half contract on my contract and I am very happy at Inter. I’m working well in the preseason towards a good year.”

It had been reported that Botafogo were going to offer Forlan a salary of $350,000 (USD) per year, a $50,000 increase over his current salary. The report in Globoesporte says that

Forlan has been the subject of transfer rumors since joining Internacional in 2012 from Inter Milan. The veteran forward was a former target of Toronto FC and even has been linked with team’s in Japan’s J-League.

QUICK KICKS

Real Madrid would like to replace Fabio Coentrao this summer with 21-year-old Sevilla left back Alberto Moreno. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of South Korean international Ji Dong-Wong on a free transfer from Sunderland, though the midfielder is spending the last six months of his contract on loan at FC Augsburg. (REPORT)

After signing Alessandro Matri and Antonio Rosati this January, Fiorentina are closing in on signing Manchester United midfielder Anderson. (REPORT)

Aston Villa have signed Chelsea left back Ryan Bertrand on loan until the end of the season. (REPORT)

Rennes is interested in signing Toulouse’s Israeli international Eden Ben Basat. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Wenger signing a new deal at Arsenal? How do you see Costa fitting into Mourinho’s system? Think Forlan would leave SC Internacional this month?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Wenger hints at contract extension; Chelsea linked with Costa; and more

  1. biff says:

    It gives me great pleasure to point out to the critics who have laughed at my assertion that Jozy could be a back-up forward at Dortmund that, lo and behold, Dortmund signs Jozy’s back up at Sunderland. Just sayin’.

    • Increase says:

      Hey I agreed with you kinda. But mostly about the Schieber being awful, cause honestly Grosskreutz is a better striker.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Sorry biff that doesn’t really show anything.

      • biff says:

        I would say that your shocking inability to apologize and admit the errors of your ways while at the same time failing to praise me for being absolutely positively correct—-well, slowleftarm, this really shows a lot. Yes indeed it does. Shows everything…

        • GW says:

          biff,

          You are making something out of nothing.

          Ji has nothing to do with Jozy.

          Dortmund were interested in Ji last season but Di Canio wanted to keep him because he thought he could develop him. It turns out he could not and Ji hasn’t panned out.
          Ji was on loan to Augsburg and has now been flipped to Dortmund for a much cheaper price than they originally offered for him. And he won’t be going there until next season.

          So Ji is not a replacement for Lewandowski at least not initially. He’ll have to prove himself presumably against a number of other candidates.

          Apparently the argument you are making is that Jozy could replace Lewandoski.

          I happen to think Jozy would do just fine at Dortmund but he would have to go through an adjustment period and we will never know one way or the other as long as he plays for Sunderland.

          And just because Jozy played better than Ji at Sunderland that does not mean Jozy would do better than Ji at Dortmund. It doesn’t work that way. Ji and Jozy are two different people and who knows how either of them will react to a very different environment in Dortmund.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Read the article. Dong-Wong is going to play for Augsburg for the next six months, and only then go to BVB. Plus he is a free transfer. I’ll take free ice cream too!

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i agree that it’s a little different because he’s on a free, but most people were laughing at the idea of jozy joining dortmund because ‘he’s not good enough’, not because ‘dortmund won’t pay his fee’.

        and while everyone will take free ice cream, they may not agree to pay the ice cream’s salary for the next 4 years. :)

      • GW says:

        link to sunderlandecho.com

        If I read this right Dortmund got him from Augsburg not Sunderland.

  2. The Imperative Voice says:

    Arsenal is in the hunt with the Ozil signing this year, but it remains a team with lots of finesse players but not enough striking. If they had topnotch goalscorers (nothing against Giroud) they might run away with it.

    But the same could be said of Chelsea, which has a lot of midfield talent as well but plays either the streaky Torres or the ageing Eto’o or some converted middie up top. They don’t play as slick of soccer most of the time but they have the same fault of a lot of passing players but not enough scorers.

    • GW says:

      If Torres or Eto or whoever else Chelsea bring in over the transfer window don’t score more, then the goals will come from somewhere else.

      Mourinho’s teams are like that. And he has a number of high scoring attacking midfield types.

      The season after Ruud Van Nistelrooy took his ball to Real Madrid Manchester United did not really replace him, they just got a few more goals from everyone else.
      Mourinho has a good idea of what he is doing.

  3. slowleftarm says:

    Arsenal have exceeded my expectations this year but I still think they’ll start to fade soon and the Premier League will be a two horse race. Hope I’m wrong though because a title race with three or more teams would be great to see.