We’re about a month away from the end of the football season and the unofficial start of Silly Season, and the rumors are already starting to gather pace. Here are three to get us in the right mood.
Potentially one of the biggest stories of the summer, but also possibly one of the biggest non-stories. It will all depend on whether he can resolve his contract impasse with Arsenal. Wenger claims their differences are purely in the numbers and not in terms of ambition or desire to win.
“I personally think he will sign and stay here. First of all he is happy here. His desire is as well to stay. That is what I deeply believe. The disagreements are more purely contractual. Not on the desire. Both parties have the desire to find an agreement, so I think it will happen.”
Prior evidence is working strongly against Wenger, who probably said similar things about Van Persie and Nasri, too (including the bit about not selling to another Premier League club). He of course doesn’t see it that way.
“I let Van Persie go in the last year of his contract because Van Persie was 29, going on 30, and he was signing a long-term contract. That is not the case with Alexis. Alexis is 28. So that is a bit different.”
“I don’t think that you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure. Because you want to be as strong as you can be, and not strengthen the other teams. But I just told you that I think Alexis will stay here and sign a contract. You are in your job [in the media] where you are always painting the most dreadful situation. But we are not necessarily in that situation.”
-Arsène Wenger; source: Arsenal FC
With Arsenal looking likely to finish outside the top four, hanging on to Alexis (and others like Özil) will not be easy. Not for the first time, Wenger also remained adamant that if push comes to shove, they will eat the value of Alexis’s contract and let him leave for free in 2018.
Good luck with all that.
Meanwhile in New Ham, to the west of East Ham, a certain Michail Antonio is plotting a potential exit, having grown frustrated with the club since a hamstring injury ended his season. According to The Times, Antonio rejected a new contract due to low wages on offer, and he’s also unhappy with his rehab program. Chelsea were linked fairly heavily with the (homegrown!) 27-year-old earlier this season; expect that to pick back up.
Posting a rumor round-up with just two names felt weird, so here’s a Sun-special about a 31-year-old (fading?) midfielder for whom we supposedly offered £17m. But Juventus rejected that and are looking for £25m. Marchisio is supposedly ready to leave The Old Lady, having been reduced to a backup role this season ... so why he’d ever want to come to Chelsea to fulfill a very similar role is a good question that goes unanswered by the rumor-mongers. Also, Chelsea simply don’t sign players over 30 these days, certainly not to anything longer than one season (not even our own), so this is most likely just page-filler, just like the purpose it serves here.