Barca continue their pursuit of Arsenal play maker Cesc Fabregas with renewed interest in the Spanish media. While the 20-year old Spanish international is signed to a further seven years at Ashburton Grove, you know he's probably making peanuts, especially when you consider the $270K per week Michael Ballack is making at Chelsea for riding the pine. Which makes it more crucial for the Gunners to grab some silver this year. If Fabregas continues his form, we could see Real Madrid and the Blaugrana to continue dangling some hard-to-refuse carrots in front of the youngster.
Of course we'd listen to an offer from Barca, says Fabregas' agent [Daily Mail]
In other Arsenal news, it looks like Alisher Usmanov is fighting for every scrap of stock in his bid to wield some influence in the Gunners' boardroom, if not to take over the whole club. The "Hardman of Uzbekistan" will scoop up less than 1% of stock from deceased shareholders. At some point, you have to expect Peter Hill-Wood to make some statement about how that's the only way he'll sell his stake to Roman Abramovich's buddy; that is, until next year when he'll walk away with a some tax-free cash. Stan Kroenke's response was to stroke his mustache and keep silent.
Alisher Usmanov to raise stake at Arsenal [Telegraph]
Could we see a swap for Michael Owen and Nicolas Anelka? Reports that Sven could bail out the elfin, permanently knocked England striker from the Geordie hell of Newcastle United. I'm sure Sam Allardyce's Benitez-like whining about little Mikey playing for his country haven't endeared him to Owen. And it's pretty obvious that the Incredible Sulk is itching to leave the Reebok after Sammy Lee's impotence at Bolton.
Sven Wants Owen at Man City [The Sun]
If you're looking for an entertaining read to get you in the mood for the Champions League season, check out Andy Brassell's All Or Nothing: A year in the life of the Champions League. Brassell spends the 2003/4 season, traveling to 8 countries and 18 stadiums, giving readers a glimpse of life for many teams in the changing atmosphere of the European Cup, and exactly how it affects Europe's domestic leagues, players and fans.
All Or Nothing: A year in the life of the Champions League [Book Site]