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Have we got Nou for you Arsenal! Barcelona want Gael Clichy (and Cesc Fabregas)

16 Apr 2010 11:56:56

Have we got Nou for you Arsenal! Barcelona want Gael Clichy (and Cesc Fabregas)

Barcelona are plotting a raid on Arsenal this summer but their top target is Gael Clichy rather than Cesc Fabregas. Clichy impressed Nou Camp boss Pep Guardiola with two excellent performances against Barca in the Champions League quarter-final. Guardiola has identified the need for a left back as a greater priority than a central midfielder like Fabregas, although the issue is clouded by the club's presidential elections in the summer. Gael force: Barcelona could make a bid for Clichy in the summer Meetings were held between representatives of the two clubs whenthey clashed in the Champions League and Arsenal chairman PeterHill-Wood claimed the Catalans had made assurances that they would notmake a bid for Fabregas this summer. Barcelona distanced themselves from Hill-Wood's comments yesterday,when technical secretary Txiki Begiristain revealed: 'We never said wewill not try to sign Cesc Fabregas. We will see what happens.' Instead, Barca insisted they had only given Arsenal assurances thatif they do decide they want to buy their captain they will comedirectly to the club and not try to unsettle him via agents. No deal: Hill-Wood says Barca won't pursue Fabregas this summer It seems inevitable that, at some point, Barcelona will targetFabregas and the lure of the Nou Camp will prove too strong for aplayer who grew up supporting the club with Guardiola as his idol. But, as Hill-Wood also clumsily confessed, it is difficult to seehow the Arsenal skipper would get into a midfield nicely balanced withXavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets at the moment. Fabregas, 22, appears to have been earmarked as the naturalsuccessor to Xavi but the performances of the 30-year-old in recentmonths suggest he has plenty of years ahead at the top level before hethinks of stepping aside. Barcelona's leading presidential candidate Sandro Rosell haspromised to bring Fabregas back to the city of his birth, but preciselywhen that will be remains to be seen. Guardiola would prefer to focus the summer recruitment campaign on ahigh-calibre replacement for Thierry Henry, who looks set to leave,probably for the USA, and bolster his squad in other areas, includingleft back. The Barca boss sees Clichy as a left-sided version of Dani Alves, afull back capable of attacking fluently but with the engine to carryout his defensive duties. For Clichy, 24, it could provide the boost which propels him intothe France team, where he has struggled to get past Manchester United'sPatrice Evra and Barca's Eric Abidal. He has two years left on his Arsenal contract but Clichy has notbeen at his most consistent this season. His place may even have comeunder pressure from Kieran Gibbs had the England Under 21 defender notbroken his foot in November. Gibbs is close to a return but manager Arsene Wenger confirmedThomas Vermaelen, who injured a calf muscle at Tottenham on Wednesday,is expected to miss the rest of the season. 'It looks like three weeks and that means the season is over forhim,' said Wenger, who also revealed Denilson is doubtful for Sunday'sgame at Wigan. Robin van Persie, who looked in superb form when he came on at WhiteHart Lane on Wednesday after five months out injured, reported noproblems on his return. 'He came back very well,' said Wenger. 'It wasa massive gamble as he had not played but we'll see how he is andhopefully he will get a few games now.'  Rose hopes to put a thorn in Chelsea title bid after Tottenham derby heroicsRooney fights with Drogba, Tevez and Fabregas for Player of the Year awardVIDEO SPECIAL: White lightning! Danny Rose joins Paul Gascoigne, David Bentley and Jamie Redknapp to score wonder strikes against arch rivals ArsenalARSENAL FC


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