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Barcelona the first stop as Arsenal plot double La Liga swoop

| 29.04.2013

As Arsenal’s league form continues to bolster their hopes of Champions League qualification for next season, Arsene Wenger would appear to be planning for Europe’s elite competition accordingly.

The Gunners chief has once again been linked with a host of summer additions, and it remains to be seen whether or not he will again opt for quantity rather than quality in terms of who he brings in.

But that said, few could argue that the landing of his initial prime summer target would represent a marquee signing.

Wenger is set to test Barcelona’s resolve for forward David Villa, whom they were strongly linked with in January, along with then-champions Manchester City.

At that point, Barca refused to sell the 88-cap Spanish international, yet Villa has continued to be utilised only in a bit-part role at the Nou Camp since.

And with next year’s World Cup looming large, the 31-year-old is now desperate to play more regular first-team football in order to remain prominent in Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque’s thoughts.

If Barca chief Tito Vilanova cannot guarantee the World Cup and European champion regular starting action next term therefore, Villa could jump at the chance to become a first-team fixture at the Emirates.

Likely available for around £15m, the ex-Valencia man would represent a cheaper option for Wenger than Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, whom he has also expressed an interest in.

Meanwhile, the Gunners chief has scoured other regions of Spain also in the hope of landing a player who would appear to represent a traditional Wenger signing for Arsenal.

Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, 20, has attracted interest from City, Chelsea and Real Madrid as well as the Gunners, after a terrific maiden La Liga season since his arrival from Lens last summer.

Rated at £17m, the France under-20 international has drawn comparisons with Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, a player it is argued Wenger has never truly replaced in the eight years since he left the club.

Indeed, the Gunners are trophyless since their former captain’s exit, and would hope the addition of tough-tackling enforcer Kondogbia can help catalyse a new era of Emirates success.

It is 3/10 that Arsenal achieve a top-four finish this term, whilst they are 16/1 to be crowned Premier League champions by the end of the 2013/2014 season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee