Gossip and Rumours: Arsenal, Rangers, Barcelona

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Sportingo.com’s Mark Apostolou brings daily coverage of the Premier League’s transfer rumours and gossip. 

The Arsenal net is closing in on one of the hottest properties in Europe with Arsene Wenger apparently desperate to capture Lyon’s teenage goalscoring machine Karim Benzema (various).

Reports suggest that the fee earmarked for such a transfer would be around £22m, which in today’s market is not that expensive for a striker who, at 19, has managed 11 goals in 11 games to help his side to the top of France’s Ligue One.

Arsenal don’t spend money just for the sake of it, but after announcing record profits in recent months it is not surprising that they are keen to pick up more young talent to mix with the outstanding crop already groomed by Wenger.

Benzema is a fantastic talent and even though he recently stated he wishes to win the Champions League with Lyon, he may realise that his dreams will be more easily accomplished with the north London outfit. Do Arsenal fans think that such a purchase would be worth smashing their transfer record for?

West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson thinks a Premier League fixture should be held in the United States – in the same way the NFL is coming to the UK (various).

I like Eggert, I think he speaks his mind and has done some good at Upton Park. But this suggestion is simply ludicrous. Magnusson thinks this stunt  “would be good for the game”. Well, correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the game doing well without the American market?

What exactly would the Premier League gain from this ridiculous suggestion? The US will never rate the game they insist on calling ‘soccer’  highly – because they have a wealth of other sports to get their teeth into. It would also be supremely unfair to the supporters of the English clubs who would miss out on such a fixture simply because finances would dictate it to be impossible.

I am confident  that this idea will never see the light of day. By all means send sides over for pre-season friendlies but do not for one moment think about scheduling a senior fixture somewhere over the Atlantic!

Walter Smith has blasted Lionel Messi following the Barcelona winger’s accusations that Rangers‘ Champions League tactics were ‘anti-football’. The Ibrox boss claimed the Argentinian’s comments should be taken as a compliment to Scottish football as they show that Gers rattled their supposedly ‘superior’ opponents (Daily Record).

I watched the 0-0 draw and greatly enjoyed Rangers’ battling display – though I was once again angered by Messi’s constant attempts to con the referee. Messi’s teammate Ronaldinho is a much more respectful player who doesn’t resort to cheating and it was nice to see the Brazilian star applauding the Ibrox faithful for their whole-hearted support.

Maybe Messi should think about whether his constant diving, not to mention other forms of cheating at his disposal, are also ‘anti-football’.

Read more Football gossip on the Football/Soccer section.

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