Barcelona Set Prices for Umtiti, Rakitic & Coutinho as They Look to Raise €265m in Summer Overhaul

​Barcelona are spending big this summer with €75m Frenkie de Jong already confirmed and Matthijs de Ligt and Antoine Griezmann likely on the way for even bigger fees. 

However, the Spanish champions are looking to offset their outgoings with a number of sales this summer, which could total a massive €265m and see some very high-profile names put on the market.

​Marca claim that Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitic, Malcom, Nelson Semedo, Rafinha and Jasper Cillessen will all be put up for sale by ​Barcelona as part of the shake-up, following another traumatic season in Europe. 


In addition, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez, who were both loaned out in 2018/19 also, are (less surprisingly) expected to leave, while Marc Cucurella will be re-signed from Eibar before being sold for profit.

Most intriguingly, Marca puts specific price tags against many of the players named as available for market.

Philippe Coutinho

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As previously speculated ​by other reports, Coutinho’s tag is apparently set at €100m.

Marca name-check Chelsea as keen in the misfit Brazilian should Eden Hazard leave as anticipated. However, their ability to do business very much depends on the outcome of the CAS verdict on their two-window transfer ban.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have also been linked with Coutinho, while ​Calciomercato claims the Red Devils are ‘interested’ but have yet to make a bid.

Spanish football expert ​Guillem Balague, meanwhile, slightly contradicts those reports by saying that Cotuinho is not ‘on the market’, but the Barça will listen to offers. Again, Balague mentions the figure of €100m.

Coutinho himself is apparently defiant over his Barça future, with the star’s agent Andrea Bartolucci insisting that ​the expected arrival of Griezmann won’t be as a replacement.

Samuel Umtiti

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The other most enticing name on the list for Premier League fans is 25-year-old World Cup winner Samuel Umtiti, for whom Marca assign the eyebrow-raisingly low price tag of just €40m.

The likes of Arsenal have been linked in the past. However, regardless of how reasonable Umtiti’s valuation is in the current market, ​it may be too much for the Gunners who could be in for a lean summer if they don’t win the Europa League.

Umtiti has suffered with a difficult knee injury this season and has seen his first-team berth usurped by fellow Frenchman Clement Lenglet. Marca also add in their report that Umtiti ‘has no intention to leave’, making a transfer difficult.

Meanwhile, Rakitic is listed at €50m. A report from Catalan daily ​Sport suggests Inter will make an offer of that value if the Nerazzurri qualifies for the Champions League. With two games to play in Serie A, Inter are currently third and four points ahead of fifth, making that a probable outcome.

In addition, Semedo is tipped to sell for €35m, Cillessen €30m and Gomes between €20m and €25m.

A bidding war between Tottenham and Everton is expected for the latter after he impressed in the Premier League with the Toffees in 2018/19.

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Arsenal Transfers: Deciding Which Players to Keep & Sell This Summer

​With the result of the Europa League final yet to be determined, Unai Emery has his hands firmly tied in the transfer market – with £40m to splash if they lose or £75m to go mad with if they win.

Emery squad are a Europa League side, that’s the tear inducing reality. A side riddled with sub-par players who will never elevate the squad to the upper echelons of the Premier League any time soon.

Unai Emery

Unless, they’re moved on for the pittance they’re worth and new exciting talent arrives.

Can ​Arsenal fans see that happening? No, not really. ​Champions League qualification is imperative, not only for additional funding, but also in order to attract the calibre of player the club is such dire need of.

A fifth place finish and a Europe League final is remarkable given the quality on show. There needs to be change, plenty of it, this summer.

And, spoiler alert, the defence is on the firing line.


Goalkeepers

Bernd Leno

Petr Cech – GONE ANYWAY – Offer him a coaching role, before ​Chelsea do.

Bernd Leno – KEEP – Has improved drastically as the season has gone on, after a somewhat jittery start to life at the Emirates. Is one of the few players in the squad who can hold his head up high after this season and will rightfully retain his number one spot.

Emiliano Martinez – KEEP – Currently on loan at Reading, the Spaniard has been with the club since 2012. Can remain as a backup to Leno while the club seek another stopper in the summer.

David Ospina – SELL – If you play week-in week-out for ​Napoli, you must be half decent…right? He’s shown flashes of it for the Gunners but must be moved on since the club could get some half decent money for the Colombian.


Full Backs

Nacho Monreal

Nacho Monreal – SELL – Unquestionably a great servant for the club, the 33-year-old is way past his best. Lovely guy, but adios Nacho.

Sead Kolasinac – KEEP – Improved displays in the latter half of the season have seen the Bosnian credibility rise among supporters. Still suspect at the back but can be effective on his day.

Stephan Lichtsteiner – GONE ANYWAY – Won’t be missed. At all.


Hector Bellerin – KEEP – His injury has been a key aspect of Arsenal’s defensive woes, and will be welcomed back with open arms when he returns. Vital.

Carl Jenkinson – RELEASE – Talk about an easy ride. Jenkinson makes a shedload at the club and doesn’t do anything. If anyone wants him, he’s yours. Not Arsenal quality.

Cohen Bramall – KEEP – The youngster is a star in the making. Big future ahead.


Centre Backs

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Sokratis – KEEP – It is a sorry state of affairs when your best centre back is a new recruit who himself has had some shockers this season. There are far better choices out there, but if he isn’t kept, there will be nobody left. 

Laurent Koscielny – SELL – The sight of the Frenchman blowing his lungs out against Valencia was frightening, a player once great has finally got age catching up on him. Decent at times, but that’s not enough.

Konstantinos Mavropanos – KEEP – Nowhere near the finished article, but a talent in the making for sure.

Shkodran Mustafi – RELEASE – To quote Smeagol: “LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK”.

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Calum Chambers – SELL – After his hugely successful loan spell at ​Fulham, he deserves a move to another big London club like Millwall.

Rob Holding – KEEP – Led the club on an excellent unbeaten run with him in the side, then he gets crocked and (big surprise) it’s back to being sh*t again. Future captain of the side, big future.


Central Midfielders

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Granit Xhaka – SELL – ‘But Xhaka is key to the side, his role is underappreciated’. No, no he’s not, he’s awful. And he cost £35m. Go.

Mohamed Elneny – SELL – Such a bizarre signing in the first place, he was never Arsenal quality. Can take his goal at the Camp Nou and move on.

Lucas Torriera – KEEP – Shown himself to be a shrewd signing this season, with tenacity and fight to boot that’s been sorely missed at the Emirates.


Ainsley Maitland-Niles – KEEP – Yes, he is actually a midfielder. And, when he’s had his chance, has looked very good in there. After a season of filling in at right back he deserves a role in the centre.

Matteo Guendouzi – KEEP – A rising star for the Gunners. However, despite some good showings, still has many areas to improve on next season.


Wingers & Attacking Midfielders

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil – KEEP – Oh the ​Ozil conundrum. More unpredictable than the English weather. The only predictable thing is he won’t leave the club he’s on £350k per week at, and the club can’t get rid of him either.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – KEEP – Arsenal certainly got the best deal out of the Alexis Sanchez swap, but that’s like saying you got one less rock in your shoe than the other guy. Can stay as a squad player, but really nothing more.

Joe Willock – KEEP – Earned his first Premier League start against Burnley, and deservedly so. Has gone above and beyond expectations this season and looks a real gem.

Alex Iwobi – SELL OR LOAN – No time for sentiment here. Simply not good enough.

Aaron Ramsey – KEEP – 🙁 Pls stay 🙁


Emile Smith-Rowe – KEEP – The club have made their wish known to keep him next year, could play a much bigger role than he expected.

Danny Welbeck – GONE ANYWAY – All the best Welbz.


Forwards

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette – KEEP – Player of the Year, phenomenal work rate, still only 26, lethal in the box. Build the team around him – NOW.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – KEEP – Soon to turn 30, the club’s leading goalscorer has been superb this season and has a good few years at the top level still in him. Alongside ​Lacazette the club are actually strong in one area of the pitch. Mental.

Eddie Nketiah – KEEP – Eddie scores goals, and he has the hunger. You know he will give everything and the goals will naturally follow. He’s ready to go.


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Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’: Why 15 Years Later They Are Still the Best Ever Premier League Side

​We’ve just witnessed Manchester City accumulate 198 points in two seasons and win back-to-back league titles, playing a brand of football that has made mincemeat of all who have stood in their paths.

Similarly, we saw Liverpool implement of style of football akin to that of music that is driven by the aggressive sounds of distorted electric guitars, and lose just one game all season. Picking up a staggering 97 points, yet ending the campaign empty handed.

Throughout the ​Premier League years our footballing palates have also been treated to ​Manchester United‘s treble winning side of 1999.


Jose Mourinho sculpted a wondrous Chelsea outfit in 2005, lifting the title in his first season at the helm, masterminding a team that conceded a miserly 15 goals in 38 games and kept 25 clean sheets – records that remain to this day.

So what could possibly be better?

Well, if you ask, a certain Arsene Wenger and his particular set of red and white soldiers, they would say an Arsenal side that gunned their way to the Premier League title back in the 2003/04 season without losing a single game. 

A single game. A. Single. Game.


In goal the club had just signed Jens Lehmann from Borussia Dortmund to replace departing legend David Seaman, with the German bringing international class to the fold.

Of course, if you are to remain an entire season without conceding, your first port of call is to praise a defence for, well, doing their jobs remarkably well. Absolutely you should, the back four of ​Arsenal, none of this back-three malarkey in these times, was imperious.

Two central defenders, very much of the ‘no nonsense’ ilk, became the foundation from which the attacking players could express themselves. 

Sol Campbell, a player mired in controversy, bullied opposition strikers with his immense frame and possessed a range of pass that few gave him credit for. Kolo Toure didn’t actually begin the campaign alongside Campbell, with Wenger opting for Pascal Cygan to begin with.

Patrick Vieira of Arsenal celebrates scoring the winning goal with team-mate Sol Campbell

“He’s bald, he’s sh*t, he plays when no ones fit, Pascal Cygan, Pascal Cygan” – Gunners’ fans made their feelings known.

Wenger duly changed his mind, and it paid dividends. Campbell and Toure became the duo that would stick for the vast majority of the campaign. Either side of them you had (C)Ashley Cole and Lauren, two full backs who could perform their offensive and defensive tasks with ease, perfectly capable of defending as a unit or supporting the attack.

Ah, yes, the wingers. Robert Pires commanded the left hand side of the 4-4-2 set up, finishing as the club’s second top scorer that season with 14 goals. On the opposite wing was a combination of Fredrik Ljungberg, Ray Parlour, Edu, Sylvain Wiltord and Jose Reyes. Injuries hampered regular selection, so all of those players featured in some capacity throughout the season.

Arsenal's Fredrik Ljungberg (R) celebrat

In the middle you had one of the Premier League greats in Patrick Vieira. A battling, commanding midfielder who captained the club with all the traits one would expect of a leader. Combative, strong, organised and determined. 

To his side was Gilberto Silva, who went under the radar for his all-round ability and assured displays, rarely wavering from his defensive responsibilities and imperative in the role of shielding the back four.

Up front, more greats. Something that is key to point out with this side is the sheer quantity of top-flight stalwarts. Dennis Bergkamp was nothing short of a magician, operating up front but so often dropping into the number ten role where the reach of his wand was far greater. 

And then there is Thierry Henry. A player immortalised into Premier League folklore, not just for the sheer quantity of goals he scored (30 that season) but for the devastating pace he possessed in every one of his numerous attributes. A player who rightly is considered the greatest the league has seen.

Thierry Henry,Fredrik Ljungberg,Dennis Bergkamp

But enough about the players themselves. A team as well-drilled and historic as this isn’t so purely based on individual greatness. Far more explains their majesty.

At the helm was Wenger, a man who revolutionised the division, a manager who introduced new training, fitness and dieting regimes that other bosses took on board. A manager who predicted this campaign happening, claiming it was their ‘destiny’ a few years prior.

It was machine that had been development for some years, fine-tuning each element and costing a measly £46.5m to get up and running. Compare that to Mourinho’s ​Chelsea who had just been taken over by a Russian billionaire, or the current ​City crop who are the most expensive side ever assembled at over £700m.

Arsene Wenger

Putting finances into the argument changes the complexion of the argument entirely. However, for the sake of it let us put that to one side.

They did’t lose a single game. Just to reaffirm.

Money buys players, but mentality can’t be bought. The Tuesday night home matches against lower opposition can be hard to get fired up for, focuses can quiver. Yet this team never faltered.

Granted, there were some never moments throughout the season. Draws at home to Portsmouth and away at ​Leicester would be classed as poor results in any other season, adding to a season total of 12. 

But, when coupled with an unbeaten record against the top sides, these results become ‘a point gained’ scenario, and showcase a resilience and mental toughness to not be beaten even when the team is under-performing.


There is a reason they were dubbed ‘Invincibles’. 

Frankly, ‘the untouchables’ would have been equally as apt, but what was masterminded by Arsenal that year is the single greatest feat achieved in English football – and will likely not be replicated ever again.

It is also worth noting that they clinched the title with four games to spare at White Heart Lane, home of their most hated rivals, yet still didn’t lose focus and remained unbeaten.

Take your astronomically expensive players, take your five goals per game ratio and your 100 point haul. 

Arsenal's L to R Lauren , Jose Antonio R

The title of ‘Invincible’ will forever be Arsenal’s.

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Denis Suarez Emerges as Surprise Chelsea Target Despite Dismal Loan Spell at Arsenal

​Denis Suarez has emerged as a surprise target for Chelsea, with a permanent departure from Barcelona looking more and more likely this summer.

Having originally moved to Catalonia back in 2013, Suarez was loaned out to Sevilla and subsequently sold to Villarreal, before making a return to Camp Nou in 2016. However, he once again failed to fully establish himself for La Blaugrana, and was eventually loaned to Arsenal in January of this year. 

Denis Suarez

Upon his arrival at the Emirates, Arsenal fans were hoping that the reuniting of Suarez with manager Unai Emery would result in him replicating the sort of form that saw the midfielder help Emery’s Sevilla side to Europa League glory in arguably the Spaniard’s best season to date.

Unfortunately, injury restricted Suarez to just four appearances for the Gunners before returning to Barcelona – but according to Sport, that hasn’t deterred London rivals Chelsea from taking an interest in his services.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is thought to be a long-term admirer of Suarez, having been keen to sign him for Napoli whilst he was at the helm. With Eden Hazard looking likely to become Real Madrid’s latest ‘Galactico’, Sarri could be in the market to strengthen his midfield options, with Suarez able to operate out wide and in the middle. 

Maurizio Sarri

Any potential talks between the Blues and Suarez will be dependent on the outcome of Chelsea’s potential transfer ban. Having failed in their original appeal against FIFA’s decision, their next course of action could be to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which could result in an uplifting of the transfer ban or buy them enough time to make signings before the ban is imposed.

If Chelsea’s transfer ban makes a move to west London impossible, Suarez would not be short of other suitors. Top of the list would be a move to Valencia, which would see the Spaniard reuniting with manager Marcelino, who he played under during his time at Villarreal.    

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Europa League Final – Chelsea vs Arsenal: Where to Watch, Live Stream & Team News

​Chelsea will take on Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday 29 May in what will be the first of two all-English European finals before Liverpool’s clash with Tottenham the following Saturday.

The Blues have already secured Champions League football after finishing third in the Premier League, but the Gunners’ hopes of qualifying for Europe’s elite club competition next season hinge on success in Azerbaijan.

Unai Emery has a famous history in the Europa League, winning the competition three seasons in a row during his time with Sevilla, while Chelsea are hoping for a first triumph under Maurizio Sarri in his second cup final with the club, having lost the Carabao Cup to Manchester City in February.

Alexandre Lacazette,Granit Xhaka,Aaron Ramsey

Check out 90min’s preview of the cla​sh below.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off?​ Wednesday 29 May​
​What Time Is Kick Off? ​20:00 (BST)
​Where Is it Played? ​Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku
​TV Channel/Live Stream? ​BT Sport/BT Sport YouTube
​Referee? ​Gianluca Rocchi

Team News

N’Golo Kante missed the second leg of the Eintracht Frankfurt tie and was also absent from the goalless draw at Leicester and remains a major doubt for the final.

Antonio Rudiger’s season was ended after he underwent surgery on his left knee meniscus, with the Germany international set for rehab over the summer. Callum Hudson-Odoi is in a similar position after rupturing his Achilles tendon against Burnley in April.

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Outgoing midfield star Aaron Ramsey will miss out for Arsenal, while Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck all have long-term issues and aren’t expected to feature. Konstantinos Mavropanos is a doubt after picking up a knock against Burnley.

Mesut Ozil, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Lucas Torreira are all expected to be fit for the final, despite missing out on the 3-1 victory at Turf Moor.


Predicted Lineups

​Chelsea A​rrizabalaga; Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Emerson; Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard.
​Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Sokratis, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac; Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Head to Head Record

Arsenal are slightly ahead in the head to head chart, but it’s incredibly tight. The north Londoners have 37 victories to Chelsea’s 33, while 30 games have ended in draws.

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They last met in Europe in a Champions League quarter final tie in the 2003/04 season. After a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, featuring goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen and Robert Pires, it was Chelsea who secured a semi final spot as strikes from Frank Lampard and Wayne Bridge cancelled out Jose Antonio Reyes’ earlier effort.

The two teams claimed a win apiece in the Premier League fixtures this term, Chelsea triumphing 3-2 at Stamford Bridge before Arsenal got revenge with a 2-0 success at the Emirates.


Recent Form

Chelsea finished the league season the strongest out of the teams competing for top four spots, securing third on the final day with a 0-0 draw at Leicester. They drew both legs of their semi final against Frankfurt, but had the bottle to tuck their penalties away to progress at the expense of the Bundesliga side.

Eden Hazard

Arsenal have responded well after losing three league games on the trot in April, winning three of their last four, including away victories at Valencia and Burnley. They’ve lost twice in the Europa League this season, while Chelsea are yet to taste defeat.

Here’s how each side has fared in their last five games.

​Chelsea Arsenal
​Leicester 0-0 Chelsea (12/5) Burnley 1-3 Arsenal (12/5)​
Chelsea 3-0 Watford (5/5)​ ​Valencia 2-4 Arsenal (9/5)
​Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (28/4) ​Arsenal 1-1 Brighton (5/5)
​Chelsea 2-2 Burnley (22/4) ​Arsenal 3-1 Valencia (2/5)
​Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea (14/4) ​Leicester 3-0 Arsenal (28/4)

Prediction

While Chelsea’s record in the Europa League this season is formidable, Unai Emery’s history in the competition is perhaps scarier for Blues fans.

​Arsenal dominated ​Chelsea during the 2-0 win at the Emirates, managing to completely nullify ​Eden Hazard, something they’ll need to do again in Baku.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,Alexandre Lacazette

​Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been brilliant towards the end of the season and they may make the difference on the night.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal

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