Arsenal turn to Michu, ready to bid $37.5 million for Swansea star

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Arsene Wenger is trying desperately to strengthen his Arsenal squad in the transfer market.

Here’s his latest attempt.

According to reports from the UK this morning, Arsenal are chasing Swansea City’s Spanish striker Michu. With bids for Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suárez proving unsuccessful this summer, Wenger is now turning his attention to the silky Spaniard.

Michu, 27, cost Swansea just $3 million this time last year from Rayo Vallecano. He scored 18 goals in his opening Premier League season and dazzled fans with his trickery, deft flicks and incredible range of passing. He was the bargain of the season and if Arsenal do manage to sign him, Swansea will be making a handsome profit on a player that many soccer fans had never heard of 12 months ago.

But can Michu really solve all of Arsenal’s problems?

MORE: Arsenal 1 – Aston Villa 3; Benteke double stuns Gunners on opening day (Video)

Not disrespect to the lanky striker, known as “the student” in the Swansea locker room due to his scruffy and unkempt appearance, but after one breakout campaign in England’s top-flight is he ready to spearhead a Champions League bid?

Who knows. His style of quick passing and forward movement would fit in at the Emirates.

Whether or not Arsenal grab Michu, it shows that they’re now being a little more realistic with their transfer targets. Bidding for Suárez, Rooney and Higuain showed ambition, sure. But with Higuain preferring Napoli and potential deals for Suárez and Rooney looking dead in the water, Wenger has to lower his expectations.

MORE: Quick Six; Top Premier League Storylines from weekend no. 1

But $37.5 million for Michu is an awfully large sum of money. Swansea don’t want to sell him but with new signing Wilfried Bony impressing since his arrival, they could cope without Michu.

Time will tell if Arsenal make their first meaningful signing of the summer. September 2 is edging ever closer but the transfer window slamming shut shouldn’t make Arsenal panic. Wenger reflected his disappointment in the clubs transfer policy following Saturday’s shock defeat to Aston Villa.

“Why should I resist (spending)? I just defend the idea that you spend the money you have and not the money you don’t have” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “For years I did that. Today we have more so we can spend more. It’s as simple as that. Of course I am excited by that prospect but what I want to convince you of is that we are ready to spend the money if we feel that the players makes us a better team tomorrow morning.”

A top player will become available, they just have to bide their time. But now the clubs they’re buying from know Arsenal have plenty of money.

It will be hard for the Gunners to get any value from this transfer market.

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

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Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.

Arsenal gets AC Milan in Europa League Round of 16

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Arsenal’s path to the UEFA Champions League just got a whole lot tougher.

[ MORE: Arsenal loses 2nd leg, advances ]

Already eight points back of the Premier League’s Top Four, the Gunners have drawn Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16.

The first leg is March 8 at the San Siro before moving to the Emirates a week later.

Milan is currently 7th in Serie A despite its big-spending summer, and faces a similar problem to the Gunners; Gattuso’s men need to make up eight points on Lazio and seven on fifth-place Inter Milan.

Elsewhere, Moscovian sides CSKA and Lokomotiv got no favors with trips to Lyon and Atletico Madrid, respectively.

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund will be pleased to see Red Bull Salzburg, while the latter’s sister club, RB Leipzig, was held apart from it by a draw with Zenit Saint-Petersbug.

Here’s the draw in full.

UEFA Europa League Round of 16
Lazio vs. Dynamo Kiev
RB Leipzig vs. Zenit St Petersburg
Atletico Madrid vs. Lokomotiv Moscow
CSKA Moscow vs. Lyon
Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Lisbon vs. Viktoria Plzen
Borussia Dortmund vs. Red Bull Salzburg
AC Milan vs. Arsenal

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.