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

28 Comments

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.

Video: Mbappe taps home to give France first blood

Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The match is really opening up now, and France has begun to assert itself with an opener just beyond the half-hour mark.

[ MORE: Denmark, Australia draw, leaving Group C wide open ]

Kylian Mbappe has given Les Bleus a 1-0 lead over Peru after a deflected Olivier Giroud cross found the Monaco attacker just in front of goal for a tap-in finish.

The sequence began after Paul Pogba dispossessed Peru deep in their own half, before dishing the ball off to Giroud.

The goal for Mbappe is his first at a World Cup, as the 19-year-old continues to impress for both club and country.

American referee Geiger accused of asking for Portugal kit

Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Morocco’s World Cup journey will conclude after the group stage, but the African side isn’t pleased with how their second match transpired on Wednesday against Portugal.

[ MORE: Spain gets win after Iran sees equalizer ruled off ]

The Moroccans have lodged a complaint with FIFA against referee Mark Geiger — an American who has become one of the most well-known officials in Major League Soccer.

Geiger was alleged to have asked Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo for his jersey at halftime of the 1-0 win over Morocco, to which Geiger has categorically denied the claims.

FIFA released the following statement on the matter:

The claims stemmed from Morocco player Nordin Amrabat, who addressed the matter in an interview following the match.

“I don’t know what [Geiger] is used to, but he was very impressed by Cristiano [Ronaldo],” Amrabat said. “I’ve been just told by Pepe that in the [first half], he asked if he could have his shirt. Come on, man. What are we talking about? … We are at the World Cup, not a circus here.”

Geiger returned to action on Thursday as video assistant referee for the Denmark-Australia match, which included an important alteration in a call that led to an Australia penalty kick.

Group C wide open as Denmark, Australia settle for draw

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Denmark and Australia settled for a 1-1 draw on Thursday, as this exciting Group C affair had nothing to separate the two nations at the end of 90 minutes.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

As it stands, the Danes lead the group with four points, while Australia earned its first point of the World Cup.

France will meet Peru later on Thursday, with Les Bleus having won its first match and Peru having suffered defeat to Denmark.

The Danes broke through after seven minutes when Nicolai Jørgensen picked out a perfect back-heel pass to Christian Eriksen at the top of the box, before the Tottenham Hotspur attacker volleyed home for a 1-0 lead.

Jørgensen nearly doubled the Denmark advantage in the 24th minute when the 27-year-old had an open header from close range that skewed just wide of the target.

Australia worked its way into the match following the opener, and were awarded a penalty kick in the 37th minute after VAR Mark Geiger altered an initial decision for a handball inside the box.

Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick to level the match at 1-1, giving the Socceroos life.

A dangerous free kick four minutes later almost gave Denmark the lead once again, however, Eriksen couldn’t get a crucial touch on the ball to knock it over the goal line before Ryan collected.

The second half continued with lightning pace from both sides, and Aaron Mooy‘s 71st minute blast came inches away from giving Australia an improbable lead.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The two nations will conclude Group C play on June 26, as Denmark faces France and Australia takes on CONMEBOL side Peru.

Video: VAR awards Australia penalty, before Jedinak converts

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Socceroos battled admirably in the latter stages of the first half, and Australia was rewarded for their efforts.

Australia has leveled the match at 1-1 after a Mile Jedinak penalty kick cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s stunning opener in the seventh minute.

After an initial decision to play on by the head referee, VAR Mark Geiger opted to award a penalty kick to the Aussies after Yussuf Poulsen was caught with his hand away from his body on a Mathew Leckie header.

Poulsen was also shown a yellow card for the infraction, which rules him out for Denmark’s group-stage finale against France.