Valencia centre-back Adil Rami has hinted he will reject a move to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. The 27-year-old French international is a reported target for Arsenal and the Express earlier indicated Arsene Wenger would bid £10m for his countryman.
"I am very well here and there are still two years until the end of my contract. For me the most important thing is to play. Money does not matter to me at this time in my life," Rami told TuttoMercatoWeb. The player's contract expires in 2015.
Rami was first linked to Russia in January, when Anzhi needed a replacement for Christopher Samba. However, the defender's comments seem to suggest he may prefer a move, if he decides to do so, to the Emirates. This should come as something of a relief for Wenger for it is unlikely the Gunners can sustain a bidding war against Anzhi, even if the Premier League club has reportedly been given a £70m summer war chest.
The centre-back has been in good form this season and has 22 appearances (21 starts) in the Spanish league, with two assists to his name. He has also played in six Champions League games this term, with one goal. Domestically, though, Valencia are struggling. The club are seventh in La Liga, although that is only two points off fourth-placed Malaga and the promise of Champions League football next season.
Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen has attracted attention from Spanish giants Barcelona and could, like Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song, be persuaded to swap the Emirates for the Camp Nou. If that happens, Wenger may look favourably at starting another era of France-dominated Arsenal, as he bids to return the Gunners to winning ways.
Meanwhile, Arsenal return to London after beating Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena. Unfortunately, the result was not enough to keep them from being eliminated from the Champions League this season. And now Wenger must turn his attention to the even more daunting task of ensuring his side will qualify for the same tournament next season.
The Gunners are fifth in the Premier League, five points behind Chelsea in the final qualifying position. Both clubs have played the same number of games (28) which leaves them with an advantage over Tottenham in third but given the gap between the two north London rivals is seven points, all Wenger can do now is pray his side can win as many games as possible and the Blues and the Spurs drop points.