Arsenal are set to deny Alex Song the chance to return to the Emirates in the summer. The Cameroon international left north London to join Barcelona at the start of the season but he has found life very difficult at the Camp Nou.
The 25-year-old midfielder has made only 23 appearances, in all competitions, for the Tito Vilanova's men this season and was earlier voted one of La Liga's worst signings of the season. The Daily Star believes the Cameroonian is eager to return to the Premier League and Arsenal. Arsene Wenger was initially happy with the idea but now has other plans. The Gunners have reportedly targeted Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama as Song's replacement.
Wanyama, a Kenyan international, has featured heavily in transfer rumours this season, particularly after an impressive performance in a Champions League group stage match against Barcelona; Celtic recorded a 2-1 win.
A fee in the region of £10m is expected to be enough to convince Neil Lennon to release the 21-year-old Wanyama but Wenger will face competition from old rivals Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. The Scotsman earlier quoted the president of the Kenyan Football Association, Sam Nyamweya, as hinting his compatriot would soon join "one of the two big clubs in the world". And news Ferguson has personally scouted Wanyama suggests Old Trafford chiefs are preparing to nick the African from under Wenger's nose.
The player himself has admitted he is aware of the interest but has also refused to comment on the situation. His comments came after the club were beaten over two legs by Italian champions Juventus, in the first knock-out round of the Champions League.
Should Wanyama move to the Emirates, he will be a direct, albeit belated, replacement for Song. Wenger has limited options in a defensive midfield role and has relied on Spaniard Mikel Arteta, normally a playmaker, to perform this role this season. French international Abou Diaby, who would otherwise fill in for Song, has failed to stay fit on a regular basis.
United's requirements are similar and perhaps even a bit more urgent, given Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are approaching 40, Michael Carrick is 31 and Tom Cleverly and Anderson are the other options. Ferguson does have youngster Nick Powell on hand but the 18-year-old former Crewe Alexandria midfielder is still learning his craft and is not ready for a first team place.
Jenkinson on Arsenal
Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson believes a good run of games will give the club a top four finish. The Gunners are five points off Chelsea in fourth and seven behind north London rivals Tottenam in third. However, they do have a game in hand.
"There are two teams to chase and I don't think we can get too caught up in how they're doing,If we go on a good run now, we'll finish in the top four. I'm sure of that. If you look at Tottenham's run in, it's quite difficult. They've got some difficult games so we're going to hope that they drop points," he told the rsenal Web site.