According to a report in The Sun, Serie A side Juventus are looking to strengthen midfield resources ahead of their almost certain return to Champions League football next season. Italy's most successful football club have been absent from the continent's premier tournament since the 2009 season, when they crashed out in the group stages.
The Sun report suggests the Bianconeri are targeting Chelsea's Michael Essien and Arsenal's Alex Song as major signings in the summer. They will have to shell out a fee of around £20m for the Blues' hustle-bustle midfielder and will have to work harder still to convince Wenger to release yet another talented young footballer from his already depleted first team.
Essien, 29, and Song, 24, have had a contrasting few seasons of late. Once regarded as one of Jose Mourinho's "untouchables", Essien has seen a drastic dip in form; a fact that has not been helped by injuries. In addition, the club's marked underperformance in major competitions and against the top sides has led to speculation that club owner Roman Abramovich, who recently fired manager Andre Villas-Boas, may stay true to his word and carry out a summer fire sale of his star players. If the latter report is true, then players like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Michael Essien may be on their way out.
Alex Song, on the other hand, has slowly matured into a very promising defensive midfielder and is now seen as one of the more integral players in Arsene Wenger's side. While his manager will undoubtedly be very reluctant to continue the recent tradition of an annual exodus of star players, if the club does not qualify for Champions League football next year and/or fails to provide signs of ambition by signing big-name players, Song may feel he has to move to stand a chance of winning titles.
The Sun report quotes a source from within Juventus as saying: ""We need to back our plans for a strong European campaign by reinforcing the squad in some key positions - and Essien and Song are under review."