Arsenal want Barcelona forward to replace potential lost star – but face competition from Italy

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Arsenal could be set to capitalise on the flow-on effect of Philippe Coutinho’s arrival at Barcelona.

The Brazilian’s move could leave Rafinha in no-man’s land and there are reports he wants to move.

Spanish news outlet Don Balon is claiming Rafinha isn’t especially impressed about the arrival of his compatriot and Arsenal are being linked as a potential suitor.

And should Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil leave the Emirates, Arsene Wenger will certainly be looking for attacking flair to replace them.

However, Mundo Deportivo are saying Rafinha has agreed to go to Inter Milan with only a figure between the Italian giants and Barca the sticking point.

They say Barca want more than €20m (£17.5) to let him go.

5 talking points from Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea

Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final with Arsenal will go to the wire after both sides played out a bore draw.

Antonio Conte’s men, wasteful in front of goal in the 2-2 League draw with the Gunners last week, blew two good chances in the second half here.

The goal drought of Arsenal’s £44million striker Alexandre Lacazette was extended to eight games now with the Frenchman wasting a first-half opportunity.

Chelsea’s best chances came during the second half when Andreas Christensen headed over the bar from point blank range and Victor Moses had a goal bound shot blocked by Shkodran Mustafi.

Wenger watched the match from the stands as he continues to serve out his three-match ban for his verbal attack on Mike Riley last month.

The Frenchman was hit with another blow midway through the second half when Jack Wilshere was forced off with injury.

The England midfielder – who had started seven of the previous nine games – appeared to injure his knee as he blocked an attempted cross from Danny Drinkwater.

Wilshere tried to continue before coming off to be replaced by Mohamed Elneny. Despite vowing to punish forward Alex Iwobi for partying the night before the Gunners’ shock FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest, Wenger played the Nigerian from the start.

Alexis Sanchez was also brought on as a second-half substitute despite – with six months left on his contract – being in negotiations with Manchester City over a move to the Etihad.

Chelsea paraded their new £15million signing Ross Barkley at half time. The former Everton player briefly saluted fans to applause before disappearing down the tunnel.

Referee Martin Atkinson consulted his Video Assistant Referee twice during the first half. First when Cesar Azpilicueta clashed with Calum Chambers, then when Victor Moses appeared to foul Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the box. He decided against against awarding a penalty.

There was another anxious moment in the closing moments when Danny Welbeck slid in on Cesc Fabregas in the box. A long delay ensued as Atkinson again consulted the VAR but no spot kick was given.

Alex Iwobi ‘partying’ incident shows Arsene Wenger has “lost control” at Arsenal, warns Ian Wright

Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes the recent incident involving Alex Iwobi indicates Arsene Wenger has lost control at the Emirates.

Iwobi was pictured partying just 48 hours before the FA Cup exit to Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Ahead of the clash with Chelsea, Wenger branded Iwobi’s actions “unacceptable” and confirmed he would be fined if he was found to have breached club rules.

Despite the incident, Iwobi started at Stamford Bridge but turned in another display.

And Gunners legend Wright believes the Arsenal boss made the wrong call with his team selection.

“For a youngster to come into a club like Arsenal, and thinks he is OK to go out less than 48 hours before a game, it says there is something wrong in the dressing room,” Wright said on Sky Sports’ The Debate.

“You can’t have a player thinking he can do that and still play again (against Chelsea). What message does that send?

“In the current climate with Arsenal going through what they are, experienced players wanting to leave, no leadership, for that to happen.

“Arsenal have got to find what they are losing. People laugh and see us as a joke. It feels like he is losing control.”


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