Footy Extras

Arsenal news round-up: Gunners suffer blow, Wenger wanted Pique and Messi, Enrique makes decision

West Brom willing to tie down Arsenal target Richards to fresh contract

West Bromwich Albion starlet Rico Richards who is being chased by Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool is set to be offered a new contract according to the Express & Star.

Richards who only turned 16 two months ago has been touted by a whole host of top flight sides and the Baggies are now looking to tie down the talent to a new contract.

The youngster can play on the wing or in the No.10 role and his current contract is set to expire next year leaving the Midlands club in a vulnerable position of losing the ace for merely a compensation fee due to his age.

Albion are desperate to retain Rico, who netted on his debut for the England under-17s and the management believe it is in his long-term interests to remain at The Hawthorns.

Such is his development, in spite of his tender years he has already played for the U18’s and trained with the under-23’s and West Bromwich Albion believe he has what it takes to continue onto the main team scene.

Albion are concerned of losing another of their bright talents following the departures of Morgan Rogers to the PL giants Manchester City for a measly £4 million, whilst being one of the largest transfer sum for someone of his age, he is likely to be worth a lot more in the next few seasons should his development continue.

The news of a new deal being offered to the Arsenal target is a clear sign of Albion’s intention to keep one of their brightest prospects but it remains to be seen if he decides to put pen to paper.

Arsenal also wanted to land key Barcelona duo alongside Fabregas

Arsene Wenger has admitted his former club Arsenal at one point tried to land Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi to compliment their acquisition of the Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

The Spaniard arrived at the Emirates Stadium in 2003 after coming through Barcelona’s youth set-up and ultimately became a key figure for the north Londoners across several seasons.

After seeing Cesc succeed at Arsenal, the club then apparently turned their attention to two more Catalan graduates.

While Wenger did not detail when the Gunners attempted to bring in Messi and Pique, he did reveal the Gunners had lofty ambitions to line-up with all three at some point.

“We tried, we were not near to signing Messi,” Arsene said on beIN Sports. “But we tried to sign Pique, Fabregas and Messi, of course, we already tried but he was already too big at the time.

“Don’t forget in 2006 when we played the Champions League final against Barcelona, Messi couldn’t play because he was injured…so that’s 13 years ago and he was already a regular player in the first team. What this guy has done is unbelievable.”

Wenger, who confirmed the Gunners were close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo over a decade ago, was also questioned if there was a chance the Juventus star and Lionel could have lined up on the same side.

While confident he could have handled both living legends and their personalities, Wenger admits it was never a real possibility.

“That’s real fantasy football. I would have loved to. I had big personalities in my life, very big personalities. If you can give them what they want they are happy.” the Frenchman said.

Arsenal suffer major blow in their pursuit of ex-Roma boss

Former Barcelona and Spain’s head coach Luis Enrique doesn’t want to return to management amid Arsenal links, sports TV channel ESPN reports.

There have been rumours claiming Enrique could be brought in at the Gunners. The pressure is mounting on current manager Unai Emery after a string of poor performances and results.

A vocal section of the club’s fanbase has increased calls for Unai to be sacked. But this report suggests the club’s hierarchy will keep the faith with the Spaniard – for now, at least.

Enrique was apparently an option but the chief has ruled this out. He isn’t ready to return to a manager’s role after leaving his position as Spain manager last June for family reasons.

The Spaniard has managed AS Roma, Celta Vigo, Barcelona and Spain since retiring. Luis has had a highly-decorated managerial career.

With two La Liga trophies, one Champions League victory and four domestic titles, Enrique knows how to deliver silverware.

But the 49-year-old won’t be joining Arsenal imminently. Not only does Luis want a longer break from managing but he also likes to join a new side in the summer to build his project.

Emery faces a race against time to save his Emirates career after the loss against Leicester City. It hasn’t been good enough this campaign and the team selection often confuses the fans.

Enrique has a track record of success so the head coach might have been a good option. If he isn’t a consideration, Arsenal need to be drawing up a shortlist because Unai’s time is running out.