Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Benzema, Ben Arfa, Diarra, Merida - Arsenal Transfer Rumors

Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra has publicly stated that he wants to leave the club after failing to secure a regular starting berth in a congested midfield. The 22 year-old arrived in North London on the final day of the Summer transfer window after Chelsea agreed to a last-minute deal with Arsene Wenger.

It now seems that the diminutive midfielder may join Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, or Lyon for a price rumored to be as high as £9 million - quite a fee for a player with so little Premiership experience.

Gunners fans are hoping that Lyon's liking for Diarra could lead to a deal for either Karim Benzema or Hatem Ben Arfa to come to London. The French champions are unlikely to part willingly with either player, but the lure of a top Premier League side could be too much for the 20 year-old pair.

Benzema, a 6 foot tall striker, has started this season brilliantly, scoring 12 goals in 19 games for Lyon. His impressive record has seen him branded as the future of French football, and the already-capped player could follow in the footsteps of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry by becoming an incredible power in the Premier League. Unfortunately, the youngster would cost a small fortune to bring to Arsenal.

Hatem Ben Arfa is a more likely prospect, and has already stated that he is pleased with the London giant's interest. The young forward has started 10 games for Lyon, scoring 4 times and assisting his teammates in scoring an additional 4. Although he is of Tunisian descent, Ben Arfa was picked over prolific Juventus striker David Trezeguet to represent France in European Championship qualifying. He scored his first international goal against the Faroe Islands as a substitute for Franck Ribery.

In other news, Fran Merida, a 17 year-old who is seen as the successor to Cesc Fabregas, is expecting to be sent away on loan to Real Sociedad. The move would be great for the youngster who is currently seeing little playing time with Arsenal's first team.