Backpage Roundup: Arsenal Exercise Fellaini's Release Clause, Richer Gunners Ready to Battle, Koscielny's Threat, Capoue's Exit and More

Arsenal Exercise Fellaini’s Release Clause – Report
Arsenal FC have purportedly exercised the £22 million-release clause in Everton star Marouane Fellaini’s contract and intend to finalise a deal for the Belgian in the next few weeks. (
Fellaini, 25, is a long-term transfer target for Chelsea and has also been linked with a move to Manchester United, where his former Toffees boss David Moyes is now in charge. But the Gunners have stolen a march on their rivals by formally launching a bid for the much-coveted midfielder.
Gunners Ready to Battle with the Rich Boys – Gazidis
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has announced his club is finally in a position to compete with super-rich clubs of European football and that Arsene Wenger will be given a freehand in signing new players this summer.
The Gunners regularly lose their primary transfer targets to their wealthy rivals, but the Gunners supremo says this would happen no more.
In a recent interview, Gazidis said: “This year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower. It means we can look at some options that weren’t really in our financial capability. We should be able to compete at a level like a club such as Bayern Munich. I’m not saying we are there by any means but this whole journey over the past 10 years really has been with that goal in mind.”
Regarding Wenger’s strategy in the upcoming transfer window, he said: “It’s going to be the players that Arsene believes in. He is pretty blind to price tags or reputations. He looks at what he sees with his eyes and makes judgments based on that. There is no ideological narrative at stake here. The ideological narrative is we want to have the best possible players, the best possible team and compete for trophies. There is no philosophical line in the sand.”
When asked if the fans can expect some big-name arrivals this summer, he added: “If Arsene thinks that’s the right thing to do, yes. Fans obviously always want to see big-name players and sometimes they can be the critical ingredient but sometimes the critical ingredients are a little bit more complex. For Arsene, it’s a question of getting the right players, the ones he believes in, not necessarily the players the fans want.
“We have outperformed our spend, in virtually any metric you can look at, consistently for the last 15 years. It’s an extraordinary record. It doesn’t happen by accident. He’s very disciplined about his beliefs and how he wants to structure a team. He has new tools available to him financially and I think he’ll make good use of them.”
Koscielny Threatens to Leave
Laurent Koscielny says that he won’t stick around at Arsenal for much longer unless the club starts challenging for major trophies immediately.
In a statement that is all too familiar to the Arsenal fans, the 27-year-old Frenchman insisted he is happy at the club but admitted that the club’s inability to win silverware is getting frustrating for him.
I feel good at Arsenal, if we have ambition to fight against the other teams of course I want to stay here. It’s hard psychologically. We are constantly pressured because if Arsenal is not in the Champions League it would be a catastrophe,” Koscielny told Eurosport before adding: It is hard to not win titles year after year. We are competitors, professionals, we want to win. I want to add to my list of achievements. If Arsenal cannot allow me that, I’ll seek a move elsewhere.”
Capoue Heading for Toulouse Exit
Toulouse midfielder and rumoured Arsenal FC transfer target Etienne Capoue has openly expressed his desire to change clubs this summer.
Capoue, 24, has realised that he won’t be able to fulfil his true potential by staying at his current club, and so he has decided to seek a transfer to a club that can offer him the chance to showcase his skills at a higher level.
Toulouse coach Alain Casanova recently talked about wanting to keep hold of Capoue, and when the player was informed of that by L’Equipe, he replied: “If he wants to keep me, that is good. That says that he counts on me, that he is happy with me. But it is football. I feel it is the moment to leave, to play in big competitions.”
Sagna Noncommittal Over Arsenal Stay
Bacary Sagna has failed to rule out a move away from Arsenal this summer despite admitting that talks over a new deal with the club are underway.
The 30-year-old France international only has one more year left on his current deal and is believed to be on the radar of rich French outfits Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco. While the Gunners want to extend his stay at Emirates Stadium, it seems that the player himself is undecided on the matter.
L’Equipe have quoted Sagna as saying: “I am under contract until 2014. Yes, there are talks [to extend] but they have not prolonged too far. I am in talks. I am not at a bad club.”
When asked if a switch to either PSG or Monaco could happen this summer, he added: “It is possible. I would have to see in what conditions and what would be proposed on a sporting level. I would not leave for anything. I don’t reject anything.
“If I am staying at Arsenal, I will try to achieve a good season, there is a World Cup at the end of it. If I should have to leave, it will be a new challenge.”

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