Backpage Roundup: Arsenal Not Interested In Villa, Gunners Join Kondogbia Chase, Arteta's Advice, Wenger's Warning and More

Villa Could Be Available but Gunners Not Interested – Report
Barcelona star David Villa, who was wanted by Arsenal in the January transfer window, might force his club into transfer listing him this summer, according to The Mirror.
The 31-year-old Spaniard isn’t considered an undisputed starter at Barca anymore and so he wants to switch teams for more playing time. However, the paper claims that the Gunners won’t be renewing their interest in Villa, as they have their eyes on Stevan Jovetic, who would be a more long-term solution to Arsenal’s goal-scoring problems than Villa.
Arsenal Join Kondogbia Chase  
Arsene Wenger has admitted that he is interested in signing Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia for Arsenal FC this summer.
Kondogbia, 20, arrived at Sevilla last year from Lens and has quickly established himself as one of the best up and coming defensive midfielders in Primera Division. As a result, he is attracting admiring glances from European giants such as Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund, and now Wenger has confirmed the Gunners’ interest in acquiring him too.
The Sun have quoted the Arsenal boss as saying: “I don’t really want to talk about Kondogbia too much because everyone’s after him at the moment. When you ask ‘Are you also interested?’ what do you expect me to say?”
No More Let Ups – Arteta
Arteta has urged his Arsenal teammates to be ‘clinical’ in their remaining three games of the season in order to secure a top-four finish.
The Gunners failed to capitalise on their strong start against Manchester United on Sunday and allowed the newly-crowned PL champions to escape with a 1-1 draw. As a result, they slipped to fourth on the league table behind Chelsea, who also have a game in hand.
Despite the draw, Arteta is confident his side can maintain their top-four status but has warned his teammates that they can’t afford any more let ups.
The Spaniard said: “It will be about who is the most clinical at the right moments. When it gets to the last games, the teams who are the most clinical win the games – we have seen that over the last few weeks. It will be a difficult battle for everyone.
You want to do well when you go for challenges or make a mistake. There is pressure on us like there is for the other teams. Every team in the Premier League is playing for something – relegation or Europe. It will be interesting.
“I believe in our players, but we have to show we can do it. It is easy saying we have a better chance, but it is up to us to do it on the pitch. Every game is difficult and anything can happen. We have to play for that.”
Wenger Defends Hard Play Against United
Arsene Wenger has claimed that there was nothing wrong with the more than usual show of aggression by his Arsenal side in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
The Gunners went in hard in the tackles but only got three yellow cards in comparison to five for United. As expected, Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t happy with the performance of referee Phil Dowd, but Wenger doesn’t share his counterpart’s grievances.
He told Sky Sports:From the first to the last minute, it was two teams giving absolutely everything to win. We gave everything and, at the end of the day, the regret you have is the way we conceded the goal. Just before half-time, that was a serious blow to us.”
Top-Four Battle Is Nerve-Wracking – Walcott
Theo Walcott says that the battle for top-four places between Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham may be entertaining for the fans, but it is very nerve-wracking for the players involved.
Talking to Sky Sports after Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium, he said: “It is great for you guys. Not so great for us. We have just got to concentrate on ourselves. We cannot keep on relying on other teams.
“As long as we get the three points and do not drop any points, that is all we can do. Hopefully, come the end of the season, we have kept that undefeated run of games. We need to make sure we are definitely there (in the top four).”
Wenger: ‘No Room for Dropping Points’
Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal players that they cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to finish the season in top-four places.
Sunday’ 1-1 draw with Manchester United means that the Gunners sit fourth behind Chelsea on the points table, having played one more game than both the Blues and Tottenham.
With just three more games to go, Wenger knows that there isn’t much margin of error, and so he has told his players to be at their best at all times from now on.
He said: “If we win our other games it will be enough. I am convinced we will be there, but there is no room for dropping points, however the other teams are in the same position. Overall I can only praise the players for the effort, the dynamic and the desire we put in.
“Let’s keep it going like that and we will have a chance to be where we want to be. However, we are in a position where we cannot drop points, we know that.”

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