Backpage Roundup: Higuain Inches Closer to Arsenal Move, Fellaini Could Be Vieira's Heir, Gunners Handed Villa Opener and More

Higuain Inches Closer to Arsenal Move
Real Madrid star Gonazalo Higuain’s proposed move to Arsenal FC has inched closer after it was reported that he has agreed personal terms with the Gunners.
An agreement between the two clubs has yet to be struck, but several newspapers are claiming that a four-year deal with weekly salary of between £100,000-150,000 has already been agreed between the player’s and the North Londoners’ representatives.
Fellaini Could Do the ‘Vieira’ Job – Parlour
Everton enforcer Marouane Fellaini could be Patrick Vieira’s long awaited heir in the centre of Arsenal midfield, Ray Parlour has claimed.
The 25-year-old Belgian has been linked heavily with a move to the Emirates Stadium this month, and Parlour believes it would be a match made in heaven.
When asked Parlour if Fellaini could provide the Gunners the strength and drive that their legend Vieira used to do in his heydays, he replied: “I would hope so, with the physical power he has got, and his performances at Everton have been fantastic. It’s not just his threat from set plays either, we all know about Arsenal sometimes conceding easy goals from corners but it’s one of those situations where you need people to defend those, he would be an addition to that and he can also score goals.
“But Vieira was a very good leader for the club after Tony Adams, that was always going to be the big question, who could lead the club forward? Patrick certainly did a good job as skipper. So maybe that is an area that they will strengthen. We tried [Abou] Diaby but he got injured on regular occasions and [Alex] Song was there for a while but he has moved on. That is the position they need to have a look at. [Mikel] Arteta did a great job last year but he’s getting that little bit older so I’m sure Wenger will be targeting players in that area.”
Gunners to Begin New Season At Home against Villa
The fixture list for the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season has been unveiled, and Arsenal’s first assignment will be to host Aston Villa on August 17 at their Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners will have two London derbies in the opening month of the season. They will first visit Fulham’s Craven Cottage on August 24 before hosting Tottenham Hotspur a week later. Their final league game of the season will be against Norwich City at the Carrow Road on May 11.
Sagna Could Still Sign Extension
Bacary Sagna’s stance over staying at Arsenal has changed dramatically with the French defender now claiming that he never wanted to leave the club and is still negotiating an extension.
With just one more year to go on his existing Arsenal deal, it was widely believed that the 30-year-old would be sold to one of the ultra-rich French clubs this summer since talks over a new deal had shown no progress for months. However, the right-back has now revealed that talks are still ongoing, and he could still end up staying at Emirates Stadium.
Gulf News have quoted Sagna as saying: “We are still talking [about a new contract]. I never said I wanted to leave the club, but there are some journalists who want to speculate as I have just one year to go. The fact is that I am still at Arsenal and I am looking forward to playing next season. Arsenal made me grow as a player and as a man. People have been talking about me going back to France, but at the moment I am at Arsenal.”
Wenger the Reason behind Sanogo’s Arsenal Move
Auxerre starlet Yaya Sanogo says that it was the presence of Arsene Wenger that made him choose Arsenal as his next club.
Sanogo, 20, is all set to join the Gunners in the next few weeks after shunning offers from Lille and his current club. Explaining the reason behind his decision to do so, he told France Football: “Rudi Garcia [then Lille coach] called me many times and it made me hesitate a lot. He [Gilles Grimandi] had been to see me many times at Auxerre. And then, one day, we met in Paris at a hotel.
“I was very impressed. Monsieur Wenger had come to see me directly in Paris. He told me that I would have my chance and reassured me about my injury. He said he had followed me for many seasons. It was this trip that was decisive in my decision. I opted for Arsenal.
“I was told it was a very good club for me [by Diaby, Coquelin and Sagna]. Many of the guys said I was too young. But I left them to speak. I am 20, I had not played for a year and a half, I had scored some goals and Arsenal had contacted me. Could I really say no? I don’t believe so. It will be a magnificent adventure.”

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