Sahin set to complete season-long Arsenal move

By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Nuri Sahin is set to join Arsenal on a season-long loan from Real Madrid in the next 24 hours.

The deal had stagnated over the terms of the buy-out option should the Gunners decide to make his contract permanent in a year’s time.

Sahin’s destination is also understood to have been a discussion point in the Luka Modric talks between Madrid and Tottenham.

But a compromise has been reached and sources have told that the midfielder will be imminently confirmed as an Arsenal player for the forthcoming campaign.

It will strengthen the midfield options of Arsene Wenger, who sanctioned the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona for 19 million (£15m) on Monday and is also likely to be without Jack Wilshere for the first three months of the season through injury.
Sahin’s arrival at Emirates Stadium comes after he had agreed in principle to join Liverpool following advice from Xabi Alonso that he would get more opportunities at Anfield.    

The Blancos were keen for Sahin to move to Merseyside after agreeing a loan fee that is believed to be higher than what Arsenal will pay, while Jose Mourinho felt that the 23-year-old could excel under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers, his former protege at Chelsea.

But Arsenal’s renewed interest last week turned Sahin’s head and Liverpool withdrew their interest in signing the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder on Saturday.

Sahin is the second high-profile midfielder this summer to take a late U-turn on joining Liverpool, following Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was on the verge of a move to Anfield before signing for Tottenham.

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Barcelona – Real Madrid Preview: Vilanova and Mourinho square off in Supercopa showdown

Alex Song could go straight into Barcelona’s squad to face Real Madrid in the Supercopa first leg on Thursday, after the midfielder completed his transfer from Arsenal.

Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique are all pushing for starts, while David Villa is set to be named on the bench again, despite his return from an eight-month injury lay-off in Sunday’s Liga victory over Real Sociedad.

Thiago Alcantara remains the Catalan side’s only absentee as he continues his recovery from a tibia injury.

Real Madrid defender Pepe looks certain to miss the trip to Camp Nou after suffering a nasty collision with team-mate Iker Casillas during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Valencia, although the injury is not deemed to be serious.

Raul Albiol is expected to deputise for the Portugal international in defence, while Marcelo, Sami Khedira and Karim Benzema are all hoping to earn recalls to the starting XI.

  • The Blaugrana have lost just once in their last eight meetings with Real in all competitions (W4, D3, L1).
  • Barca have won the last three editions of the Supercopa with victories over Madrid (2011), Sevilla (2010) and Athletic Bilbao (2009), respectively.
  • Lionel Messi (pictured right) has scored 13 goals in 19 Clasico encounters across all competitions. Only Cesar Rodriguez has scored more for Barcelona against Madrid (14).
  • Real Madrid have lost just once under Jose Mourinho in their last four trips to Camp Nou (W1 D2 L1).
  • Mourinho’s overall record in El Clasico matches reads W2 D4 L5.
  • Eight of the last 10 red cards in Clasico encounters have been handed to Madrid players.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six goals in 16 previous meetings with Barca, including his time at Manchester United.

Modric would be a good choice for Real Madrid, says Rakitic

Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic believes Real Madrid have made the right choice in pursuing Luka Modric as their marquee signing this summer.

The Blancos are eager to lure the Croatia international away from White Hart Lane and have long been in talks with Spurs over a summer transfer.

The two clubs have yet to agree terms, but Rakitic is adamant Madrid will not regret their decision to sign Modric if the move eventually materialises.

“Madrid have made a good choice in trying to sign Modric. He will be a great option if he ends up at Real Madrid,” Rakitic was quoted as saying by Marca.

“Real will be very satisfied with Luka if they sign him. He’s the type of player who enjoys to be near the opponents’ goal.”

The Liga champions’ appeared to have already published a profile of the 26-year-old on their official website on Tuesday, but removed the post shortly after and blamed hackers for the incident.

Real Madrid website posts Modric profile

Real Madrid’s club website are seemingly prepared for the arrival of Luka Modric in the near future, after a tab was created for the Tottenham midfielder which listed him as a Madrid player.

Minutes after the profile was added to Los Blancos‘ official club website, it was hastily taken down, however the information had already been viewed by thousands.

Modric was described as a Real Madrid player from 2012, with his departure from White Hart Lane illustrated by a section which stated: “Tottenham (2008-2012).”

The Spanish giants have since claimed that a hacker was involved, which they say is to blame for the miscalculated incident.

Following no official confirmation from either club, the transfer is yet to be made public, however the Liga champions’ players have been vocal in their admiration of the Dinamo Zagreb man.

This follows on from the news that Marca had posted a picture of the Croatian in the Spanish capital on Tuesday, only for it to later emerge that the photograph had been taken two years ago.

I will be in perfect form very soon, warns Pepe after being ruled out of Supercopa

Pepe lesionado

Pepe, tras el choque con Casillas

Pepe has assured Real Madrid supporters that he will be back to full fitness “very soon”, after showing his appreciation for concerns about his recent head injury.

The centre-back picked up the knock in his side’s 1-1 draw with Valencia in the opening day of La Liga at the weekend, and spent Sunday night in hospital undergoing a series of examinations.

Even though all the tests came out negative, Pepe will not feature in the first leg of the Supercopa Espana tie against Barcelona on Thursday, but he has vowed to pay back everyone for their support.

“I appreciate the many displays of support that I have been shown in the last few days,” Pepe told reporters.

“I am flattered by the encouragement I have received since Sunday, especially from the fans of Real Madrid.

“I will be in perfect shape very soon to continue fighting for the [Madrid] jersey.

“I also want to thank, in particular, the team doctors, who have been and remain by my side at all times.

“I thank all of my colleagues from other clubs for  being interested in my health.

“These small details have not been missed. I give out a big hug to everyone.”

Madrid doctor Carlos Diez was quoted as saying on the club’s official website: “He spent Sunday night under observation and everything is very good.

“We have decided, with the help of Real Madrid’s medical services, that the player could be discharged from the hospital without any problem.

“Normally, with a head injury, we have the player under observation for 24 hours.

“More importantly, we brought him to the hospital where we could carry out the necessary tests, all of which have come out okay,”

Thursday’s match at Camp Nou kicks off at 22:30UTC.