Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 18 Mar 2020 11:00 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tried to force January move to Barcelona Aubameyang was close to a move to Barcelona in January (Picture: Getty Images)Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s attempts to force a January transfer to Barcelona were shut down by the north London club, according to reports.The Spanish giants tried to recruit the 31-year-old in the winter transfer window given the injury to first-choice forward Luis Suarez.According to Catalan publication Sport, the Gunners denied their top scorer’s request to leave, despite Barcelona having a deal agreed with the striker.The report also states that Aubameyang is now a backup option for the summer transfer window, as Quique Setién’s side favour a move for Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTHowever, if a move for the Argentinian cannot be completed, Barca view the Arsenal forward as a much cheaper alternative. Advertisement Comment Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be desperate to keep hold of his star striker (Picture: Getty Images)The Gunners face a battle on their hands to hold onto the Gabon international, as his current contract ends in just 18 months.Talks of an extension are reportedly stalling due to his wage demands of upwards of £300,000 a week.The clinical striker also wants to play Champions League football, which is looking increasingly unlikely with the Gunners’ league position of ninth.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalDespite the rumours of his exit, Aubameyang insists he is ‘happy’ at the Emirates Stadium.Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: ‘It means a lot [to play here]. When I was younger I used to watch Arsenal because they always had great players and they won trophies as well. ‘I think it is really a pleasure to be here, I am really happy – that’s my feeling.’Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page.MORE: How Arsenal squad are staying fit during coronavirus lockdownMORE: Mikel Arteta convinces key Arsenal staff member Gary O’Driscoll to reject Liverpool move Advertisement
By Richard MartinBARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – King’s Cup holders Barcelona have a fight on their hands if they are to remain in the competition after losing a fiery first leg of their last-16 tie at Athletic Club 2-1 yesterday despite playing the final 10 minutes with a two-man advantage.Spain striker Aritz Aduriz headed Bilbao in front in the 25th minute and the veteran produced an audacious flick to tee up youngster Inaki Williams to volley in the second three minutes later.Talisman Lionel Messi pulled a full-strength Barca side back into the game with a free-kick in the 52nd minute which came off the underside of the bar and over the line.Brazilian forward Neymar had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the first half and was the victim of more aggression after the break, leading to Raul Garcia and then Ander Iturraspe being shown second yellow cards late in the game.Roared on by the famously passionate San Mames faithful, Athletic produced a resilient display to hold on for the win despite a barrage of late attempts by Barca, which included Messi hitting the post with the last kick of the match.The second leg takes place next Wednesday at the Nou Camp.