Arsenal fight Fiorentina, Man Utd, Spurs over defender Federico Fazio
Arsenal, odds-on 4/9 favourites for the FA Cup, face a battle to land Sevilla centre back Federico Fazio in the summer.
Fellow Premier League heavyweights Manchester United and Tottenham (both outsiders for a top four finish with Coral at 40/1 and 33/1 respectively), as well as Serie A side Fiorentina, are also chasing the Argentine’s signature.
Catching the eye with a series of classy displays, most recently in the La Liga win over Real Madrid, Fazio has helped Sevilla keep 10 clean sheets in all competitions.
At 27, he is entering his prime. Fazio has not been picked for his country under current coach Alejandro Sabella, however, and last turned out for Argentina under predecessor Sergio Batista in June 2011. He has two senior caps.
That lack of international recognition will not deter Arsenal, their north London rivals Spurs, the Red Devils or the Florence outfit – who are managed by former Fulham loanee Vincenzo Montella.
Arsene Wenger may lose Gunners club captain Thomas Vermaelen this summer, as he has been unable to dislodge first-choice centre back pair Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at the Emirates.
Tottenham, meanwhile, will be in the market to strengthen their defence because Frenchman Younes Kaboul is out of contract at White Hart Lane.
With United club captain Nemanja Vidic joining Inter Milan on a free transfer and rumours that Rio Ferdinand will retire at the end of the season, David Moyes also needs to sign replacements at Old Trafford.
Fazio’s compatriot Ezequiel Garay, who plays for fellow Europa League quarter-finalists Benfica, is understood to be a preferred choice.
Previously on the radar of other Premier League clubs, Everton (5/2 for a top four finish), Liverpool (13/8 for the title) and Southampton, Fazio is courting serious interest, so competition will be cut-throat to land him.
Sevilla will go into their second leg with Porto a goal down on aggregate, and are 16/1 shots to go all the way and win the Europa League.