Thursday Kickoff: Arsenal interested in Martinez; Pogba to remain at Juve; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Arsenal interested in Martinez; Pogba to remain at Juve; and more

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Thursday Kickoff: Arsenal interested in Martinez; Pogba to remain at Juve; and more

JaviMartinezBayernMunich1-ManUnitedUCL2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

With fourth place and UEFA Champions League qualification confirmed, Arsenal have already begun to look at options to add to their squad for next year.

Reports in England state that Arsenal have already inquired┬áto see whether Bayern Munich would sell defensive midfielder Javi Martinez, who has also been linked this spring with a move to Barcelona. Martinez reportedly hasn’t been happy with his role under manager Pep Guardiola.

Even if Bayern do make Martinez available, the transfer fee will probably be out of Arsenal’s range. Bayern acquired Martinez for a reported $50 million from Athletic Bilbao in 2012.

Another option that the report states Arsenal might pursue is Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, who was subject to transfer rumors last summer as well. Arsenal are looking for an eventual replacement for the aging Mikel Arteta.

Here are some more stories to start off your Thursday:

RAIOLA SAYS POGBA IS STAYING AT JUVE

Paul Pogba is staying at Juventus for the time being, according to his agent.

Mino Raiola, who also represents Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a host of other top players, reportedly has taken Pogba off the market and is set to renegotiate a contract extension with Juventus.

The French midfielder has been a revelation this season and has not only broken into the Juventus first team but also into the French national team. Paris Saint-Germain has reportedly offered Juventus 70 million euros ($97.4 million) to sign Pogba but Juventus are unwilling to accept right now.

QUICK KICKS

Napoli have been punished for their fans actions prior to the Coppa Italia final last weekend and must play their next two home matches behind closed doors. (REPORT)

Arsenal are close to signing Laurent Koscielny to a contract extension but look set to miss out on re-signing Bakary Sagna. (REPORT)

Real Madrid’s appeal to have Xabi Alonso available for the UEFA Champions League final was turned down. (REPORT)

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech could miss the start of preseason after undergoing an operation on his shoulder that will keep him out for 10 weeks. (REPORT)

AS Roma have agreed a deal with Sky Sports Italia to have the broadcaster’s name on the front of the Roma uniforms for the final two games of the season. (REPORT)

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