Arsenal

Barcelona To Out-Do Arsenal. Again.

Ajax starlet Gregory van der Wiel has all-but ruled out a move to the Premiership after declaring that his career would only benefit from a move to Spanish giants Barcelona.

The 22-year-old, who looks set to start at right-back for the Dutch team in South Africa this summer, has been courted in recent months by Arsenal, Aston Villa and Manchester City who have been looking to widen their defensive options. Now it seems that the Ajax youngster only has eyes for the Nou Camp.

The Dutch international is a product of Ajax’s acclaimed youth system and, after a spell at HFC Haarlem, broke into the Ajax first-team in 2008 under the newly appointed manager, Marco van Basten.

After making the switch to the right from his original centre-back role, van der Wiel has gone from strength to strength and has now notched up over seventy appearances for the Amsterdam club, scoring a total of 8 goals in the process – six of them within the recent season.

This season he helped Ajax – now under the guidance of Martin Jol – to their first domestic cup win since 2007 while winning for himself the much coveted Johan Cruyff Young Player of the Year award.

The player was heavily linked with Arsenal following the £8.5m move of Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax last year but, after a recent statement made by his agent a move away from Ajax is likely only to lead to one destination.

“It would be great [for him] to sign for Barca,” signaled the defenders representative, “for me they are the best team in the world and the one that plays the best, and Gregory thinks the same.

“Moreover, at Barca, [Johan] Cruyff, [Johan] Neeskens, [Phillip] Cocu and many others have triumphed. For the Dutch it is a very special club.”

So far, however, no formal offer has been received from any club for the Dutch full-back.

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