Saturday 19 January 2019

Guardiola insists he won't go for Wilshere

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has laughed off suggestions he might try to sign Arsenal midfield Jack Wilshere.

The 19-year-old was the Gunners' best player in their 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Emirates in midweek, more than holding his own against the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

The England international even outshone his captain, Cesc Fabregas, whom Barcelona are eager to bring back to the Nou Camp.

Guardiola, though, admitted he would not be making a move for Wilshere, and also hinted his side would find it tough to prise Fabregas away from north London. "He is a great player -- a great player for Arsenal," the Barca coach said. "And in any case, Arsene Wenger doesn't sell his best players."

Guardiola claimed he expects a stern test from Wenger's side in the return leg of their Champions League clash at the Nou Camp.


Barca needed a late Lionel Messi strike to beat Athletic Bilbao last night as they returned to winning ways, while Arsenal, fielding a much-changed side, could only draw 1-1 at lower-league Leyton Orient in the FA Cup.

The Gunners also let a four-goal lead slip to draw 4-4 at Newcastle recently, but Guardiola insisted he drew no comfort from those results.

"Arsenal are a wonderful side," he said. "You will not hear me discredit Arsenal -- they are a great side with a great coach and they will be a very difficult opponent. "It will be a great game against a great team."

There had been talk in Spain of a mini-crisis for Barcelona after the Catalans had failed to beat Sporting Gijon last weekend and then lost at Arsenal, but a hard-fought 2-1 win over Athletic saw normal order restored.

"I see this talk of a crisis at Barca and laugh," Athletic coach Joaquin Caparros said.

Caparros saw his side go behind after just three minutes, but Dani Alves was in an offside position when he ran on to Xavi's pass before squaring for David Villa to score for the third game running.

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