Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd chase Spanish starlet Niguez
Gunners also said to be after midfielder Maxime Gonalons and Forest defender Jamaal Lascelles
ANOTHER week and another “wonderkid”. The latest to emerge as a target for the Premier League’s finest is Spain’s Saul Niguez.
According to Metro, Arsenal and Chelsea are locked in a head-to-head battle for the nimble-footed 19-year-old, although the Gunners are in so many head-head battles these days they should be nicknamed the Hydras.
Metro claims that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is “keen” to bring the Atletico Madrid midfielder (who’s spent much of this season on loan at Rayo Vallecano) to the Emirates, and he’s already held talks with the player’s representatives. Both parties are said to be “eager to wrap up a deal” in the next fortnight.
But the Blues have other ideas. Apparently Arsenal’s London rivals had their top scout in Spain over the weekend to watch Niguez in action against Getafe, and a big money offer from Chelsea could yet scupper Arsenal’s plans.
And it’s not just Chelsea who are hoping to rain on Arsenal’s parade. The Daily Mirror says that Manchester United are also keen on the teenager, with coach Phil Neville jetting over to Spain to watch him in action. But the paper hedges its bets by suggesting that Neville may also have been there to run the rule over his Rayo team-mate Alex Galvez, the subject of a bid from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
Nonetheless Metro says Arsenal remain favourites to sign the youngster with the presence of the club’s Spanish stars Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta likely to be a “deciding influence” in any decision.
Even if they miss out on Niguez, the Gunners may still manage to land a youngster if they complete a move for highly-rated Nottingham Forest defender Jamaal Lascelles. Metro says that Arsenal have revived their interest in the promising England Under-20 international three years after their last bid. Forest reportedly saw off Arsenal’s attempts to lure the 20-year-old central defender to London for £5m in 2011 and would expect a lot more money this time round, now that Lascelles has established himself in Forest’s promotion-chasing back four.
Over at Caughtoffside, the talk is that Arsenal’s real targets are further north than Nottingham, in Newcastle to be precise. After Arsene Wenger failed to land Yohan Cabaye in the summer, the website claims he will return to St James’ Park with an improved offer for the French midfielder and will also try to get defender David Santon on board. An offer of £30m for the pair could be on the cards.
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror says that Arsenal are also tracking another old favourite, France international defensive midfield player Maxime Gonalons. The 24-year-old, currently strutting his stuff with Lyon, was the subject of a £14m bid from Napoli earlier in the season, but though the French club said ‘non’ to that offer, it’s claimed that Arsenal will table a bigger bid in the next fortnight and this time the answer will be ‘oui’.
With Transfer Talk having used up its entire French vocabulary, it’s time to move back to Spain, and Real Sociedad where, says the International Business Times, Antoine Griezmann is rumoured to be considering his future.
Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have both been linked to the winger-cum-forward in recent weeks but the 22-year-old has also caught the eye of Arsenal. Griezmann has scored 12 goals in 16 league appearances this season and that’s the form that has made the French striker one of the hottest properties in Spanish football. Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa have found the net more often, and the IB Times forecasts that Arsenal will pay over the odds to snap up the striker as they come to terms with Theo Walcott’s long-term injury. Apparently they’ve already had an initial bid of £12.5m rebuffed with Real Sociedad demanding twice that.
The Daily Mail says that though Manchester United finally returned to winning ways at the weekend with their 2-0 defeat of Swansea, manager David Moyes is preparing to have a mass clearout of his ailing squad. Apparently Anderson is “on the verge “of joining Italian club Fiorentina, while Nani and Wilfried Zaha will also be moved on this month, the former on loan to Sporting Lisbon in his native Portugal and Zaha off for a short-term stint at Cardiff City.
Further down the line, the Mail alleges that Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Alex Buttner, Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez, Patrice Evra, Antonio Valencia and Anders Lindegaard will all be given their P45s at the end of the season.
But one player who is rumoured to be returning to Old Trafford is Paul Pogba. The Daily Express says that the 20-year-old, who left United 18 months at the instruction of Alex Ferguson, is “poised for a sensational return” to his former stomping ground. The Express says that Moyes has been monitoring Pogba’s progress at Juventus after word reached him that the youngster was “unsettled” in Turin. It will cost United, however, with Juventus likely to demand £30m for a player who was offloaded by Ferguson for a paltry £1.3m.
Talking of comebacks, the Daily Telegraph reports that Chelsea are “prepared to pay £21m” to bring Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic back to the club this month. With the Blues now resigned to seeing Inter Milan’s Fredy Guarin slip through their fingers, manager Jose Mourinho has fingered Matic as a suitable alternative. The 25-year-old Serbia international walked out of the Bridge in January 2011 after a disappointing two years, but since moving to Portugal he’s matured into a cultured playmaker and Mourinho would have no problem meeting Benfica’s asking price