Arsenal face fight for targets Javi Garcia and Claudio Yacob
Wenger and Fergie to fight it out for Spaniard's signature, City name Tevez in league squad
THE January window has only just closed but there are already some tasty battles brewing this summer, the latest of which involves the fate of Benfica midfielder Javi Garcia (above), who used to play for Real Madrid.
Now, as Arsenal fans are only too aware it is a long time since the Gunners last got one over on Manchester United, but that has not stopped Arsene Wenger from trying to lure Garcia out of Alex Ferguson's clutches, despite rumours in Portugal that United have already agreed a deal for the 24-year-old midfielder this summer.
According to The Times, when Arsenal approached Benfica they were told that there had been interest from United but that there was no formal deal in place. And now the nutty professor has the task of convincing Garcia that life at the Emirates, with little or no European football, is better than that at Old Trafford.
The fly in the ointment is that Garcia will not come cheap and could cost as much as £27m.
If Arsenal can't afford him and he ends up moving to United then that could leave the Gunners facing a fight for their other midfield target, Argentine Claudio Yacob, the much-admired captain of Racing Club. He is available on a free in the summer and Wenger has already made enquiries about the 24-year-old enforcer.
But Benfica could also make a move, and they are likely to be able to offer Champions League football.
Meanwhile the saga of another long-term Arsenal target, Eden Hazard, continues. The Mirror reports that he is now likely to move to the Premier League this summer (more than two years after he was first linked with the Gunners).
His latest suitors are Manchester City who, along with Chelsea, are now seen as frontrunners for his signature. City boss Roberto Manini told French rag Le 10 Sport: "Hazard has an enormous talent and is able to play at the highest level. But we are aware there is interest from other big clubs in Europe."
Talking of City, could a remarkable comeback be on the cards for Carlos Tevez? Earlier this week he appeared to have somehow found a way of alienating himself from his employers even further by describing his situation and City's failure to sell him in January as "comical". But now he denies ever giving an interview to German magazine Kicker, and The Daily Mail reports that he has been named in City's revised 25-man squad for the rest of the Premier League season.
That shifts the transfer spotlight onto City's other Argentine striker Sergio Aguero, who could find himself in a transfer merry-go-round this summer. The Mail reports that Chelsea want Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain and will pay as much as £33m for him. If that deal goes through then Madrid will go after Aguero as his replacement.
Finally, Liverpool, probably still smarting from the £35m they forked out for Andy Carroll last year, are tiptoeing their way back into the transfer market. They are reportedly keen to sign Chilean winger Mauricio Isla in the summer after they failed to get a deal together before deadline day.
Italian sports rag Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Kenny Dalglish has been in touch with Udinese over a move for the £8m-rated man who can play anywhere in midfield.