While Arsenal are in the pits, Man U approach Mario Gotze
Borussia Dortmund playmaker once linked to Gunners could be headed for Old Trafford
BY WHILE Arsenal fans weep like North Koreans over the decline of this team's fortunes, Manchester United have apparently lost no time in exploiting the Gunners' misery. According to Talksport, the Red Devils "have approached" Borussia Dortmund wunderkid Mario Gotze with a view to snapping up the 19-year-old playmaker in the summer.
There was a time when Arsenal were linked to the German international but that was before the north London club's reputation suffered a similar fate to Glasgow Rangers' bank balance. Now it's claimed United intend to land Gotze in the summer with his £30m price tag no problem for manager Alex Ferguson.
To back up their story, Talksport quote the claim made by Gotze's agent to Italian website calciomercato.com in which Dirk Hebel says: "I think in Europe all the top clubs are interested in Mario. I can confirm that I have had contact with Juventus and Manchester United, but not only them."
Pressed on whether Gotze would be leaving Germany in June, Hebel replied: "I don't know if he'll go away after this season, you should ask Borussia."
Arsenal might have more luck if they lower their sights and settle on someone like Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud. The French frontman was linked with the Gunners earlier in the week and now Montpellier boss Louis Nicollin has conceded that if one of Europe's premier clubs – or even Arsenal – came calling with a big offer the chances are they'd sell the 25-year-old.
Talking to French sports paper L'Equipe, Nicollin said: "If he ends the season as the top scorer in France and plays with Les Bleus at Euro 2012, how could we keep him?... If he wants to join a big club and we can make the deal work for us, we would not look to keep him against his will."
Former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has told Didier Drogba he should swap Stamford Bridge for Shanghai Shenhua. Anelka made the switch last month and seems to be enjoying life in the Chinese Super League. Asked at a publicity event on Thursday if he had any advice for Drogba, the 32-year-old Anelka replied in French : "I personally would like to see Drogba join Shanghai Shenhua."
He then added that he was "frequently in contact" with the 33-year-old Ivorian striker and said: "I think Drogba should be joining us, if all goes well, but that is not my position to announce." Drogba is almost certain to leave the embattled Blues in the summer, with rumours suggesting he'll settle on a final lucrative payday either in Russia or China.
Finally the Daily Mail reports that Tottenham are casting an eye over Ajax centre back Jan Vertonghen. The Lilywhites apparently had scouts in Holland last night to watch the 24-year-old in action against Manchester United and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp might make a move depending on the feedback he receives.
A host of clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been linked to Vertonghen in recent months but some have baulked at his £12m price tag. That's not a problem for Redknapp, though the thought of trying to spell the Belgian's name on the weekly teamsheet might deter the Tottenham manager.