Man City 'to pounce' for Van Persie, Podolski joins Arsenal
They've already taken Nasri, Clichy, Toure and Adebayor – now they want Arsenal's Robin Reliant
THE MESSAGE from Manchester City couldn't be clearer – get Robin van Persie. According to The Sun, Sky Blues boss Roberto Mancini is "waiting to pounce" for the striker Arsenal fans call 'Robin Reliant'.
With his 32 goals for the Gunners this season, van Persie has caught the eye of Mancini who said of the Dutchman: "I think all the good teams are interested in him. At this moment Van Persie is one of the best strikers in Europe." Pressed on whether the Premier League leaders would pursue Van Persie in the summer, Mancini replied: "If there is a good player who wants to leave a club, then we are interested."
In recent seasons City, unable to develop decent players of their own, have plundered Arsenal at will, seizing Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor. But the Sun says Mancini is aware if he does want to get his hands on the 28-year-old Van Persie he'll have to pay above the odds: "If he leaves I don't think he will be cheap because he has one year left on his contract," said the Italian.
Elsewhere crocked Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has been putting his spell on the sidelines to good use by talking up the Gunners to Lukas Podolski, who is all set to become a Gunner this summer. The BBC reports that Podolski has agreed a four-year deal worth £100,000-a-week at the Emirates and that Arsenal will pay his current club, Cologne, £10.9m
So what role did Mertesacker play in the deal? According to Sky Deutschland it seems the Arsenal defender, out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury he picked up against Sunderland last month, has been putting his mobile phone to good use. "He's been very interested in the past few weeks and has sent me a number of text messages," explained Mertesacker, who knows Podolski from international duty with Germany.
Asked what he had told the frontman by way of reply, Mertesacker showed that his selling skills are a lot sharper than his defending: "I've told him that this is a great place to work and that Arsenal are an amazing club."
More good news for Arsenal is that Podolski chose them ahead of Lokomotiv Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala, who both offered him lucrative deals. But Podolski told Bild: "Money is not the most important thing for me." Presumably he feels the same way about silverware.
Meanwhile Paris Saint Germain might soon be making a pass at foul-mouthed frontman Luis Suarez. According to the Metro, the Parisian outfit are chasing the Liverpool striker along with Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain in their bid to become a major hitter.
PSG were bought by a Qatari consortium last year and owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi has spelled out his plans for European domination. "We are already looking at the market for next season," he said. "It is true that we want Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain. Our real short-term targets are to win the Champions League… we prefer to invest a lot and immediately. In the next five or six years, we still spend this amount."
The Metro speculates that PSG's hopes of snaring Suarez are "clouded", not unlike the striker's thought processes at times. While the Chilean is reportedly happy at Anfield the fact that Liverpool looks unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League could prompt the South American to move across the Channel. And it's one way for the 25-year-old to put his racist run-in with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra behind him.
The Napoli striker, described by Talksport as "one of the most wanted men in world football", has netted 41 times for the Serie A club since joining from Palermo in 2010.
Chelsea have been eyeing him up for months, as have Manchester City and Juventus, but in an interview with Italian rag Il Mattino the 25-year-old declared his intention to remain at Napoli. "I find it perfect here," he said. "It's perfect to live here and at the moment things are going great for me. I do not want to pay attention to the market rumours."