Arsenal fight for Vertonghen, City 'offer £80m' for Ronaldo
Wenger faces battle with Juventus for defender as City plot Ronaldo swoop
IT APPEARS Arsenal have a fight on their hands to sign Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen after Juventus signalled their interest in recruiting the Belgian blocker. According to the Italian paper Tuttosport, the Turin club intend to make an offer for the 24-year-old Vertonghen in the off season, believing he has the credentials to make an impression in Serie A.
If true, the news will be received at the Emirates as warmly as George Osborne at a pie shop. Arsene Wenger has made no secret of the fact he admires the strapping Ajax centre-back.
In recent weeks Vertonghen has said he won't sign on for another stint with the Dutch club and with his contract expiring in 2013 it's believed Ajax will sell the Belgian international to the highest bidder in the summer.
Up north, Manchester City may be lagging behind their local rival United in the title race, but they could be about to get one over on them off the field, by signing former United legend Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
Goal.com claims that Roberto Mancini could be lining up a transfer that would "send shockwaves through football". It claims that the player's agent Jorge Mendes has built a relationship with club officials this season and a move couldhappen.
A deal was suggested last summer, but the player did want a move at that time. Things could be different this summer. The website claims that the Citizens are prepared to match the world-record fee of £80m that Madrid paid Manchester United for Ronaldo in 2009, and pay wages of between £400,000 and £500,000-a-week.
A source tells the website there is a similar buzz at City to the time they tried to sign Kaka. That, of course, never happened.
Meanwhile the clear-out continues at the Emirates with Carlos Vela the latest player to realise he'll never be able to do justice to the Arsenal badge. As we reported yesterday Marouane Chamakh and Denilson won't be featuring in next season's club calendar. Now, it seems, neither will Vela.
Talksport claims that the Mexican striker will almost certainly make his loan spell at Real Sociedad permanent at the end of the season with Arsenal wanting £5m in return. The 23-year-old Vela arrived at Arsenal in 2005 but never established himself under Arsene Wenger.
In others news – and no, it's not an early April Fool's – Roma are said to be urgently seeking Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. According to Italian rag Il Tempo, the Serie A side have identified the sour-mouthed South American as the man to "lift their profile around the world" and are willing to fork out £20m for him. Exactly what profile Roma want lifted isn't clear, but let's hope a handshake isn't involved.
The Daily Mail claims that the wealthy Russian club Anzhi are lining up an audacious bid for Chelsea's Fernando Torres in the summer. The Spanish striker has been as short on goals as British garages have been on petrol, but that hasn't stopped Anzhi enquiring as to his availability at the end of the season.
The £50m flop, who's scored just seven times in his 55 appearances for the Blues since arriving from Liverpool 15 months ago, is apparently wanted by Anzhi coach Guus Hiddink. The Mail claims the Russians are prepared to offer Chelsea £35m and that figure may well persuade Roman Abramovich to accept the bid, despite the £15m loss. "We'll evaluate his future in the coming months," the Mail quotes Torres's agent, Antonio Sanz, as saying.
By a funny coincidence, £35m is the sum that The Sun says Chelsea are ready to fork out for Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria. Apparently the Argentine winger is feeling the pinch on his £40,000-a-week wage packet and is being tempted by the prospect of doubling his pay at the Bridge.
Di Maria has been on Chelsea's radar for a while though the 24-year-old – who's made 27 appearances for his country – isn't short of admirers. Manchester City have been linked with him, as have Juventus, but the Sun says Abramovich is keen on the "world-class wideman".