Cash-rich Arsenal 'not scared' to spend money, says Wenger
Could Icelandic player Aron Johannsson be on his way to London after catching Arsenal's eye?
WITH Arsenal's financial results due out on Thursday and more good news for the Gunners expected, Arsene Wenger has put agents around Europe on alert by insisting that he is "not scared to spend the money".
Having brought in Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud this summer Arsenal look like a force to be reckoned with, but with what the Daily Mail says are "considerable cash reserves" at the club, Wenger could be tempted to bolster his squad come January.
However, even though he brought Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young to the Emirates, Wenger insisted that he would not buy unproven players for the sake of it, and announced: "We only want to bring in players who add something to our squad and give a chance as well to the young players we have.
"We want to spend our money in the right way."
So, where does that leave Icelandic striker Aron Johannsson who has reportedly caught Wenger's eye? According to Talksport he is on the Gunners' radar and Arsenal are "considering a move" for the 22-year-old in the New Year.
Born in the USA, Johannsson has scored ten goals in just four matches this season for AGF, including the fastest ever hat-trick in the history of the Danish Superleague, taking only three minutes and 50 seconds to find the net three times against pitiful AC Horsens.
Although he's played several times for the Iceland U21 side, Johannsson is allegedly being courted by America with a view to playing for them at senior level.
Talksport says that the youngster's agent, Magnus Agnar Magnusson, is aware of Wenger's interest and standing by his phone. "Arsenal haven't called me yet, but they'd be more than welcome," explained Magnusson. "It's natural they would show interest in a player who scores so many goals... Aron has the speed to succeed in English football."
The standout performance of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa for Montpellier against Arsenal has reignited interest in the French international.
Yanga-Mbiwa was on top of the Champions League game last week and despite the fact the Gunners pinched a 2-1 win, reports in Spain claim Barcelona are now stalking the 23-year-old.
According to El Mundo Deportivo, the Montpellier captain has jumped to the top of the Barcelona wishlist following his commanding performance, a game at which Barcelona had scouts present.
The defender was approached by Arsenal in the summer but turned down the London club in the hope of securing a move to AC Milan. That fell through but it's believed there'll be a bidding war in January with Arsenal, Barcelona and Juventus all making Montpellier offers.
Elsewhere and while England boss Roy Hodgson might not want Rio Ferdinand the Manchester United defender is apparently the object of West Ham's affections.
Caught Offside claim that the 33-year-old Ferdinand, who began his professional career with the Hammers, could be open to the move as he reaches the end of the road with United. Ferdinand is out of contract at Old Trafford next summer and that's persuaded West Ham that "an audacious January move" for the former England skipper could bear fruit.
What it may depend on, says Caught Offside, is the extent of United's defensive injury crisis in the New Year. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are both crocked at the moment and Nemanja Vidic is recovering from knee surgery, which means Ferdinand is essential to manager Alex Ferguson. But should the situation change in the next three months then it's conceivable Ferdinand may head back to Upton Park.
Finally, Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has given a glimmer of hope to Chelsea by insisting no deal has been done with Barcelona over Neymar. The twinkle-toed striker is being chased by the Blues but the Brazilian is said to be fending off advances from the Catalan club.
However, speaking to Brazilian broadcaster Radio Estadao ESPN, Ribeiro told Radio Estadao ESPN that for the time being Neymar is "happy" to bide his time: "If he stays until the end of his contract, any money involved in an eventual negotiation will be Neymar's," said the president, adding the club "don't need to sell players. Our cash flow doesn't include money from selling players."