Arsenal and Man City set for fight over Radamel Falcao
Arsene Wenger will have £35m to spend in January, but so will Roberto Mancini
HOURS after Olivier Giroud broke his Premier League duck for Arsenal comes news that the Gunners have joined the chase for star striker Radamel Falcao as they seek to strengthen their strike force.
The Mirror claims that Arsene Wenger has been "assured" that he will have more than £35m to spend when the New Year transfer window opens. And top of the Arsenal boss's list is Atletico Madrid frontman Falcao.
In recent weeks the 26-year-old Colombian has been linked with a host of clubs, including Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, but the Mirror says Arsenal now fancy their chances of landing Falcao. It's believed financial problems will force Atletico to sell Falcao on the cheap, maybe for as little as £40m.
ESPN disagrees with the Mirror and believes that Manchester City are favourites to sign the striker, particularly as Roberto Mancini attended Sunday's La Liga fixture between Atletico Madrid and Malaga.
However, it could be that Mancini was checking out Falcao's strike partner Isco. The 20-year-old forward would be considerably cheaper than Falcao, hos buy-out clause is a paltry £17m.
Meanwhile the Mail reports that Theo Walcott has indicated he hopes he can sign on for another term at the Emirates. The 23-year-old England winger came off the bench to bang in Arsenal's second in their win over West Ham on Saturday, and later declared his love for the Gunners.
"I want to play for this club and hopefully something can happen very soon," said Walcott, who is currently locked in contract negotiations with Arsenal over a new deal at the club.
In other news, The Sun says that Chelsea playmaker Oscar has told compatriot Neymar he should join him at the Bridge as soon as he can. The 20-year-old Brazilian striker is being courted by both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but Oscar is having such a good time with the Blues he wants Neymar to join in the fun.
"Oscar messages me to tell me what a great club Chelsea is and what a great city London is," Neymar is quoted as saying. Asked if Oscar had done enough to persuade him to move to London, Neymar replied: "When the time is right I will listen to the right offers that my agent has for me. It is very simple — if Barcelona are interested you listen, if Real Madrid are interested you listen, if Chelsea are interested you listen."
Manchester United could make a move for Fulham defender Brede Hangeland in January says Metro. The 31-year-old centre back is out of contract at the end of the season and could leave Craven Cottage on a free. However, Alex Ferguson is concerned about his lack of defensive cover and could try and sign the Norwegian in January and is hopeful that the Cottagers would accept an offer for the player rather than lose him for nothing at the end of the season.
The Express says that Joey Barton has been "given the green light" to make his move to Marseille permanent. The QPR midfielder was loaned out to the French outfit in the summer following his 12-match ban for violent conduct, and so far Barton has kept his nose clean on the Mediterranean. That's gone down well at Rangers who, according to the Express, are "making plans to dump Barton" for good.
The 29-year-old Barton was stripped of the captaincy following his ban – picked up on the last day of the season against Manchester City – and Rangers chief executive Philip Beard has said the club has "moved on" from the shameful incident. Asked if that meant they had washed their hands off Barton, Beard replied: "A lot will depend on how his move works out and we'll look at it at the end of the season."
Finally the Star reports that Manchester City are "closing in" on Fiorentina starlet Stefan Jovetic. The attacking midfielder is one of Italy's hottest young talents and apparently the Sky Blues are poised to make a £25m offer for the 22-year-old attacking midfielder in January.
The Star says that City enquired about the Montenegro international in August when they snapped up his team-mate Majita Nastasic, and although Fiorentina refused to do business they have now changed their mind.