Arsenal could bring in Lopez and ditch Walcott and Arshavin
Atletico striker has been warming the bench in Madrid despite scoring 18 goals last season
AS THEO WALCOTT lies in his bed having been mangled by San Marino's keeper on Friday, the Arsenal winger's health won't be improved by what he reads in the Mirror. For the paper claims that the Gunners are lining up a bid for Atletico Madrid's Spanish striker Adrian Lopez as a direct replacement for Walcott.
Apparently Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is increasingly unsure he wants Walcott at the Emirates and so he's started eyeing up the 24-year-old Lopez. According to the Mirror, the Spaniard is in a similar situation to Walcott after "stalling on a new deal" at Madrid. Consequently Lopez has spent much of the season warming the Atletico bench – just as Walcott has done at the Emirates – despite the fact he scored 18 goals for the La Liga outfit last season.
The Mirror reports that Lopez has a £15m buy-out clause in his contract but that won't frighten off Wenger, who is already making plans for life after Walcott despite the fact that the 23-year-old might never cough in comfort again.
Another winger whose time at the Emirates could be up is Andrey Arshavin, and according to the Sunday Express this weekend the Gunners are so desperate to offload the Russian that they will let him join Fulham on a free transfer in an attempt to reduce their wage bill.
Meanwhile there is another Atletico Madrid player apart from Lopez who is occupying the mind of the Express. It claims that Chelsea and Manchester City are "going head-to-head" in a £45m battle to sign Atletico striker Radamel Falcao.
The clinical Colombian is one of the hottest properties in world football and it seems the two Premier League clubs will pull out all the stops to sign the 26-year-old. Apparently Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is especially keen to lure Falcao to the Bridge, and despite the astronomical fee the Russian is confident he'll get his man in January.
However, City manager Roberto Mancini is also in a determined frame of mind, believing that the Sky Blues need to start flexing their financial muscles again if they're to overhaul Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.
Ashley Cole can't keep himself out of the headlines at the moment, and on the eve of his 99th cap for England the Daily Mail says that he will walk out on Chelsea at the end of the season because they are refusing to offer him more than a one-year extension to his contract.
The paper says he is "adamant" that he will not sign a 12-month deal and in January will begin talks with foreign clubs including Paris St Germain and Real Madrid, managed by Jose Mourinho, the man who brought him to Stamford Bridge from Arsenal. Manchester United could also be tempted to make an offer for the 31-year-old.
Back to Arsenal and The Sun claims that Johan Djourou has demanded a "showdown" with Wenger to find out why he hasn't started a league game for the Gunners since April.
Apparently Roma and Napoli are both interested in the 25-year-old Swiss defender and that's led Djourou to seek out the gaffer and ask if he has any future at the Emirates. Whether or not Djourou gets his showdown remains to be seen: perhaps he should just watch himself in action on YouTube to understand why the safest place for him, and Arsenal, is in the stands.
Finally, the Star claims that Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has appeared on the radar of rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala. The paper goes on to say that Anzhi are "plotting a sensational move" for the Serbian stopper, despite his long history of injury problems.
Vidic is currently recovering from a knee operation but that hasn't stopped Anzhi drawing up their audacious plan to prise him from Old Trafford. The Star reports that the Russian club are prepared to offer him a staggering £250,000-a-week after tax, a sum that still pales in comparison to the £325,000-a-week they pay Samuel Eto'o.
It's reported that Anzhi will make Vidic a formal offer in January and one can imagine how it will go down with Alex Ferguson.