Arsenal keen on Kevin-Prince Boateng, Damaio and Sturridge
Chelsea striker Sturridge may quit Stamford Bridge to salvage his England career
NOT for the first time in recent weeks, Arsenal are "on alert" for one of Europe's most promising young players. This time it's Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge (above) who is said to be causing excitement within the Emirates following Chelsea's decision to sell the 23-year-old in January.
According to the Daily Mail, "Stamford Bridge chiefs will start the bidding for the forward at £15 million" in the New Year and Arsenal and Liverpool are believed to be the front runners.
The Mail claims that Sturridge believes his career has stalled under Roberto Di Matteo and that only a fresh start will reignite his prospects of playing for England in the 2014 World Cup.
There were stories linking him with a loan move to Liverpool over the summer but the Reds allegedly got cold feet when Sturridge insisted any move to Anfield would have to be permanent. Arsenal are said to be admirers of the former Manchester City striker and Arsene Wenger is monitoring the situation.
In addition to the usual reports of rumours connecting Arsenal to Fernando Llorente (which appear to be based on little more than reports about previous rumours) the Gunners find themselves being linked to another striker, Brazilian Leandro Damiao, formerly a target of arch rivals Spurs.
The 23-year-old Internacional forward played for Brazil in the Olympics, so he has some experience of Britain. He also appears to have a poacher's eye for goal and has 74 goals in 122 matches for his club. They managed to hold on to him despite interest over the summer but according to Caughtoffside an offer of £16m may be enough to bring him back to London, where he could team up with Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.
A more concrete rumour may involve former Portsmouth and Spurs star Kevin Prince Boateng, who now plays for AC Milan and is reportedly being tracked by Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool.
German newspaper TZ reportedly says the clubs are weighing up whether to make a bid for the 25-year-old Ghana international, who has become disillusioned with life at the San Siro since the departure of big stars including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.
Boateng was born in Germany, and his brother Jerome plays for the national team. In 2010 the pair became the first set of brothers to play against each other in an international match when they met in the World Cup.
Meanwhile Arsenal's Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone has rubbished suggestions he could be about to turn his back on the Gunners. As we reported last week, the Italian press took it upon themselves to start speculating that the 24-year-old shot-stopper was poised to make a move to AC Milan.
Mannone has caught the eye in recent weeks as he continues to deputise for the injured Wojciech Szczesny but according to ESPN he's desperate to remain at the Emirates. "I want to make it clear, because there have been unfounded rumours, that my contract is not ending in 12 months," they quote the Italy Under-21 international as saying.
Mannone, who arrived in north London as a 17-year-old, then stressed his commitment to the club, declaring: "I want to stay at Arsenal as long as I can, I don't want to move to any other club."
Liverpool are reportedly eyeing up a move for a pair of Spanish stars the moment the January transfer window opens. Talksport claim that the Reds are after Atletico Madrid winger Arda Turan and Barcelona frontman Alexis Sanchez as Brendan Rodgers looks to get his side scoring again.
Liverpool have found the net just nine times in their opening seven Premier League appearances, and Talksport says that's a cause of concern at Anfield.
Apparently Rodgers sent scouts to run the rule over Turan when he appeared for Turkey in their recent World Cup qualifier defeat to Romania. The 25-year-old Turk, who only joined Atletico Madrid last year, has been linked with Liverpool in the past but it appears the Reds will make a concerted effort to get their man in the New Year.
The same goes for Sanchez, who has struggled to get a place in the Barcelona starting line-up since Tito Vilanova replaced Pep Guardiola as coach.
Manchester City are dithering over whether to extend Yaya Toure's contract at the Etihad Stadium. In a goal.com exclusive, it's claimed that the 29-year-old midfielder "could possibly" walk out on the Premier League champions if a new deal is not forthcoming.
Currently Toure takes home £220,000-a-week, a tidy sum for the Ivory Coast international who is in his third year with City. But according to goal.com, Toure's representatives are "pushing" for an extension to his contract (which expires in 2015) and that's provoked a reaction from City.
They won't be rushed into negotiating a new deal even if it means incurring the wrath of Toure's agent, Dimitri Seluk. In the past Seluk has hinted that Toure might leave City, mentioning the possibility of his client joining Chelsea or Bayern Munich.