Arsenal to break the bank for Llorente, but what about Zaha?

Oct 17, 2012
Bill Mann

But if Wenger pays full price for Spaniard he won't be able to buy £20m Palace youngster

ARSENAL are going to need a lot more money than the £35m that Arsene Wenger reportedly has in his piggy bank if they are going to land the two players they are reportedly set on buying this January.

The first of the big money targets is Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente, who has been linked with a move to the Gunners since the summer. The big stumbling block appears to be the fact that the player will not come cheap, even though he is out of contract in the summer.

But according Spanish media, Wenger is now prepared to meet the £29m release clause in his contract and smash the Arsenal transfer record into the bargain, at least that is the interpretation Caught Offside is putting on the latest reports in Spain. It remains to be seen if there is any truth in them.

And if Wenger does stun everyone by forking out almost £30m on a single player then he won't have nearly enough left to buy Crystal Palace ace Wilfred Zaha, who will not be allowed to leave Selhurst Park for anything less than £20m according to the club's co-chairman Steve Parish.

"Other sides can fly their kites but it would take £20m before we even got interested," he said, according to the Daily Mail.

One way round the impasse could be to sell Theo Walcott to Juventus, and that long-discussed deal could still be on the cards according to Italian website Calcio Mercato, which says that the Gunners could be prepared to sell the winger (or striker, depending on you point of view) in January to avoid losing him on a free transfer in the summer.

Turkish club Galatasaray have admitted their interested in signing Arsenal defender Andre Santos in January's transfer window. The Brazilian has been as effective as a Polish stadium roof since arriving at the Emirates 15 months ago and this season he's hardly got a look-in as Kieran Gibbs has made the left-back position his own.

According to Turkish sports rag Fanatik, Galatasaray are admirers of Santos having played against him when the 29-year-old was on the books of Fenerbahce. Asked if there was any truth to the rumours linking Santos with a January move to Galatasaray, chief executive Lutfi Aribogan admitted to Fanatik that "Andre Santos is one of the names on our list".

However Aribogan added that the club had yet to make a formal approach to Arsenal - although it appears Santos would welcome such a move. Sky Sports report that the Brazilian used his Twitter account to tell Arsenal fans: "For now, I have not received an offer from a Turkish team… However, if I receive an offer one day, thinking what is best for my family, I will make a decision."

Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that AC Milan are more determined than ever to sign disgruntled Manchester United winger Nani. The Portuguese playmaker has been relegated to the bench in recent weeks, and reports of a training ground spat with reserve-team player Davide Petrucci have only increased speculation that Nani is growing ever more frustrated with life at Old Trafford.

That's caused much excitement in Italy and, according to La Gazzetta, Milan have touched base with Nani's agent Jorge Mendes to discuss the possibility of a move to the San Siro.

One player who apparently wants to stay put is Atletico Madrid winger Adrian Lopez. The 24-year-old Spaniard has been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool in recent days but Talksport claims that Lopez has no wish to leave the Spanish capital.

Madrid won the Europa League last season and are currently riding high in La Liga, prompting Lopez to dismiss the idea he might leave for England. "I couldn't ask for more [at Atletico]," he said. "Atletico is very special to me and I hope that we can continue like this."

The Metro reports that Paris Saint-Germain will try to lure Ashley Cole from Chelsea with a three-year offer worth £150,000-a-week. The 31-year-old left-back has failed to agree a new deal at the Bridge. As a result, claims the Metro, PSG will offer Cole the sort of long-term contract that the Blues have refused to give him on account of his age.

Cole is allegedly willing to move to the French capital as it will reunite him with former Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, a man the England defender is said to respect.

Finally, the Daily Mirror says that Manchester City have "identified" Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets as their next big-name signing. The 24-year-old has been a key component of the Catalan club in recent seasons but City boss Roberto Mancini is desperate to bring the Spanish playmaker to the Etihad.

The Mirror reports that in the past both Chelsea and Manchester United have had no joy in trying to prise Busquets from the Camp Nou. City, however, will offer "a huge fee" to Barcelona next year in the hope they'll get their man.

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utter shite.

busquets is not a playmaker

arsenal won't buy this bloke