Arsenal vs Serie A in fight for Llorente and Yanga-Mbiwa
Can Gunners match Juventus and AC Milan in battle for striker and defender
WITH the revelation yesterday that Arsenal fans pay the most to watch their team in action, the Gunners need to placate the Emirates faithful and what better way than to sign Montpellier skipper Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa?
According to Talksport, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a "huge admirer" of the 23-year-old defender and is primed to make a move in the New Year.
But before Arsenal fans begin to think that perhaps paying as much as £126 for the privilege of watching their team isn't so bad after all, they should heed Talksport's warning. It claims that AC Milan are gearing up to "battle" Arsenal for Yanga-Mbiwa, with the Italian giants apparently prepared to give Montpellier whatever they want in return for the French international.
Inter's move comes after they decided not to pursue their interest in Marseille defender Nicolas N'Koulou but instead go after Yanga-Mbiwa. The player is out of contract at the end of the season and it's believed Montpellier will sell him in January rather than risk seeing him leave on a free in May.
Arsenal's hopes of landing Spanish striker Fernando Llorente may be receding after it was reported that Juventus have raised the stakes significantly by pledging to make the Athletic Bilbao hitman their best payed player, on a package worth £145,000 a week, if he signs for them.
The big striker has been linked with both the Gunners and the Serie A leaders since the summer, but according to the Daily Mail the Old Lady of Turin is prepared to flex her financial muscles to ensure she wins the hand of Llorente.
However, the paper reports that Juventus will only offer to pay Althetic Bilbao £5m for the player, whose contract runs out at the end of the season. That means that all is not lost for Arsenal, who could come in with a bigger offer, or put aside some of Arsene Wenger's transfer kitty and use it to match the personal terms they offer the player.
Arsenal may have another cause for concern of Juventus do sign Llorente. His arrival in Italy could render Arsenal misfit Nicklas Bendtner surplus to requirements and he may be put on the first plane back to the Emirates.
Meanwhile Arsenal are also being linked with yet another Spanish player, the Real Betis midfielder Benat. According to American website Bleacher Report the 25-year-old international has caught the eye of Arsene Wenger who is on the look out for another defensive midfielder to provide support for the likes of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and playmaker Santi Cazorla.
The website points out that Betis have all but acknowledged that Benat will be leaving in January, conceding that the player could "earn more" at other clubs.
Meanwhile Italy's Gazzetta della Sport reports that Arsenal are also in competition with another Serie A club. The club in question is Fiorentina and it's claimed they and the Gunners are both chasing Javier Hernandez. The little Mexican has slipped down the pecking order at Old Trafford since the arrival of Robin van Persie, and it seems he wants to kick-start his career with a January move. Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson seems reluctant to give Hernandez a run these days and it's believed he could sell if the price is right.
One player not going anywhere is Loic Remy. Chelsea have been courting the 25-year-old frontman for months and it was rumoured the Blues made an offer in August only to be knocked back by Marseille. The French club, currently top of their domestic league, have since suggested they might be open to a deal next year but in an interview with Mercato365.com Remy pooh-poohed the idea. "I will not leave the club this winter," said the French international.
Liverpool are said to be close to agreeing a new deal with promising teenager Suso. The 18-year-old Spaniard has impressed manager Brendan Rodgers since making his first team debut earlier in the season, and his reward will be a contract extension. "He will sign a new contract later which shows our commitment to him and shows he is very happy here," Rodgers told goal.com.
Finally, the Daily Mirror reports that Manchester City have denied making an approach for Barcelona's Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas. Rumours emerged earlier in the week suggesting the Sky Blues were in the hunt for the pair of Spanish aces, but the Mirror conveys a statement from the club in which they say: "There is no basis to these claims and the club has neither made nor is it planning to make an offer for these players."