Arsenal in Lazar Markovic fight, Chelsea to bid £48m for Falcao
Partisan Belgrade's teenage sensation wants to join Chelsea - but Wenger has other ideas
A YEAR is a long time in football – as Partisan Belgrade's Lazar Markovic will gloomily attest. As we reported at the end of last year, the teenage Serbian sensation was looking forward to securing a move to Chelsea, even going so far as to simper: "I really hope I can go to Chelsea, it's my dream."
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old forward the dream is in danger of becoming a nightmare as he ends up in London all right – but at the Emirates and not at the Bridge.
According to Talksport, the Gunners are in a "major fight" to sign Markovic (above) and Arsene Wenger is expected to see off opposition from Sevilla, Fiorentina and Roma in the New Year.
The news will come as a surprise to Arsenal fans who were under the impression that the fight had gone out of their club a long time ago. But Talksport claims Arsenal "are expected to make their move" for Markovic the moment the January transfer window opens after a string of impressive performances for Partisan in the Europa League, a competition Arsenal might well be experiencing next season.
Meanwhile the rumours linking Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby to Arsenal are gathering pace, presumably because the German international had such an enjoyable time at the Emirates stadium on Wednesday night.
The latest crystal ball-gazers to reveal that they can see Holtby wearing a red shirt on Match of the Day are from Talksport. The website says that Arsenal and Liverpool are on "red alert" after the player acknowledged that it was his "dream" to play in the Premier League.
The only problem is that neither club are in the sort of form that can guarantee that he won't end up playing in the Championship if he signs up.
While on the subject of unsubstantiated Arsenal rumours, what are the chances that the Gunners will swoop for Montpellier playmaker Remy Cabella? According to Givemefootball.com and former Arsenal legend Robert Pires they are quite high.
The 22-year-old impressed against Arsenal when the two sides met in the Champions League earlier in the season, and Pires commented: "I think Wenger may have Cabella's name in the back of his mind, and who knows, maybe he will end up at Arsenal." We will see.
Big news from Goal.com, which announces that Chelsea are set to make a "sensational" £48m move for Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao in January, and if they do there is nothing the Spanish club can do to stop him moving.
Roman Abaramovich has apparently decided to hand Roberto di Matteo the money he needs to trigger the release clause in the striker's contract and sign the Colombian.
The Blues are relying on Fernando Torres up front this season, but so far the Spaniard has shown little sign of rediscovering the form that made him a star at Liverpool. Falcao will at least give Chelsea an alternative.
Manchester City were also in the running, says Goal, but they need to offload one of their strikers before they can bring in a replacement. Meanwhile Chelsea have got to work early to ensure that they are ahead of City in the queue when January comes.
Caughtoffside.com claims that Kevin-Prince Boateng could be a target for Manchester United in the New Year. United boss Alex Ferguson is said to be a fan of the AC Milan midfielder, believing he has the creative spark to reignite his side after a string of lacklustre performances this season.
It's alleged that the Ghana international is unhappy with Milan for failing to hike up his wages as they'd promised last season. Far from splashing the cash, Milan are believed to be embarking on a cost-cutting exercise which could see the 25-year-old Boateng sold in the New Year.
As well as United, Real Madrid are known to be keen on the former Tottenham playmaker, but Boateng's experience of the Premier League (he also had a spell at Portsmouth) could result in his joining United.
Still with AC Milan and Italian rag Corriere dello Sport reports that the Serie A giants are about to square up to Liverpool in a scrap over Danish star Christian Eriksen. The Danish playmaker has been outstanding for Ajax in recent seasons, and on Wednesday scored one of the Dutch club's goals in their 3-1 defeat of Manchester City in the Champions League.
Among the witnesses to Eriksen's brilliance on Wednesday were scouts from Milan and their favourable report back to the San Siro may well result in the sale of Boateng in order to fund the purchase of the 20-year-old Eriksen. But Liverpool are expected to offer resistance with manager Brendan Rodgers seeing the Dane as the sort of player around whom to rebuild the Reds.
Finally, the Daily Mail says scouts from both Manchester United and City will be present at Parkhead the week after next to scrutinise the form of Victor Wanyama during Celtic's Champions League home clash with Barcelona. The Kenyan midfielder, valued at £10m, has apparently "snubbed" the chance of a new and improved contract with Celtic and a move south could be on the cards if he comes up to scratch against Barcelona.