Arsenal monitor Ben Arfa and Zaha as Walcott replacements
Eintracht Frankfurt right-back wanted by Wenger as Inter Milan target Gunners’ Bacary Sagna
ARSENAL are preparing for life after Theo Walcott if today's rumour mill is to be believed. The winger came off the bench on Saturday to help the Gunners overcome QPR but Arsene Wenger may sell him in the transfer window if he does not sign a new contract before then.
He is also lining up replacements, and the latest player to be linked with the Gunners is Hatem Ben Arfa. The Newcastle midfielder has shone so far this season and according to the Daily Star, Arsenal are prepared to make a move for the French international if Walcott leaves.
Ben Arfa was on Wenger's radar before he joined the Magpies in 2010, but within weeks of moving to Tyneside the winger had his leg broken by Nigel de Jong of Manchester City. He was out for a year, but returned to action last season. His performances so far this term suggest that he is now back to his best, and at the age of 25 still has plenty of good years ahead of him.
Another possible replacement for Walcott is Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace. The highly-rated teenager has been linked with a host of clubs, inlcuding Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea, and Palace will do well to hold on to him in January. According to the Daily Mail the Gunners have now upped their inerest by sending scouts to watch him in action against Leicester at the weekend.
The Gunners did just about enough to hang on to a 1-0 victory against QPR on Saturday but their defence still diced with death on several occasions. Perhaps that’s why Italian news agency Calciomercato reports that Arsene Wenger is pursuing Eintracht Frankfurt right-back Sebastian Jung.
The 22-year-old has been linked to several Italian clubs after a string of decent displays this season, but it appears Arsenal are determined to bring him to the Emirates in the New Year. Though Bacary Sagna made a welcome return for the Gunners in that position on Saturday, the ageing and injury-prone French defender has been mooted as a possible target for Inter Milan in January, and that might be why Wenger is courting Jung.
The German Under-21 International is highly regarded in the Bundesliga and would be mentored at Arsenal by compatriots Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski.
Up in Manchester and it seems Nani is unhappy with life on the Old Trafford bench and may decide not to extend his contract with Manchester United when it expires in 18 months, says the Manchester Evening News.
The Portuguese winger expressed his disatisfaction after the Champions League match against Braga last week when he revealed that he had no idea why he had only five starts so far this season. "I am in perfect condition," he added. "I am physically good and feeling confident. I am the same Nani as always."
If that was a plea to Alex Ferguson it didn't work. He was an unused substitute against Chelsea on Sunday.
The Sun claims that Real Madrid hope to do a bit of business with Spurs that will result in the Spanish giants finally getting their hands on Gareth Bale. Real have been after the Welsh winger for months, and the Sun says they will propose to give the Lilywhites Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao as well as £50m in cash.
Apparently Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas tried to sign the 24-year-old Coentrao when he was in charge of Chelsea last season. Though he failed then it seems he might be able to reach an agreement this time. The Sun says Real coach Jose Mourinho has made Bale “his top January target” and is cautiously optimistic that a deal can be struck with his Portuguese protégée.
The Star says that Brazilian club Santos have dashed Florent Malouda’s hopes of leaving Chelsea any time soon. The 32-year-old Malouda has been angling for a move from the Bridge for ages, and rumours emerged recently suggesting the French international midfielder could be on his way to South America - where he was born - to see out his career.
But that was before Santos vice-president Odilio Rodrigues intervened. According to the Star Rodrigues said: “There is no interest for Malouda, he is not in our plans and if the English press is giving details about it, it must be because some agent is telling that to them to increase his value. But there is nothing from Santos.”
One of the more extraordinary stories to emerge from the weekend’s papers is the Mirror’s claim that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers intends to lure Didier Drogba on a short-term deal to Anfield. The 34-year-old striker left Chelsea for Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua in the summer and their season wraps up next week with the Mirror reporting that the club are “willing to rip up his contract”.
Financial problems have allegedly plagued Shanghai Shenhua following a bust-up between owners and the result could be Drogba becoming a free agent in early November. The Mirror predicts that Drogba will almost certainly accept Liverpool’s offer and if all goes well he’ll be given the “option to sign a longer-term agreement at Anfield”.