Man Utd lead Arsenal in race to sign Celtic hero Victor Wanyama
Midfielder wins admirers after Barcelona show, Arsenal keen on Swiss prospect Granit Xhaka
SCORING against the mightly Barcelona is a surefire way to get yourself noticed and it's no surprise that days after his towering header put Celtic on their way to victory over Lionel Messi and co, young midfielder Victor Wanyama's star is on the rise.
The Kenyan was linked with several clubs in the summer, including Arsenal, but it seems as though Manchester United are now out in front in the race for his signature. The 21-year-old has been watched by Martin Ferguson, brother of Alex, several times this season, and he was at Celtic Park again on Wednesday to watch the midfield enforcer neutralise the threat of Xavi and Iniesta and open the scoring for the Scottish team.
His manager Neil Lennon has slapped a £25m price-tag on Wanyama but the Daily Mail reports that United will open the bidding at £12m when the January transfer window opens. They are unlikely to be the only club at the auction.
God knows Arsenal could do with some granite in their team right now and they might be able to get some, according to Swiss rag Blick. It claims the Gunners are hoping to prise Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach, just six months after he joined the German outfit from Basel.
The 20-year-old midfielder moved to Germany in a £7m deal last May and though he hasn't done badly in the Bundesliga, Blick reports that Arsene Wenger is a huge fan of Xhaka's and could "test Monchengladbach's resolve with a January bid".
Just how sizeable the bid would need to be remains unclear, but with Xhaka contracted to Monchengladbach for another four years the Gunners would have to break the habit of a lifetime and offer big money. Of Albanian descent, Xhaka has played ten times for Switzerland since making his debut in 2011 and has been linked in the past with Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester United.
Still with the Gunners and the Daily Mirror reports that Inter Milan are "confident" of enticing Bacary Sagna to the San Siro at the end of the season. The French right-back is in what the paper describes as a "contract stand-off" with Arsenal, and as a result Inter will seek to exploit the uncertainty next summer.
The 29-year-old Sagna has been plagued with injuries in recent times and that could lead Wenger to accept Milan's advances, particularly now that 20-year-old Carl Jenkinson is showing such promise at the back.
If Sagna does leave, then he could be replaced by another full-back in the form of PSV Eindhoven teenager Jetro Willems, says Caughtoffside. The left-sided defender has been a regular in the PSV line up this term and was also in the Dutch squad for Euro 2012.
The left-back spot is not a problem for Arsenal yet, but could become one. Andre Santos has been a failure and the failure of Kieran Gibbs to cement his place in the team is becoming a concern.
Tottenham are rumoured to be eyeing up Valencia playmaker Sofiane Feghouli. According to Italian website Calciomercato, the 23-year-old is being tracked by the Lilywhites after a series of solid displays in La Liga.
Born in France but capped at senior level by Algeria, the 23-year-old Feghouli has netted five times this season and has also been Valencia's standout performer in their Champions League campaign. Called "the new Zidane" in Algeria, Feghouli's silky skills have come to the attention of Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, who is still seeking an adequate replacement for Luka Modric.
Talksport claims that Chelsea have nosed ahead in the race to sign Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony. The 23-year-old frontman is one of Europe's hottest properties having scored 20 goals in 36 games for the Dutch outfit, and Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo is said to be taking a close interest in the Ivory Coast international.
Bony was linked with a move to Newcastle in the summer but that fell apart and now it appears Chelsea could be poised to pounce. Taking its information from the Dutch daily Telegraaf, Talksports report that Chelsea will make Vitesse an £8m offer when the transfer window re-opens in January.
Finally, ESPN reports that Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed suggestions that Ali Al-Habsi could be heading for Liverpool in January. The goalkeeper's form has allegedly impressed Reds boss Brendan Rodgers this season, but Martinez gave the speculation short shrift when asked about it.
"I don't think there is any truth behind it," said Martinez. "We are relaxed about it. He is on a long-term contract and… [we] will never sell players for the sake of it."