Arsenal set to sign Huntelaar as Wenger gets big cash boost
Emirates deal swells the coffers as Gunners prepare to offload Chamakh and sign striker
ARSENAL are close to wrapping up the signing of Dutch striker Klass Jan Huntelaar from Schalke. That's the dramatic news given to the Metro by former Holland striker Erik Meijer.
Meijer claims he has his information on good authority, explaining that he shares an agent with Huntelaar. The agent in question - Arnoldus Oosterveer – said last week that no deal had been reached with a Premier League club, but that's not what Meijer has heard.
"According to the information I have, Huntelaar will be gone in the winter," said Meijer. Asked where the 29-year-old ex-Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan hitman was going, Meijer replied: "Arsenal FC are the favourites to land him."
The Schalke frontman is one of the most talked about commodities in Europe after scoring 40 goals in 67 matches, and it seems Arsenal are at the front of the queue having seen him up close and personal when the two sides met last month in the Champions League.
Schalke are desperate for the Dutchman to sign on for another term in the Bundesliga, but if they have to sell it's believed they'll accept nothing less than £10m.
But that price tag shouldn't be too much of a problem for the Gunners after they signed a massive new sponsorship deal with Emirates that extends their shirt deal until 2019 and the naming rights of the stadium to 2028. The £150m contract was announced today and chief executive Ivan Gazidis told Metro that the deal included an agreement "to bring payments forward so additional money is available to invest this year".
Arsene Wenger already had a reported kitty of £35m to spend in the transfer window, but with an added cash injection from Emirates, it could be a frantic January at the Emirates.
And it won't just be players coming in. Gunners fans were given an early Christmas present after it was reported that out-of-his-depth striker Marouane Chamakh was close to a move back to Bordeaux. Caught Offside reveals he will go back whence he came in January, with the good wishes of the Arsenal faithful ringing in his ears.
The Evening Standard claims that ruthless Russian Roman Abramovich will go on a New Year shopping spree to win back Chelsea fans following the controversial sacking of Roberto Di Matteo on Wednesday. The paper says the Chelsea boss has "his eye on three of the hottest prospects in world football", namely Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, Porto's James Rodriguez - who has a release clause of £36m – and Uruguay international Edinson Cavani.
Napoli will fight tooth and nail to hang on to Cavani, but the Standard says the Blues might grease their palm to the tune of £48m so determined is Abramovich to curry favour with the Chelsea faithful.
Still with the Blues and Didier Drogba won't be returning to the Bridge in the New Year after all. As we reported yesterday, there was speculation the veteran striker could return from China on an emergency loan but Fifa have turned down his request for permission to leave Shanghai Shenhua ahead of the official transfer period that starts on 1 January.
According to the Daily Mail, Fifa told Drogba he won't be exempted from international transfer rules while under contract with the Chinese Super League club, whose season ended this month. However, Drogba will be free to be farmed out in the New Year.
Finally, The Sun reports that Manchester City have made a £15m move for Crystal Palace sensation Wilfried Zaha. The 20-year-old forward, who made his England last week against Sweden, has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool in recent weeks, but the Sun says the Sky Blues have pushed to the front of the queue.
Apparently they'll offer Palace £12m up front — plus another £3m in add-ons — in a deal the South London club are unlikely to turn down. The Sun also claims that City are happy for Zaha to remain on loan at Selhurst Park until the summer.