Marouane Fellaini to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger says ‘Yes’
‘He’s not a dirty player. He is an intelligent player,’ purrs Gunners boss
ARSENE WENGER has been teasing Arsenal fans desperate for a reliable striker by talking of his admiration for Everton’s Marouane Fellaini.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s trip north to play the Merseysiders tonight, the Gunners boss said of the big-haired Belgian: “I just think he is a good player. Everton’s offensive game turns around him. He is the target man they look for, and in recent years he is moving further forward.
“When he arrived at Everton he was more defensive. Now he is more forward and it looks like he will finish centre-forward. He uses his body well, but he is not a dirty player. He is an intelligent player.”
As the Evening Standard remarks, Wenger likes intelligent players. Asked whether Fellaini could do a job at Arsenal, Wenger smiled and replied: “Yes.”
What more could the transfer rumour-mongers ask for? Fellaini would probably set Arsenal back £25m – but Chelsea could yet put a spanner in the works.
Meanwhile, the 2013 Arsenal calendar is in the shops - and it's fuelled rumours that Theo Walcott will not be at the Emirates next year. The Sun reports that the England winger has been the cover boy for the last four years but is nowhere to be seen this time around.
Even the bungling Brazilian Andre Santos has his own page, as does the inconsistent Aaron Ramsey, but there is no space for Walcott.
The 23-year-old, whose current £65,000-a-week contract expires in June, has turned down the Gunners' offer of a new £80,000-a-week deal, and the Sun claims "the writing is now on the wall". Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has in the past made it clear he won't be held to ransom.
The Sun claims that Liverpool and Manchester City have been "alerted" to what, presumably, will soon be dubbed Calendar-Gate, and the latter are said to be lining up a £15m bid in the New Year.
The agent of Kevin Strootman has confirmed that Manchester United have expressed an interest in the PSV Eindhoven midfielder. It's no secret that the 22-year-old Dutch star is tempted by a move to the Premier League, and Old Trafford is believed to be his preference on account of the presence of fellow Holland ace Robin van Persie.
According to Talksport, Strootman is one of the "hottest properties in Europe" right now and has been checked over by a host of leading clubs. Rumours have been mounting in recent weeks that he could be on his way across the North Sea as early as January, and certainly agent Chiel Dekker did not deny the gossip in conversation with Talksport.
"All the top clubs in Europe know about Kevin," he said, adding that a move to England "is his first priority". Asked if it was true about interest from Old Trafford, Dekker replied: "Yes, Manchester United and other big clubs in Europe have been in touch with me."
Talksport adds that PSV coach Dick Advocaat is so sure Strootman will leave that he's already lined up Oscar Hiljemark from Swedish champions Elsfburg as his replacement.
The Metro claims that Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel is stalling over signing a new deal with the Portuguese club, increasing speculation that he's angling for a move to the Premier League. Arsenal, Liverpool and Sunderland have all been mentioned as possible destinations for the 23-year-old, but Tottenham have always been believed to be the front-runners.
Rumours of a summer offer from the Lilywhites came to nothing as it appeared likely Van Wolfswinkel would sign a three-year extension. He hasn't, however, and the Metro says Tottenham are hovering in the background, awaiting the outcome of a meeting next week between Sporting president Godinho Lopes and Van Wolfswinkel's agent, Louis Laros.
It's said the player's wage demands are the sticking point, and Laros has allegedly said he'll take Van Wolfswinkel to Tottenham if Porto don't give him a wage hike. The Metro says Porto would find it hard to down turn an £8m offer from White Hart Lane.
Finally, caughtoffside.com says that Monaco are the latest club to show interest in Chelsea's Frank Lampard. It's no longer a question of if the 34-year-old England midfielder leaves the Bridge, but when.
While rumours have linked Lampard to the Chinese Super League and the American MLS, now comes news that Monaco, bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, are hoping Lampard will "spearhead their revival" as they look to get back into the French First Division.