Arsenal want Lucas Biglia but won't sign M'Vila and Villa
Meanwhile Napoli president hints he might take Mario Balotelli off Manchester City's hands
NOT FOR the first time this month Arsenal are said to be "on alert" for a bargain as they look to beef up their squad. According to the Daily Mirror, the Gunners are monitoring the situation at Anderlecht after midfielder Lucas Biglia "made it clear" he wants to move in January.
Arsene Wenger is reported to be a big fan of the 26-year-old Argentine international, believing the defensive midfielder could bolster his squad as they look to secure a top four finish in the Premier League.
Biglia has two years left on his contract with the Belgian champions and Anderlecht are said to want £8m for him. Norwich and Newcastle are also making enquiries about Biglia but the Mirror says Arsenal are his most attractive option if he decides to come to England.
Perhaps Wenger's interest in Biglia explains why he has, once again, spurned the advances of flirtatious Frenchman Yann M'Vila. The Rennes midfielder has been angling for a move to the Emirates for two years and a deal appeared possible last week.
The Metro reports that even though the French club were willing to accept £8m from Arsenal, that's half what they were asking in the summer, Wenger still turned his nose up at the deal. Perhaps the Gunners' boss is still smarting over the antics of M'Vila's agent last summer, who announced to the world that a deal had been agreed before Arsenal had even made an offer. Alternatively he could have been put off by the lengthening list of disciplinary problems that have dogged the 22-year-old midfielder.
However, M'Vila may still get his wish of a move to London. QPR and Tottenham are also said to be interested, and Rangers are even reported to be in negotiations over a deal.
Arsenal fans hoping that Wenger was about to add to his contingent of world-class Spaniards this January will be disappointed to hear that Barcelona striker David Villa will not be joining the Gunners, after Barca president Sandro Rosell told the Gunners to forget about signing him.
The 31-year-old, who broke his leg in December 2011 and was out for eight months, has struggled to force his way back into the Barcelona line-up, and there was talk that he would leave. However, the London Evening Standard maintains that the Catalan club are not prepared to sell.
The Daily Mail reports that Chelsea remain "confident" of signing Taison from Metalist Kharkiv in the coming weeks despite Manchester City trying to muscle in on the action.
The Mail claims that an £11m deal had been agreed in principle between Chelsea and the Ukrainian club for the Brazilian playmaker – only for Metailist to up their asking price by £2m after the Sky Blues attempted to lure the 24-year-old to the Etihad Stadium.
Despite City's sly tactics, Chelsea are still the frontrunners to sign Taison and talks have "reopened" with a deal expected to be agreed in the next 48 hours.
The never-ending saga of Mario Balotelli has taken another twist after Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis hinted that they could be partial to a spot of bonkers behaviour from the madcap 22-year-old striker.
Balotelli's indiscretions are too numerous to be listed here but in an interview with Gazzetta.it, De Laurentiis indicated that he believed City would like to do a swap with Napoli, exchanging Balotelli for Edinson Cavani. "City are considering letting Balotelli go so they can move for Cavani". Asked if he would be open to such a deal, De Laurentiis replied: "I would prefer to see Balotelli playing with Cavani here at Napoli."
The Metro reports that Marseille striker Loic Remy has rebuffed advances from Queen's Park Rangers. Manager Harry Redknapp is on the hunt for a player with an eye for goal and even popped over to France at the weekend in the hope of finalising a deal. But according to the Metro he was "left disappointed" when the 26-year-old said thanks but no thanks to the idea of spending five months in a relegation dogfight at Rangers.
Nonetheless it's reported that Remy could still be on his way to England, with Newcastle one of several clubs linked with the international frontman. "If a big club comes in for Remy and he is interested, then we will see," said Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo. That would appear to rule out the Magpies, at least in the eyes of Alex Ferguson who last month famously dubbed Newcastle a "wee club in the north-east".
Finally, former Chelsea hitman Didier Drogba insists no clubs have made moves to sign him from Shanghai Shenhua although the latest rumours suggest both AC Milan and Juventus are on the trail of the 34-year-old superstar.
According to Talksport, Drogba, who moved to China last summer, played down rumours that he could soon be winging his way back to Europe in a lucrative swansong to his career: "People talk too much, they are all on alert regarding rumours about my future," said Drogba. "In reality, no club has contacted me directly."