Arsenal can 'spend big'... Wenger targets £3.5m Diame
While Harry Redknapp goes shopping in France and returns with Loic Remy AND Yann M'Vila
ARSENE WENGER has announced to the world that Arsenal are prepared to "spend big" this year now that the financial shackles of the club's move to the Emirates stadium have been loosened.
He made the announcement in an interview with Al Jazeera, reports of which appeared on Sky Sports. In it he said that Arsenal had suffered with "restricted finances because we had built the stadium and had to pay that back... [But] now we have come out in a much stronger position financially again, so we can spend."
However, the Gunners boss said that he wanted to construct his team along the lines of Barcelona and "produce the core of the team from inside and add from outside the players who give really a plus".
So, who is the first person to be linked with the Gunners now that the purse strings have officially been loosened? Why, West Ham's Mohamed Diame, who could have his £3.5m release clause triggered by a bid from the Emirates.
The Senegal midfielder, currently out with a torn hamstring, has been offered a new deal by West Ham but has so far refused to commit, and according to The Sun, Arsenal could step in.
Excited fans may also be wondering where Arsenal's freedom to spend big leaves their pursuit of David Villa. According to Goal.com the Gunners have "abandoned" all attempts to prise the striker from Barcelona, at least until the summer when they will have another crack. Instead the club are expected to "centre their attention firmly" on capturing Atletico Madrid frontman Adrian Lopez.
Goal.com says a delegation from Arsenal was primed to fly out to Barcelona this week to discuss terms for Villa, but that was before the Spanish league leaders made it clear in private discussions that Villa would be going nowhere this month.
So manager Arsene Wenger is now going to return to Lopez, with Goal.com claiming Arsenal are likely to table another offer in the coming fortnight. Their opening bid of £10m was rejected by Atletico but it is understood that £12m "could be enough" to seal the Lopez deal, which is lower than the £14.7m release clause in the player's contract.
Talking of players Arsenal have missed out on, The Sun says Harry Redknapp has been on a shopping trip across the Channel, returning with the signatures of Loic Remy and Yann M'Vila, both formerly linked to the Gunners.
The QPR boss reportedly made his move for midfielder M'Vila after watching him in action for Rennes at the weekend, while he "pounced" for Remy just hours after the Marseille striker rejected an approach from Newcastle. The Sun says Redknapp paid £8m for Remy and £7m for M'Vila, and both are likely to make their QPR debut on Saturday against West Ham.
Tottenham and Chelsea have been encouraged in their pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk star Willian. According to the Evening Standard, the Brazilian playmaker "is at loggerheads" with the Ukraine club after failing to return from Brazil in time for the start of their winter training camp.
Reports emanating from out east suggest that the 24-year-old Willian is trying to force Shakhtar's hand as he seeks a fresh start. Both Premier League clubs have been linked with a move for Willian in recent months with Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas believed to be a particular admirer.
The fact that Shakhtar signed Taison from Metalist Kharkhiv last week has led some to speculate that the club is already preparing for Willian's departure. "Willian did not return from holiday on time and thus he is exerting a certain pressure on the club," said coach Mircea Lucescu. "I think it was unprofessional of him."
The Metro reports that Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa has "dealt a blow" to the Magpies by confessing he fancies the look of Paris Saint-Germain.
The 25-year-old Frenchman arrived on Tyneside from Marseille three years ago. Now it appears he's looking for a new challenge back in his homeland. "Signing for PSG would be a childhood dream," admitted Ben Arfa, who was brought up in the suburbs of the French capital. "If there is a proposal, I will study it with interest... PSG is a club that lives in my heart. To play would be a nice gift."
Talksport say Tottenham will have to do battle with Roma if they wish to land Massadio Haidara. The 20-year-old full-back is being chased by the Lilywhites and Everton, and though they remain confident of fending off the Toffees, the interest of the Italian club could cause Spurs a problem.
Currently with Nancy in the French first division, Haidara is expected to be sold by the club to help boost their finances and Roma are rumoured to be lining up a big money bid in the coming weeks.