Arsenal want Zaha and £30m-man Cavani, Walcott deal close
Wenger ready to splash the cash on Cavani and offer Walcott £100k a week
COULD things finally be getting exciting at the Emirates. So far January has been something of a damp squib for Gunners fans, but today the club showed some of the fighting spirit they sometimes lack on the pitch by making it clear that they were not going to let Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha join Manchester United without a battle.
A day after Sky Sports reported Manchester United chief executive David Gill has confirmed that his club was tracking Zaha, Arsene Wenger finally confirmed that Arsenal were also "looking at him". But, according to The Independent, he insisted that the Gunners had not yet made a bid for the player.
As if that wasn't enough, Wenger has also revealed that the Gunners are after Napoli striker Edinson Cavani. The long-serving Arsenal boss even suggested that the rumoured £30m price-tag that the 25-year-old Uruguayan striker commands would not present a problem.
He told the Evening Standard: "Cavani is a player that I like. Will he cost a lot of money? That’s for sure. Nobody would deny that. Look, our banker lives just next to me and he is ready if we find the right player."
There is more good news for Arsenal fans with the Metro reporting that Theo Walcott has "agreed the framework” of a new three-and-half-year deal. Arsenal expect Walcott to put pen to paper next week once his lawyers have given it the once-over.
The paper says the total package is "worth in the region of £20m”, which includes a seven-figure signing-on fee. It bumps up Walcott's earnings to a cool £100,000 a week, making the 23-year-old the best paid player at the Emirates, not bad for someone who spent last night missing a series of chances as Arsenal scraped a narrow win over Swansea in their FA Cup replay.
However, Arsenal's hopes of landing Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente appear to have taken a dive after Juventus claimed to be "in advanced talks” with the La Liga club over a transfer.
It's been known for some time that the 27-year-old Llorente will leave Bilbao at the end of the season and the Gunners were among his most ardent admirers. But Juventus have been laying the groundwork in recent weeks and are now said to be confident that they will "capture him this month for a nominal fee”.
The Metro cites sources in Italy reporting that Juventus might be able to prise the Spanish international from Bilbao for as little as £3m with negotiations apparently likely to be wrapped up by the weekend. The failure to sign Llorente represents another snub for Arsenal who in recent weeks have been blanked by the likes of Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Demba Ba and David Villa.
Talking of ungainly strikers, Talksport reports that Manchester United forward Federico Macheda will not be loaned out to Fiorentina this month.
The 21-year-old Italian has failed to make much of an impression at Old Trafford since arriving from Lazio's youth team in 2007. In recent times he's been farmed out to Sampdoria and QPR in an attempt to shape him up, and there was speculation that he would be given a run with Fiorentina for the rest of the season.
Not so, says his agent, Giovanni Ba, who told reporters that the Serie A club have just signed Siena forward Marcelo Larrondo, and as a result "I do not think there is room for Macheda in the squad”.
Ba then hinted that he would continue to try and place his client with a club with "aspirations”.