Arsenal on red alert as David Villa says he will quit Barcelona
Barca swoop back on, and is Wenger also after Yann M'Vila and Mats Hummels?
WITH the transfer window slowly starting creak closed, there are only ten days to go, it looks as if things are finally starting to hot up at the Emirates with Arsenal linked to several stars.
The big news of the day is that Barcelona forward David Villa has put Arsenal on alert by announcing that he wants to leave the Camp Nou. There have been rumours linking the Spanish striker with a move to London all month, but the Catalan club have repeatedly said they would not be selling him.
But now, according to The Independent, Villa has said he sees his future away from Barcelona and that means Arsenal's hopes of signing the striker may not be over.
With the Gunners anxious to sign him and Villa now determined to leave, the Spanish giants may decide to offload him before the window closes.
Elsewhere and Yann M'Vila, the midfielder who never seems to sign for anyone, is once again being linked to the Gunners. After two years and countless stories suggesting that he was about to sign for Arsene Wenger you could be forgiven for thinking that if he was going to move to the Emirates it would have happened by now.
Still, The Times reports that Wenger is trying to hijack QPR's deal for the player. The paper says that now he is available for significantly less than the £20m asking price he was given last year Wenger could be tempted.
The ever-reliable Caught Offside reports that the Gunners are on the trail of highly rated German centre back Mats Hummels and are prepared to do battle with Barcelona for the defender, who is apparently fed up with life at Borussia Dortmund. Whether Wenger is prepared to pay £17m for the 24-year-old remains to be seen.
There is uncertainty over the future of Bastia midfielder Florian Thauvin with the Corsican club denying they are in negotiations with Arsenal over the French Under-20 international.
The Newcastle Chronicle reported on Saturday that Thauvin was being eyed up by both the Gunners and Newcastle, and that then led to a statement being issued by Bastia. Though they said nothing about the Magpies' alleged interest, Bastia declared that the club "categorically denies the discussions with Arsenal about Florian Thauvin".
The 19-year-old Thauvin began his career with Grenoble before moving to Bastia, who were promoted to the French first division this season. Whether Bastia might be prepared to enter into discussions at some stage with either Arsenal or Newcastle remains to be seen, though the club did end its statement by saying they "do not intend to participate in gossip and fantasies regarding the player moving for completely disproportionate transfer amounts, given the situation of the player and the current prices in the transfer market".
The future of Frank Lampard remains up in the air with the Express claiming that the 34-year-old Chelsea midfielder is on the brink of signing a deal to join LA Galaxy. The paper says Lampard is "excited at the prospect" of following in the footsteps of David Beckham, particularly as he stands to earn £150,000-a-week playing in the MLS.
But according to the Mirror, Lampard is bound for AC Milan after "positive talks" were held between the England star and the Italian giants.
The Mirror adds that Lampard could even sign a pre-contract agreement with Milan in the next ten days after Milan promised him he would be "treated with a respect" that many feel hasn't been accorded the veteran playmaker in recent months in west London. Lampard was again on the scoresheet for Chelsea on Sunday as the Blues beat Arsenal 2-1.
Still with Chelsea and The Sun says that Ashley Cole is poised to sign a new deal with the Blues that will net him "a whopping £10 million". If true, the 32-year-old Cole will become the world's best-paid left-back and the Sun would have us believe that a Chelsea insider whispered in their shell-like: "Ash is getting around £200,000 a week but he is worth every penny. Everyone is pleased it has been sorted at last."
Despite the eye-watering sum, Cole failed to persuade Chelsea to guarantee his future at the Bridge beyond 2014 - the club offered only a one-year extension.
Finally, the Daily Star says that Chelsea are one of three clubs "monitoring" the position of Luka Modric at Real Madrid. Also said to be taking more than a passing interest in the Croatian's well-being are Arsenal and Tottenham, both of whom believe the player voted the "worst buy of 2012" by Spanish football fans still has a lot to offer.
The 27-year-old Modric left Spurs for Real last summer but things haven't worked out for the midfielder, and he's made only eight starts since his £33m move. The Star claims that Spurs would be "willing to take him back", while Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger thinks Modric would fit in well at the Emirates.
Chelsea have always been admirers of Modric, failing twice to take him from Spurs in 2011, and with Real wanting to recoup most of their £33m it's likely that the Blues are "in the driving seat" for landing the Croatian.