Arsenal welcome Brazilian starlet Indio as Santos flies out
Good riddance to one Brazilian as another heads in, and will Arsenal join Eriksen chase?
THERE are some days when it's great to be a Gooner, and today is one of them. As all the newspapers report, the worst player ever to pull on a red and white shirt is on his way out of the Emirates.
The man in question, it goes without saying, is Andre Santos, a defender so bad he makes Per Mertesacker look good. He arrived in Brazil on Sunday to finalise his loan move to Gremio and the champagne is already on ice in north London ahead of the official confirmation.
Santos was a panic buy back in August 2011, when Arsene Wenger splashed the cash without thinking in the wake of Arsenal's 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United.
In the 18 months since then, the Brazilian left-back has proved himself to be all Samba and no sense, committing one blunder after another in the Gunners' back four. Wenger signed Nacho Monreal from Malaga a fortnight ago and now it's adeus to Santos.
But while it's good riddance to one Brazilian, Arsenal are preparing a warm welcome for another, who could turn out to be a star of the future.
Sky Sports reveals that the Gunners have offered Vasco da Gama's teenage midfielder, Matheus Indio, a trial at the club and that he is excited at the prospect of making an impression at the Emirates. Although he is only 16 at the moment, Indio could sign for Arsenal at the end of February next year, when he turns 18.
He told Brazilian paper Globo Esporte that he wanted to play in Europe and named Theo Walcott as one of his heroes. "I'm anxious for this new stage in my life," he said. "I'll spend a week at Arsenal. It will be cool, I hope I enjoy it.
"Of course I have the dream of playing for a European club, but everything has its right time. It will be a good experience [at Arsenal]. I want to learn."
Another talented youngster who could be on his way to England is Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen. The 20-year-old has reportedly refused to sign a new contract with the Dutch club and that could prompt an unseemly scramble for his signature.
ESPN says Liverpool are in pole position to sign the Danish international, but the playmaker has also been linked to Manchester United and Arsenal. And given that former Gunner Marc Overmars is now director of football at Ajax, it could be that Arsene Wenger has the inside track on any deal for the player.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is confident Gareth Bale won't leave the Lilywhites in the lurch at the end of the season. The Welsh wizard was in sparkling form on Saturday, scoring both goals in Spurs' 2-1 defeat of Newcastle at White Hart Lane and taking his tally for the season to 15.
The performance will have only increased the market value of the 23-year-old international but Villas-Boas has told Sky Sports he has no intention of waving farewell to the Welsh winger. "It's very difficult to negotiate with Tottenham as you know and we are not willing to let our best assets go," he explained.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have both been linked with big money moves for Bale, but Villas-Boas is clearly fed up with the speculation surrounding his star player, muttering: "We can't turn this into a debate every time a player does well."
Goal.com reports that Monaco are lining up an audacious bid for two of Manchester City's more troubled stars. Both Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri are allegedly unsettled at the Etihad and the Sky Blues' recent slump in form has done nothing to steady their nerves.
Apparently the wealthy Ligue 2 leaders aim to exploit that fact by offering City £35m for the pair at the end of the season.
Monaco are confident they'll be back in the top echelon of French football next season and with Russian billionaire Dimitry Rybolovlev bankrolling them, Goal.com claims Tevez's £198,000-a-week salary is a drop in the ocean while meeting Nasri's demands won't be a problem, either.
Talking of minted Russians, the Mirror claims that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is "aiming to land" Brazilian frontman Willian in a £35m swoop – despite the fact he only joined Anzhi Makhachkala from Shakhtar Donetsk last week. The Mirror says that Anzhi paid £30m for the Samba striker but that Abramovich will offer them £35m if they argree to sell in the summer.
Apparently the Russian is "hooked on signing Willian" even though the Blues would still need to get a work permit for the player who has yet to establish himself as a regular in the Brazil XI.