Chelsea plan Radamel Falcao move, Arsenal target in hospital
Blues could sacrifice keeper Courtois for Colombian striker, David Villa goes down with kidney stones
CHELSEA show no signs of giving up the chase for Atletico Madrid's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao and, according to the Metro, they have a cunning plan up their sleeve. Apparently the Blues will use their Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois "as a bargaining tool" in negotiations with the Spanish outfit.
The Chelsea gloveman is in his second loan season at Atletico and it's reported his performances have impressed the La Liga outfit to such an extent that they want to make Courtois a full-time fixture. The Metro says that Chelsea could be willing to "sacrifice" the man brought to the Bridge as Petr Cech's long-term successor in order to strike a deal over Falcao.
A host of clubs have been linked with Falcao but Chelsea are confident that they'll get their man if they offer Atletico £47m plus Courtois at the end of the season.
Still with Chelsea and Caughtoffside.com claims that Barcelona are "considering" a summer move for Blues defender David Luiz. Barca boss Tito Vilanova apparently believes his back-line needs beefing up and he's identified Luiz as just the man for the job.
Chelsea would be reluctant to sell, such is the esteem in which Luiz is held at the club, but if they're serious about signing Falcao it may be that they offload the Brazilian for an astronomical sum and send the cash straight to Atletico. Chelsea paid around £22m to sign the 25-year-old Luiz two years ago and Caughtoffside says the Blues would want their money back, and then some.
Meanwhile the Daily Mail confirms that the biggest clubs in the Premier League are, indeed, on alert after Danish whizzkid Christian Eriksen revealed that he did not want to sign a new contract with Ajax.
However the paper has played down the Arsenal link, even though Marc Overmars is now director of football at Ajax. Instead the paper says Eriksen has interested Liverpool and Manchester United in the past and remains a target for Manchester City and Tottenham.
Arsenal fans may be pleased they missed out on signing striker David Villa in the transfer window after the Barcelona striker was admitted to hospital on Monday.
The 31-year-old, who scored for Barca in their 6-1 demolition of Getafe on Sunday was taken ill after the match and was later diagnosed with kidney stones. Goal.com reported that was likely to miss his side's game this weekend after undergoing treatment, although he was discharged from hospital today. Whether it prevents Wenger from making another move for the ageing hitman in the summer remains to be seen.
Rich Russians Anzhi Makhachkala are the latest club to join the chase for Mehdi Benatia, the Udinese defender who in recent weeks has been linked to Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and AC Milan.
The Russian transfer window allows clubs to dabble in the market until 24 February and, according to Talksport, Anzhi are "poised" to make a £12.8m offer for the 25-year-old Benatia. The Moroccan international joined Udinese in 2010 and has since become one of the most talked about defenders in the Serie A.
The Evening Standard reports that Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is deep in discussion with the club over the possibility of extending his stay at Craven Cottage. The 40-year-old joined Fulham in 2008 from Middlesbrough and, despite rumours linking him to Arsenal, has remained loyal to the club ever since. "I've had some initial discussions and the intentions are there at the club to keep me," said the Aussie shotstopper.
Finally, there'll be dancing down the Holloway Road today after confirmation that Arsenal have got shot of accident-prone Andre Santos.The bungling Brazilian left-back has joined Gremio on loan for the rest of the season.
A statement on Arsenal's official website broke the news with commendable diplomacy considering the damage he's done to the club since he joined in the summer of 2011.
"After finding opportunities limited this term, Santos now returns to Brazil's Serie A for more regular first-team football," said the statement. "Everyone wishes Andre well for his time with the Tricolor."
So farewell, Andre, and rest assured you may be gone, but your gaffes will never be forgotten by the Gunners.