Arsenal to swap Podolski for Reus and renew Suarez chase
Striker Reus also wanted by Manchester City and United, but Gunners have bargaining chip
COULD Arsenal be about to do a bit of business with Borussia Dortund? That's certainly the impression Transfer Talk gets after trawling the tittle-tattle and putting two and two together.
First, there's the report in the Daily Star alleging that the Gunners are locked in a fight to the death with the two Manchester clubs for the signature of Marco Reus. The 24-year-old goal machine apparently has a £34m release clause written into his contract that all three Premier League big-hitters would be prepared to meet such is their admiration for Reus.
And who can blame them? Not only are the Gunners in more need of strikers, as Tuesday night's sorry defeat to Chelsea showed, but last season Reus scored 19 goals for Borussia, propelling them to the final of the Champions League.
He's insisting he's happy where he is for the time being. "I live in the here and now, and therefore I am very pleased to be a Borussia Dortmund player," Reus is quoted as saying. But might Reus find himself offloaded to Arsenal by Dortmund in return for Lukas Podolski?
Caughtoffside.com claims that Borussia boss Jurgen Klopp is "keen to welcome" Podolski back to the Bundesliga. The German international striker joined the Gunners from Cologne in the summer of 2012 and had a satisfactory first season, scoring 11 goals and adding nine assists. But rumours have constantly linked him with a return to Germany, and it's believed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is considering swapping the 28-year-old Podolski for the younger Reus, particularly now that Mesut Ozil has slotted in so well in a wide attacking role, the similar position Podolski filled last season.
Of course, Arsenal are also known to be fans of Robert Lewandowski, who seems set to leave Dortmund either in January or at the end of the season.
Meanwhile the Daily Star, whose front page this morning claimed that the ghost of Princess Diana was telling Kate Middleton that she was too thin, reports that Arsenal have not given up hpoe of signing Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
It claims that Arsenal are lining up a fresh bid for the Uruguayan, who has been in sensational form since returning from a ten-match ban for biting. But before Gunners get too excited about the potential arrival of Suarez at the Emirates, the paper shoots down its own story by stating that the player has his heart set on a move to Real Madrid, and that Liverpool will not sell to a domestic rival.
The Star goes on to outline details of the deal that will take Suarez to Madrid, which will upset Arsenal fans even more, as it includes Karim Benzema, who was widely expected to become a Gunner in January, who will head to Anfield as a makeweight.
AC Milan have acted swiftly to scotch rumours that Mario Balotelli was prepared to join Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, with vice-president Adriano Galliani announcing that the Italian was going nowhere.
"Mario Balotelli will not leave Milan," he told reporters, according to Goal.com. "He will stay with us for many years, and he is our star. He has a long contract and he will see it out."
But perhaps Balotelli misses England. it is almost two years since he almost burned down his house celebrating Bonfire Night, and with the current proliferation of fireworks in the stands who could forgive him for wanting to return to join in the fun.
In other news Metro springs a surprise with its report that Jermain Defoe has been offered a ticket out of Tottenham - by Toronto of the Major League Soccer. The Canadian club are coached by former Spurs and QPR defender Ryan Nelsen, and he says Defoe would go down a storm if he swapped Tottenham for Toronto. "Him playing in Toronto would be phenomenal... [he] never gets injured, doesn't drink, can play high, low, scores all sorts of goals."
It's believed Nelson is monitoring Defoe's situation at Spurs, where the 31-year-old is struggling to hold down a place in the starting line-up, and a loan deal may be forthcoming in the New Year if his situation doesn't improve.
Finally, Portuguese rag A Bola says Liverpool are tracking Hellas Verona midfielder Juan Iturbe. The 20-year-old is currently on loan from Porto at the Serie A side, and his performances at the Italian club have caught the eye of Reds' boss Brendan Rodgers. AC Milan are also said to be interested in signing in the Argentine Under-20 star.