Arsenal still want £37m Draxler despite injury, and striker Giovinco
German winger's ankle injury is not a problem for Gunners, as Spurs begin AVB clear-out
PERHAPS Arsene Wenger is worried that Theo Walcott will get lonely in the Arsenal treatment room this spring or that Jack Wilshere has no-one to talk about ankle injuries with, but whatever the reason it seems that the Gunners are prepared to break the bank for German sensation Julian Draxler, even though he has a ruptured tendon in his ankle that will rule him out until March.
The 20-year-old Schalke sensation was linked with a move to the Emirates in the summer but it never materialised. Now, despite the injury and a £37m buy-out clause the Gunners are once again ready to do business, says the Daily Mail.
The Gunners are playing a long game, according to the paper, and are unconcerned about his ankle problem as they believe that the youngster could turn out to be the next Robin van Persie, who, as Arsenal fans will remember, spent much of his time at Arsenal on the treatment table.
The Gunners are also in talks with the agent of Juventus striker Sebastian Giovinco about a move to the Emirates this month. The Daily Star says that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger sees the 26-year-old Italian international, who can also play as an attacking midfielder, as the man to solve some of his injury problems, and backs up its claim with a quote from the player's agent. "We have had contact with Arsenal," admits Claudio Pasqualin.
Pressed on the extent of the contact, he added: "It was a request for information about his situation. There was nothing more [at the moment]." The Star believes that Giovinco would welcome a move to Arsenal because it would give the chance of more regular game time as he looks to force his way into Italy's World Cup squad.
Meanwhile the Gunners are edging closer to signing Marseille midfield magician Mathieu Valbuena after the 29-year-old playmaker dropped his biggest hint yet that he's looking for a fresh challenge in the Premier League. Taking its cue from French broadcaster Telefoot, the Daily Express says that any deal would be done in the summer despite the fact that Napoli and Atletico Madrid are also stalking Valbuena.
Asked about a possible move to the Emirates, the Frenchman told Telefoot: "To discover something else next season could be interesting… [but] my goal is to make a great second half of the season in the club and make a great World Cup."
Not content with embarrassing Andre Villas-Boas by drastically improving Spurs's fortunes since taking over at White Hart Lane, Tim Sherwood now seems intent on cutting adrift several of his big name signings.
First up and the Daily Express reports that he is prepared to take a £1.5m loss on Etienne Capoue just six months after signing the French international for £9m from Toulouse. Since arriving in August Capoue has failed to establish himself in the Tottenham line-up and the emergence of youngster Nabil Bentaleb suggests that Sherwood is unconvinced by his talents.
Napoli are said to be interested in signing him, and Rafa Benitez could table an offer of £7.5m, which Spurs could well accept.
Lewis Holtby could also be heading for the exit. He has only managed 63 minutes of football for the Lilywhites since Sherwood took over, and could now be heading back to Schalke, just a year after arriving in London. Holtby's former employers in Germany are interested in re-signing the player according to the Daily Mail. However, they will take a hit if they do take him back. Holtby only cost Spurs £1.5m when he left as his contract was almost up, but will cost a lot more than that despite a year on the sidelines.
Bad news on two fronts for Manchester United. David Moyes's attempts to lure Everton full back Leighton Baines to Old Trafford look set to fail, says the Liverpool Echo, which reports that the player is on the verge of signing a new deal which will commit his long-term future to the Toffees. A quick look at the league table might explain his decision.
Worse still, and the chances of Juventus starlet Paul Pogba heading back to Old Trafford also appear negligible, says The Independent. The player feels such a "deep grievance" over the way he was treated by Alex Ferguson, who showed him the exit in 2012, that he has ruled out any notion of returning to United, despite the sweet nothings being whispered in his ear by Moyes.
Elsewhere, and Talksport reports that new Valencia owner Peter Lim is determined to transform the fortunes of the Spanish club by handing over a £40m war chest for new signings. The Singapore businessman is in the process of taking ownership of Valencia and he was there to watch them in action against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night. Valencia manager Juan Antonio Pizzi has made no secret of his wish to sign Edin Dzeko from Manchester City and Talksport reckons that the bulk of Lim's money will be used to secure the services of the Bosnian marksman.
As we reported yesterday, Stoke City have now completed the loan signing of Swedish striker John Guidetti from Manchester City, and the Potters have also signed Stephen Ireland on a permanent contract.
Metro reports that Ireland, who was loaned to Stoke from Aston Villa last September, has impressed manager Mark Hughes so much over the autumn that the Irish midfielder has been rewarded with a full-time contract: "Stephen is a talented footballer and has shown what he's capable of since he joined us," said Hughes. "We're delighted to have made his switch a permanent arrangement."
Finally, Sky Sports reports that Aston Villa have agreed a deal with Wigan Athletic to take striker Grant Holt on loan for the rest of the season. The agreement is subject to a medical but Villa boss Paul Lambert has no doubt that will be a formality and he can soon rekindle a partnership that was last seen at Norwich when he was in charge at Carrow Road. Though Holt has only netted twice in 21 games since joining Wigan from the Canaries last year, Lambert believes the 32-year-old Holt will be "absolutely brilliant for us". As to whether the move may turn into a long-term deal, Wigan manager Uwe Rosler told Sky: "It was too good a chance for Grant to turn down, we wish him all the best but he is our player and we will see where we are over the summer."