Arsenal Draxler hopes dashed, Liverpool lose Saleh to Chelsea

Jan 23, 2014
Bill Mann

Schalke reject £35m swap deal for German winger, as Blues hijack Reds deal for Egyptian

IT LOOKS like Arsenal's hopes of signing Julian Draxler this month have gone up in smoke after Schalke told the Gunners where to get off. The Daily Mail reports that the Premier League leaders tabled a  package worth £35m but the Bundesliga club have knocked it back, despite the fact the offer comprised £20m in cash plus the Gunners' unsettled frontman Lukas Podolski.

"It is nonsense to suggest we might consider selling him this winter," a Schalke official is quoted in the Mail, adding: "It will not happen."

Despite the setback, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hasn't given up entirely on getting his hands on  the 20-year-old Draxler and another attempt to lure him to England will be made in the summer, when a £37m release clause in his contract kicks in.

There is more bad news for the Gunners in the Daily Star, which reports that another of Wenger's forward targets, Jackson Martinez, is poised to extend his contract with Porto.  Arsenal and Chelsea had been weighing a move to activate the Porto star's £34m release clause, however any potential offers now seems unlikely with Martinez set to sign a new deal, says the paper.

Meanwhile the fallout from Juan Mata's move from Chelsea to Manchester United has already begun, and Liverpool are the ones suffering. The diminutive Spaniard will become United's record signing when he heads to Old Trafford in a £37m deal this week, and Chelsea have already started spending their windfall.

Just as they did last year with the signing of Willian, the Blues have hijacked a deal that one of their rivals appeared to have sewn up. In the summer they lured Willian to Stamford Bridge just as he was about to sign for Spurs. This time they have gazumped Liverpool in the race for Basel winger Mohamed Salah.

Chelsea's Premier League rivals Liverpool had been in talks with the Swiss club over making Salah their first signing of the January transfer window, reports the BBC. But now the Egyptian is poised to join Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

Liverpool were thought to be preparing an offer of £10m, while Chelsea are said to have bid £11m for the player. As the BBC notes, the move makes sense for the Blues, who have offloaded both Mata and Kevin de Bruyne this month, leaving room for new arrivals in midfield.

One player not going anywhere this month is Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov. It was only last week that the 32-year-old frontman was being linked with a loan move to Arsenal but now the Evening Standard says he has pledged to stay and help Fulham fight relegation after a series of meetings with new boss Rene Meulensteen.

Berbatov's agent, Emil Dantchev, told the Standard that the former Manchester United striker would not be packing his bags in the foreseeable future. "I have seen the rumours linking Dimitar with other clubs but the fact is he has a contract and he wants to do his job for the team," explained Dantchev. "He is very happy at Fulham for the moment and has spoken to the new manager. Now he wants to help them stay in the top league."

As for where the beanpole Bulgarian hitman might end up next season, his agent had this to say: "We will see what happens over the next few months before making a decision on his future."

Talking of veterans, Talksport is wondering where Joleon Lescott will wind up with the Manchester City and England defender free to leave the Etihad and seemingly in great demand. Arsenal have dropped out of the race to sign the 31-year-old, but Talksport says his services are still wanted by Fulham and West Ham, not to mention Turkish side Besiktas.

Apparently Lescott has been told by City boss Manuel Pellegrini that he can depart this month provided he can find an adequate replacement between now and the end of the transfer window. At one stage West Ham were favourites to land Lescott, but now Fulham have moved up on the inside while Talksport says Besiktas have also muscled in on the act, and will try to tempt him to Turkey on loan for the rest of the season before then offering him a lucrative long-term contract.

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