Arsenal deny deals, but are Ntep and Cabaye on their way?
Agents don't believe claims that Arsenal are not buying, as John Terry prepares to quit Chelsea
HE MIGHT have declared it "very unlikely" that Arsenal will welcome any new faces to the Emirates this month but Arsene Wenger is still being linked with some of Europe's brightest talent. The Gunners gaffer laughed off suggestions on Thursday that he was on the verge of making a signing, telling Sky Sports:. "It is 23 January today and at the moment I must say we are not close to doing anything. I feel a bit guilty always going to a press conference during the transfer market and having no [signing] to announce but I don't want to lie."
And we wouldn't want you to, Monsieur Wenger, so best we don't ask you about the report in the Daily Express claiming Arsenal have been encouraged to make contact with Auxerre to discuss the possibility of nabbing Paul-Georges Ntep from under the noses of Roma, Chelsea and Tottenham.
The 21-year-old has been linked to the Premier League leaders for weeks but the player's agent, Mario Knez, denied a deal was imminent. What he did say, however, was that he wouldn't rule out a move before the end of the month.
"It's certainly an option," Knez declared. "He is having a great season and Auxerre are ready to start a negotiation." Ntep said recently that Arsenal is a club that "appeals" to him but he refused to speculate on whether he was ready to leave Auxerre.
And might Wenger make a move for Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye now that he is having second thoughts on joining Paris Saint-Germain? According to Metro, Cabaye was expected to join PSG and fulfil his ambition to play in the Champions League. But it's reported across the Channel that the £21m deal is on the verge of collapse because Cabaye believes he won't get many starts in a team crammed with world-class midfield talent.
Instead Metro says that the 28-year-old France international will shun PSG's advances and think again about a move to Arsenal, who are hardly short of midfielders themselves.
Over at TalkSport no-one believes a word Wenger says. Instead, the website is convinced that the Frenchman is actually preparing to sign two of the brightest young talents in Africa, Nigerian youngsters Musa Yahaya and Chidera Ezeh, both stars of the Under-17 World Cup. The teenagers are also wanted by Benfica, says the website, and their agent, Ken Van Deyck, seems convinced that a deal is on the cards.
“We are finalising a deal with Arsenal and Benfica, who I am talking to as exclusive European representative for both players” he told the website.
It's not often – at least, not very often – that the rumour mill gets blindsided, but even Transfer Talk was fooled yesterday when we initially reported FC Basel winger Mohamed Salah was about to sign for Liverpool.
Au contraire! Even the BBC, never one to be led down the garden path, now accepts that the 21-year-old Egyptian international has agreed terms with Chelsea. Auntie Beeb explains that the Blues have offloaded Juan Mata to Manchester United, and have lost no time in investing the reported £37m transfer fee.
Goal.com claims that Chelsea could end up paying a fee in the region of £16m for Salah, although the player still has to agree personal terms and pass his Stamford Bridge medical. Sky Sports, on the other hand, say that while the fee hasn't been disclosed by either club it's said to be around £11m.
Chelsea legend John Terry could be leaving the club at the end of the season says the Daily Mirror. The veteran defender, 33, was apparently hoping for a new three-year deal to see him through to his retirement, but instead he has been offered a one-year deal and a paycut. He is "frustrated" by the lack of movement in contract talks and the paper claims he has become "resigned" to the fact he will have to leave.
Having failed to land Salah, Liverpool are now hoping to beat Arsenal and Chelsea to the signing of Brazilian midfielder Romulo, from Spartak Moscow, says the Daily Express. Romulo was linked with a move to Anfield over the summer, claims the paper, which adds that Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona have all previously scouted the 23-year-old.
Liverpool's decision to move now has been prompted by an injury to Lucas Leiva, which has forced Brendan Rodgers to reassess his options. There are even reports at the Reds have already made an offer of £7m, claims the Express.
Finally, the Daily Mirror says that former England striker Peter Crouch is weighing up a move to QPR. Apparently Rangers boss Harry Redknapp is "desperate" for more firepower up front as the west London club go in search of Premier League promotion and he believes the 32-year-old veteran could be a crucial component. The pair have worked together five times in the past, and a move to London could be on the cards.