Arsenal still after Draxler, but will they settle for Gourcuff?
Meanwhile Gunners and Liverpool fight over Niguez as Man United plan summer rebuilding work
WITH the transfer window set to slam shut on Friday, this week promises to be as frenetic as a French president's love life. Centre of attention this week is Schalke forward Julian Draxler, who may or may not still be the object of Arsenal's affections, depending on who you listen to.
Goal.com has claimed an exclusive with the news that Gunners officials will fly to Germany this week to complete a deal for the Schalke striker. But that's not all, for also on Arsenal's shopping list is Frankfurt's right-back Sebastian Jung, seen as a replacement for Bacary Sagna.
The website claims that Arsenal will try to lower Schalke's £37.2m asking price for Draxler to a figure closer to £30m but says the German club will only agree to a deal if they can prise Lewis Holtby away from Tottenham in the next few days. As for the 23-year-old Jung, Arsenal are said to be close to agreeing a deal for the Frankfurt defender with a bid of £7m about to be tabled by the Premier League leaders.
Metro also believes that the Draxler deal may still be on, and says that German officials have "softened their stance" over the winger in recent days. It quotes Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt who said this weekend that he could not "exclude anything" between now and the end of the week.
However, the Daily Express puts a rather less encouraging spin on Heldt's comments. The paper quotes him as saying: "There's no contact with Arsenal or any other club". He went on to suggest that there was about as much chance as Schalke buying Cristiano Ronaldo as there was of the club selling Draxler. Fortunately no-one appears to have taken him literally.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail believes Arsenal are already looking at alternatives to Draxler and are once again being linked with an old favourite, Yoann Gourcuff, a player who seems to have spent his entire career on the brink of a move to the Emirates. The Mail says Arsenal asked about the Lyon midfielder at the start of January and reports that as his club are in financial difficulties a deal for the 27-year-old could be wrapped up this week.
Elsewhere and according to the Daily Mirror, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is "ready to swoop" for Saul Niguez, a player the paper describes as a Spanish "super starlet".
Apparently Rodgers had a "hush-hush meeting" with the Atletico Madrid midfielder's old man on Merseyside as the Reds look to get over losing Mohamed Salah to Chelsea. Subsequently Rodgers dispatched his finest scout to Spain to see the Under-21 international in action for Rayo Vallecano - where he's been on loan for most of the season.
But the Mirror says Rodgers can't afford to hang around because Arsenal have also been having a word in the shell-like of Senor Niguez and the Gunners are reportedly poised to table a bid this week. It's said that Atletico would like to sell Niguez for £20m but that an offer of "around £12m may work".
Things could be hotting up at Manchester United, too, if the papers are to be believed. The Sunday Times reports that Manchester United are targeting "five more signings of Juan Mata's calibre" as David Moyes looks to rebuild the Red Devils. The capture of Mata for £37.1m from Chelsea has put a spring in United's step but the Times says they're far from finished in the transfer market.
Backed by the Glazer family, Moyes is looking for a world-class full-back, a couple of top quality midfielders and a striker made of sterner stuff than the injury-prone Robin van Persie. So who is on Moyes' wish-list? According to the Times "moves are being considered" for Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic, the Juventus pair of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, Inter Milan's Fredy Guarin, Fernando Reges of FC Porto and last, but definitely not least, Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus.
The paper says that Moyes will launch the biggest shake-up at Old Trafford since the mid-1990s with Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Javier Hernandez, Nani, Rafael and Alex Buttner among those likely to leave in June.
The Daily Telegraph adds the name of Southampton prospect Luke Shaw to the list of new arrivals and says that United are preparing for a £30m showdown with Chelsea over the teenager in the summer. It adds that United will thwart Chelsea's efforts to lure Wayne Rooney to Stamford Bridge by tying him to a new long-term contract before the end of the season.
Sticking with United and it seems that the Nando's marketing team can rest easy, chicken-loving Adnan Januzaj is not quitting Old Trafford. According to The Guardian, French giants Paris Saint-Germain tabled a significant offer for the youngster, but were turned down by David Moyes, who has no intention of letting his young starlet leave.
Elsewhere and such is West Ham's determination not to say arrivederci to the Premier League at the end of the season that they've signed two Italian internationals. Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino have arrived at Upton Park on loan until the end of the season.
Nocerino, on the other hand, arrives from AC Milan where the Daily Mail says he has been a "bit-part player" this season. The 28-year-old - best known to English fans for scoring a penalty against England at Euro 2012 - has had spells for Juventus and Palermo in the past.
The Daily Mail explains that Borriello is swapping Roma for a stint in the east end of London. The 31-year-old has been capped seven times by Italy and has scored nearly 100 goals in Serie A.