Arsenal to target Martinez, Dzeko, Mandzukic and Costa
Arsene Wenger's summer spending plans once again revolve around the letter 'Z'... and Diego Costa
DETAILS of Arsenal's summer spending plans have emerged and it seems increasingly clear that Arsene Wenger has decided to build his team around players with a 'Z' in their name. Last summer the big Gunners signing was Mesut Ozil, and the club tried and failedto land Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez. Those two strikers no longer feature on Wenger's shopping list, but plenty of other exotically named players do.
The Gunners boss wants to sign a new right-back, centre-midfielder and striker once the summer transfer window opens, claims the Daily Mail, which adds that the "club's global network of scouts are already working towards identifying targets".
Among the strikers he wants are Jackson Martinez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Mandzukic, says the paper, while Diego Costa is also mentioned, despite the lack of unusual letters in his name. In defence Borussia Dortmund's unpronouncable Polish right-back Lukasz Piszczek looks like a shoo-in.
Man United forward Javier Hernandez is also on the list says the Daily Telegraph. It agrees that the Gunners are also keen on Atletico Madrid's Brazilian forward Costa and notes that he has a release clause of around £32m, although Chelsea are also interested in signing him. The paper also reminds everyone that German prospect Julian Draxler remains high on Wenger's hit list.
One might have thought Arsenal would steer clear of Swedes given the recent shambles over Kim Kallstrom, but according to Sports Direct News, the Gunners are hot on the tail of young Swedish defender Filip Helander.
The 20-year-old, who plays for Swedish side Malmo, is tipped for senior international honours this year after a string of eye-catching displays for his club, and SDN claims that Arsenal and Liverpool are among a host of top clubs chasing Helander, along with outfits from Italy and Germany. Helander, however, is said to prefer a move to the Premier League because he thinks English football would best suit his style of play. And although Brendan Rodgers is said to be a fan, it is Arsene Wenger who may be in need of some new defenders next season if Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna both leave.
Rumours continue to swirl around Manchester United target Toni Kroos after the 24-year-old admitted he has yet to agree a new contract with Bayern Munich.
Kroos' current deal expires in the summer of 2015 and according to Goal.com the German midfielder is top of David Moyes' wishlist in the summer. Whether the playmaker would be prepared to swap Bayern for Old Trafford is a moot point given United's recent woeful form, but Goal.com claims he is refusing to "commit his long-term future to the Bundesliga giants".
Kroos subsequently posted some cryptic comments on his official facebook page, announcing that "you shouldn't believe everything in some newspapers", before muddying the waters by adding: "The fact is I am very happy to play for Bayern and my position in the team is very good. The fact is also that we couldn't agree a new contract... we will see what the future brings."
To add to the confusion Arsenal are also said to be interested in the midfielder, according to reports earlier this week.
Talking of futures, Nemanja Vidic doesn't appear to have much of one at Old Trafford with the Daily Star reporting that the 32-year-old defender is being lined up by Inter Milan. The paper says that the Serie A outfit have made enquires about a summer move and the Serbian centre-half is open to the switch. The story appears to have been confirmed by Vidic's agent, Silvano Martina, who denied a deal was in place but hinted that there could be a move in the pipeline. "Inter Milan have only shown an interest in my client, at least for now," he said.
Meanwhile over at the Etihad, Manchester City have apparently "come to an informal agreement" with Porto to sign Brazilian midfielder Fernando Reges in June. Metro says that the 26-year-old almost moved to the Sky Blues at the end of last month's transfer window but the intervention of Porto president Pinto da Costa thwarted the deal going through. He wants Reges to remain for the rest of the season but it's believed he will then sanction a move to Manchester in the summer.