Arsenal chase 'new Ozil' Arnold and Tenerife star Perez
Teenage midfielder and young striker feature on Wenger's summer shopping list
WITH Arsenal's £42m record signing Mesut Ozil in the doghouse after the Gunners' humiliation against Liverpool and under intense scrutiny from the media after a series of sub-par performances, this might not be the best time for Arsene Wenger to go after a player being dubbed the "new" Ozil.
But, according to the Daily Mirror, that is exactly what he is doing by scouting the man tipped to be Ozil's successor in the Germany team, Maximilian Arnold.
The 19-year-old Wolfsburg midfielder is under contract with his current club until 2015, but is believed to have a buyout clause of around £8m. A summer bid from the Gunners could be on the cards, says the paper, although they will face stiff competition for the player from Italian champions Juventus.
If there is one thing Arsene Wenger likes it is an unproven striker from the lower divisions of a foreign league. And after bringing Yaya Sanogo to the Emirates in the summer and subsequently chasing his team mate Paul-Georges Ntep, he has now set his sights on 20-year-old tenerife striker Ayoze Perez, currently plying his trade with Tenerife in the Spanish second tier.
However, Perez has attracted attention from other clubs, and Arsenal have opened negotiations with the player to stave off growing interest from Manchester City and Everton, says Metro. However, they may face an even bigger rival when the transfer window opens again in the summer. Real Madrid tried to sign the player, valued at £7m, in January only to be told to wait until the end of the season.
Some good news for Chelsea on the morning after they were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly West Brom. According to the Evening Standard Eden Hazard has committed his long-term future to the club, reiterating his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard, said to be a target for Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid, joined Chelsea nearly two years ago from Lille in a deal worth £32m. This season the Belgium international has been prominent for Chelsea and his form has attracted the interest of some of Europe's finest. But the 23-year-old playmaker told the Standard there is no question he will wave bye-bye to the Bridge.
"I feel good at this club, and I still have a lot of things to do here," he said. "I'm flattered to read that PSG are interested in me. But that doesn't worry me. I am certain of what I have in mind, where I'm going. No-one will change my mind. The objective is to be the best with Chelsea."
Meanwhile, on the eve of their do-or-die clash with Arsenal, Manchester United manager David Moyes has rubbished claims that Rio Ferdinand is ready to follow Nemanja Vidic out of Old Trafford. The Serbian defender announced last week that he was abandoning the sinking United ship and a report in yesterday's Sun claimed Ferdinand was also scrambling for the lifeboat. But according to BBC Sport Moyes has labelled the speculation "nonsense" and insisted the former England defender is still very much a Manchester United man. "I can only tell you what was written was a load of rubbish," said Moyes, adding that 35-year-old will fly to Dubai with the rest of the squad after tonight's clash with the Gunners.
Unfortunately for United, the Daily Mail reports that Arturo Vidal, reputed to be their top midfield target, has pledged his future to Juventus until 2018. Moyes has been after the 26-year-old Chilean for months but the Mail reports that Vidal will pocket close to £200,000 a week with the Serie A leaders after agreeing a fresh deal with Juventus.
Finally, Metro reports that Tottenham - who take on Newcastle tonight - are poised to offer Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen a new deal at White Hart Lane as gaffer Tim Sherwood seeks to retain his squad regardless of whether the Lilywhites qualify for next season's Champions League. Metro says that Sherwood has admitted he may have a job on his hands to keep hold of his top stars if they fail to finish in the top four, and to that end he will offer Vertonghen a lucrative deal to ensure he stays loyal to the Lane.