Arsenal reveal £120m 'transfer kitty', is Van Persie top target?
Financial figures show Gunners have huge cash reserves, but does Wenger want an old stager back?
ARSENE WENGER may be seen as parsimonious in some quarters but he has no excuse not to go after the best players in the world after Arsenal revealed a surplus of £120m in their latest financial figures.
The club announced operating profits of £22m on the football side of the business even before the profits on player sales. But the most significant figure, as far as fans and player agents are concerned, was the cash reserves. The Gunners revealed that "excluding the balances designated as debt service reserves" it has £120.6m in the bank.
The news means that Wenger can look forward to spending the next few months being linked to every up and coming and established star in the football firmament who is after a lucrative transfer.
One of the first cabs off the rank is 25-year-old Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado who, according to Metro, has been one of the stars of Serie A this season and was on the cusp of joining the Gunners last month. He is co-owned by Italian clubs Fiorentina and Udinese but, with those two squabbling over who will have him next season, Arsenal are set to move in with a bid of £15m in the summer.
Metro also suggests that despite his riches Wenger may be about to bring an old stager back to the Emirates. It claims the bespectacled one held talks with Robin van Persie's agent last month in a bid to thrash out a dramatic return to London for the Dutch striker. The paper claims Van Persie is unhappy under the new regime of David Moyes at Manchester United and wants to head back to his old stamping ground.
Arsenal may be rolling in it, but Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho this week cast himself as the Frugal One as he got into a row with Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini about his January transfer spending. But it seems that the Blues manager could be about to live up to his new nickname, by getting his hands on Brazilian striker Diego Costa, one of the hottest properties in Europe who is high on Arsenal's summer shopping list, for just £8m even though his contract contains a £32m buy-out clause.
According to the Daily Star the sensational deal hinges on the future of Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has never actually played for Chelsea despite signing a five-year contract in 2011. Coutois has spent the last two seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid and the Spanish club are so desperate to keep hold of him that they are prepared to sacrifice Costa to do so.
"High-level talks" are said to have taken place between the two clubs recently with the Spanish side offering to swap Costa for Courtois and throw in some cash to boot. Chelsea value Courtois at around £16m and one of the deals on the table apparently involves a payment of £8m plus Costa. More talks are planned for after the next round of Champions League games adds the paper.
Uncertainty surrounds the future of Manchester United target Ilkay Gundogan with Goal.com reporting that the Borussia Dortmund midfielder is still unsure of his future.
The Germany international's contract expires at the end of next season and United and Real Madrid have both been linked with the 23-year-old in recent months. But taking German magazine Kicker as its source, Goal.com claims that nothing is set in stone.
Irfa Gundogan, Ilkay's father as well as his agent, refused to be drawn on reports suggesting United are favourites to win his hand. "We do not want to burden the boy with that," said Irfa. "Everything is open. Dortmund are our first point of contact."
A back injury has laid Gundogan low for much of the season and his dad's priority is to see him fit before thinking of his future. "Ilkay must get healthy first," he said. "We will definitely sit together after that."
Elsewhere and Talksport reports that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho "wants to be reunited" with Sami Khedira next season. Apparently the Special One has already held talks with Real Madrid over the possibility of a summer move with Mourinho anxious to bring Khedira to the Bridge.
The pair became acquainted when Mourinho was in charge of Madrid and the Portuguese preener believes the 26-year-old would thrive in the Premier League.
Currently out with a knee injury, the Germany international is said to be open to a move but Real guvnor Carlo Ancelotti can't make up his mind whether to sell Khedira. Nonetheless the two clubs have allegedly held preliminary talks over a transfer and a deal is expected to go through in the summer.
Finally, yet more web-based gossip, this time from Caughtoffside, which claims an exclusive with the news that Liverpool have joined Manchester United and Chelsea in the race to sign Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno at the end of this season.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers believes Moreno would bolster his back four and the 21-year-old is said to be flattered by the interest of the English trio. Having made his debut for Spain in October, Moreno is likely to go to Brazil in the summer and Caughtoffside claims that Rodgers wants to do a deal with Sevilla before the World Cup, just in case Moreno has a blinder and his price tag rises accordingly.