Arsenal plot £30m Isco swoop and join race for teen Bakkali
Gunners could switch attention from Julian Draxler to Real Madrid's unsettled star Isco
HAVING been linked to Julian Draxler, the man seen as the future of the German national team, for months, could it be that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has had a change of heart and now wants to build his next team around the man earmarked to lead Spain for the next decade?
That's what Metro suggests, as it claims that the Gunners chief is preparing a £30m swoop for Real Madrid starlet Isco, who is said to be looking for a way out of the Bernabeu after just a few months in the Spanish capital. The 21-year-old was linked with a move to Manchester City in the summer, but eventually plumped for Madrid, becoming the first signing of new coach Carlo Ancelotti when he arrived from Malaga. However, Metro claims that Isco has become "unhappy" with the manager's training methods and feels he is not progressing as a player.
Wenger has previously made "no secret" of his admiration for the player, and with Isco known to "think highly" of the Premier League a summer switch could be on the cards.
Also on the Gunners' radar this morning is Belgian sensation Zakaria Bakkali, who became the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick in the Dutch league when he bagged three for PSV Eindhoven on his debut in August.
Wenger has been tracking the 18-year-old winger for months claims Caughtoffside, which adds that a PSV source told Dutch media: "Arsenal have kept an eye on him and are aware that other teams want him, so could move in the summer to buy him." Likened to Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez, Bakkali is also wanted by Real Madrid and Benfica.
Elsewhere and yet another product of the phenomenal Southampton production line is turning heads at one of the Premier League's big clubs. This time the player in question is 19-year-old midfielder Harrison Reed, who is wanted by Manchester United, according to the Daily Mirror.
With his bright red hair Reed could easily be confused with a young Paul Scholes, and how manager David Moyes could do with a player of his calibre in his midfield. He may have only made one start for the Saints, but so desperate is Moyes that it could be all he needs to make his move.
Meanwhile, Moyes's current captain Nemanja Vidic appears certain to join Inter Milan in the summer after the Italian club's president Erick Thohir announced they were 90 per cent of the way towards finalising a deal for the 32-year-old. The Serbian defender has announced that he will leave Old Trafford in the summer when his contract expires, and a move to Italy is on the cards reports the BBC.
Sticking with Old Trafford, it seems that Shinji Kagawa's career with United may be drawing to a close. The Japanese playmaker failed to establish himself under Alex Ferguson or David Moyes and the Manchester Evening News says he could be on his way to Besiktas in the summer.
The Istanbul club is preparing a "lucrative bid" for the 24-year-old, says the paper. He has not played since the League Cup semi-final defeat to Sunderland and has fallen further down the Old Trafford pecking order now that Juan Mata is on the books. Kagawa's old club, Borussia Dortmund, might also be interested in re-signing him and the MEN notes that he could become part of a deal to bring Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester.
Over at Chelsea and the future of their young goalkeeper Thibault Coutois remains a talking point. The 21-year-old has never actually played for the Blues, having spent his entire time with the club on loan at Atletico Madrid, who are said to be desperate to sign him on a permanent deal.
Now, according to Fichajes.net in Spain, Real Madrid have entered the race to lure him away from the Bridge. Courtois has made it clear he wants first team football with Chelsea next season, and if he doesn't get it he will leave.
Real Madrid, notes the website, will be in need of a new keeper as Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas are both expected to leave at the end of the season. They will now "try and convince" Mourinho to let them have the Belgian stopper, although he won't come cheap.
Finally, the Daily Mail reveals that David Beckham wants to bring Spanish midfield general Xavi to Miami to lead his new MLS franchise when it kicks off in 2017. The tiki-taka pass-master will be 36 by then, but could be talked into one last hurrah in the US after ending his European career with Barcelona.
"Miami is heavily populated by Spanish-speaking residents and Xavi would be a huge commercial draw as Beckham looks to get the city behind his new club," explains the Mail.