Arsenal's £100m: will they lure Gundogan, Draxler... or Kalou?
Gunners could be facing another summer of disappointment as top targets stick with the Bundesliga
WITH Arsene Wenger about to be handed a £100m transfer kitty at the end of the season Arsenal fans might be looking forward to seeing some big names arriving at the Emirates. But the early signs are that the Gunners faithful are in for another summer of deja vu rather than excitement.
First of all, in-demand Ilkay Gundogan has decided to turn his back on a big money move to England and instead continue his career with Borussia Dortmund. According to the Daily Express, the midfield magician has been offered a new contract by the German outfit and the 23-year-old, who has just over 12 months remaining on his current deal, is expected to sign on the dotted line.
The news will come as a big blow to Arsenal and Manchester United, both of whom have been eyeing up Gundogan in recent months. So have Real Madrid and Barcelona but Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has declared himself confident that the club will hang on to their playmaker. "Ilkay Gundogan is an important player of our squad we want to keep at our club," said Watzke. "We have submitted a contract offer... and we are expecting to hear from him about it."
Meanwhile, Metro says that the Gunners are facing yet more disappointment after Schalke made it clear they are confident of hanging on to highly-rated youngster Julian Draxler.
The 20-year-old's future has been the subject of heated debate in recent months with Arsenal gaffer Arsene Wenger known to be an admirer. But in an interview with German broadcaster Sky90, Schalke's sporting director Horst Heldt had this message for the Nutty Professor: "I believe that Draxler will stay with us."
Then again football is awash with bizarre beliefs, for example Wenger thinks Arsenal can still win the title, so perhaps Gunners fans shouldn't give up hope just yet that Draxler will be at the Emirates next season.
However, even if Wenger does miss out on Draxler, he still has Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa, and Bayern Munich star Mario Mandzukic on his radar according to Metro.
And if he fails to land either of those players? Well, there's always Salomon Kalou. Yes, the former Chelsea man is once again being linked with a move to the Emirates, and could cost as little as £2.5m.
The Evening Standard says that the 28-year-old, who scored 36 league goals in six years for the Blues (that's just a few more than Luis Suarez has managed in the last six months for Liverpool), wants to quit his current club, Lille, at the end of the season and return to the Premier League. He also features on Arsenal's list of summer targets. Of course, with Nicklas Bendtner leaving the club the Gunners will have a space for a player like Kalou in the squad.
In other news Talksport says that Southampton defender Luke Shaw has "played down" stories linking him with a move away from the south coast in the summer. The teenage left-back is rumoured to be on the radar of both Chelsea and Manchester City, among others. But Shaw – capped by England this season – is not getting carried away by the hype, telling Talksport: "It doesn't really bother me the attention I get. I just stay focused on my game on the pitch. Whatever is said is said." Asked if there was any truth in the rumours, he said: "There is not a club I am not linked with, but I don't focus on that."
Finally Goal.com reports that Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is adamant that Toni Kroos, the midfielder with the Midas touch, will not be joining Manchester United this summer. The 24-year-old has not penned a new deal with the reigning European champions, fuelling rumours he is bound for Old Trafford, but not if Rummenigge has anything to do with it. "Toni Kroos is sure to play in a Bayern Munich shirt next year," Rummenigge said, a provocative statement given that Kroos said recently that he had yet to decide on his future. "No decision has been made. There's no agreement," Kroos said at the start of March when asked about a new deal with Bayern. "That will stay that way until the summer, then a decision will be made."