Arsenal face battle for Origi, but can they keep Koscielny?
Teenage striker wanted by Premier League big guns as Man Utd get Reus boost
HIS name is a headline writer's dream and according to Talksport Divock Origi is at the centre of a tug-of-war between Arsenal and Liverpool. The Belgian netbuster turns 19 tomorrow and what better birthday present than knowing two of the Premier League's powerhouses are after your signature?
Currently with French outfit Lille, alma mater of Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Origi has apparently caught the eye of Liverpool gaffer Brendan Rodgers in recent weeks. Though he's won just one cap at Under 21 level, such is Origi's prowess that Rodgers is prepared to go to the wire with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Talksport says that the youngster, who is the son of former Kenyan international Mike Origi, began life as a defensive midfielder but his pace and eye for goal prompted a move to the frontline where's he subsequently prospered.
Arsenal may have to spend the summer battling to hold on to what they have rather than trying to bring in new talent, if the Daily Telegraph is to be believed. It claims that Gunners centre back Laurent Koscielny is being wooed by European heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Bayern Munich.
According to the paper it is no secret that Koscielny is on "relatively modest" wages of just £50,000 a week at the Emirates, significantly less than defensive partner Per Mertesacker, who signed a £90,000-a-week deal last month, and Thomas Vermaelen, who earns £70,000 a week just for warming the bench. Arsenal are set to offer Koscielny a salary equal to Mertesacker's next month but the fear is that Europe's biggest clubs could blow them out of the water with a megabucks offer... and a realistic chance of winning silverware on a regular basis.
Elsewhere and the Daily Mirror reports that Manchester United have "been handed a major boost" in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Reus. The German international is one of several names on David Moyes' summer shopping list and the United manager apparently had his scouts watch him in action against last weekend. With reports suggesting that the Old Trafford hierarchy will hand Moyes a £200m war chest to strengthen the squad, the Mirror carries the comments of Reus' former teammate at Dortmund – Mario Gotze. The midfielder, now with Bayern Munich says: "When I was at Borussia, Marco wanted a move to Manchester United... this hasn't changed."
It's claimed in some quarters that United are ready to make Reus one of their highest-paid players on around £200,000-a week just as soon as he gets his head round the idea of playing in the Europa League next season.
Still with United and Goal.com says that the Red Devils could be about to miss out on Valencia left-back Juan Bernat. The 21-year-old, who has made 28 La Liga appearances this season, is being tracked by Napoli as well as United, but according to Valencia sporting director Francisco Rufete, Bernat is staying put. "Bernat is certainly a player that interests Napoli and many other clubs, but our intention is to keep him," declared Rufete. "Juan is a home-grown player from our academy and is a very important player for us."
Elsewhere and the London Evening Standard reports that Fulham winger Damien Duff will call time on his career at the Cottage in May. The 35-year-old Ireland international has enjoyed spells with Blackburn, Chelsea and Newcastle, but a knee injury has hampered his appearances at Fulham this season and now the veteran believes it's time for one final challenge beyond west London.
"The club haven't spoken to me and I haven't spoken to the club but we don't need to speak: I'll be leaving Fulham. I've had a great time here but that's football." Asked where he might head, Duff replied: "I've looked at the Australia or America thing for a bit... I'd maybe like to taste something new before I go back home."
Finally, the Daily Star claims that Liverpool are the "favourites" to sign Fiorentina star Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, although let's be honest, if the papers are to believed they are in pole position to snap up most stars these days. The 25-year-old Colombia winger is rated at £20m but while Arsenal and Spurs "have both made enquiries about Cuadrado", the Star is adamant Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is closest to landing the South American sizzler.