Arsenal warned off Draxler, and could lose Sagna to City
German's agent is against move to Gunners, as Wenger eyes Lille pair Gueye and Origi
NOW that Pep Guardiola's aura has been shattered and Bayern Munich have been made to look about as ordinary as Manchester United, it seems Arsenal have been left with a clear run on Schalke star Julian Draxler.
The Daily Star claims that the Gunners are in "pole position" to sign the 20-year-old frontman with bookmakers installing the Londoners as odds on favourites. The paper claims that Draxler was "fiercely courted" by Arsene Wenger in January, a phrase the conjures up a colourful image of the Nutty Professor banging on the door of the Schalke dressing room while yelling sweet nothings at the object of his heart's desire.
But alas his efforts were to no avail and the Gunners couldn't agree a fee with the German club. But now the Star believes Arsenal will come back with a new improved offer in the summer, but will it be enough to weaken Schalke's resolve? No, says Draxler's agent, Roger Wittman, who says his client is likely to stay loyal to the Bundesliga outfit.
"Why should a player leave the club if the club have just built a top team?" responded Wittman to a question about Draxler's future. "I also think it's good if players stick to what they have signed." Mein Gott! Surely a first, an agent telling a player to honour his contract...
Still with Arsenal and Talksport reports that everyone's favourite fourth-placed team are "monitoring" Lille midfielder Idrissa Gueye. The 24-year-old, capped nine times by Senegal, has been a part of the furniture at Lille for a number of years but sources in France have told Talksport that the playmaker is wondering whether it's time for a new challenge. Apparently he has four years to run on his contract with Lille but it's reported that a bid of around £5.7m from Arsenal could be enough to seal the deal.
Talksport adds that Wenger is also keeping tabs on Gueye's club team-mate Divock Origi. The Belgium-born striker Origi comes in at around £12m and Liverpool are known to have expressed an interest in the 19-year-old, who is represented Belgium at junior level but could yet turn out for Kenya at senior level.
Arsenal may have their eye on some new arrivals, but it seems likely that they will lose the services of Bacary Sagna this summer as the Daily Mail reports that he is set for talks over a move to Manchester City, which has a well-earned reputation as the first point of call for all those leaving the Emirates.
Sagna, whose contract expires at the end of the season and has so far refused to sign a new deal with Arsenal, has been linked to other clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan. However, he cannot talk to other English clubs until the end of the season and will only make up his mind over where to go next after assessing all the options, and that means a jaunt up the M6 to Manchester.
Across north London and the Daily Telegraph says that Tottenham midfielder Paulinho is on the brink of leaving the Lane for Chelsea with Spurs ready to allow the move provided they receive Romelu Lukaku in return. The 25-year-old, expected to star for Brazil in the summer World Cup, only arrived at Spurs last summer but he has failed to establish himself in the starting XI and Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho is ready to give him a fresh start at the Bridge.
The Telegraph's man in Brazil says agent Giuliano Bertolucci is keen on the move and he has a track record with Chelsea, having helped arrange the deals for David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar.
Finally, the Daily Mail reports that Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez is a "shock transfer target" for Aston Villa. The 25-year-old Mexican marksman was a bit-part player under David Moyes and Villa manager Paul Lambert – keen to ensure the club doesn't end up in the wrong half of the table next season – believes Hernandez could be tempted by the prospect of regular first-team football. Villa for their part are in desperate need of a frontman firing on all cylinders given that Christian Benteke is sidelined until October with an Achilles injury.