Arsenal target Di Maria takes aim at Spurs
Real Madrid set to sign the sought-after winger, Liverpool after Rickie Lambert
He might not be a Gunner quite yet, but Angel Di Maria is sure of a warm welcome at the Emirates if he ever does sign, after a withering put down of their bitter rivals, Spurs.
The Real Madrid winger, who is reportedly being targeted by Arsene Wenger this summer, has spoken of his horror when he found out he was being linked with a move to White Hart Lane during negotiations over the purchase of Gareth Bale. "It hurts when you're always doing your best for your club and then you hear that you might be going to Tottenham," the Argentine winger told Spanish sports daily Marca, according to The Independent.
However, he might not think that much more of Arsenal, either. Di Maria also said that he was happy at Real Madrid and had no desire to leave. "I will stay if the club wants me to stay," he said.
While Di Maria may not be angling for a move, Arsenal old-boy Carlos Vela could be about to turn up in north London once again and the Daily Star claims he's set for another crack at being a Gunner. Also taking its cue from Spanish rag Marca, the Star says that Arsene Wenger is "desperate" to bring the 25-year-old back to the Emirates, three years after he left.
The Arsenal boss cunningly inserted a buy-back clause in Vela's contract when he moved to Spain and now the Nutty Professor wants to see it activated. The Mexican marksman also appears keen to get back with the Gunners, telling Marca: "Arsenal can come back for me for £3.3m at any time, which is more than Real Sociedad paid. I look at things differently these days and I won't close the door on Arsenal... I think I'm better prepared to play in another country now."
One person who has closed the door on the club is Bacary Sagna, who in conversation with L'Equipe confirmed once and for all he's off. "It is no longer a secret, I am leaving Arsenal, it is a certainty," said the over-the-hill defender. "Arsenal made an effort (to keep me), but the discussions did not go in the direction that I wanted."
But who will replace Sagna at right back? The Daily Mirror says it won't be Atletico Madrid right-back Juanfran. Arsenal were keen on a £9m deal for the Spanish international, but the paper says the 29-year-old made it clear he wanted to stay put at Atletico. It means that Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier of Toulouse is now Wenger's main transfer target.
If Juanfran is out of Wenger's reach, it looks as if Real Sociedad sparkler Antoine Griezman may be too. According to the Daily Star the Gunners tabled an £18m bid for Griezmann earlier in the week but now Real Madrid have offered their fellow Spaniards a heap of cash plus the promise of Asier Illarramendi on loan in a bid to steal Griezmann away from the Gunners' grasp.
The 23-year-old Griezmann scored 21 goals in 50 appearances last season, which is why he is in such demand. But Real now look the favourites to land him. Sociedad are rumoured to be on the brink of losing a swathe of their star names and so the thought of taking Illarramendi on a two-year loan is undoubtedly appealing. The defensive midfielder is highly regarded in Spain and began his career with Sociedad before joining Real last year.
Still with Spain and Talksport understands that Atletico Madrid are "leading the chase" to sign Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado. Since moving to the Lane last summer Soldado has had a miserable time of it, netting just six league goals in nearly 30 appearances. According to Talksport Atletico are planning a swoop, luring Soldado to Madrid to replace Diego Costa, who is reportedly heading to Stamford Bridge. New Spurs gaffer Maurice Pochettino, appointed on Monday, is likely to sanction the move and use the money to buy a striker of his choosing as he looks to mould the Tottenham squad his way.
If Goal.com is to be believed Feyenoord star Jordy Clasie has yet to be approached by Manchester United. Ever since the appointment of Louis van Gaal as the Red Devils' new boss, rumours have circulated to the effect that the 22-year-old will be one of the Dutchman's first signings, and they'll be working together in Brazil. But the young international midfielder's representative, Wessel Weezenberg, has played down the speculation, telling Italy's Calciomercato to let the story lie. "There has been no contact recently," he said, adding that Clasie was focusing on Holland's World Cup campaign. "Jordy's future will probably be decided after the World Cup," he added.
Finally, The Guardian is just one of several papers to report the surprise news that Liverpool have offered £4m for the Southampton and England striker Rickie Lambert. The 32-year-old will be back-up to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge at Anfield and Reds manager Brendan Rodgers hopes to conclude the deal before Lambert departs with England's World Cup squad on Sunday. The Guardian says Lambert, who was released by Liverpool as a schoolboy before working his way through a succession of clubs before joining the Saints, would jump at "the chance to return to the club he supported as a boy".