Man Utd may offload Cleverley in Arsenal Vermaelen deal
Gunners could take midfieder in part exchange for skipper, amid reports of a £25m Balotelli bid
A summer that promised much could be about to go badly wrong for Arsenal fans, with reports that the Gunners are about to take Old Trafford whipping boy Tom Cleverley from Manchester United in part-exchange for captain Thomas Vermaelen.
As we reported yesterday, the Belgian defender has agreed "in principle" to quit the Emirates and follow in the footsteps of Robin van Persie to Old Trafford. And, according to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger "has been keeping tabs on Tom Cleverley" and could compound matters by agreeing to a swap deal
United are unsurprisingly "keen" to reach an agreement with the Gunners that would see them hand over £10m for Vermaelen – plus Cleverley. Last season the 24-year-old midfielder came in for some serious abuse from a small section of United supporters, and it's alleged Cleverley has never fully forgiven the fans for their betrayal of trust. As a result, he's open to a move away from Old Trafford after spending 14 years coming through the ranks at the club.
Quite what Arsenal fans would make of the decision to turn down the chance to sign Cesc Fabregas and then buy Tom Cleverley instead remains to be seen.
They may be rather more pleased to read of Wenger's pursuit of Italian sticker collector Mario Balotelli. According to the Daily Star Arsenal have lodged a "stunning" £25m offer for the AC Milan striker, who is also being lined up by Monaco.
Stop us if you've heard this one before, but the Gunners are also said to be on the tail of Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, just as they were last summer before he joined Napoli. The Daily Express has it on good authority that Higuain is thinking about leaving Naples after less than a year in Italy after having his head turned by talk of a move to Barcelona.
For some reason, the all the talk of a return to Spain has "opened the door for a Premier League switch" and Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United are all awaiting developments.
Meanwhile, he might be unable to hit a Brazilian barn door at six paces but that hasn't dampened Chelsea's enthusiasm for Wayne Rooney. According to an "exclusive" from Caughtoffside, the Blues "have made an offer" for the misfiring Manchester United striker after Jose Mourinho was given the come-on from Louis van Gaal.
Apparently Van Gaal has concluded that Rooney, like the London housing market, is running out of steam and will cash in now while Mourinho still believes the England star can help end Chelsea's silverware drought. Caughtoffside believes that Chelsea, who tried to land Rooney 12 months ago, have tabled a £40m bid, which is being "considered by Man United". If the Red Devils do accept the offer Chelsea will balance their books by offloading Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, not to mention the fact that the departure of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard has also significantly reduced their wage bill
If United do decide to do the decent thing and send Rooney on his way what will they do with the £40m? According to the Daily Star, Van Gaal has already targeted compatriot Daley Blind as a player who can bring something to Old Trafford next season. The 24-year-old defensive midfielder, currently out in Brazil with Van Gaal and the Dutch World Cup squad, is regarded as the sort of hard case who will bring some much needed steel to the United side. Outstanding in Holland's 5-1 thrashing of Spain, Blind is now the talk of the Netherlands and Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, believes he will jump at the chance to work with Van Gaal at Old Trafford. There is no mention of a fee but Ajax won't be sold short for a player who can also play in the back four.
Finally, the Daily Mail reports that Liverpool are considering reviving their interest in Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez if they fail to agree a deal for Alberto Moreno. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has been tailing the Sevilla star for months and although a deal looked close to completion a while back, the Mail claims the move to Anfield "appears to have hit the rocks". Apparently the La Liga side increased their asking price and are now demanding around £20m for the 21-year-old. Consequently, Rodgers is poised to turn his attention back to Swiss international Rodriguez, a player who Liverpool were fist linked to at the start of the year.