Arsenal face Santi Cazorla exit, but Balotelli deal could be on

Jun 18, 2014
Bill Mann

Spanish star could be heading to Madrid, but 'anything is possible' with Italian striker

The Arsenal trophy drought may be over, but will there be an Emirates exodus this summer? First Bacary Sagna jumped ship, then Thomas Vermaelen was linked with a to move to Man United, and now Sky Sports reports that Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has cast doubt on his future with the club during an interview with Spanish paper AS.

The pocket rocket, currently part of the Spanish squad in Brazil, has been linked with Atletico Madrid in recent weeks and when asked about the rumours replied: "When the World Cup is over, I'll start thinking about my situation."

That could be as early as Monday if Spain don't buck up their ideas and get a result against Chile tonight. Pressed on Atletico's interest, the 29-year-old Cazorla said: "I've told my agents not to tell me anything if an offer comes in... but I know a few of the Atletico players – Godin, Juanfran – and I know the side well from when I was playing the Spanish league."

Better news, possibly, comes from the mouth of Mario Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, who could be talking about his client's behaviour rather than the chances of a move to Arsenal when he says "anything is possible".

The Daily Mail says Balotelli "features highly" on Arsene Wenger's summer shopping list, and claims that the club have already made contact with Raiola about a possible move. When pressed on the subject Balotelli's Mr Ten Per Cent described Arsenal as a "fantastic club". The paper adds that AC Milan are willing to offload the striker to ease their wage bill.

Meanwhile, The Sun believes that Wenger has another target, Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, who would be available for around £15m.

So who else might be on the way to the Emirates this summer? Not Julian Draxler, that's for sure. The German winger has revealed to the BBC that Arsenal made an offer for him in the January transfer window but he turned them down in favour of his current club Schalke, and he tried to draw a line under any more speculation this summer by stating he had no intention of moving until next year at the earliest.

"In January, there was the offer of Arsenal, but I decided to stay," said the 21-year-old. "I will do the same this summer. I want to play one year more in Schalke."

What about Hamburg hotshot Hakan Calhanoglu? The 20-year-old Turkish midfielder is on Arsene Wenger's summer shopping list but the Daily Star reckons he has as much chance of signing his man as Phil Neville has of succeeding Alan Hansen as Britain's favourite football pundit.

The paper Arsenal are "in serious danger of missing out" on Calhanoglu with Bayer Leverkusen supremely confident they've concluded a deal. "He has accepted our offer verbally and wants to join us. He said that clearly in Hamburg," announced Bayer managing director Michael Schade when approached by German rag Bild. "Calhanoglu wants to be part of our team and what we are building here."

But the message emanating from Hamburg is more equivocal with the club's sporting director Oliver Kreuzer saying only: "We have had a lot of contact, Arsenal and Liverpool are interested." However, the Star speculates that the Reds' interest may have gone colder than Spain's chances of winning the World Cup after their recent signing of Emre Can.

Elsewhere and Metro says Chelsea are "sending out mixed messages" over the availability of Romelu Lukaku. It's believed the Blues have knocked back a loan bid from Juventus and have now hung a £32m price tag round the striker's neck. Though the tag wasn't in evidence last night as Lukaku helped Belgium to a 2-1 win over Algeria, his valuation is likely to deter the likes of Everton, who took the 21-year-old on loan last season and have made no secret of their wish to sign him full-time.

Up until now Jose Mourinho has hasn't taken much interest in Lukaku but Metro says last season's specialist in failure "may have changed his opinion" as he comes to terms with a season without silverware.

Finally, the Daily Mail says Manchester City will "resist any attempt" by Inter Milan to lure striker Stevan Jovetic back to Italy. It's believed the Serie A outfit have sounded out the Montenegro marksman about a move to Milan despite the fact the Sky Blues only signed the 24-year-old striker from Fiorentina last summer. Though Jovetic only made two Premier League starts last season the Mail says City gaffer Manuel Pellegrini is convinced Jovetic can establish himself as a regular in the next campaign, and will therefore reject Inter's £18m offer.

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