Arsenal renew the chase for Valencia’s Juan Mata

Juan Manuel Mata

Transfer Talk: Mata could be on his way to Emirates – but Phil Jagielka deal is now on ice agreed, Spurs step in

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:52 ON Fri 22 Jul 2011

Arsenal are back in the hunt for Spanish international winger Juan Mata after Valencia failed to persuade the 23-year-old that he has a bright future with them. The Gunners were first linked to Mata in June but Valencia refused to even discuss the matter with the north London club, insisting that the former Real Madrid player would remain in Spain.

Now, speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, Valencia boss Unai Emery seems to have signaled that they would no longer stand in Mata’s way if Arsenal renewed their interest.

"Valencia have to be prepared for a footballer to leave, either because he is not wanted or because a big club wants to sign him," said Emery. "If a big-money offer comes in from any club and it’s good for both the player and the club, it could lead to his departure."

Mata, capped 11 times by Spain since making his debut in 2009, is believed to come with a £20m price tag. When asked by Spanish paper Marca what he thought of all the hoohaa, he replied: "I have never said I want to leave. From here to August 31 if there are any offers then the first to know about it will be the club.... there’s no point speaking about suppositions. I like to talk about realities."

Arsenal’s attempts to prise England defender Phil Jagielka from Everton appear to be on ice after the Toffees rejected the Gunners’ £10m bid. According to the Metro, Everton boss David Moyes has told Arsene Wenger to double his money – and only then might they be in business.

The 28-year-old defender has been on Wenger’s wish list for ages so a second offer of some sort will probably be forthcoming. But whether Arsenal deem Jagielka to be worth £20m remains to be seen.

Elsewhere French rag Le Parisien reports that Caen forward M'Baye Niang is on the verge of leaving the club, though whether it’s to sign for Liverpool or Tottenham isn’t yet known.

Both clubs have been courting the 16-year-old striker, one of the most promising youngsters in the French game, and Niang’s father is apparently keen for his son to further his career in England.

Liverpool look likely to retain the services of Alberto Aquilani after his agent laughed off suggestions that the 27-year-old might be on his way to Fiorentina. The Corriere dello Sport quotes agent Franco Zavaglia as saying: "Aquilani will certainly stay at Liverpool."

Darren Bent has told a local paper that he won’t be following Stewart Downing and Ashley Young out of Villa Park. In an interview with the Express and Star, England striker Bent said he understood why Downing had joined Liverpool and Young had gone to Manchester United but dismissed suggestions that he could follow them through the exit door.

"I’m more than happy to be here and play for Aston Villa football club," he said. "It’s a terrific football club and I’d like to be here for the long haul."

Finally, the Daily Mail reports that Chelsea are in talks with Barcelona over the possible signature of their defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu. The Blues are apparently keen to push through a £5m deal for the 19-year-old who caught the eye of coach Andre Villas-Boas when he was at Porto last season.

The Mail says a switch is likely as Romeu is becoming disillusioned with his lack of first-team opportunities at the Camp Nou. · 

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