Arsenal deny M'Vila deal and blame agent, as Juve circle RVP
Deal or no deal? Arsenal suddenly 'not interested' in M'Vila offer as Juventus move for Van Persie
WHAT on earth is going on with Yann M'Vila? Arsenal fans were rejoicing this morning, not just because Steve Bould is to take over as Arsene Wenger's number two next season, but because it appeared as though the Frenchman had finally pledged his troth to the Gunners after both sides agreed a fee.
According to the Metro, and numerous other papers, the highly-rated midfielder was set sign on at the end of the season is a deal worth £17.7m to Rennes and £60,000-a-week to the player. The Daily Mail even went as far as to report that M'Vila chose Arsenal over Inter Milan and pulled the plug on talks at the San Siro last week after deciding that he fancied life at the Emirates.
That, though, was this morning. And Arsenal fans were left reeling by a report in the London Evening Standard poo-pooing the whole story. The paper sensationally claims that the whole story has been fabricated by M'Vila's agent to get a better offer from Inter Milan.
Even more remarkable is the paper's claim that the player is not even on Wenger's radar, which renders months of speculation utterly worthless. But given his penchant for fisticuffs and his agent's crafty manouevre's perhaps Arsenal would be better off without this slippery Frenchman.
And while the M'Vila saga rumbles on so does speculation over the future of Robin van Persie. The Dutch striker was happy to appear at the new Arsenal kit launch on Monday but he could be playing in black and white next season after Juventus announced they wanted his signature.
The cheeky Italian champions are obviously still well refreshed after their league success, and general director Giuseppe Marotta told Italian website Calciomercato that he wanted to sign Van Persie, Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain, but would settle for one of them if the price was right.
"Van Persie, Suarez or Higuain? They are three important players," Marotta said. "In fantasy football we could have the three of them playing in the same line-up but in reality, it is different."
These are strange times indeed in the world of sport and we're not just talking about David Haye's proposed slapfest with Dereck Chisora. There is also the curious case of Ajax star Jan Vertonghen, who has admitted he'd rather join Spurs over Arsenal despite the fact the Lilywhites have won just three of their last 13 league matches.
Nonetheless, in a candid interview with Dutch rag De Telegraaf, the defender declared: "Tottenham are absolutely my favourite."
The news will come as a blow to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who'd been hoping to lure the Belgian defender to the Emirates. But before Spurs fans start lording it over their north London rivals they'd be advised to listen to what else Vertonghen had to say.
Asked if a deal had been done, the Ajax captain shook his head and replied: "The Ajax board are asking for a very big amount for a player whose contract is running out in a year. I trust that both Tottenham and Ajax will put some water in the wine and they will soon reach an agreement."
While the water/wine reference is about as coherent as a Phil Hammond defence cut, Transfer Talk believes Vertonghen is hopeful that the two sides can agree terms sooner rather than later.
"My appreciation for the club and the fans is great," said the Belgian. "It would be terrible if my farewell is marred or distorted because Ajax [are stubborn] with the asking price."
The probable arrival of Vertonghen at the Lane may be the reason behind Benoit Assou-Ekotto's declaration that he could soon be on his way out of Tottenham.
Since arriving from French club Lens in 2006, the Cameroon defender has been a regular in the Lilywhites' defence but in an interview with France Football he admitted a move may be on the cards: "Everything is possible," he said, adding: "If I have to leave Tottenham it is to join a club that makes the Champions League... Spain, Italy or Germany, whatever. The grass is green everywhere."
Back at Arsenal, the Daily Mail reports that the Gunners "are lining up a swoop for Swansea's Michel Vorm" as Arsene Wenger looks to keep Wojciech Szczesny on his toes. The Polish shotstopper has been virtually unchallenged as the Gunners' keeper this season and Wenger wants to give him greater competition by signing Vorm and offloading Manuel Almunia to West Ham. Dutchman Vorm, 28, joined Swansea last year and has won nine international caps.
To other news and Talksport reports that Liverpool are back in the hunt for Eljero Elia after the Dutch international admitted things weren't working out at Juventus. The 25-year-old winger moved from Hamburg to Italy last summer but he's had hardly any game time in Turin and now he's looking for the way out.
"I want to leave Juventus," he's quoted as saying. "I remained quiet all year and was always positive towards the club and the team, but I never got a chance to prove my worth."
Liverpool were first linked to Elia in January and Talksport speculates that the Reds will jump at the chance to sign the Dutch ace.
Still with Juventus and the Daily Mirror reckons that the Old Lady of Turin is after Newcastle ace Hatem Ben Arfa as they prepare to launch an assault on the Champions League next season. The Frenchman has been the lynchpin of the Magpies' midfield this season and apparently he's on the Juventus radar along with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.