Arsenal after Barcelona winger Cuenca and CSKA's Doumbia
Wenger ready to make offer for Spanish winger, and rekindles interest in Marvin Martin
THE BUNTING is up, the street parties are set and the whole nation is ready to celebrate. Yes, fellow Britons, this weekend marks the beginning of the summer transfer season where overrated strikers are sold to under-strength teams and agents make a killing. So let's crack straight on because with one day to go until the June window opens already the rumours are flying thicker and faster than teacups in the Manchester United dressing room.
First up and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is ready to make an £8 million bid for Barcelona's 21-year-old winger Isaac Cuenca (above) reports Caught Offside. Spanish source Sport reports that the nippy Spaniard is keen on regular first team football, and an offer from a Premier League side may prove tempting, as there are a number of fairly well-known established stars ahead of Cuenca in the Barca pecking order.
Arsenal are also being linked to another forward as rumours about the future of Robin Van Persie continue to swirl. According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are in talks over a possible move for Seydou Doumbia of CSKA Moscow (pictured). The 24-year-old certainly knows where the goal is and scored 38 times last season.
Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger that means his price tag is now £26m, but Arsenal hope to talk it down a million or ten. The paper says Oliver Giroud is still the preferred target, but they are keen to discuss terms with Ivorian player and his club.
Gooners get a hankie because there's distressing news in the Metro. The paper claims that Johan Djourou "could quit Arsenal over lack of playing time". Apparently the 25-year-old centre back is peeved that he didn't get much regular game time last season at the Emirates and is thinking of moving on a result. Of course, what Djourou seems to fail to take into account is when he did appear he was as shocking as the sight of Sophie Dahl in the buff.
According to Switzerland national team coach Omar Hitzfeld, Djourou is therefore beginning to wonder if his career at Arsenal has run its course. "For Djourou, the question arises of a transfer," said Hitzfeld. "If he wants to be selected, he must have some game time in the club. This is not the case at Arsenal." Hmm, if he wants to be selected it would help if he could defend.
The Metro says that Juventus and Napoli are tailing Djourou but his "whopping £60,000-a-week wages will be a sticking point". £60,000-a-week... if he took that home in a year it would still seem an extravagance.
Stcking with north London, Arsenal and Tottenham could be set for a transfer battle over Sochaux midfielder Marvin Martin says Talksport. The player, who is part of Laurent Blanc's French squad for the Euros has aid he would like to leave France: in an interview with France Football, the 24-year-old has confirmed that he is prepared to up sticks, although any decision may have to wait until he's back from the Euros. He said: "I'm ready to go play overseas. I know there has been contact but I'm 100 per cent focused on France and the Euros. I do not know if something can be done before the Euros. If not, we will wait and see how things develop."
Time to hop in a black cab and head for Chelsea... which is exactly what Fulhams' £10 million rated striker Moussa Dembele is bout to do according to The Sun. Apparently Chesea are keen on bringing the Fulham man to Stamford Bridge to keep Belgian team-mate Eden Hazard company. Manchester United are also keen on the player, so expect a bidding war.
According to Italian rag Gazzetta dello Sport Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has said he won't be making a play for AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The stringy Swedish sharpshooter was in the goals last season as his club lost the Serie A title (although with the way Italian league works these days, allegedly, that doesn't mean much) and stories emerged last week to the effect that Ibrahimovic was bound for the Etihad.
But Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport that there's no room at the inn what with Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli already bedded down with the Sky Blues. "I already have four very strong strikers," explained Mancini, adding: "I just need them to compete in the Champions League. We are okay up front."
To other news and Talksport report that Barcelona's Ibrahim Afellay is following Pep Guardiola out of the Camp Nou and could be available for as little as £6m when the transfer window opens. That's sure to put a smile on the faces of Liverpool and Tottenham, both of whom are said to fancy the cut of the Dutchman's jib. The 26-year-old midfielder was crocked with a knee injury for much of last season and that appears to be the thinking behind Barcelona's decision to offload him on the cheap.
The Holland international will be at next month's European Championships and Talksport reckons a good performance from the playmaker could see his price tag "rocket", and also attract the attention of Arsenal, who were linked with the player a couple of years ago.
Finally goal.com reveals that Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua are putting in the hours in a bid to lure Didier Drogba to the East. Sergio Batista, the former coach of Argentina now in charge of Shenhua, says they want the 34-year-old to hook up with former Chelsea team-mate Nicolas Anelka. Drogba announced last week he was leaving the Bridge and though there is idle gossip suggesting he was accept an offer from Real Madrid, Batista remains hopeful the Ivorian will end up in Shanghai. "The people from the club do the best things to get Drogba here," he's quoted as saying. "I think every coach in the world wants to get Drogba on the team and I hope that everything is OK."