Giroud set to join Arsenal says coach - what about Benatia?
Crewe youngster Powell heads for Old Trafford, Gylfi Sigurdsson set for Liverpool
ARSENAL are inching ever closer to the signature of Olivier Giroud if the increasing number of rumours about the deal are to be believed.
The latest comes from the coach of his current club Montpellier, Rene Girard, who has said that he only thing left to be agreed between Arsenal and the striker Giroud is his fee, at least that's according to Metro. Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of the 25-year-old French international, having seen him score 21 goals in 36 games last season. It is thought the price would be below Giroud's release fee of £12.8 million and the deal would include the welcome sight of Marouane Chamakh heading off to Montpellier as a makeweight. "We would like Chamakh on loan, as part of the Giroud deal," Girard said, who must have been too busy last season to watch the striker play.
Wenger is keen on reinforcing his backline, but it seems Arsenal face competition for Udinese defender Mehdi Benatia, Talksport says. Napoli have opened talks with Udinese the Morocco defender who is also wanted by Chelsea. According to reports in Italy, Napoli are now leading the race to land him after making first contact with Udinese. The Serie A pair are yet to reach an agreement but talks are ongoing about a permanent switch for the 25-year-old, who is rated at around £8m.
It looks as though Swansea’s Icelandic loan star Gylfi Sigurdsson will follow Brendan Rodgers to Anfield after all, the Daily Mirror says. The attacking midfielder had all but agreed a permanent £6.8million move from Hoffenheim to Swansea at the end of the season, but didn’t sign the deal as it became clear Rodgers was being courted by the Merseyside club. It is believed the deal will go through once Sigurdsson has explains his position to Swansea.
Manchester United have continued their summer spending by snapping up 18-year-old Crewe midfielder Nick Powell.
With Japan star Shinji Kagawa signed from Borussia Dortmund earlier in the month, United have now added England Under-18 international Powell to their squad in what the Daily Mail says is a four-year deal.
Apparently Crewe will receive £4m for Powell with £2.75m being paid up front to the League One side. United manager Alex Ferguson told the club's official website: "We have scouted Nick for months now. He is an exceptional talent and has been schooled well at Crewe. I'm delighted he has chosen to come to United. He has a lot to offer and we are all looking forward to working with him."
The Mail says United fought off competition from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City to land Powell, and the player is evidently delighted to be Old Trafford-bound, saying: "The thought of making the step up to the Premier League next season is an exciting prospect. I can't wait to get started."
In other news, France defender Mathieu Debuchy has said he won't be making any decision about his future until after Euro 2012. The 26-year-old was in fine form for the French during their 1-1 draw with England on Monday, although that didn't come as a shock to Newcastle boss Alan Pardew.
The wily Magpies manager has had his eye on the Lille blocker for months and is believed to be in the throes of making Debuchy an offer. However, in an interview with French sports daily L'Equipe, Debuchy said all he's thinking about at the moment is helping France top their pool: "Right now, I'm focused on the Euros. I have wishes, but we will discuss them later."
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho also has a wish – to land Liverpool defender Daniel Agger. According to Spanish rag AS, the Special One is combining his media role at Euro 2012 with a reconnaissance mission. Agger, who helped Denmark defeat the Dutch at the weekend, is apparently seen by Mourinho as the sort of hard-nosed defender who will put some lead in Real Madrid's pencil next season.
Elsewhere, Talksport reports that "Brazilian teenage wonderkid" Lucas Moura is wanted by a trio of top European clubs. Chelsea and Real Madrid have long been linked to the 19-year-old playmaker but now it seems Inter Milan like the cut of the South American's jib.
Moura is rated one of the most promising strikers in Brazil, with his club Sao Paulo reportedly willing to cash in on his potential. Talksport says Real Madrid fancy their chances of landing the youngster but Chelsea haven't given up hope – despite allegedly failing in a £32m bid last month - and Inter now believe that can match any of their rival's offers. Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni is a big fan of Moura's and wants him to spearhead their attack next season.
Finally, Sky Sports says West Ham are closing in on midfielder Mohamed Diame and are "holding a second round of talks" with the former Wigan star. The 24-year-old Senegal playmaker is currently a free agent after leaving the Latics and there had been rumours linking him with Liverpool, Sunderland and Aston Villa. But Sky Sports say the Hammers have jumped to the front of the queue in recent days. ·