Arsenal turn down £15m Van Persie bid, and line up Llorente
Wenger prepares to 'get busy ' in the transfer market as City, United and Juve bid for striker
THE SAGA of Robin van Persie could be nearing a conclusion after it emerged that Arsenal have turned down offers for the wantaway striker from Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus and the player has refused to join his team mates on a pre-season tour of the Far East.
The Daily Mail reports that both Manchester clubs have made bids of £15m for the player, who has refused to sign a new contract with the Gunners, while Juventus have also made a formal approach. The story is given added credence by the fact that even the BBC is carrying it, and the Beeb goes as far as to say that the bids have been rejected as Arsenal hold out for a fee of at least £25m.
The Mail says that Van Persie's refusal to stay at home means that his days at Arsenal are numbered, and notes that if he is offloaded fast then the Gunners will have more time to find a replacement.
But it seems Arsene Wenger has already begun the process of looking and that is why tonight's football friendly between Great Britain and Brazil is likely to have more Arsenal scouts than G4S guards.
According to the Daily Mirror the Gunners are despatching a team of spies to Middlesbrough for the pre-Olympic friendly to run the rule over Brazilian ace Ganso. The paper claims that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger "has been tracking" the 22-year-old Santos midfielder for some time and is preparing an audacious bid for the spring-heeled South American.
Ganso - full name Paulo Henrique Ganso – has been mooted as a possible target for Spurs in recent weeks but it seems Wenger believes the young playmaker could have a role to play at the Emirates in the coming season.
The Mirror goes on to say that Wenger is about to "get busy in the transfer market" as Arsenal prepare to offload the unreliant Robin van Persie. Among those on the Nutty Professor's shopping list are Athletic Bilbao and Spain striker Fernando Llorente, the highly-rated Paulinho of Brazilian club Corinthians and Real Madrid young gun Jese Rodriguez, who starred for Spain in the recent Under-19 European Championship. Apparently the 19-year-old winger is growing despondent at his lack of first-team opportunities at the Bernabeu.
The Mail is also convinced that Llorente features on Wenger's shopping list, and says that the Gunners boss is convinced that the 6ft 5in striker has the physical presence to succeed in England.
Chelsea have decided to knock on the head their bid to buy Brazil right-back Maicon and instead will make a move for Marseille star Cesar Azpilicueta. Talksport reports that the Blues are desperate to find a suitable replacement for Jose Bosingwa, who was released earlier in the summer.
Initially they had their heart set on Maicon but apparently Inter Milan intend offloading him to Real Madrid leaving Chelsea high and dry. But Talksport claims that it hasn't taken the European champions long to turn their attention to Azpilicueta. The 22-year-old Spaniard comes with a £7m price tag (£2m cheaper than Maicon) and a deal could be finalised by the end of the month.
Meanwhile Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has confessed that he's received offers of employment from a host of clubs this summer. Asked by Slovakian rag Dennik Sport if he intended to take up one of the offers, the 27-year-old replied: "Anything can happen."
It's rumoured that Skrtel was none-too chuffed with Liverpool's form last season and reports suggested he might be the target of Manchester City. Dennik Sport says Skrtel made little attempt to pledge his long term future to the Anfield club. "At the moment I am a Liverpool player, and what happens in future in football you can never foresee," said the strapping Slovakian.
"Anything can happen, but for now I have a valid contract and what is to come will come... there have been a number of offers but without Liverpool's permission nothing can move forward."
Elsewhere and the Stoke Sentinel reports that Stoke have all but snapped up Major League Soccer star Geoff Cameron. The 27-year old has made the switch from the Houston Dynamos to the Potters in a deal said to be worth £1.6m and all that remains is to clear up a work visa for the American international defender.
"We are hopeful we will get that [visa] clearance on the basis of his history, his background and his achievements to date," explained Stoke chairman Peter Coates. "We can see no reason why we won't get that clearance, but obviously we are taking nothing for granted." ·