Wenger close to Arsenal deal, Man Utd make Januzaj offer
Veteran manager and teenage starlet are both out of contract at the end of the season
IS YOUTH or experience more important in football? It depends who you ask. At Arsenal it seems that experience is order of the day, as the club seek to extend the contract of veteran manager Arsene Wenger. Over at Old Trafford, the emphasis is on youth, as the club fight to secure the future of teenage sensation Adnan Januzaj.
Both Wenger and Januzaj will be out of contract in the summer, so there is added urgency at the Emirates and Old Trafford.
There is good news for those Gunners fans who still have faith in their manager - a shrinking band just a couple of months ago. Goal.com reports that wily old Frenchman is close to agreeing a new two-year deal.
If Wenger survives until 2016 it would extend his Arsenal reign to a "remarkable" 20 years, notes Goal.com, by which time he will be 66.
"Wenger wants to stay for personal as well as professional reasons," notes the website. His salary of £7.5m may also prove to be a useful bargaining chip for the Gunners.
Money is also at the heart of United's pursuit of Januzaj. The Daily Mail says that David Moyes is so worried about losing his teenage star when his contract expires at the end of the season that he will offer him a new deal worth £60,000 a week, which isn't bad for an 18-year-old.
The future of Everton and England defender Leighton Baines is furrowing the brows of Fleet Street's finest football experts. According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United will offer the Toffees a tempting £15m in January - plus they'll also throw in Antonio Valencia as a sort of late Christmas present.
The Mail says that United boss David Moyes is "more convinced than ever" he needs a top left-back after watching his side struggle to shore up their defence in recent weeks. Patrice Evra is not the force he once was while the Mail claims Moyes believes Dutchman Alex Buttner is not up to the job.
Moyes had an offer for Baines knocked back in the summer transfer window and ended up taking the defender's former team-mate Marouane Fellaini from Goodison Park to Old Trafford. But Baines is allegedly "stalling" on Everton's attempts to get him to sign a new contract and this has given Moyes fresh hope that he may yet persuade Everton boss Roberto Martinez to part with the England international.
As for the future of the 28-year-old Valencia, it's reported that the winger has slipped so far down the pecking order that Moyes will happily use him as a bargaining chip in January.
But don't rule out Tottenham trying their luck to prise Baines from Merseyside. Even before their shocking shellacking at the hands of West Ham on Sunday, manager Andre Villas-Boas had realised that despite his summer spending spree the Lane is still lacking a world-class defender. So the Sunday People claims that come the New Year the Lilywhites will join the race to sign Baines.
Danny Rose is the current first-choice left-sided defender at Spurs but Villas-Boas believes the England under-21 star needs the presence of Baines to fine tune his game. The People says Everton have offered Baines a new £75,000-a-week deal but now that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy "has thrown off the financial shackles" he could earn considerably more in north London.
Still with Spurs and the Daily Mail believes that Villas-Boas could be set to snaffle Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo on a free transfer at the end of the season. Former Chelsea boss Gianluca Vialli, who himself enjoyed a golden twilight in English football, raised the possibility on Italian TV at the weekend. The 34-year-old Juventus pass-master is out of contract with Juventus at the end of the campaign and could be tempted by a move to London.
With Dani Osvaldo's stay on the south coast be a short-lived affair? Metro thinks so, the people claiming that the Argentine striker is considering quitting Southampton just two months after joining the Saints in a club record £15m move from Roma. Apparently dainty Dani finds the rough and tumble of the Premier League an affront to his artistry and a move out of England is on the cards.
"Football here is so physical, but it doesn't have the technique and quality that is has in Spain," whined the former Espanyol hitman. "I'm already thinking about moving back to Argentina. I want to play for Boca, that's my dream."
One man who seems hard enough to handle the Premier League is Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and the Mirror reports that the French international has been given permission to leave Real Madrid. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked to Benzema in the past with the Gunners the favourites to land the 25-year-old who has reportedly fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu. Benzema signed for the Spanish giants four years ago in a £25m deal from French outfit Lyon, and the Mirror says Real will expect to receive in the region of £17m for him. ·