Arsenal eye Lukas Podolski as a back-up for Robin van Persie
Cologne striker one of reinforcements Wenger could purchase in the January window
ARSENAL were in Germany last week to run the rule over Cologne striker Lukas Podolski, according to the Daily Express. With Robin van Persie in need of a rest after his goal-scoring exploits this season (the Dutch striker played no part in last night's Carling Cup defeat to Manchester City), the Gunners will be bringing in reinforcements during January's transfer window. And Arsene Wenger believes Podolski is the sort of player who could thrive in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old Podolski has scored a remarkable 43 goals in 94 appearances for Germany, but alas he didn't manage to get on the score sheet in front of the Arsenal scouts last week as Cologne suffered a 3-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach. The Express quotes a Cologne source as saying: "We are aware Arsenal are watching Podolski and they were at Friday's game", while the player himself has told reporters recently: "I am in top condition, I could fit into any side in Europe."
Meanwhile, is the player they call 'The Madman' also being lined up Wenger? According to Talksport, 28-year-old Fiorentina midfielder Juan Manuel Vargas is being chased by the Gunners as well as by Liverpool and Inter Milan.
The Peruvian playmaker – nicknamed because of his aggressive style – has apparently been informed by the Italian club that he can leave in January provided someone comes up with £10m in cold hard cash. Talksport speculates that a bidding war could break out among the three clubs, with Inter the most desperate to sign Vargas after their sloppy start to the Serie A season.
Still with Liverpool and the Metro claims the Reds like the look of Roberto Soldado but won't make an offer unless the Valencia striker's price tag is reduced. At the moment the Spanish outfit are demanding £20m for the 26-year-old Soldado despite the fact they only forked out half that amount 18 months ago when they bought him from Getafe.
Apparently Liverpool scouts have watched Soldado on several occasions this season and the club's director of football Damien Comolli thinks he would work well with Luis Suarez up front. The price remains a stumbling block, though the Metro suggests Liverpool might try to knock £5m off by throwing in one of their lesser lights such as 18-year-old Spanish striker Jesus Fernandez Saez.
In other news, the Daily Mail reports that Chelsea had their scouts in Sicily at the weekend to evaluate the potential of Palermo's Josip Ilicic. The 23-year-old playmaker was instrumental in helping his side to a 2-0 win against Fiorentina, and Chelsea are said to be considering an offer in the region of £25m for the 6ft 3in Slovenian. Inter Milan, however, are also said to be in the hunt for IIicic, who made his national debut in 2010, the same year he moved from Maribor to Palermo. ·