Man City to steal Eden Hazard from under Arsenal's nose

Robert Mancini to buy Belgian playmaker in January and then loan him back to Lille until May

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:15 ON Wed 21 Dec 2011

JUST DAYS after beating Arsenal in the Premier League, Manchester City are now preparing to see off the Gunners again – this time for the hand of Lille playmaker Eden Hazard. According to Talksport, the Citizens are lining up a £30m bid for the 20-year-old Belgian and expect to land their man in January.

The Lille star has been linked with a move to Arsenal for months but the Londoners failed in the summer and now it seems they're on the brink of being outbid by the Premier League leaders.

Hazard (above) has made no secret of the fact that he intends to leave Lille next year, and while he's spoken warmly of Arsenal in the past, it's unlikely the Gunners would be able to match City's alleged offer of £30m.

Talksport claims it got its story from French publication France Football, which says City boss Roberto Mancini will buy Hazard next month and then as part of the deal agree to loan him straight back to Lille until the end of the season. Then come May the barnstorming Belgian will break Arsenal hearts by joining the Sky Blues permanently.

It's not all bad news though for Arsenal fans. The Metro claims that Isaac Cuencas might be about to sever all ties with Barcelona and that could be good news for the Gunners. Apparently the 20-year-old Spaniard is not happy with his Barcelona contract and talks have stalled over an extension.

The Metro says the striker – who's scored twice in his eight appearance for the Catalan club – wants more money but Barcelona are reluctant to fork out. That's alerted not only Arsenal but also Manchester United, with both clubs said to BE watching events at the Camp Nou closely.

According to the Portuguese press, Arsenal and United scouts were also busy in Portugal last week with representatives watching Academica take on Sporting Lisbon. It's believed United were checking out Sporting striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel while the Gunners' chief scout Steve Rowley was said to be running the rule over Academica striker Eder. The 23-year-old forward has flourished since arriving at Academica from his native Guinea-Bissau in 2008, and it's rumoured that Arsenal could make a January offer for the West African.

In other news, Talksport reports that Tottenham might be on the verge of losing out to Juventus over Leandro Damiao. The Lilywhites have long been linked with the Brazilian striker but now it's claimed the Turin outfit will make a £21m bid for Damiao next month and it will be accepted by Internacional. Though that's still £9m shy of the asking price it's believed that Internacional will accept the offer and wave goodbye to the 22-year-old South American.

Finally, The Sun claims that Chelsea are closing in on a £7m deal for Bolton defender Gary Cahill. Apparently Bolton have given Cahill the green light to discuss personal terms with the Blues once the busy Christmas period is over, and "barring any late hiccups" the England defender will arrive at the Bridge next month. · 

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