Come and get me, says Arsenal and City target Eden Hazard
Midfielder wants Premier League move, clubs chase Olivier Giroud and Robert Lewandowski
THE RACE to sign Belgian starlet Eden Hazard is officially on after the player announced that he wanted to move to England this summer. Speaking after he had helped inspire Lille to victory over Paris St Germain on Sunday, in front of a crowd including Manchester City's Patrick Vieira, the 20-year-old made it clear that he would be heading across the channel to the Premier League.
The Daily Mail reports that Hazard told broadcaster Canal+: "My objective is to go to the Premier League, because I have had my time in France. I want to finish the season with Lille and then go to England."
Manchester City are now favourites to sign the player, but Hazard is a long-term Arsenal target and has also been linked with Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United. In short, he can pick from the cream of the English game.
With Liverpool languishing down in eighth place in the Premoier League and stars like Steven Gerrard approaching the twilight of their careers, Kenny Dalglish has decided it is time to dust off the chequebook and has been clocking up the air miles recently, according to the tabloids. The Sun says the grumpy Glaswegian was in Holland at the weekend "for a final look" at AZ Alkmaar star Rasmus Elm. Unfortunately the Swedish midfielder cried off at the last minute because his wife went into labour, leaving Dalglish "allegedly furious". Nonetheless the Sun says the 24-year-old Elm has agreed to join Liverpool on a five year deal worth £40,000-a-week.
The Daily Mail, meanwhile, claims that Dalglish was in Montpellier on Friday to watch Olivier Giroud in action in the French city's 1-0 defeat of Toulouse. The striker has caught the eye of several clubs this season with his goalscoring form, and the Mail reports that also present in Montpellier to run the rule over Giroud was Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi and Bayern Munich's general manager Christian Nerlinger.
Three Premier League clubs are in hot pursuit of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski. According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City "are all keen" on the prolific Pole, whose 20 goals this season played a large part in Borussia Dortmund winning the German league title. Dortmund are reportedly anxious for Lewandowski to extend his contract but the 23-year-old Pole is refusing to discuss his future until after he's played for Poland in the upcoming European Championships.
The Mail claims that the three English clubs see this as a sign that Lewandowski may be casting his eyes west and a lucrative move to the Premier League, in which case Dortmund are likely to demand a transfer fee of around £15m.
Meanwhile Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that striker Marouane Chamakh could remain at the club next season despite recent rumours linking him with a return to Bordeaux. The future of the misfiring Moroccan has been under a cloud ever since revelations of his smoking habits emerged last month, and the fact he's scored just once this season hasn't helped his cause.
But asked at the weekend if Chamakh's Arsenal career was about to be stubbed out, Wenger replied: "Nothing is definite at the moment.
At the end of the season I think you will have big surprises because there will not be a lot of movement in football."
One player with a reputation for not moving, at least off the bench, is sulky South American striker Carlos Tevez. He and Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini famously fell out in September after the Argentine's reluctance to leave the bench and warm-up during the Sky Blue's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
Tevez returned to the City fold earlier this month and now the Sun reports that Mancini is implying that Tevez might be back at the Etihad Stadium next season, contrary to recent rumours linking him with a move to AC Milan. "He has a contract but at the moment it is not important to talk about the future," Mancini is quoted as saying in response to a question concerning Tevez.
However the Sky Blues chief then added: "Carlos is not 100 per cent right now because it is impossible for him to be that after missing six months… [but] he can find his best form next season."
In other news the Mirror says that Manchester United are lining up a "stunning £10m swoop" for Iceland star Gylfi Sigurdsson. The 22-year-old midfielder joined Swansea on loan from German club Hoffenheim in January, and he's since caught the eye of Alex Ferguson.
According to the Mirror, United scouts have been checking out Sigurdsson in action for the Swans and the reports back to Ferguson have been favourable, leading to speculation that a summer move could be on the cards. Hoffenheim bought Sigurdsson from Reading for £7m in 2010 but the Mirror says they'll look to sting United for £10m.
Elsewhere Italian rag La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Juventus are making eyes at Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian stopper joined Chelsea from Lokomotiv Moscow in January 2008 and has been a rock in defence for the Blues this season. Though the 28-year-old still has four years to run on his contract La Gazzetta dello Sport claims it has it on good authority that Juventus will offer Chelsea £6.5m in return for Ivanovic.