Arsenal seek Tongo Doumbia - 'the new Patrick Vieira'
6ft 3in Rennes midfielder offers Gunners muscle in midfield – but is Theo Walcott on his way out?
FORGET about Yann M'Vila - the only Rennes midfielder Arsenal are interested in is called Tongo Doumbia. According to Talksport, the Gunners have decided the best way to get over being dumped by Robin van Persie is to indulge in some good old-fashioned retail therapy. Or should that be Rennes therapy?
Either way the Gunners are said to be closing in on the 22-year-old Doumbia, a midfielder very much in the mould of the much-missed Patrick Vieira.
The Gunners have been in search of a midfield muscleman ever since Vieira's departure and they may have found their man in the 6ft 3in Doumbia having reached the conclusion that the volatile M'Vila isn't worth the hassle.
Talksport reports that in an interview with French rag, Le 10 Sport, Doumbia revealed his agent had several offers on the table including "some from the Premier League". Asked if he fancied a move to Arsenal, Doumbia replied: "My desire is to play in the Premier League, for its atmosphere in the stadiums and the fans. If it were up to me I would be playing in England next season."
Meanwhile The Sun reports that winger Theo Walcott could follow in the footsteps of Robin van Persie. The winger is in the same position as the Dutchman, in that he is entering the final year of his current contract, and the Sun claims he is devastated by the decision of his friend – on and off the field - to leave the Emirates and is tempted to do the same.
Still with Arsenal and the Metro claims that it's not just the British Army who are running low on ammunition. According to the paper the Gunners have sent Denilson back to Brazil after they "drew blanks" on buyers.
The club first farmed out the 24-year-old midfielder to Sao Paulo – his home club - last summer having lost patience with the bungling Brazilian's displays. Arsenal had then hoped to find a permanent home for Denilson this season but despite slashing his price to £4m the Gunners still had no takers.
So in the end the club have sent him back to Sao Paulo for a second loan spell, with Denilson quoted as saying: "I am relieved, and very happy. Now I'm even more focused on winning titles for Sao Paulo."
The Metro says Arsenal will receive a loan fee of £500,000 as well as a commitment from Sao Paulo that if – and let's face it, it's a big 'if' – a club decided to buy Denilson at some point in the coming season the loan deal would be immediately annulled.
Talking of loan arrangements, Sky Sports reports that Everton boss David Moyes is desperate to bring Steven Pienaar back to Goodison Park on a permanent basis. The South Africa playmaker was sold to Spurs last summer, but things didn't work out for him at the Lane and he was back at Goodison Park in January.
But it was on a loan deal only and now Moyes wants to sign the 30-year-old Pienaar for good. Problem is, according to Sky, Everton believe Spurs' asking price of £5m is too high and Moyes hopes to convince the Lilywhites that they need to come down. "We are keen [on Pienaar] and I hope in time we would be able to conclude that deal," Moyes told Sky, adding: "Steven has made it very clear he wants to come back here."
Finally, while no one's sure whether Arsenal striker Robin van Persie will end up at Manchester City, the Mirror claims the Premier League champions have their eyes on another star striker – Argentine teenager Paulo Dybala. Described by the paper as "the new Sergio Aguero", the 18-year-old is wanted by Inter Milan and Real Madrid but it's City leading the race for his signature.
Currently on the books of Argentine club Instituto, for whom he scored 17 goals last season, City are believed to be lining up a £5m bid for the teenage sensation. The Mirror adds that because Dybala has an Italian passport through family ties, organising a work permit won't be a problem for City.