Arsenal could sell Walcott to Liverpool, Toon in for Carroll
Newcastle offer £13m for Carroll, but will Reds take a £22m loss, and is it enough for Walcott?
COULD Arsenal's second summer of misery be about to get worse? Last year Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy walked out on the Gunners and already this summer Robin van Persie has announced he's leaving. Now Arsene Wenger could be bidding farewell to his great enigma, Theo Walcott.
The Sun, and pretty much everyone else, is reporting that Liverpool are after the inconsistent winger and are prepared to offload Andy Carroll to finance a £15m bid for him. Just like Van Persie, Walcott only has a year left to run on his contract and has so far refused to sign a new deal. He is reportedly holding out for a pay increase from £65,000-a-week to £100,000-a-week.
Apart from Chelsea and Liverpool, Paris St Germain are also reported to be sniffing around the winger, who is capable of being very good and also very bad, as all Arsenal fans know. His inability perform consistently has led to some members of the Arsenal board to support the idea of a transfer, although Arsene Wenger is said to be keen to keep him.
If Liverpool are to make a serious bid for Walcott, they will first have to offload Carroll and his former club, Newcastle, are desperate to get him back, reports the Daily Mail.
Liverpool turned down a request from Newcastle to take the player on loan, but now they have decided to make an offer of £13m to buy the striker back, even though he cost £35m when the Reds bought him 18 months ago. The paper says Carroll does not want to leave Liverpool but has now accepted that he is fighting a losing battle to convince new manager Brendan Rodgers that he has a future at Anfield.
It remains to be seen whether a £22m loss would be too much for Liverpool to stomach and if Newcastle will up the ante.
Back at the Emirates and the future of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie remains as uncertain as a G4S guard's grasp of the English language. According to the Daily Mirror, he will be heading off on the club's pre-season tour to Asia on Saturday "unless a bid is made this week".
Van Persie is scheduled to resume training with the Arsenal squad today although there's speculation that the disloyal Dutchman might not show as the row rumbles on following his stated wish to leave the club. The Mirror claims that Arsenal's imminent departure to Malaysia could prompt either Manchester City or Juventus to make their move in the next few days.
Ironically Arsenal are due to play the Sky Blues in Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium on 27 July, and to that end the Daily Mail says that the Premier League champions will offload Carlos Tevez to AC Milan "this week", allowing them to table a £30 million bid for Van Persie.
However, the Mail adds that Manchester United haven't given up hope of signing the ageing and injury-prone Van Persie "in a cut-price deal". The paper quotes an anonymous source close to Van Persie as saying Old Trafford is "his preference". Then again, as Arsenal fans have discovered of late, it's best not to place too much faith in what the duplicitous Dutchman says.
Meanwhile Ray Parlour has used an interview with Talksport to suggest Arsenal should look to swap Van Persie with another unsettled City striker – Edin Dzeko.
Since arriving at the Etihad two years ago the Bosnian hitman has fired as intermittently as a barbecue in British summer time, but that hasn't stopped Parlour recommending the Gunners cut a deal. "If [Van Persie] does want to go to Manchester City then maybe they could look at a swap deal," the former Arsenal midfielder told Talksport. "His wages might be a problem. I don't know what kind of wages Dzeko is on at Manchester City and Arsenal have always had that pay structure that they want to keep to and maybe they have to change that."
Still with Arsenal and the Metro reports that Barcelona are making eyes at Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny. The Frenchman was one of the few reliable performers in the Gunners' defence last season and it seems his form has come to the attention of the Spanish giants.
New coach Tito Vilanova has initially had his heart set on AC Milan's Thiago Silva, but with him now all but set for Paris Saint-Germain it appears he's turned his attention towards the 26-year-old Koscielny. It was revealed last week that Arsenal have recently begun to negotiate a new long-term contract with the Frenchman but the fear is that Koscielny might now be lured from the Emirates before his existing contract expires in 2014.
Elsewhere and Rio Ferdinand's tweets aren't the only thing coming out of Manchester to be greeted with derision. According to goal.com, the Old Trafford club's hopes of signing Lucas Moura have taken a turn for the worse after they offered Sao Paulo a paltry £20m for his services. The Brazilian club have told United that if they're serious about signing the 19-year-old midfielder then they will need to find an additional £10m.
Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid have also been linked to the teenage sensation in recent months but goal.com reports that United "made contact with Lucas through third parties" only to be dismayed by his £110,000-a-week wage demands. However, Alex Ferguson remains hopeful a deal can be reached when Moura arrives in Britain this week ahead of his participation in the Olympic football tournament.