Van Persie close to Man United move, Arsenal line up Mirallas
Manchester United now expected to sign Gunners striker for £22 million before end of week
WITH four days to go before the start of the new Premier League season, speculation is mounting that Arsenal and Manchester United are close to reaching an agreement over Robin van Persie. According to The Sun the Gunners "are ready to start serious talks with United" and the paper claims Alex Ferguson is confident a £22m deal will be struck before the end of the week.
Apparently Van Persie is desperate to force the issue after he was jeered by Arsenal fans in a weekend friendly against Cologne and Arsene Wenger has also realised the Dutchman can't possibly remain at the club in such an atmosphere. To that end, The Sun says that Arsenal will lower their initial asking price from £25m to £22m, and United will agree to hand over the cash in the next few days.
The Daily Mail even reports that Fergie has been in contact with Arsene Wenger over the proposed deal. It claims the pair held "private discussions" about the prospect of Van persie heading to Old Trafford. Confusingly, the paper says that Wenger told the United boss that he would not sell his man for anything less than £30m, but then adds that the Gunners would listen to offers above £20m, if they included add-ons.
So, who will replace RVP if and when he leaves? It is a question that has been exercising the minds of Arsenal fans since the Dutchman dropped his wantaway bombshell last month. The latest name in the frame is that of Belgian Kevin Mirallas. Metro reports that the 24-year-old who has been a sensation at Greek side Olympiakos since joining from Saint Etienne in 2010 could be on his way to the Emirates.
According to the paper he has confirmed that there have been negotiations and said: "There is still a chance I will move to the Premier League... My agent is having talks with Arsenal, those rumours are true."
The Belgian, who has scored 34 goals in 52 games for Olympiakos, would cost £6m and, just like every other Arsenal target this summer, he has also caught the eye of scouts from Liverpool and Tottenham, so there could be a fight for his signature.
A rather more expensive replacement for RVP would be Spanish striker Fernando Llorente. The big forward has called off contract talks with Athletic Bilbao, sparking a Europe-wide scramble for his services, and Arsenal are said to be long-standing admirers.
However, Athletico Bilbao's president Josu Urrutia has made it clear that any suitors will have to stump up the £28m mentioned in the player's release clause. Talksport says that although Arsenal and Spurs are interested in the player they will baulk at the cost, the wesbite claims that the exorbitant price tag has already blown Italian giants Juventus out of the race for his signature.
Meanwhile Arsenal have farmed out teenage winger Ryo Miyaichi to Wigan Athletic for the whole of the coming season. The 19-year-old Japan international joined the Gunners in the 2010-11 season but has yet to make a first-team start. Instead he spent much of last season at Bolton Wanderers and now he's joined Wigan.
"Ryo now heads to the DW Stadium to gain further first-team experience under Roberto Martinez," announced Arsenal on their official website.
Italian rag Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Giuseppe Rossi is on the brink of leaving Villarreal and the Premier League is his likely destination. The Italian striker had a spell at Old Trafford in the Noughties before quitting United for Villarreal in 2007.
Still just 25, Rossi has become a fixture in the Italy squad although his game time was limited last season by a knee injury. He's back to fitness now, however, and according to his agent he's looking for a fresh start after Villarreal were relegated from La Liga last season.
That's apparently alerted Tottenham, and agent Federico Pastorello told Gazzetta dello Sport his client "will not play in League B". AC Milan are said to have expressed an interest but it's believed new Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas will make the first offer.
Talksport claims that Real Madrid are eyeing up Maicon, which will be bad news for Chelsea. The Blues have had their eye on the Brazil international for a while now as they seek a replacement for Jose Bosingwa.
Right-back Maicon is apparently set to leave the San Siro as Inter look to purge their squad of golden oldies and bring in fresh blood. Talksport say Inter are asking £6.3m for the 31-year-old and Real are for the moment haggling. That might provide Chelsea with a window of opportunity should they stump up the asking price with no questions asked.
Finally, Danish defender Daniel Agger has revealed he'd like to remain with Liverpool but the matter may now be out of his hands. The 27-year-old has enjoyed his six-year spell at Anfield but with Manchester City reportedly lining up a third bid for him he's not certain he'll be a Red for much longer.
"I would prefer to stay," he told Danish paper Ekstra Bladet when asked if he might be on his way to the Etihad. "I can't imagine playing for other clubs in England. But, you never know if the club prefers to sell me."