Arsenal wash their hands of Walcott, Man City set to pounce
Arsenal winger won’t sign new contract, City and Liverpool hover. Man Utd to sell Rooney?
COULD THE great enigma be on his way out of the Emirates after six unfulfilling years? Today's papers are awash with reports that contract talks between Theo Walcott and Arsenal have broken down and Arsene Wenger has simply decided to wash his hands of the player now, rather than go through yet another protracted will-he, won't-he transfer saga and possibly lose him on a free next summer.
The Daily Telegraph claims that both Manchester City and Liverpool have made inquiries to Arsenal about Walcott’s future at the Emirates after learning that a new contract worth £75,000 a week has yet to be signed.
It’s alleged Walcott is demanding a six-figure weekly salary but that Arsenal are sticking to their guns and refusing to up their offer. As a result, says the Telegraph, the club is "willing to sell to the highest bidder".
Apparently Arsene Wenger is "relaxed" at the prospect of losing Walcott because he believes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the greater talent. Presumably the nutty professor has also had enough of trying to convince players to stay if they don't want to.
The Daily Mirror claims that Manchester City are in the box seat and are about to make "an incredible transfer deadline bid" for the England winger after their attempt to sign Scott Sinclair from Swansea hit the buffers.
With City unable to agree terms with the Swans for the striker, the Mirror says the Sky Blues will instead made an audacious bid for Walcott. Apparently, if the reigning champions table something in the region of £15m the Gunners will take the money and run rather than risk losing the 23-year-old on a free transfer next summer.
If that isn't a big enough shock to the system, then how about the rather less likely-sounding news that Wayne Rooney has become surplus to requirements at Manchester United. The Mirror claims that the striker's relationship with manager Alex Ferguson has completely disintegrated and now that Robin van Persie is on board, Fergie is ready to sell Rooney for £40m at the end of the season.
Ferguson will find out how good his attack is without Rooney over the next four weeks while the 26-year-old recovers from a gash on the leg.
Back to Arsenal and, as we reported yesterday, Nicklas Bendtner may soon be on his way out of the Emirates - and so it seems may a host of other Arsenal players. In recent months sightings of Marouane Chamakh and Ju-Young Park have been as rare as an Essex Lion and now the Evening Standard claims both players will be put out to grass before the transfer deadline passes.
Chamakh is tipped to head to cash-strapped Malaga on loan, a deal reached with the Spanish club when the Gunners bought Santi Cazorla earlier in the month. Takers are still being sought for Park, meanwhile, but another Arsenal reject - Andrey Arshavin – will be sold by Friday to either Zenit St Petersburg or Fulham.
A return to his former club in Russia would seem the logical option but Arshavin’s wife is expecting their third child and the family are apparently keen to remain in London. That’s given hope to Fulham who, says the Standard, may get themselves a "cut-price deal". So desperate is Wenger to cut out the club’s dead wood that he may be prepared to sell Arshavin for as little as £1m.
Elsewhere the Metro reports that Spurs won’t be able to spend any of the £33m they made from selling Luka Modric to Real Madrid on Leandro Damiao. The Internacional striker has been on the Lilywhites’ wish-list for two years, with the club making two previous offers in the past for the 23-year-old.
But despite their determination Spurs are being kept at arm’s length by the Brazilian club. The Metro claims the London club have just tried a third time to land Damiao, this time offering £17m, but Internacional vice-president Luciano Davi has revealed they won’t consider a deal until the end of the year. "He is an Internacional player until December," said Davi. "Tottenham came to us but their offer didn't match our valuation of him. Leandro Damiao is a national team striker and we have to value that."
Finally, doubts are growing over the future of Manchester United winger Nani after the Portuguese star allegedly demanded "showdown talks" with the club.
According to Goal.com the 25-year-old Nani has become increasingly disillusioned with his bit-part role at Old Trafford in the past season and is aware of interest from Zenit St Petersburg. But with two years to run on his existing contract Nani is in no hurry to leave United even if the club did accept Zenit’s reported £25m offer before the transfer window closes on Friday.
Goal.com claims that the only way Nani will agree to leave Old Trafford is if he receives "a £5m pay-off" from United. That would put the Red Devils in an awkward position because while they would have no problem in selling Nani they wouldn’t wish to be seen as caving in to such mercenary demands.