Manchester United and Liverpool eye up Angelo Ogbonna
Turin defender is attracting Europe's great and good, while Demba Ba is 'open to Arsenal offer'
TURIN boasts many wonderful sights – the Mole Antonelliana and the Shroud of Turin to name just two. But when Manchester United’s scouts go to the Italian city, they only have eyes for Torino centre-back Angelo Ogbonna, according to the football club’s sporting director Gianluca Petrachi.
"I can guarantee that there are observers of many foreign clubs who follow our games, including United's scouts," Petrachi told tuttomercatoweb.com.
“Most of the time they come just to see Ogbonna because he is a player who has great potential. Last year we turned down an offer of £10 million, but it is clear that he is worth more than £16 million.”
According to the Italian website, scouts from Everton and Liverpool have also been eyeing up Ogbonna.
Sky Sports says Ogbonna has caught the eye of Europe’s leading clubs in recent seasons, but the 24-year-old is contracted to Torino until 2016.
Meanwhile, Alex Gontran, the agent of Newcastle star Demba Ba, has given the clearest indication yet that his client could be open to a big money move to Arsenal.
The Gunners have been tailing the sumptuously-skilled Senegal striker for months, and it was believed the north London club made a £7m offer for Ba on the final day of last month's transfer window, an offer rejected by Newcastle.
Now Gontran has warned the Magpies that Ba is feeling twitchy about his future with the club after Alan Pardew left him out of the starting line-up for Monday's clash with Everton – a game in which he eventually scored both Newcastle goals in the 2-2 draw.
"Since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, Demba doesn't understand the management," said Gontran, who was as mystified as everyone else when Ba didn't start against Everton. "If he continues to be a substitute all season, we'll look at other solutions."
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew won't be impressed by Gontran's comments, and nor will he have taken kindly to a message tweeted by Ba's brother, Hamady, in the wake of the 2-2 draw. "So Demba scored 17 goals since last year and Alan Pardew decided to put him on the bench today ... I think this guy is crazy."
Although Gontran refused to be drawn on rumours linking his client with a January move to Arsenal, he did admit the "lack of recognition for Demba" shown by Newcastle was a concern, reports the Metro.
In other news Manchester City striker John Guidetti might still yet move from the Etihad Stadium in the coming weeks. Talksport reports that the 20-year-old Swede was on the verge of moving to Sunderland in the summer before he was laid low with a mystery virus. The Black Cats pulled out of the deal but Guidetti hopes he'll get the chance to experience a fresh challenge in the coming weeks. "It's been hell," said Guidetti. "It took a very long time, but now I am finally free of viruses."
Talksport speculates that the young Scandinavian could be heading to Blackburn Rovers as Championship sides are permitted to take top-flight players on loan until 25 November.
Portuguese rag Record reckons that Liverpool, Tottenham and QPR are all chasing Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane. Quite what the 19-year-old has done to deserve the attention of a trio of run-of-the-mill clubs isn't known, but apparently the Reds are favourite to win the race to sign the French Under 21 international.
Manager Brendan Rodgers is eager to bolster his back four what with Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher increasingly looking their age, and the Lille-born Varane is someone he rates highly.
Finally, the Daily Mirror reports that Liverpool will "lose out" on Barcelona starlet Cristian Tello after the Catalan Camp talked the 21-year-old into signing a new deal to keep him at the Camp Nou.
Described by the paper as a "versatile forward", Tello has been on the Reds' radar for months but Barcelona have offered him a new four-year deal and an assurance that he'll be a first team regular if he stays in Spain.