Arsenal Isco transfer hopes challenged by Juventus

Malaga midfield maestro Isco is being eyed up by Arsenal and Man U – but Italian giants could spark bidding war

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:40 ON Fri 21 Sep 2012

NOT CONTENT with peeing on Chelsea's Champions League parade, Juventus are now aiming to derail Arsenal and Manchester United's hopes of signing Malaga's midfield maestro Isco.

The Italian giants, who held Chelsea to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday night, have declared their intention to sign the 20-year-old Spanish star. Nicknamed the 'Isco Kid', at least he is by us, the young Spaniard is described by Talksport as one of "the country's best emerging young talents".

Arsenal reportedly made a bid for him in the summer, around the time they snared Santi Cazorla from Malaga, but the club refused to do a double deal. Their stubbornness has paid dividends, however, with Isco scoring twice for Malaga in their crushing 3-0 defeat of Zenit in Tuesday night's Champions League clash.

Talksport report that Manchester United had scouts present at the game and the club is now eager to sign the attacking playmaker. But Juventus are also falling over themselves to make Malaga an offer they can't refuse in January's transfer window and it could all come down to a bidding war.

Meanwhile Spanish rag AS says Arsenal are backing out of the race to sign Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente because of the prolific form of new signing Lukas Podolski. The German ace has scored in his last three outings for the Gunners and that's persuaded Arsene Wenger he doesn't need additional strike power. That leaves the door open for Liverpool, who have been tailing the 27-year-old Llorente for months. Apparently the Reds won't be taking back Andy Carroll once his loan spell with West Ham United expires, preferring instead to do a deal with Bilbao for Llorente.

Still with Liverpool and the Metro reckons that the Reds and Newcastle are on "alert" after learning Yoan Gouffran is unsettled at Bordeaux. It's claimed the 26-year-old French frontman has turned down the chance to sign a new contract with Bordeaux believing he's turned stale – or  'corked' to use the vernacular of the city's venerable vintners.

The Metro says Liverpool "would jump at the chance" to sign Gouffran and negotiations could start as early as next month in the hope of facilitating a deal as soon as January's transfer window opens. However Newcastle could well put up a fight for the striker, who can also play out wide on the wing, particularly if as, expected, Demba Ba joins Arsenal in the New Year.

Finally, it's been officially confirmed that former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey has joined Newcastle on a free transfer. That's Newcastle as in Jets, not United, an Aussie outfit who have snapped up the ex-England frontman much to their delight.

"Emile is someone who has unbelievable experience, having played for England 62 times," Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond told the club's official website. "His effectiveness in being able to hold the ball up and invite other players to play off him is going to be a big benefit to us."

The 34-year-old Heskey had hoped to see out his career in England but with no offers forthcoming he's headed Down Under and says he's looking forward to the challenge: "This is an exciting new period in my life… I hope I can help grow football at the grassroots level and also provide advice to young players at the Jets." · 

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