Arsenal make Adrian Lopez top priority, and monitor Saldado
Two more Spanish strikers linked with the Gunners, who are also still after Yanga-Mbiwa
IF ARSENAL decide not to buy a new striker in January there are going to be a lot of football writers with egg on their faces. Arsene Wenger has been continuously linked to the cream of Europe's attacking talent since the moment the transfer window closed. Today it is Adrian Lopez who is being touted as the man to spearhead the Gunners attack in 2013.
Goal.com confidently reports that Arsenal have identified Adrian as their "number one" transfer target for the new year. The 24-year-old Atletico Madrid striker has been hailed as the new David Villa in some quarters according to the website, which adds that the relatively modest £14.6 release clause in the striker's contract has only added to Wenger's desire.
The Gunners plan to open negotiations with the Spanish club before January so that they can get Adrian on board and on the same wavelength as fellow Asturian Santi Cazorla as soon as possible.
But of course things are never that simple with the Gunners and according to Spanish rag AS Arsenal are actually after Valencia striker Roberto Saldado. The 27-year-old hit 21 goals in 44 games last season. He has not been in that kind of form so far this term, so he would fit in well at the Emirates alongside Olivier Giroud and Marouane Chamakh.
It's not just strikers being linked with a January move to the Emirates. Another player who almost ended up signing for the Gunners this summer is back on Wenger's radar. According to Talksport, Arsenal are gearing up for a fight over Montpellier skipper Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. The defender is out of contract in the summer and could leave on a free transfer.
Arsenal are hoping to lure him to the Emirates but will have to do battle with AC Milan, who are also sniffing around the 23-year-old French international.
The race to sign Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao has taken another twist with club president Enrique Cerezo conceding that their financial plight might force them to sell the star striker.
The 26-year-old Colombian is the talk of Europe after his goal-scoring antics in the past year, and Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea are all believed to have made enquiries.
Atletico want to keep hold of Falcao but in an interview with Spanish television, Cerezo admitted they might have to sell if a club was prepared to meet his buy-out clause. "If they come along with his release clause, if they bring the money, they pay it and the player agrees, he doesn't even have to say goodbye," said Cerezo, a man who clearly understands the language of money.
But does Falcao? He's recently expressed his wish to remain at Atletico but Cerezo seemed to be suggesting he could soon be on his way out. "I think that Falcao is a responsible person, a man who understands what a contract is," he said.
Talksport reports that Inter Milan have joined the pack chasing German "starlet" Lewis Holtby. The 22-year-old midfielder with the English dad has already been eyed up by Liverpool and Everton, and now his performances for Schalke have come to the attention of the Italian giants.
Holtby, whose team face Arsenal next week in the Champions League, has scored three times in seven Bundesliga appearances this season and the fact his contract expires in May has only created greater excitement among his suitors. But Talksport claims that the young playmaker is still expected to head to the land of his father whatever Inter may offer.
Still in Germany and the Evening Standard says Spurs have a job on their hands if they wish to land Patrick Herrmann. The Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder is reported to be top of Andre Villas-Boas's wishlist but the 21-year-old appears eager to remain where he is.
The Standard takes its lead from German rag Bild, who grabbed a few words with Herrman earlier in the week. Asked if he fancied a move to White Hart Lane, the youngster retorted: "No, I would prefer to stay with Borussia. I know what I have got at this club. I have been here five years, lived in the academy and have lots of friends in Gladbach."
It's rumoured that Tottenham would be prepared to pay around E10 million for Herrmann but he's still not tempted by the prospect of north London. "The Bundesliga is fantastic - why would I want to leave?"
One player who could soon be leaving north London is Arsenal defender Johan Djourou. During an interview with Italian broadcaster Radio CRC, agent Flavio Ferraria was asked if there was any truth to rumours linking his client to Napoli.
"In football anything is possible, but there has been no contact with them for now," replied Ferraria. "I agree that Djourou would be a useful addition for Napoli, but only in January when we find out whether Arsenal want to keep him or send him out on loan."
The Swiss defender no longer gets a look-in at the Emirates and Ferraria admitted the 25-year-old is not happy with warming the bench. "Johan is a professional and so far this season he has played just two games in the League Cup. He wants to play more." ·