Arsenal and Man U tussle over Strootman, Real want Bale

Dutch playmaker set to leave PSV Eindhoven as Mourinho plans £56m raid for Gareth Bale

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:33 ON Fri 14 Dec 2012

THERE could be a ding-dong battle in the New Year between Arsenal and Manchester United for the services of Kevin StrootmanThe Sun claims the PSV Eindhoven playmaker is wanted by both clubs and he could be theirs depending on who meets the asking price of £17m.

Strootman, a 22-year-old Holland international, is regarded as one of the most exciting young prospects in Dutch football and the Sun says he wants to test himself overseas.

As well as Arsenal and United, AC Milan are believed to be interested ahead of next month's transfer window. The Sun quotes a "top PSV source" as saying: "It looks certain that he will leave in January. The only question is where. It looks like Manchester United or Arsenal — they are both very keen."

The moment Spurs fans have been dreading may be about to arrive with the news that Real Madrid have set aside £56m to land winger Gareth Bale some time in 2013.

Spurs and Real Madrid have built up a close relationship thanks to the friendship between the club chairmen Daniel Levy and Florentino Perez, and the path from White Hart Lane to the Bernabeu was forged by Luka Modric in the summer. Now it looks as though Gareth Bale will be the next man to make the trip.

According to Metro the purchase will be funded by the sale of players including Kaka and Angel Di Maria. The only silver lining for Spurs fans is that the deal is more likely to happen in the summer.

Meanwhile Manchester United's hopes of landing Mat Hummels have taken a knock with the news that the Dortmund defender is being courted by Barcelona. And according to Talksport the attention is very much welcomed.

The 23-year-old blocker has been at the heart of Dortmund's back-to-back Bundesliga titles and consequently he's come to the notice of some of Europe's top clubs. United are widely expected to make a bid for his services next month, but so are Barcelona.

"Regarding the Barcelona rumour, I read it in the newspapers. My father asked me about it and I told him 'You should know, you're my agent!'" joked the German international in conversation with German TV station RTL.

Pressed on whether he would be up for a move to the Camp Nou, Hummels replied: "Barca, from my point of view, is the best team in the world and it is an honour to be linked with them."

The race to sign Malaga sensation Isco is hotting up with the Metro reporting that Chelsea have joined Manchester City in the chase for the 20-year-old playmaker. Apparently Isco is "unsettled" at Malaga and that's put the Premier League clubs on red alert, particularly as he has a £17 million buyout clause.

It's believed Blues owner Roman Abramovich wants to sign the youngster in the January transfer window, while City manager Roberto Mancini is said to be considering replacing Mario Balotelli with Isco in the New Year.

Malaga, however, want to hang on to their man and Spanish sources claim the club is putting together a lucrative package in an attempt to buy his long-term loyalty. The fact that they've also qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League – something both City and Chelsea failed to do – might also have an influence on Isco's final decision.

Finally, the Evening Standard reports that Italian outfit Fiorentina plan to capitalise on Queens Park Rangers' struggle to avoid relegation by making an audacious £5.6 million bid for Esteban Granero next month. The midfield magician joined Rangers last summer from Real Madrid, but since then the west London club have yet to win a Premier League game.

As a result the 25-year-old is contemplating triggering a £5.5m release clause in the likely event Rangers are relegated. That apparently has persuaded Fiorentina to make a play for Granero in January in the hope of forcing Rangers' hand. · 

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