Arsenal miss out on Szalai but Villa and Diame still in frame
Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg were also after Szalai, but Gunners 'were ready to pay £12.5m'
WITH Arsene Wenger's transfer policy continuing to cause more of a stink among Arsenal fans than a cloud of toxic gas from across the Channel, Gooners now have another reason to hold their noses. According to Sky Sports, Arsenal won't be getting their hands on Adam Szalai any time soon.
The 25-year-old has been a target of Wenger's but the Hungarian marksman who plays for Mainz in the Bundesliga has dampened speculation that he might be on his way to the Emirates this month. "It's improbable that I'll go anywhere in the winter transfer window," Szalai is quoted as saying by Sky. "So I don't have to think about being an Arsenal striker."
As well as Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg have also been tracking Szalai. But it's the Premier League outfit who were rumoured to be putting together a £12.5m package to tempt him to London.
But while his name can be added to a list of missed targets that includes Wilfried Zaha, Lewis Holtby, Luke Shaw and plenty of others, the Gunners are still hoping to land a big fish in the form of Barcelona striker David Villa.
According to The Sun, Arsene Wenger is lining up a £10m move for the disgruntled 31-year-old Spanish striker who wants a fresh start away from the Camp Nou, and is keen on a switch to the Emirates. Barcelona do not want to sell but with the player adamant he wants to leave, they could relent. Quite how it pans out won't be apparent until the end of the month however, as Wenger will not make his move until the last 48 hours of the window.
The same paper says that Wenger is also preparing a move for West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame. He will get a final chance to run the rule over the former Wigan midfielder, who would apparently cost £7m, when the Gunners play the Hammers tonight.
Arsenal, perpetually on the look out for centrebacks, may also be interested in the news that AC Milan are set to fund their move for Manchester City badboy Mario Balotelli by offloading French defender Philippe Mexes, at least that's what Goal.com claims.
Balotelli wouldn't come cheap and City want in excess of £30m for him, but getting rid of Mexes would apparently free up £3.8m in wages.
The Metro says that Pep Guardiola won't be the only fresh face at Bayern Munich this year. Apparently the German giants are on the threshold of making a "shock bid" for the temperamentally challenged Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
It's reported that Bayern will clinch the deal by offering the Reds an eye-watering £40m for a player who's had his fair share of controversy since arriving at Anfield from Ajax in 2011 but who has been in fine form this season. Bayern have supposedly made him their No 1 target, though the Metro also claims Manchester City's Edin Dzeko is on Guardiola's wishlist.
The transfer tittle-tattle at Talksport centres on Celtic frontman Gary Hooper with reports that Tottenham are pursuing the 24-year-old with boss Andre Villas-Boas hopeful of finalising the deal in the next few days.
Norwich have been linked in recent days to Hooper who is described by Talksport as a "Scunthorpe hitman", two words you don't often see side-by-side.
It's said in some circles that the Canaries have offered Celtic Grant Holt in exchange for Hooper, but according to Talksport Tottenham are quietly confident that they have the financial clout to win the race for his signature. Villas-Boas was allegedly at Celtic Park on Tuesday night to watch Hooper in action against Dundee United.
So anxious are Chelsea to hang on to Belgium international keeper Thibaut Courtois that the club are in negotiations to ensure "he doesn't ask for a permanent move elsewhere", according to the Evening Standard.
Twenty-year-old Courtois is thought to be one of the best young glovemen in the game. But since arriving at the Bridge from Genk in 2011 his opportunities to impress have been few and far between because of Petr Cech's sparkling form between the sticks.
Consequently Courtois has been loaned out to Atletico Madrid where his displays have caught the eye of Barcelona – and that's prompted the Blues to seek discussions with Courtois.
"At this moment there is no contract with Barcelona," said the keeper's dad, Thierry. "A few days ago Thibaut had contact with the goalkeeper coach of Chelsea, who will soon report on his progress at Atletico. When this is done, we will work with Chelsea and talk about his future."
Finally, the Newcastle Chronicle reports that Newcastle have agreed a fee with Bordeaux for striker Yoan Gouffran. The French international has been linked with Arsenal and Everton this month but the Magpies have flown off with the prize after agreeing to pay the French club £1.2m. "I am proud to join Newcastle," said Gouffran, who has the big boots of Demba Ba to fill at St James Park. ·