Arsenal and Barcelona join hunt for UAE Olympic starlet
Wenger eyes Abdulrahman, and may try to re-sign former player Carlos Vela
THERE'S nothing as exciting like a full-on scramble between the biggest clubs in Europe for the signature of a young starlet, and that is what is unfolding as the heavyweights enter the race for promising UAE striker Omar Abdulrahman.
Today the Daily Mail reports that Arsenal and Barcelona have joined the hunt for the 21-year-old, who plays for the Al Ain club in Abu Dhabi, and came to prominence during the Olympics.
But they are only two of the teams who have sent scouts to run the rule over the forward, who has been likened to Manchester City playmaker David Silva. The paper says that Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Hamburg and Malaga are already interested.
Intriguingly he has been likened to Malaga star Isco, who himself has sparked a transfer scramble by indicating that he too will be available this summer.
Arsene Wenger's reputation as a manager has taken a battering in recent weeks, and now there is worrying evidence that he is losing his touch in the transfer market as well.
Carlos Vela, who was sold to Real Sociedad last year, has now been linked with a return to the Emirates after finally showing what he is made of in La Liga, according to CaughtOffisde.
He didn't enjoy the best of times while on Arsenal's books and made only three Premier League starts and spent time on loan at West Brom. There is, though, a hint that Wenger hasn't completely lost it. Under the terms of the £4m deal that saw Vela join Sociedad, Arsenal will only have to pay E1m extra to re-sign him.
The likelihood of Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons moving to the Emirates is fast improving as the strapping 6ft 2in Frenchman confessed he's fantasising about a move to England.
As we reported last week, Arsenal scouts have been out to France to give the 23-year-old Gonalons the once-over, and the news has clearly gone down well with the playmaker. Asked by Spanish rag Fichajes what he thought of a move to Arsenal, Gonalons replied: "I like the English and the German leagues. They are awesome. When I see the pitch and that type of game, I feel it's a dream."
It's believed that Gunners gaffer Arsene Wenger sees Gonalons, capped six times by France, to be the next Patrick Vieira – in other words, a Gallic enforcer able to police the centre of the park and offer protection to the small but perfectly formed trio of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla.
Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports that Arsenal "have joined" Tottenham and Juventus in the race to sign Sochaux right-back Sebastien Corchia. The 22-year-old is regarded by Wenger as a viable replacement for right-back Bacary Sagna, who is expected to leave the Emirates in the summer.
Arsenal scouts will continue to monitor the progress of Corchia, who came up through the Paris Saint-Gemain youth academy, before a possible bid in the summer.
The agent of Javier Hernandez has ridiculed the idea of his client leaving Old Trafford in the summer, insisting that the Mexican hitman is happy with his bit-part role at Manchester United.
Rumours surfaced last week suggesting the 24-year-old striker was looking for a club which could offer him more game time, but Eduardo Hernandez told ESPN radio: "We are both not thinking about the market rumours." Although he did concede that Javier would like to get more run-outs with United, Hernandez said: "I think that this isn't the right moment to leave."
Still with United and Pablo Sabbag, the agent of Erik Lamela, has played down speculation that the 20-year-old Argentine midfielder could be on the brink of swapping Rome for Manchester.
Reports in Italy have claimed Serie A outfit Roma are bracing themselves for a summer bid from United, but that's not the view of Pablo Sabbag. "No, there is no truth in that at all," Talksport reports him saying when asked about the gossip. But then, as is the way with agents, Sabbag left the door ever so slightly ajar: "It's just too soon to be talking about the transfer market."
Finally, it seems Tottenham have decided to get shot of Emmanuel Adebayor in the summer with the Evening Standard declaring that the club "will listen to offers" for 29-year-old Togolese striker. Though he joined Spurs on a full-time deal from Manchester City only last summer, Adebayor has scored only three times in 22 appearances for his club and that's allegedly led manager Andre Villas-Boas to run out of patience.
The Standard claims that Spurs will look to offload Adebayor in order to make space for Leandro Damiao, a long-term target who is apparently coming round to the idea of signing for Spurs now that they look likely to be playing in next season's Champions League.
Spurs have tried three times to sign Leandro from Internacional in Brazil and the Standard has it on good authority that it will be fourth time lucky for the Lilywhites. ·