Arsenal face fight over Lukas Podolski, Jovetic says 'no'
Juventus and Atletico Madrid have been keeping tabs on the German's 13 goals for the Gunners
THERE'S more bad news for Gooners ahead of tomorrow's inevitable defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with The Sun reporting that Arsenal face a "summer fight" to keep hold of Lukas Podolski.
The 27-year-old German striker arrived at the Emirates in the summer from Cologne in a £10.9m deal and his form has apparently caught the eye of both Juventus and Atletico Madrid. The former Bayern Munich frontman, who will miss tomorrow night's clash with his old club because of an ankle injury, has scored 13 times for the Gunners in his first season as well as contributing several assists.
The Sun says that Juventus are confident of luring Podolski to Turin with a promise of improving his current weekly wages of £100,000. Arsenal are said to be reluctant to part with the German international but should Juve offer in excess of £15m the Gunners are likely to help him pack his bags and even offer Podolski a lift to the airport.
Fiorentina ace Stevan Jovetic has pledged his loyalty to the club despite increasing speculation that he will join Manchester City in the summer. According to Italian broadcaster Sky Sport 24, the Montenegrin marksman is determined to stay at the Italian club as they push to qualify for next season's Champions League.
However, there are rumours linking the 23-year-old to the Sky Blues should Fiorentina fail to make it into next season's showpiece European tournament. "Currently, I do not want to think about it," Jovetic replied when asked about where he might be playing next season. When the questions kept on coming he snapped: "I could still get in the Champions League with Fiorentina. Please do not ask me any questions about the future."
Wojciech Szczesny is to be 'rested' for Arsenal's futile visit to the Allianz Arena this week, where the Gunners goalkeeper is likely to have a torrid time against Bayern Munich. And that has sparked speculation that a replacement for the no-longer promising Pole is being lined up. And it seems that Arsene Wenger is determined to have a shaven-headed Spaniard in the Arsenal goal.
According to the Daily Mail, Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes is top of the wanted list and the 31-year-old will be available for £8.5m this summer after declaring his intention to exit Camp Nou.
But if Valdes decides that after working with Puyol and Pique he'd rather not downgrade to Koscielny and Mertesacker, then Wenger has a plan B, which is to go after Liverpool's Pepe Reina, who might be rather less fussy about his centre backs.
Back to strikers, and another forward on Arsenal's radar is Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid. But the Gunners will have to do battle with arch rivals Spurs to land him. The Daily Express reports that the Argentine wants to leave the Bernabeu and both London clubs would be keen to have him, but the paper adds that Gareth Bale could be the decisive factor. If Real launch a move for the Welsh winger, they could include Higuain in the package to ease the cost of the £61m deal.
Tottenham's hopes of landing midfielder Ruben Botta from Buenos Aires club Tigre appear to be on the rocks after Talksport reported that the Argentine playmaker has "sealed" a pre-contract agreement with Inter Milan.
That's despite the fact that the Lilywhites trounced Inter 3-0 last week in the first leg of their Europa League tussle. Apparently that's cut no ice with the South American and he is poised to sign a five-year deal worth around £870,000 a year with Inter in May.
Manchester United striker Federico Macheda is said to be "happy to consider" a return to Lazio after failing to make the grade at Old Trafford. Caughtoffside.com claims that the 21-year-old frontman, who joined United in 2007 from Lazio's youth academy, is desperate to relaunch his career before it's too late.
Currently on loan at Bundesliga side Stuttgart, it's reported that Macheda has concluded he's unlikely to leap above the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck in the estimation of Alex Ferguson, and to that end he's contemplating a return to Lazio. "I would go back, if there was a possibility," he admitted when the question was put to him.
Still with United and the Daily Mail says that former Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric "has his heart set on a move to Old Trafford" despite helping to knock the Premier League leaders out of the Champions League last week.
The Real Madrid star scored one of the Spanish side's two goals in the win over United but the Mail claims the 27-year-old Croatian is keen to return to England after a disappointing first season in Spain. Alex Ferguson is reported to be an "admirer" of Modric's and was rumoured to be chasing him last year before he signed a £33m deal with Real Madrid. ·