Arsenal and Chelsea chase wonder kid Isaiah Brown
Sixteen-year-old West Brom starlet is not just a budding striker - he's also competed as a sprinter
A DING-DONG battle is brewing between Arsenal and Chelsea for a player The Sun describes as the "West Brom wonder kid". Sixteen-year-old Isaiah Brown has reportedly been tracked by Gunners manager Arsene Wenger and the Sun claims he is primed to test Albion's resolve with a £1m bid in the summer.
Brown is a star striker for the England Under 17 team and has also competed as a sprinter in the English Schools Championship. Wenger's attention was first brought to Brown by Arsenal's head of development and former Albion coach Terry Burton - and the Nutty Professor likes what he hears.
But so do Chelsea, says the Sun, and the Blues are poised to rival any bid from Arsenal after watching the youngster in action for West Brom's Under 21 side. The Blues are quietly confident that the good relationship they have established with the Baggies following the successful loan to the Midlands club of Romelu Lukaku this season will "swing a deal in their favour".
Arsenal fans who like their defenders big, slow and prone to howlers will be relieved to hear that Per Mertesacker has "rejected suggestions" he is set to quit Arsenal and return home to Germany in the summer.
Rumours have been swirling around the Emirates this month suggesting that the 28-year-old centre-half could be poised to return to Werder Bremen after two seasons at Arsenal where he's only shown the occasional glimpse of international class.
But the Evening Standard says Mertesacker intends to stick around at Arsenal even if Arsene Wenger beefs up his backline with some summer acquisitions. "Our manager Arsene Wenger gives me absolute confidence," said Mertesacker when asked if he thought his days were numbered in north London. "I can think of nothing else, but to stay at Arsenal."
Talksport reports that CSKA Moscow are preparing to pounce for Eljero Elia, news that won't go down well with either Liverpool or West Ham. Both clubs have had their eyes on the Dutch international following a string of impressive performances for Werder Bremen.
But Talksport says the Russian outfit are circling the 26-year-old winger and a big money offer is pending. And why is that? Because apparently CSKA are resigned to losing Alan Dzagoev to Spurs in the summer and need a replacement pronto.
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has been on the hunt for a new playmaker ever since selling Luka Modric to Real Madrid last year and Talksport claims that the 22-year-old Dzagoev is just the ticket for Tottenham, though they'll have to first fend off interest from Juventus.
The Metro reckons that Wolves striker Kevin Doyle will soon be at the centre of a tug-of-war between Everton and Celtic. The 29-year-old hitman has been linked to the Toffees in recent weeks but it's believed Celtic will launch a concerted effort to steal Doyle from under the noses of Everton as manager Neil Lennon looks to replace Gary Hooper, rumoured to be heading to either Liverpool or Tottenham in June.
But Everton gaffer David Moyes is also a fan of Doyle and a bidding war is set to erupt as soon as this season ends, with Wolves hoping to pocket around £4m for the player.
Tottenham are the latest club to be linked with Southampton left-back Luke Shaw. According to Caughtoffside.com, the precocious teenager is on Villas-Boas's radar after he concluded Benoit Assou-Ekotto hasn't got the skill set to survive in the Premier League.
But if Spurs are serious about scooping up Shaw in the summer they'll have to be prepared for competition from both Arsenal and Manchester United.
Late last year the Gunners were said to be in talks with the Saints over the 17-year-old and speculation persists that Arsene Wenger will try and cut a deal with the south coast club in the summer. Alex Ferguson is said to be a fan, too, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is reportedly prepared to fork out £15m for Shaw, £8m of which will be up front. ·