Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool set for Nicolas N'Koulou scrap
Marseille keen to cash in on young defender, where next for Vincent Kompany and Andy Carroll?
THE POSSIBILITY of Nicolas N'Koulou swapping the Mediterranean for north London has moved a step closer after the 23-year-old Cameroon international admitted that if Marseille receive a hefty summer offer he'll likely be on his way. According to Sky Sports, N'Koulou is being tailed by Arsenal, Spurs and also Liverpool after a string of top-notch displays in the French league this season.
The young defender arrived at Marseille last summer from Monaco but Sky says the club is eager to cash in on N'Koulou while his stock is so high. The player himself appears resigned to his situation, telling Sky Sports: "The club and me are together on my future. If they receive an offer they can't refuse, then we will have to part company." Arsenal scouts have been spotted in Marseille in recent months and it's not thought they were in town to check out Joey Barton.
What do Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all have in common, apart from being odds-on to make it to the Champions League semi-finals? All three are said to be queuing up to sign Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany after he fell out with manager Roberto Mancini.
The Belgian defender has been recovering from injury but disobeyed Mancini's instruction to pull out of his country's World Cup qualifier against Macedonia, which they won 1-0.
The Daily Telegraph says that all three European clubs are long-term fans of Kompany, and points out that the player was involved in a similar club-versus-country row with Hamburg in 2008. He joined Man City a month later.
There are conflicting reports today about Liverpool striker Andy Carroll. The Telegraph claims that Carroll's peformances for West Ham, where he has spent the season on loan, have not convinced the Reds to keep the player and Brendan Rodgers is still intent on selling him this summer, with the Hammers and his old employers Newcastle both said to be in the mix.
West Ham have first refusal on the player, says the paper, but will have to fork out £17m to get him. Newcastle are also keen on the striker, but not his price tag and offered only £12m last summer.
The Mirror sees it differently and says that Carroll does have a future at Liverpool, but only as a squad player. Rodgers would apparently welcome him back on the proviso he does not sulk if he is left out of the action and works hard for his chances in the first team
Talksport reports that Manchester United are "tracking" Benfica playmaker Nemanja Matic. The 24-year-old midfielder joined the Portuguese outfit from Chelsea after a brief stint with the Blues from 2009 to 2011, a period in which the Serbian star managed only two appearances for the reigning Champions League title-holders. Eventually Matic was moved on to Benfica as part of the deal that brought David Luiz to the Bridge.
But Talksport claims that Matic has since smartened up his act and as a result United are looking at a possible swoop in the summer. Key to any move will be United captain Nemanja Vidic, a compatriot of Matic's, who could persuade him to try his luck at Old Trafford.
In other news the Evening Standard reports that Tottenham will be offered the chance to make another play for Pablo Daniel Osvaldo at the end of the season. It seems the Roma forward could be part of a cut-price deal in the summer between the Lilywhites and Roma, a strange turn of events considering the Italian club knocked back approaches from Spurs in 2010 and 2011. But if the Standard is to be believed the Argentina-born Italy international "has been told he can leave the Italian capital" after a season in which his 12 goals have been offset by what the Standard describes as "disciplinary problems".
As a result Roma, who bought Osvaldo from Espanyol for an initial £12.7m in 2011, are desperate to find a buyer, and Tottenham are reported to be front of the queue for his services although it's believed the Serie A club will sell to the highest bidder. The Standard says they could expect as little as £8million for Osvaldo with Spurs likely to have space up front once they've offloaded the goal shy Emmanuel Adebayor.
Finally, Italian rag Corriere dello Sport reports that Liverpool have put a price on the head of Luis Suarez – a fantastical £40m. But will that be enough to deter Juventus and Bayern Munich, both said to be stalking the temperamental Uruguayan sharp-shooter? It's believed Juventus are particularly keen to prise Suarez from Anfield and they could call Liverpool's bluff in the summer by meeting the outrageous transfer fee. ·