Arsenal 'plot move for Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas'
Wenger could seek to bolster Gunners' defence with Casillas and Marseille's Nicolas N'Koulou
COULD Arsenal make a summer swoop for Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas? Yes, says the Daily Star, which claims the Gunners are lining up a "shock move" for the 31-year-old Spanish shot-stopper.
Apparently Casillas, a World Cup winner in 2010, has a "frosty relationship" with Real boss and has spent an inordinate amount of this season missing from action. Earlier in the week Casillas dropped his biggest hint yet that he is on his way out of the Bernabeu when he told reporters: "I want the fans to remember me as a player who wore the Real shirt with pride."
The Star says Arsenal have been monitoring the situation and an offer of £17 million is in the pipeline as manager Arsene Wenger tires of the inconsistency of Wojciech Szczesny.
Meanwhile the same paper claims that Arsenal are one of three Premier League clubs showing interest in Marseille's Cameroon international defender Nicola N'Koulou. Liverpool are also said to be tracking the 23-year-old, as are Newcastle, well known for their love of picking up bargains in the French league.
N'Koulou, capped 23 times by his country, is a favourite among Marseille fans and while the club is said to be "desperate" to hang on to the player, they could sell if the price is right.
A mob of suitors is also hanging around outside the Bernabeu, according to the International Business Times, which has latched on to reports that Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain has refused to discuss his future with the Spanish club.
It claims that Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are both eager to sign him, and suggests that Chelsea and Manchester City could also join the race.
Higuain scored at the weekend but afterwards told reporters: "This is not the time to talk about my contract renewal."
Arsenal may also have a fight on their hands in the battle to sign Gabon hitman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, says Talksport. The website claims that Inter Milan have stolen a march on their rivals for his signature.
The Saint-Etienne striker has been in fine form this season and Inter have opened the bidding with an £8.5m offer. Talksport reports that the bid was turned down but says they are still locked in negotiations.
Still with the Gunners and The Sun reports that Wenger is determined to hang on to Tomas Rosicky in the summer. The Czech playmaker single-handedly earned Arsenal victory over West Brom on Saturday, the 32-year-old scoring both goals in a vital away win.
Rumours have emerged in recent weeks suggesting Rosicky could be angling for a lucrative finale to his career outside England, but Wenger has declared his intention to keep the Czech a mate. "He's not a player I want to lose," said the Arsenal manager. "He has one year left on his contract but I hope he stays and finishes his career with us here."
Elsewhere and the Daily Mail says that Barcelona are preparing to launch a "big-money summer move" for Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany. While Roberto Mancini has made no bones in recent days of his intention to go on a June spending spree, it appears he could have £40m more to splash out on new blood if the Sky Blues sell Kompany to the Catalan giants.
According to the Mail, Barcelona are in urgent need of a top-class centre-back to replace ageing captain Carles Puyol, now in his 35th year. They've identified Kompany, 26, as his successor and the mammoth bid could be tabled at the end of this season.
Finally, the Daily Mirror reports that Swansea will make Real Betis midfielder Jose Canas their first summer signing. The paper says the 25-year-old will arrive at the Liberty Stadium on a free transfer in June after the Swans agreed a three-year deal. West Bromwich Albion were also after the playmaker but the Mirror says Swansea have won the race to his signature and will make an official announcement next month. ·