Arsenal set to sign Luis Suarez for £47.5m - or is it £51m?
Is Wenger about to splash the cash, and does Suarez really expect an 'amicable agreement'?
HOW spectacular do you like your transfer rumours? If the answer is "very", then prepare yourself for some remarkable claims about Arsenal's summer spending plans.
First up and its off to caughtoffside.com, who would have us believe that Arsenal are on the verge of landing Luis Suarez from Liverpool for a club record fee of £47.5m.
Last month Arsenal tabled a cheeky bid of £40m plus £1 for the 26-year-old Uruguayan, enough to trigger a clause in his contract so as to enable Suarez to enter into negotiations over a move to the Emirates, explains the ever-reliable website.
Liverpool stood firm and insisted they wouldn't sell for less than £55m but the striker's outburst, in which he claimed he had been promised he could leave if Liverpool did not qualify for the Champions League, has apparently convinced the Reds' board to allow the forward to join Arsenal with the two clubs meeting halfway on their two valuations.
Caughtoffside claims that Suarez's agent, Pere Guardiola, brother of Bayern Munich manager Pep, has already met Arsenal representatives in London for "face-to-face talks" to agree Suarez's personal terms. That has now been done and Suarez is set to sign a five-year deal earning £150,000-a-week, £30k more than he currently takes home on Merseyside.
Not so, says the Daily Star, which makes the even more extraordinary claim that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, whose previous record signing is in the region of £17m, is about to dust off his wallet and offer £51m for the player.
Even more bizarrely, the Uruguayan has taken it upon himself to reinstate his desire to leave Anfield, with the Daily Mail reporting that he is hoping for an "amicable agreement" with the Reds.
Unsurprisingly, it's left Reds manager Brendan Rodgers fuming, according to The Times, which reports that he's accused Suarez of showing "total disrespect" towards the club in his push for a move south.
Rodgers added that contrary to what Suarez claims, Liverpool have not gone back on their word. "There were no promises made — categorically none — and no promises broken," Rodgers said. "The club and his representatives had several conversations and he knew exactly where he was at."
And if all that isn't enough to get the juices flowing, what about this from Mike Ashley's very own organ of truth, Sports Direct News? It claims that Wenger has actually given up on Suarez and will instead hi-jack Chelsea's pursuit of Wayne Rooney. Just to add to the absurdity of the situation, Caughtoffside contradicts its earlier story about Suarez to bring news of Arsenal's sudden interest in Rooney.
Meanwhile, the Metro says that the Gunners are also in the final throes of signing Ciprian Marica. The 27-year-old Romanian international has been clubless since leaving German side Schalke at the end of last season but apparently the versatile frontman has come to the attention of Arsene Wenger.
At least that's what Marica's agent Giovani Becali would have us believe. "He is close to Arsenal, we'll see this week," says Becali. "Marica is a very good striker, a Romanian national player who has great experience."
In other news, the Evening Standard reports that Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem have confirmed the signing of Cristian Cuevas from Chelsea. The teenage midfielder heads across the North Sea on a one-year loan deal, subject to a work permit, in order to gain more European experience.
The 18-year-old Cuevas, a member of Chile's Under-20 side, only arrived at Stamford Bridge last month from Chilean club Rancagua but the Blues have high hopes for his future.
Are Tottenham already preparing for life without Gareth Bale? According to Sky Sports, the Lilywhites "are in talks" with Toulouse over the signing of playmaker Etienne Capoue. The French international was being strongly linked with a move to Cardiff City last month but that fell through despite stories that the French club had accepted an £8.6m bid for the defensive midfielder.
Rumours then indicated that Spanish side Atletico Madrid were interested but Sky Sports now claim that Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has "stolen a march" on his rivals and the 25-year-old Capoue will soon be unveiled as Tottenham's fourth signing of the summer. ·