Arsenal go after Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria
Real Madrid could be ready to let stars go as they prepare to pay the bill for Gareth Bale
HAS ARSENE WENGER finally found the world-class striker he's been looking for to fill the void left by Robin van Persie? The Daily Telegraph believes there's a real chance that after failing to get Gonzalo Higuain or Luis Suarez, Wenger can sign Real Madrid's Karim Benzema if he's prepared to spend £40m.
Benzema, 25, "fits perfectly the profile of player that Wenger wants", says the Telegraph. He's not only a solid goal-scorer, he knows how to hold up the ball and bring others into play – just like RVP.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, are said to be prepared to sell Benzema because they need the money to help pay for Gareth Bale: latest reports suggest they will get Bale if they pay Spurs £90m-plus.
And last night's 3-0 victory over Fenerbahce won't have spoiled Arsenal's chances of signing Benzema: now that it's virtually guaranteed the Gunners will be playing in the group stage of the Champions League, world-class strikers won't be so likely to turn their noses up at a move to the Emirates.
The BBC reports that Benzema is not Wenger’s only target at Madrid: he also has his eye on Angel Di Maria, the 25-year-old Argentina international who plays on the left wing.
Meanwhile Wenger has admitted that there is "absolutely no chance" of buying Luis Suarez from Liverpool. Speaking after their win in Istanbul, Wenger said of his transfer policy: "You have to understand there is still a long way to go. The transfer market starts for me now and a lot of activity will happen between now and September 2."
The manager of Swansea City has called for a review of that self same transfer window after admitting he fears losing Ashley Williams and Michu to Arsenal before the deadline expires. According to Wales online, Michael Laudrup believes the constant rumours linking the pair to a move to Arsenal is affecting Swansea's preparations ahead of tonight's Europa League play-off first-leg clash with Petrolul Ploiesti.
Yet there has been no official approach from the Gunners and that's led Laudrup to demand bringing the transfer deadline forward to before the new season starts.
"Imagine, Arsene Wenger came out and said ‘I would like to make a bid for Ash and Michu' two hours before our game," said the Swansea supremo. "There's nothing to say he can't do it, the rules are like that. Until we don't change the rules or the fixtures for the transfer window it's a part of it which we all have to accept."
Asked about a possible Arsenal bid in the coming days, Laudrup replied: "They are rumours… there are a lots of them, and they will continue until 2 September."
Back to Gareth Bale and it is reported that Spurs' top brass including Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini are in the final stages of thrashing out the deal, with Baldini now in Madrid to put the finishing touches to the transfer.
However, the Daily Telegraph says there will be no official announcement until Friday.
In other news Talksport reports that Miralem Pjanic is one player who won't be coming to Tottenham any time soon. The Lilywhites, unlike their neighbours, have had a busy time of it in the transfer market this summer, signing the likes of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and, according to latest reports, Willian.
Pjanic, the 23-year-old Roma midfielder, had been linked with a move to the Lane but in an interview with an Italian broadcaster his agent, Michele Gerbino, scotched those rumours, saying: "What you see in the papers does not matter. The player will not move and will remain in Rome. This is fully confirmed."
One player who is on the move is Jason Puncheon with Sky Sports reporting that the winger has completed a season's loan move from Southampton to Crystal Palace.
The 27-year-old Puncheon, who joined Southampton from Plymouth in 2010, has prior acquaintance with Palace boss Ian Holloway having played under him during an 11-game loan spell at Blackpool when they were in the Premier League. "I think it's a great move for myself to come and play games," said Puncheon. "Obviously Crystal Palace are my hometown club and more importantly Ian Holloway is here as well."
Finally, the BBC says that Liverpool have "rejected an approach" from Napoli for defender Martin Skrtel. Apparently the Serie A outfit gave the Reds a bell on Tuesday to enquire whether they might be willing to cut a deal over the Slovakian defender.
But despite the fact Napoli were willing to hand over £10m, the BBC says Brendan Rodgers knocked back the approach because he's wary of selling Skrtel while fellow defender Sebastian Coates remains on the sidelines with a serious knee injury. ·