Arsenal still after Rooney, Man Utd want Fellaini and Luiz
Gunners prepare last-ditch offers for Man United star and Derby playmaker Hughes
FORGET Chelsea, it's Arsenal who are poised to make a last-ditch attempt to prise Wayne Rooney away from Old Trafford. That's the startling claim from Goal.com, which says that contrary to popular belief Manchester United could be willing to sell their England striker to the Gunners despite previous claims from manager David Moyes that Rooney wasn't on the market.
According to the website, United are adamant they won't sell to Chelsea because the Blues are regarded as a direct rival for the Premier League title. Arsenal, on the other hand, are regarded as nothing more than a mildly amusing distraction, and to that end the Red Devils could be willing to give them Rooney.
It might sound far-fetched, but Goal.com believes that Arsenal will get their man if they meet United's £25m valuation of the 27-year-old striker and that Arsene Wenger will make his move within the next 72 hours following Arsenal's qualification for the group stage of the Champions League after their walk-in-the-park win over Fenerbache.
But before Gunners fans started getting Rooney's name printed on the back of their shirts it should be pointed out that most of the traditional papers believe that Rooney is now set to stick with United and the Daily Mail even claims that Rooney could even be offered a new United contract on superior terms if he keeps up the level of commitment he showed against Chelsea on Monday night.
Meanwhile, it's back to the websites and Caughtoffside reports that Arsenal and Liverpool are both chasing the promising young talent that is Will Hughes. The 18-year-old Derby County midfielder is regarded as one of the most exciting English talents in years and has been scouted by many of the Premier League's finest in recent months. Barcelona are even rumoured to have sent scouts to run the rule over the teenager with some comparing him to a young Andres Iniesta. Caughtoffside claim that Liverpool have made enquiries about the Hughes - a regular for the England Under-21s – with Derby boss Nigel Clough telling the Reds he will cost them £15m.
But now Arsenal are preparing to make a swoop for Hughes with Wenger hoping to use the lure of Champions League football to convince the youngster to choose the Emirates over Anfield.
Arsenal and Liverpool could also be about to do battle for Juan Mata. According to Talksport Liverpool efforts to get him on loan have been rebuffed, while Wenger has declared himself a fan of the player. He was asked on Tuesday night if he might be interested in Mata but replied: "I like him... [but] there is anyway in England a reluctance to sell to each other."
Quite what that means for Goal's theory about Rooney and Arsenal remains to be seen.
David Moyes looks set to reveal his ruthless side in the final days of the transfer window, by finally thrashing out a deal for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini and the equally hirsuit Chelsea defender David Luiz.
Metro claims that United finally have a deal in place for Everton's 25-year-old Belgian midfielder, who played for Moyes when he was boss at Goodison. Earlier offers for Fellaini and his team mate Leighton Baines were rejected, but a deal comprising an initial fee of £20m for Fellaini, rising to £24m later may have done the trick, according to the paper.
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror claims that having seen off Chelsea as they tried to lure Wayne Rooney away from Old Trafford, United are now set to turn the tables and raid Stamford Bridge for the comically coiffured defender Luiz. The paper says he is prepared to pay £30m for the "buccaneering" centre-back who has also attracted the interest of Barcelona. Moyes believes he would be excellent cover for the rather less flamboyant pair of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Still with Chelsea, and The Times suggests Jose Mourinho is close to finalising a deal to bring striking legend Samuel Eto'o to London. The 32-year-old is currently at Anzhi Makhachkala but is set to quit the Russian side and could snub his old employers Inter Milan in order to rejoin Mourinho, who he played under at the San Siro.
That move could spell the end of Demba Ba's short-lived sojourn at Chelsea, reports the paper, with Newcastle anxious to take him back to St James' Park on loan.
Finally, the Evening Standard reports that Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas' won't be reunited with Brazilian striker Hulk any time soon. The pair knew each other at Porto and AVB had hoped to do a deal with Zenit St Petersburg for Hulk's services. But that was before manager Luciano Spalletti put his foot down. "Again, Hulk is not for sale," Spalletti told reporters, adding that the 27-year-old forward will be a regular for Zenit as soon as his hamstring injury has cleared up. ·