Arsenal 'set to sign Romanian striker Ciprian Marica'
Released by Schalke, Marica is a free agent, able to move outside the transfer window
MOVE up, Mesut Ozil, there's more space required in the Arsenal dressing room. According to Romanian broadcaster Prosport, striker Ciprian Marica is poised to join the Gunners this week after being released by German club Schalke.
The 27-year-old Romanian frontman, comfortable either on the flank or at centre-forward, is now a free agent and consequently he can move to a club outside the transfer window. That fact has alerted Arsenal and West Ham, both of whom have been scrutinising his CV .
Marica, who has scored 22 times in 63 appearances for Romania, would be a welcome addition for any club – at least according to his agent, Ioan Becali.
"Marica is a really great striker who has already got experience in western European football and so it's natural that big clubs are eyeing his career," Becali told Prosport.ro. As for which club he believes will secure his client's signature, the agent added: "He's close to joining Arsenal, but we have to wait for the next week."
Meanwhile Arsenal reject Gervinho has been getting it all off his chest, complaining that he never got a fair crack under Arsene Wenger during his two years at the Emirates.
The Ivorian winger moved to Roma over the summer after the Nutty Professor could no longer put up with Gervinho's inconsistency, and The Sun reports that the player is pinning the blame on Wenger.
"I was not getting much time on the pitch and was in need of this time to improve and play my best football," whined Gervinho, who moved to Italy last month in an £8m deal. "Wenger was not prepared to give it to me."
Evidently forgetting that he was given 45 chances for Arsenal, in which he managed a paltry nine goals, Gervinho added: "My position on the wing was not what I was expecting and I wasn't happy with it."
Elsewhere, the Daily Star claims that Manchester City will make a £30 million move for Porto central defender Eliaquim Mangala come the first day of January's transfer window. The paper says that new City boss Manuel Pellegrini is "planning to steal a march" on Chelsea and Manchester United, both of whom have got designs on 22-year-old Frenchman.
It's common knowledge that City made a move for him just before Monday's transfer deadline, and though they failed in that attempt Porto are reported to have intimated that they would be willing to do business in the New Year. The Star says that Mangala has a £40m buy-out clause in his contract and City will offer an initial £30m with the rest to follow in add-ons.
Finally, the Daily Mirror claims that Manchester United manager David Moyes is on the tail of Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. The paper says Moyes "is a huge fan" of the brawny Belgian sharpshooter and sees him as the ideal man to replace [B] Wayne Rooney, who is expected to leave Old Trafford in January.
Apparently Moyes checked out the 22-year-old Benteke on Friday during Belgium's defeat of Scotland in a World Cup qualifier and a move is on the agenda when the winter transfer window opens. ·