Arsenal eye up January moves for Rooney and Llorente
Chance to play with Mesut Ozil makes Rooney look more favourably on a move to north London
WITH Arsenal sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League - for today, at least - it appears players are now gagging to become a Gunner.
Wayne Rooney is looking far more favourably on Arsenal, according to the Daily Mail, following the Gunners' £42.5m capture of Mesut Ozil, who gave a glimpse of his greatness in helping his new club to a 3-1 whipping of Sunderland on Saturday.
For their part, Arsenal "will test Manchester United's resolve" to keep hold of Rooney in January's transfer window, says the paper. Apparently Arsene Wenger still has £30m in the kitty and the feeling at the club is that the England striker "will consider their bid seriously" because they are now genuine contenders.
United, however, are determined to do their utmost to stave off Arsenal's audacious bid and will dangle a new contract under Rooney's nose as his current deal expires in 18 months.
Meanwhile the Sunday Mirror reports that the future of Fernando Llorente is again up in the air with Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all being linked to the 28-year-old hitman.
Llorente, who was mooted as a possible Arsenal target last season, joined Juventus on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao earlier this year but has found himself languishing behind Carlos Tevez and Mirko Vucinic in the club's pecking order. The Mirror's man in Turin says that Llorente is "understood to be struggling to settle into Italian life" and as a result the three London clubs are on the alert.
The Gunners may be confident of luring Rooney and Llorente to London, but they will not be so lucky with another of their former targets in January, warns Caught Offside. The website believes that bad-tempered Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is still far from happy with life at Anfield, despite failing to get himself a move during the transfer window and will bail out at the start of 2014, but has his heart set on a move to Real Madrid.
The Daily Express claims that Manchester United and Chelsea "are ready to fight it out" in a bid to land Everton's £20m-rated teenager Ross Barkley. Obviously Red Devils gaffer David Moyes is well acquainted with the 19-year-old midfielder, having blooded Barkley during his time in charge of the Toffees, and the Express says Alex Ferguson actually tried to sign Barkley two seasons ago.
Now it's Moyes's turn to try to tempt the England playmaker (he won his first cap as a sub in the World Cup qualifier against Moldova) although it's reported that Everton would expect nothing short of £20m. That would present no problem for Chelsea, according to the Express, who say Jose Mourinho is already believed to "have tested the water" over the Merseyside club's willingness to sell.
Finally, Manchester United can forget all about re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo – the Portuguese star has agreed a new contract with Real Madrid. There had been speculation over the summer that the 28-year-old goal machine could be contemplating a return to Old Trafford but, as the BBC reports, Ronaldo has quashed those rumours by extending his contract until June 2018.
"Everyone knows I was in Manchester for six years, they gave me many things, and I don't forget that," Ronaldo told a media conference on Sunday to announce the news. "But Manchester is the past, now it's Madrid. This is my home, my family's here, I'm really happy here."
Ronaldo, who joined Gareth Bale on the score sheet in Real's 2-2 draw with Villarreal on Saturday, will reportedly receive an annual salary of £14.25m.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo's former team-mate Federico Macheda may also be preparing for a future without Man United after he joined Doncaster Rovers on a month's loan. The League One club's manager Paul Dickov expressed delight at the deal, which could be extended to a three month loan according to Metro. It's not clear if Macheda, who burst onto the scene in 2009 but has fizzled out since then, shares his enthusiasm. ·