Arsenal tussle over free-agent Marica, Wenger eyes defender
Former Stuttgart and Schalke forward could be a useful addition as Gunners face injury crisis
THE CHANCES of Arsenal signing free agent Ciprian Marica are receding says the Daily Mirror, which claims that Fiorentina are now favourites to sign the former Stuttgart and Schalke forward.
With transfer rules allowing clubs to bring in free agents to fill their 25-man squads if need be, Arsenal had been linked with the 27-year-old Romania international in the light of the injuries to so many of their frontline forwards.
But the Mirror says Fiorentina have injury problems of their own following a knock to Mario Gomez and as a result the Italian side are "back in the market" for Marica. His agent hinted last week that a move to the Emirates would be looked at favourably but the urgent interest of Fiorentina is expected to win the day.
Meanwhile the BBC reports that Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye has issued a grovelling apology to the Toon Army after last month's attempt to force through a move to Arsenal.
The 27-year-old allegedly went on strike in the hope of securing a transfer to London after the Gunners put in a £10m offer. That was knocked back by the Magpies who made it clear to Arsene Wenger that they had no intention of selling the France international.
Cabaye made his first appearance of the season in the weekend win away at Aston Villa and he's now fronted up to the fans. "If the fans were, or still are, mad at me for what happened, then I understand and I apologise to them," said Cabaye. "I want to come back from what has happened."
Adding that he has "moved on" from the furore, Cabaye said: "I want to forget what happened during the summer, I want to put it behind me and give everything for Newcastle every day."
One player whose flirtation with Arsenal is only just beginning is Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos. The 21-year-old Shalke player was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool, and several other European clubs, during the transfer window, but his recovery from a knee injury prevented any deal.
Now, according to the Daily Express, Arsenal are at the front of the queue and will offer £11m for the player in January.
Despite signing Mesut Ozil on the deadline day, Arsene Wenger has not lost his fascination with obscure youngsters, and has signed 19-year-old Charlton defender Semi Ajayi on a free transfer after impressing on a loan spell after turning down a contract extension with Charlton.
Ajayi made the announcement on his Twitter feed and his delight is understandable. In November last year he went on loan from Charlton to Blue Square Bet Premier side Dartford
According to Talksport, Inter Milan are ready to go to head to head with Roma for the hand of Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby. The German star only moved to the Lane last season from Schalke but things haven't gone well for the playmaker and Talksport suggests he "could make a move when the transfer window re-opens in January".
The 22-year-old Holtby shouldn't have any problems convincing Andre Villas-Boas to release him having played just 19 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Finally, the Daily Mail says that Manchester United are in danger of losing Adnan Januzaj to Manchester City. Apparently the 18-year-old starlet is involved in a contract standoff with United that has dragged on for the best part of six months. Neighbours City have been alerted to the dispute and are "ready to launch a raid" for Januzaj, who impressed as a second-half substitute against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The teenager midfielder – the latest Belgian ace to roll off the production line - is out of contract at the end of this season and the Mail claims that while talks are ongoing, Januzaj is "looking not only for personal terms that reflect his potential but a promise of at least some involvement as the season unfolds". ·