Arsenal keen on Germans Reus and Draxler, plus Benzema
Gunners' German contingent could grow by two, and will French striker join them?
THERE'S nothing like a double swoop to delight the Fourth Estate and apparently that's what Premier League leaders Arsenal are gearing up for. The Daily Express claims the two players in question are the German pair of Marco Reus and Julian Draxler although reports in Italy suggest Arsene Wenger will have to see off interest from Juventus as far as Draxler is concerned.
Arsenal were linked with a move for the 20-year-old Draxler in the summer but were put off by Schalke's asking price of £34m. The Express says the Gunners have £30m remaining in the transfer kitty and believe the midfielder is worth a lot less than that. Not Juventus, however, who "would be willing to match" the German club's asking price in January.
But it's believed Draxler favours a move to the Emirates, rapidly becoming a little outpost of Germany what with Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker, and a deal could be in the pipeline.
As for Reus, the Express says Borussia Dortmund are reluctant to let him go in January but might be willing to do business at the end of the season. That would make sense for Arsenal given that the German international would be ineligible for the Champions League after Christmas.
Meanwhile at CaughtOffside there is talk of an even bigger coup for Arsenal in January. The website reports that French striker Karim Benzema was jeered by sections of the Real Madrid crowd at the weekend and it believes that such rudeness could prompt the him to seek a move in January, with the Gunners apparently heading up the queue to sign him.
They are willing to offer as much as £46m to reunite Benzema with his former Real Madrid team-mate Mesut Ozil, claims the website.
Another player who could be on his way to London in January is Basle centre back Fabian Schar. According to Metro Wenger has money to burn, after all he only spent around £40m of his reported warchest of £70m in the summer, and is already drawing up his wishlist for the new year.
The paper says that the Gunners have been monitoring 21-uear-old Schar and his has now emerged as the club's top defensive target.
Elsewhere and the Sunday Mirror says that Chelsea "outcast" Juan Mata is a transfer target for Napoli. The Spanish international, out of favour with Blues boss Jose Mourinho, is well liked by Napoli manager Rafa Benitez after their time together at the Bridge last season. Like many, Benitez can't fathom why Mata is persona non grata at Chelsea and has taken it upon himself "to offer Juan Mata an escape route out of Chelsea".
Voted player of the season last year, Mata has dropped down the Chelsea pecking order behind Oscar and that's allegedly left him feeling unloved and his team-mates non-plussed. The Mirror claims a Bridge insider told it that "the players are as surprised as everyone over Mourinho's treatment of Mata". As a result Benitez is quietly confident that he'll get his man in the New Year.
The Daily Star says that Malmo skipper Jiloan Hamad is being chased by a trio of under-performing clubs. West Ham, Fulham and Norwich – all of whom languish in the wrong half of the table - are "keeping a check" on the 22-year-old Hamad. Though the Hammers came close to signing the Sweden winger in the summer, the competition for his hand has intensified and French outfit Sochaux and Italian side Genoa are also tracking the player who becomes a free agent in January.
Finally, the Daily Mail reports that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has announced the club won't be making a move for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez when the transfer window opens again. Suarez, due to return to action in the Capital One Cup at Manchester United on Wednesday night after serving a biting ban, has been linked to the Spanish giants over the summer but Perez told the Real Madrid annual general meeting on Sunday: "We will not be signing anyone in January." ·