Arsenal plot swoop for Man U striker, but no deal for Benzema
Mexican international Hernandez impatient playing fourth fiddle to van Persie, Welbeck and Rooney
ARSENAL are preparing to launch a shock swoop for Man United striker Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito, as Arsene Wenger seeks to bolster his strike force, according to Caughtoffside.com.
The trusted website claims that the Gunners' gaffer has "received encouragement" from the Mexican international's representatives and a bid will be tabled for the 25-year-old in the January transfer window.
It's reported that Wenger is a long-time admirer of Hernandez, who joined United from Guadalajara in 2010. Word has apparently reached him that the Mexican marksman is unsettled at Old Trafford after failing to be given more game time. Despite scoring 50 goals in 71 starts for United, Hernandez is behind Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney in the club's pecking order.
Caughtoffside reports that Wenger is ready to offer as much as £17m for Hernandez, a sum that United are likely to accept for a player who isn't said to be part of David Moyes's plans.
One striker who apprently won't be joining Arsenal is Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, who was only yesterday being linked with a £40m move to the Gunners. It was claimed that the Frenchman was looking for an escape route from the Bernabeu after being relentlessly booed by Real Madrid fans at the weekend, and the Emirates was widely seen as his most obvious destination.
But rumours of his departure have been scotched by the Daily Star, which is usually loath to pour cold water on reports of a big money deal. The paper says that while Real Madrid's fans may not like Benzema those doubts have yet to reach the club's boardroom or the management. They still have faith in the Frenchman and as a result have no intention of selling him.
Talking of Real Madrid, the club's shy and retiring presdient Florentino Perez has lifted the lid on the club's summer transfer dealings, confirming what everyone already knew - that Manchester United made an offer for Gareth Bale during the transfer window.
The revelation came during an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. "Tottenham did not want to sell. We learned that Manchester United had made an offer and we made one ourselves," he explained. He also revealed that he did not consider Bale's £85m price-tag to be excessive and said that once Bale was on board it was "easy" for the club to turn its attention to getting Cristiano Ronaldo to sign a new deal.
There was one final titbit, when he revealed that it was Mesut Ozil's father who first made contact with Arsenal over the player's move to London.
Meanwhile, out of contract Romanian forward, Ciprian Marica continues to enjoy his time in the transfer limelight. The 27-year-old was released by Schalke at the end of last season, and has yet to find a new club. Both Arsenal and Spurs were in the running to sign him, but now it seems that Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano are favourites to land his signature, says Talksport.
In other news, the Daily Star claims that "Chelsea and Liverpool target" Xabi Alonso is being eyed up by Juventus now that a Real Madrid contract extension is unlikely.
The Star says that Alonso, currently recovering from a broken foot, is in the final year of his Real contract and will be allowed to leave from January onwards. Apparently both the Blues and the Reds are interested in signing the 31-year-old, who left Liverpool for the Spanish giants in 2009.
But now Juventus have entered the race. It seems that the Serie A champions see the midfielder as the perfect replacement for veteran 34-year-old Andre Pirlo, reported to be retiring at the end of the season, and will offer him a two-year deal.
Finally, Talksport reports that Zenit St Petersburg are the latest club to "express an interest" in Heerenveen hitman Alfred Finnbogason. The Icelandic goal machine was linked with a move to Cardiff City earlier this summer but that came to naught as did rumours suggesting the 24-year-old could be on his way to either Aston Villa or Sunderland.
Finnbogason scored 24 goals in 33 league appearances last season for Heerenveen and he's already found the net nine times in six Eredivisie matches for the Dutch club this season. According to Talksport, Zenit are considering a January bid which would entail paying £8.5m for Finnbogason, a tidy sum for Heerenveen considering they paid only £420,000 for him last season. ·