Arsenal target Barcelona star Sanchez and Austrian defender
Chile winger has struggled to convince Barca - but Arsene Wenger is a long-time admirer
DETERMINED to find a player not made of glass, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will make a move for Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez in January. That's the claim of Caughtoffside.com, which says the Nutty Professor is being driven to distraction by his fragile squad.
Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski are all sidelined while Mikel Arteta has just recently returned to action and Jack Wilshere is never too far away from the treatment table.
Wenger is a long-time admirer of the exciting Chile winger and tried to sign him from Udinese three years ago, only to be beaten to the negotiating table by Barcelona. Caughtoffside says 24-year-old Sanchez "has struggled to fully convince" the Catalan giants that he has what it takes to make the grade in Spain ever since he signed a five-year deal for E26m.
Apparently Wenger contacted Barca in the summer to enquire about his availability but was informed that for the time being Barcelona boss Gerardo ‘Tata' Martino wanted to run the rule over Sanchez.
Having now done that, Caughtoffside reports that Martino is prepared to sell Sanchez to the Gunners in the New Year, confident that Brazil international Neymar is the better player than the Chilean. As a result, Arsenal believe that they will be able to "persuade" Sanchez to join them in January, particularly now they've got Mesut Ozil on their books. The fee being suggested is in the region of £23m.
Another player in Arsenal's crosshairs is Austrian defender Martin Hinteregger of Red Bull Salzburg, according to the Daily Star. It says the Austrian under-21 international has made a "real impression" after breaking into the first team as a teenager.
However Wenger will face stiff competition for the youngster from Liverpool, after Brendan Rodgers identified the player as one of his January transfer targets. To make matters worse, Juventus are also believed to be monitoring Hinteregger's progress.
There's plenty of action over at Old Trafford where David Moyes's list of January targets grows longer by the day. Topping the list is Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, who almost joined United in the summer if you believe some reports. United balked at the asking price of £30.5m during the transfer window says the Daily Mail, but it claims that Moyes may be tempted to reconsider when he spends this coming Monday night watching the 24-year-old in action for Athletic Bilbao.
Manchester United are also "set to move" for Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao in January, according to Metro. David Moyes almost pulled off a deadline day loan deal for the left back earlier in the month but the transfer collapsed at the eleventh hour when Madrid were unable to find a suitable replacement.
But Metro says Moyes remains keen to bring in top-level competition for Patrice Evra, with the Scot unconvinced by current back-up option Alexander Buttner and resigned to the fact he'll never convince Everton to part with Leighton Baines. The paper claims Madrid are "amenable to discussions" over the departure of Coentrao with Carlo Ancelotti firm in his belief he can survive without the defender, provided the price paid by United meets his valuation.
The Times believes that the defender Moyes most wants is centre-back Eliaquim Mangala of Porto. The 22-year-old is being monitored by United, though they will face competition from some of Euriope's big-guns, including Chelsea, for his signature.
Even more of a problem could be the defender's €45m buy-out clause. However, the paper believes that it exists simply to ensure he does not leave on the cheap. No club will be prepared to pay the full amount for the French international, who was raised in Belgium, but Porto hope to spark an auction by demanding so much.
Finally, the Daily Star reports that Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas has ruled himself out of the race to sign Chelsea star Juan Mata. Admitting his surprise that former mentor Jose Mourinho has not given Mata more game time this season, Villa-Boas said he wouldn't be making a pitch for the 25-year-old Spanish midfielder in the New Year.
"No, I don't think so," he replied when asked if he was weighing up an offer for a player he came to admire during his brief stint in charge of the Blues last season.
"He was always involved in my starting XI, I have always enjoyed a great personal and professional relationship with Juan Mata but it's not my decision anymore," added Villas-Boas, whose side meet Chelsea tomorrow in the League. According to the Star, Arsenal and Manchester United continue to monitor events at the Bridge and might yet make a move for Mata in January. ·