Arsenal weigh up Herrmann, but Vermaelen issues warning
Arsene Wenger has his eyes on a winger, but Belgian defender gets itchy feet ahead of World Cup
THE form this season of Borussia Monchengladbach winger Patrick Herrmann has so impressed Arsene Wenger that a New Year offer from the Gunners is on the cards. Talksport reports that the Arsenal manager has been keeping tabs on the 22-year wideman for the best part of two years, and he now believes the German Under-21 star has what it takes to thrive at the Emirates.
Hermann, who has been called up to the German senior squad but it still waiting for his first cap, is contracted to Monchengladbach until 2016, but Talksport claims that a £13m offer from Arsenal in January would be enough for the German club to say 'auf Wiedersehen' to Hermann. Juventus are also said to be interested but aren't they interested in everyone these days?
But it's not all good news in north London, with the World Cup just around the corner Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen has warned the Gunners that he will not sacrifice his chances of playing for Belgium in Brazil by spending the rest of the season warming the bench at the Emirates.
The central defender has fallen behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order at Arsenal and is also being kept out of the Belgium first XI by Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen.
Now, according to the Daily Mail, the 27-year-old has warned the Gunners he will "re-assess" his options if he remains on the sidelines. "January is still a few months ahead," he said. "Of course, never playing will not be the ideal situation for me to go to the World Cup, that's for sure."
Spare a thought for Wilfried Zaha, the player who is in danger of becoming best known as the answer to the quiz question - who was Alex Ferguson's last signing as Man United manager?
The 20-year-old, who cost Fergie £15m but has yet to win over David Moyes, has not played for club nor country since a 15-minute cameo for England against Scotland in August, and has not even made the bench in recent weeks for United.
Now, according to the Daily Telegraph, he is set to leave United on loan in January. Five Premier League clubs, including Newcastle, West Ham and Fulham, are said to be interested. However, his former employers, Crystal Palace are not on the list. The Telegraph claims that Moyes is concerned about Zaha's inexperience and habit of losing the ball in dangerous areas. Teenager Adnan Januzaj has also jumped above him in the pecking order.
Elsewhere and the Evening Standard reports that Belgian gloveman Thibaut Courtois has warned Chelsea he won't be back at the Bridge next season if it's only to play second fiddle to Petr Cech. Courtois, who joined Chelsea from Genk for £7m in 2011, is starring for Atletico Madrid this season in what is his third loan spell in Spain. But with his contract with Chelsea set to expire in two years, the Standard says Courtois is already being targeted by a number of clubs, including Barcelona.
The 31-year-old Cech has been the Blues first choice between the sticks for years and signed a new four-year deal in 2012. That has set alarm bells ringing in the Belgian's head with Courtois declaring: "I want to play, I will not be sitting on the bench. At Atletico I feel great and being here allows me to play in the Champions League... I am in my best form and I feel like I am among the five best goalkeepers in the world."
The paper says the Courtois conundrum will be dealt with in the New Year once Jose Mourinho has given the matter his due consideration.
Still with the Blues and the Daily Star claims Kevin De Bruyne is headed towards what is known in Belgium as the sortie, at least by the Walloons. The 22-year-old midfielder was dropped from Mourinho's first-team squad prior to their Champions League win at Steaua Bucharest and he's allegedly none too pleased to be training with the Under-21 squad. That's prompted speculation that De Bruyne could return to Germany, where he enjoyed a lively loan spell last season with Werder Bremen.
"He played well in pre-season but now it appears Jose Mourinho has other plans" said his agent Patrick de Koster. "If Kevin needs to find a new club in January, we'll talk to [Wolfsburg general manager] Klaus Allofs. Klaus is a friend... If we need to find a solution for Kevin, then there is a least one club."
Finally, Daily Mail reports that Lazio are the latest club to send scouts to Aston Villa to check out striker Christian Benteke - although one hopes they did so before his recent hip injury. The paper says the Rome outfit are weighing up an offer in the New Year but are unlikely to offer the Premier League club the reported asking price of £30m.
Juventus – as usual - are also said to be interested in the former Genk forward and would have no problem with the price if, as expected, they sell unsettled summer signing Fernando Llorente to Arsenal in January. ·