Barcelona eye up January move for Arsenal star Jack Wilshere
January battles loom for other big names including Pogba, Lewandowski and Rooney
HERE we go again... Just as Arsenal were starting to dream of a trophy-laden future in come Spanish giants Barcelona to rain on their parade, and lure Jack Wilshere away from the Emirates.
According to reports in Spain, picked up here by no lesser authority than Caughtoffside, the Gunners midfield general is one of three big-name signings that will be targeted this January as the Catalans begin the process of overhauling their midfield.
The timing is uncanny, almost too uncanny, with the story breaking two days after Wilshere scored tiki-taka special for the Gunners in their win over Norwich.
However, aspects of the original report in Mundo Deportivo make sense. Barcelona are looking for long-term replacements for the likes of Xavi, now 33, and 29-year-old Andres Iniesta. And the three players they have earmarked are 21-year-old Wilshere, Ilkay Gundogan (22) of Borussia Dortmund, who is also wanted by Man United, and another 21-year-old in the form of Koke of Atletico Madrid.
It remains to be seen how serious the story is, but there was widespread scepticism when rumours of Bacelona's interest in Cesc Fabregas began to circulate.
Elsewhere, and while the Gunners and Manchester City are battling for honours at the top of the Premier League table, they are now set to clash over the transfers of Borrussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski and Paul Pogba of Juventus.
According to the Sun, City have an ace up their sleeve in their pursuit of Pogba – Patrick Vieira. The French legend is Pogba's footballing hero, and he would become a pupil of his if the former Man United trainee decided to return to Manchester and don a blue top. There are plenty of other clubs around Europe hoping that won't happen. Among them Arsenal, Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid, all of who are also keen on the player.
As for Lewandowski, the Polish striker alerted the world to the possibility of a move to the Premier League last week having cooled on an expected move to Dortmund's arch rivals Bayern Munich.
The Mirror claims Arsenal's interest highlights fears they will not be able to land Liverpool's Luis Suarez, who is said to be keen on Real Madrid, or Wayne Rooney in the New year.
The future of all three is sure to be the subject of much speculation as the January window approaches. The Mail reveals that United risk losing Rooney after failing to open negotiations on a new contract.
Despite the apparent risk, the paper admits: "United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said that keeping Rooney is key for United and indicated that he will be offered a new, long-term deal this season. Rooney's excellent form is making the matter ever more pressing."
The Sunday Times and The Sun are also worrying about this week's publication of Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography and its implications for Rooney's future. Meanwhile, the Currant Bun reveals that Rooney's former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is having French lessons in preparation for a blockbuster £100m transfer from Real Madrid to PSG.
If that would put a £288,000-a-week seal on a wonderful career, then pity poor Wilfried Zaha, who is just starting out on his. Having tasted the high life with a summer move to United from Crystal Palace and subsequent (but brief) elevation to the England squad, the 18-year-old is fretting that David Moyes' preference for latest teen sensation Adnan Januzaj, has imperilled his (scant) hopes of a World Cup place. The teenager is seeking a January loan move to resuscitate the likelihood of a Brazilian holiday. Former club Palace and Newcastle are said to be interested, according to The Daily Mail. ·