Arsenal close in on Benzema, Man United linked to Hamsik
French striker's agent appears to confirm Gunners rumours while Moyes turns to Napoli midfielder
THE rumours linking Arsenal with a big money move for Real Madrid's Karim Benzema have gathered yet more pace after the player's agent claimed "a very important Premier League club" will make a bid for the striker in January.
The Metro interprets Francois Gallardo's words, given in an interview with Le 10 Sport, to mean "almost certainly Arsenal".
Gallardo was very precise with his words, although the price was higher than some previous reports have suggested: "This club wants the transfer to happen this winter, but if this is not possible, then next summer at the latest. The offer will be around €50m [£43m]."
Arsene Wenger first made a move for Benzema in the summer and rumours of a deal have been bubbling along ever since, indeed the saga now seems to feature weekly updates from a range of sources.
There are no sources mentioned in Italian website CalcioMercato's story that Arsenal are also keen on Ajax defender Ricardo van Rhijn. But Caughtoffside takes up the story and notes that the 22-year-old could be seen as the ideal replacement for Bacary Sagna, expected to leave at the end of the season.
Caughtoffside adds fuel to the story by noting that Ajax have lost several of their other big-name stars in recent seasons and that, having forced his way into the Dutch national team, Van Rhijn might be keen on trying his hand in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, David Moyes is hoping a January move for move for Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik can rescue a hitherto desperately disappointing debut season at Old Trafford. Hamsik signed a new deal with high-flying Napoli in the summer but the club "may be willing to let their captain leave", according to Sports Direct News, which quotes the increasingly prolific French newspaper Le 10 Sport.
Talksport does not bother with sources with its story of a shock Liverpool move for Milan's leading striker Stephan El Shaarawy. According to Talksport, Liverpool have emerged as surprise contenders to take the prolific forward from under the noses of Borrussia Dortmund, who had been favourites for his signature. Manchester City, inevitably, are also interested.
Talking of Man City, the Etihad outfit are also trying to prise 14-year-old whizzkid Brahim from manager Manuel Pellagrini's former club Malaga. Barcelona tried to sign the teenager last year, according to the Daily Mail, and believe the playmaker could make their first team squad at the tender age of 16. Pellagrini, however, will hope City's big bucks can persuade the youngster to move to England.
Tottenham Hotspur are are also hot on the tail of a prodigious teen talent. Spurs were close to signing Croatian starlet Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer and have reopened negotiations only to be blocked by the kid's father Sejad. Pops is not being over-protective he just wants guaranteed playing time for his boy.
The Mail quotes Sky Sports Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzo, who says Spurs are willing to offer €20m (£17m) for the youngster, a fee which exceeds the player's €15m (£13m) release clause. ·