Arsenal ponder Kakitani and Pato bids, but Bender stays put
J-League goal machine and Brazilian striker both register on Wenger's radar
THEY described him as a "goal-scoring starlet", and according to the Daily Star 23-year-old Yoichiro Kakitani is being fought over by Arsenal and Inter Milan.
The Far East ace has been setting the J-League on fire this season, scoring 17 times for Cerezo Osaka and catching the attention of the two European powerhouses. The Star says its sources in Italy have told them Inter are "keeping tabs" on the midfield magician while Arsenal scouts are also known to have been prowling around Japan.
Kakitani first came to prominence in the Under-17s World Cup in 2007 and since then has graduated to the Japanese senior team, scoring three goals in his last five outings. The Star says Inter and Arsenal are both likely to make Osaka an offer in January.
From one side of Milan to another, and the Daily Mail's claim that former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato is in Arsenal's sights despite knocking back Spurs in the summer.
Now with Brazilian side Corinthians, the 24-year-old striker has admitted that Tottenham called Corinthians to ask for his transfer. "I sat at the table with the club and my agent and I decided I wanted to stay," he reveals.
That hasn't deterred Arsene Wenger, and the Mail says that Arsenal are interested in signing the Brazilian international and are weighing up an offer when the January transfer window opens.
One player who wont be rocking up at the Emirates any time soon is German midfielder Lars Bender, who has signed a new deal at Bayer Leverkusen to keep him at the club until 2019.
The Daily Mail describes the news as a "blow" for Wenger, as the Gunners almost signed the player this summer but had a bid of £18.5m rejected by the Bunderliga side. They had been hoping that a second offer of £20m in January would be successful.
Arsenal may also be preparing for life without wantaway skipper Thomas Vermaelen, and Wenger is eyeing up West Ham defender Winston Reid as a replacement, according to Metro.
The paper says Arsenal's scouts have been running the rule over the 25-year-old New Zealand international and there could be a £6m bid for the player in January.
That won't be enough money to secure the services of sought-after Derby midfielder Will Hughes, however. The Daily Telegraph reports that the much-anticipated bidding war between Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United will start at £12m.
The paper says Derby's American owners are determined to keep Hughes for as long as they possibly can and will not sell him for anything less than £12m. It also suggests that if the club does accept an offer in the New Year it will try and forge a deal similar to the one that saw Wilfried Zaha sign for Manchester United last year, but stay with Crystal Palace until the end of the season.
Meanwhile, the Daily Express claims that Everton are "preparing a move" for Rubin Kazan's French midfielder, and Transfer Talk favourite, Yann M'Vila.
Over the past couple of years Arsenal and Tottenham have both been linked with the 23-year-old M'Vila but in the end the Rennes star moved to Rubin Kazan in Russia in a £9.6m deal.
The Express says Everton regard the Frenchman as the long-term replacement for Marouane Fellaini following the Belgian's summer move to Manchester United. M'Vila's agent, Werner Baader, is quoted as saying: "Many European clubs are interested in Yann, including English clubs. This is normal for a player of such a high level [but] at the moment M'Vila is under contract with Rubin."
Asked if a move was likely, Baader replied: "Let's see what happens in the winter [transfer window]."
Elsewhere and Caughtoffside reports that Manchester United are preparing to re-sign Stoke City centre-back Ryan Shawcross. The Potters defender, best remembered for breaking the leg of Arsenal's Welsh wonder Aaron Ramsey in 2010, left Old Trafford for the Britannia Stadium in August 2007. But it appears United gaffer David Moyes wants to bring Shawcross back to the club for some more of his trademark tyrannical tackling.
According to Caughtoffside Stoke boss Mark Hughes will offload Shawcross in January and replace him with Man City's Joleon Lescott. ·