Arsenal in Casillas talks and linked to Costa and Hernandez
Spanish goalkeeper's agents have contacted Gunners and Man City, as Wenger scouts strikers
WITH only two weeks until the transfer window opens, speculation that Arsenal are prepared to bring in some big names is growing with the Gunners linked to new arrivals at the front and back as they seek to bolster their title bid,
First up and the Daily Mirror claims that Arsenal and Manchester City have been contacted by the agents of Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu for months. The rumours may have been ciculating for a while, but now the Mirror says the shotstopper is actively being "touted around the Premier League for a sensational January switch".
The paper explains that Casillas, who has been relegated to the bench at Real, is worried about his World Cup prospects with Spain, and is adamant that both the Gunners and the Citizens have been sounded out about a move. Certainly, both clubs are said to be on the lookout for reinforcements between the sticks. City boss Manuel Pellegrini has lost faith with England number one Joe Hart, while Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny has little competition at the Emirates.
Elsewhere the Daily Mail reveals that the Gunners are monitoring Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, but are concerned about his £32m release clause. Nonetheless, it says Arsenal scouts have headed to Spain to watch Atletico's two games this week against Sant Andreu and Levante and run the rule over the 25-year-old Brazilian.
Costa signed a contract extension in Spain in the summer making in unlikely that Arsenal will be able to lure him away from Madrid for anything less than £32m. But no matter, says the Mail, if they fail with Costa, the Gunners will turn their attentions to Man United striker Javier Hernandez.
Still with Arsenal and Talksport claims that Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler has fuelled speculation that he could be on his way to the Emirates by refusing to confirm or deny stories linking him with Arsenal. Wenger has made no secret of his admiration for the 29-year-old Inler and the Swiss star is believed to be pondering a move to north London in order to boost his international standing.
When the question of his future was put to him by Italian media, Inler replied: "You will have to ask my agent, I do not pay attention to these things." Talksport suggests that Napoli boss Rafa Benitez is open to the idea of selling Inler on so he can bring in "a younger replacement".
It might be the season of goodwill, but according to the Daily Star tempers are fraying between some of England's finest (and Tottenham). The paper claims that Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and the Lilywhites are engaged in "a tug-of-war" for Inter Milan centre-back Andrea Ranocchia.
The paper doesn't explain how a tug-of-war works with four teams, but it does say that Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho is cautiously optimistic of signing the 25-year-old Ranocchia in January as a replacement for the unsettled David Luiz.
Apparently Ranocchia feels he isn't getting enough game time under Inter coach Walter Mazzarri and the Star's man in Italy says that the Serie A outfit are ready to cash in on the Italian international in next month's transfer window.
But Chelsea won't have it all their own way. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also been linked with Ranocchia while David Moyes is keen on anyone half-decent these days. As for Tottenham's interest... well, who knows what's happening at the Lane these days.
To other news and German rag Bild reports that Southampton might be blown out by Diego. The 28-year-old Brazilian playmaker has been linked with a move to the Saints for several weeks but Bild claims Diego is on the verge of signing an extension with current club Wolfsburg. Formerly with Juventus and Werder Bremem, Diego was asked by Bild if he was going to sign on for another stint with Wolfsburg. "There is no decision but we are not far off," he replied. "It depends on [coach Klaus] Allofs and the club."
That might give a glimmer of hope to Saints coach Mauricio Pochettino particularly as it's reported they would be prepared to offer Diego more dosh.
Finally, those of you paying attention earlier in the week may remember we mentioned that Manchester United were in talks with Inter Milan over a possible deal for midfield maestro Fredy Guarin. Well, according to Goal.com, Chelsea now appear poised to pinch the Colombian craftsman from under United's noses.
It looks like the thought of playing in the Europa league doesn't much appeal to Guarin and as a result he's cosying up to Chelsea. As evidence Goal.com cites an interview the player's agent - Marcelo Ferreyra – conducted with South American broadcaster Caracol Radio. "I can confirm Chelsea's interest in Fredy," declared Ferreyra. "It's now up to the clubs to discuss a deal. We'll open talks once they have agreed terms."
Ferreyra admitted that they have "already been to London" and that the Chelsea directors have registered a formal interest in Guarin. Now all that is left is for terms to be agreed and with that done, the Colombian will be unveiled as a Chelsea player next month. ·