Arsenal face battle to lure Mitroglou, Costa and Di Maria
Gunners forward targets will not come cheap, as Man United eye up Everton Ribeiro
TWAS the night before Christmas and nothing was stirring... except, of course, for football agents and the transfer rumour mill, which never stops, especially when the January transfer window is about to open.
And after Arsenal's limp draw with Chelsea last night, there is plenty of speculation about who the Gunners will bring in next month to bolster their title charge.
One of the main candidates is Olympiacos striker Kostas Mitroglou, but, as website Inside Futbol reports, he will cost something north of £25m if the Gunners want to bring him in next month. The website reports that the 25-year-old's club coach, Michel, has told Spanish rag AS that the player is only available to "top rank clubs", explaining: "In addition to being a prolific goalscorer, he also creates opportunities for his team-mates, he has improved their movement a lot. Watching football today, someone like Mitroglou costs €30m, €40m even €50m."
Another option is Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, and reports in Spain suggest that his club are gearing up for an offer of £32m, which would trigger his release clause, according to website Give Me Sport. The player's main suitors are said to include Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United.
Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria has also been linked with a move to the Arsenal or Spurs in January, but having managed to maintain his place in the team despite the arrival of Gareth Bale he has now distanced himself from talk of a move, says Metro.
"No I have not asked out. My head is at Real Madrid," he said, blaming the media for reports about a switch to London, before adding: "I'm happy at Real Madrid."
At the back Arsene Wenger is said to be interested in Udinese right back Dusan Basta as a replacement for Bacary Sagna, who has refused to commit his future to the Gunners. The 29-year-old Serbian has been with the Serie A club since 2009. They declined to sell him last summer, reports Talksport, but it is now believed they are open to offers for the £7m-rated defender, but not until the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Man United manager David Moyes is hankering after Everton... Everton Ribeiro that is - Brazil's player of the year.
The Daily Mail explains that the £12m rated Cruzeiro midfielder is also wanted by Liverpool and Real Madrid, but favours a move to Old Trafford, and when asked by Brazilian paper Globoesporte whether he would prefer a move to United or the Spanish side, said he would "prefer" Manchester. "The structure they have in place is one of the best in the world. I have been there already and went to a lecture by Alex Ferguson when I was younger," the 24-year-old explained.
Talking of Everton, manager Roberto Martinez has categorically ruled out the prospect of selling 20-year-old England sensation Ross Barkley. The youngster produced a brilliant performance against Swansea at the weekend, and it being tipped to force his way into the England World Cup squad.
That has intensified the "long standing interest" in the midfielder from the likes of Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs, says the Daily Mirror. But Martinez is having none of it.
"Even if we got a Gareth Bale-size valuation we would never even consider it in January," the Spaniard announced. ·