Arsenal set for £32m Costa bid as Pogba drops Gunners hint

Diego Costa

Atletico Madrid frontman linked to Emirates move, but Liverpool lead race for Tello

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:21 ON Fri 3 Jan 2014

COULD Arsenal be about to land the big name striker that eluded them all summer? The talk today is that the Gunners are about to cough up an eye-watering £32m to trigger the release clause of Brazilian hotshot Diego Costa and bring him to the Emirates.

The 25-year-old frontman has been in scintillating form for Atletico Madrid so far this season, scoring 19 goals in just 17 games, and that has caught the eye of the Gunners who are short of manpower up front. Costa was courted by Liverpool in the summer but decided against a move to England then, but could now be open to offers.

The Daily Star, which claims the story as an exclusive, says that Arsene Wenger, who threw off the financial shackles last summer when he signed Mesut Ozil for £42.5m, is now prepared to sanction another massive outlay to bring the forward to London.

There's a dramatic exclusive in Italian rag La Repubblica with the paper reporting that Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has dropped his strongest hint yet that his future lies with Arsenal. The French international has blossomed in Turin since leaving Manchester United in 2012, and in recent months stories have emerged linking the 20 year-old midfielder with a move to the Emirates. Asked about the rumours, Pogba admitted to Repubblica that it was no secret that he "dreamed of playing for Arsenal or Barcelona". Though he swiftly added that he was happy at Juve, it's believed Pogba could be edging towards the Gunners sooner rather than later. 

Meanwhile the Daily Star reports that Liverpool "have been installed as favourites" in the race to sign Barcelona star Cristian Tello. Arsenal and Tottenham are also in contention for the 22-year-old Spanish winger, who has found first-team action hard to come by this season under new manager Gerardo Martino. The Star claims that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is close to agreeing a deal with Barcelona for Tello and apparently bookies have now shortened the odds on Tello becoming a Red before the month is out to 1/3. Arsenal haven't given up hope of landing the Latin wideman but Arsene Wenger's immediate concern would appear to be another striker.

But although he needs firepower, Talksport believes that hasn't stopped the Nutty Professor eyeing up Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic. The Serbian midfielder knows London well from his stint at Chelsea and apparently he's keen to rediscover the delights of the Premier League. Manchester City and United are both believed to be tailing the playmaker but Talksport says it has it on good authority that the Gunners have made the "first move" with a call to Matic's agent, Dejan Mitrovic. The 25-year-old, rated one of the most reliable midfielders in Europe, is open to Arsenal's overtures but a big offer from one of the Gunners' rivals could yet scupper the deal.

In other news, the Evening Standard says Paris Saint Germain are ready to capitalise on Juan Mata's reported unhappiness at Chelsea. The Spanish international has been left on the sidelines for much of the season following Jose Mourinho's return to the Bridge, and he was allegedly less than pleased at being hauled off early in the second half against Southampton on Wednesday. With Mata desperate to make Spain's World Cup squad, the Standard says he is open to offers from any club that will give him more game time. PSG fit that bill and, having made on attempt to sign Mata last summer, it now seems certain that they will make a second bid this month. Whether they will cough up the £30m asking price remains to be seen but the French club are favourites ahead of Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid.

Finally, Manchester United's mid-table mediocrity is making it hard for the defending champions to attract new blood to Old Trafford. Attacking midfielder Marco Reus is thought to be on David Moyes' wishlist but when the Borussia Dortmund ace was asked about a possible move, he told German daily Bild: "I have a contract with Borussia Dortmund and I am happy to be here... I am not thinking about a transfer." · 

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