Arsenal close in on Draxler, and eye Matuidi and Vucinic

Julian Draxler

Wenger wants French star Matuidi as cover for injured Ramsey, as Vucinic is Plan B after Draxler

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:40 ON Thu 30 Jan 2014

As Arsenal continue to negotiate over a deal for 20-year-old Schalke forward Julian Draxler, there is plenty more going on at the Emirates, despite Arsene Wenger's admission that although his club are currently "active" in the market they are not close to signing anyone.

According to Metro the Gunners have joined new Premier League leaders Manchester City in the battle to prise Blaise Matuidi from Paris Saint-Germain in the last hours of the Transfer Window. Described as a "tough-tackling France international", the 26-year-old is allegedly miffed that PSG won't double his £40,000-a-week wages.

The midfielder is out of contract with the French champions at the end of the season and rumours suggest Manchester City are poised to offer PSG £3m. But Metro claims that the Gunners are willing to "significantly trump" that offer now that Aaron Ramsey faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines after his latest injury setback.

The Evening Standard says if a deal for Draxler cannot be reached, the Gunners will try to sort out a loan move for Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic. The Montenegro international is "in limbo" after his proposed move from Juventus to Inter Milan as a makeweight in a deal involving Fredy Guarin fell through.

The paper says Juventus are now open to the idea a temporary switch, which they were not earlier in the month, and Arsenal could make a late swoop.

Of course, everything hinges on Draxler and the Gunners are still hopeful that they will get their man. Arsenal "chiefs" are in Germany trying to thrash out a deal for Schalke winger Julian Draxler, reports the Daily Mail. It explains: "Negotiations will continue through Thursday, but there is a strong feeling a deal will be concluded."

Schalke are holding out for £37m while the Gunners have been reluctant to go above £30m says the paper.

Still with Arsenal, and the Daily Express says that Arsenal are circling Feyenoord defender Daryl Janmaat although they may have to wait until the summer to get their hands on the 24-year-old international.

Apparently the Dutchman is dithering over signing a new contract until he finds out whether Arsenal will step up their interest in him. Much will depend on whether Bacary Sagna signs on for another stint at the Emirates or decides to head home to France and a lucrative swansong with either PSG or Monaco.

Elsewhere and Goal.com says that Manchester United winger Nani is "on the brink" on a loan move to Inter Milan after he accepted an offer from the Italian club. The Portuguese wideman had been unsettled at Old Trafford for months and though he was tipped to return to his homeland, now it appears he's moving to Italy.

Goal.com says a Milan insider has told them United are weighing up the offer and will give their answer in the next 24 hours. If the move does go ahead the deal will include an option to make the switch permanent at the end of the season.

Nani only signed a new five-year extension with the reigning premier league champions last summer but as everyone knows, a modern football contract is a bigger joke than a Manchester United penalty shootout.

Down at Stamford Bridge, and Jose Mourinho's purge could be about to claim another victim as David Luiz is inched closer to the exit after the Blues signed Saint Etienne defender Kurt Zouma for £12.4m.

The 19-year-old is expected to stay at his current club for the rest of the season, says the Evening Standard, before coming to Stamford Bridge in the summer on a five-year contract. When that happens it could spell the end for Brazil international David Luiz, as well as captain John Terry.

The deal takes Chelsea's spending to more than £48m this month, after the arrivals of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah. But they have still made a profit during the month as selling Juan Mata and Kevin de Bruyne has raised £53m.

In other Chelsea news, the Daily Star says that Thibaut Courtois is being anything but courteous to the Blues. Currently on loan with Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid, the 21-year-old Belgian keeper has yet to make his debut for the side despite joining the club in 2011. Since then he's spent all his time on loan in Spain but the Star claims that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has "all but ruled out the idea of Courtois going back" to the La Liga side next season.

He apparently wants Courtois to compete with Petr Cech for the number one spot at the Bridge, but the young Belgian has warned the Special One: "I have been starting (for Atletico) for four years, playing over 40 games per season... I hope that if I will move back to Chelsea, it will be to play, otherwise another solution will have to be found."

According to Talksport, Papiss Cisse could be offered "an escape route" out of Newcastle by Russian club Rubin Kazan. Magpies gaffer Alan Pardew has just swooped for Dutch striker Luuk De Jong from Borussia Monchengladbach, and Senegal striker Cisse has slipped further down the St James' Park pecking order.

The 28-year-old joined Newcastle in 2011 from Freiburg and scored 13 goals in his first 14 league games. The goals have since dried up but Talksport say that Rubin Kazan are prepared to fork out £8m to bring him east. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.