Arsenal agree Morata deal, but Man U wreck Draxler move

Real Madrid striker agrees personal terms with Gunners, but Man Utd Kroos move will ruin Draxler hopes

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:37 ON Wed 26 Feb 2014

HE WAS the subject of fevered speculation during the January transfer window, but in the end Arsenal failed to agree a deal for young Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata. But that does not mean the story is over and it now seems that a deal could be on the cards this summer.

European football journalist Guillem Balague, who first broke the news on Twitter, says that the 21-year-old has now agreed to a permanent move to the Emirates in the summer, but only if a fee between the two clubs can be agreed. Writing for website Bleacher Report, he notes that Morata has slipped below Jese Rodriguez in the pecking order at the Bernabeu and, with Real Madrid likely to buy another striker in the summer, he has decided his future lies elsewhere.

Arsenal have now "agreed personal terms with the Gunners", says Balague. However, his piece is littered with caveats and he insists that "no fee has been agreed" and that there is "still a lot of talking to be done".

Arsenal indirectly scuppered Manchester United's Champions League campaign last night, thanks to loan star Joel Campbell who scored for Olympiakos in the 2-0 win, but could United hit back by undermining the Gunners chances of signing Schalke's Julian Draxler in the summer? That's what Metro claims with the paper saying that the Red Devils' pursuit of Bayern Munich ace Toni Kroos will prompt the German champions to go after Draxler as a replacement.

Apparently United - when they're not busy imploding to Olympiakos - are closing in on Kroos, outstanding for Bayern in their 2-0 defeat of Arsenal last week, and a deal is expected to be agreed in the next couple of months. As a consequence Bayern will meet Draxler's £37.8m release fee and bring the 20-year-old to Munich.

When the scenario was put to Draxler by German website Derwesten.de, the Schalke star did little to dampen speculation, commenting: "I'd prefer not to comment on all those rumours. Look at what happened with Manuel Neuer [at Schalke]. He was 100 per cent convinced that he would never join FC Bayern but, after having played as a pro for five years, time made him change his opinion... when you rule something out entirely and you end up playing where most people don't want you to be, the outcry is huge."

Meanwhile the Evening Standard reports that Arsenal defender Johan Djourou is hoping to make his move to Hamburg permanent in the summer. The 27-year-old Swiss blocker first moved to Germany on loan in January last year and the short-term switch was then extended to the end of the 2013-14 season. When asked by German rag Bild how he is finding life at Hamburg, Djourou said: "I know the coach, I love the club, I love the city... the fans are great. The mood is different than in England."

And asked if saw himself making Hamburg his permanent home, he replied: "If all goes well and the club also want to, I would stay."

In other news, Caughtoffside says that Hugo Lloris is considering a move back to France if Spurs fail to qualify for next season's Champions League. As we reported yesterday Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen has hinted he could sever ties with Tottenham if they end up in the Europa League and now it seems Lloris is of a similar mind. The French international goalkeeper is being linked with a move to Monaco next season with respected France Football magazine saying the tax-free club - who are on course to qualify for Europe's premier competition - want a world-class keeper in their ranks.

Finally, the Daily Mirror reports that Manchester City are gearing up to offer Samir Nasri a three year contract extension. The 26-year-old playmaker has blossomed this season under new manager Manuel Pellegrini after a couple of indifferent campaigns under predecessor Roberto Mancini and his reward will be a new contract. The Mirror says that the former Gunner is "keen" to extend his stay at the Etihad and will pen a new deal in the summer. · 

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