Arsenal, Man Utd to fight over Griezmann, Barca sign Halilovic

Antoine Griezmann

English clubs on alert as French forward says rumours of deal with French champions are untrue

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:35 ON Thu 27 Mar 2014

AS MANCHESTER United and Arsenal sift through the rubble of their season, news comes from the Daily Star that might ease for the Premier League underachievers. According to the tabloid, Antoine Griezmann has denied he's set for a move to Paris Saint-Germain and could yet decide on a summer transfer to England. Both Arsenal and United have been tailing the 23-year-old Frenchman for ages with Arsene Wenger admitting earlier this month that "we follow him in great detail". 

Griezmann, who has scored 19 times in 42 appearances for Real Sociedad this season, has been linked with PSG of late but the Star reports that he took to Twitter on Wednesday to contradict reports saying a deal had been done. "I want to make clear that despite rumours of a deal with PSG... no contact or decision of this kind have been considered," he said.

With United known to have sent scout David Friio to run the rule over Griezmann this season, the two English clubs are believed to be ready to table big money bids in the summer.

Still with Arsenal and Talksport report that they and Tottenham are readying themselves for a race to sign Switzerland international Josip Drmic. The Swiss sharpshooter has scored 11 times in 23 games this season for German outfit Nurnberg and Spurs boss Tim Sherwood apparently sees the 21-year-old as the natural replacement for the recently departed Jermain Defoe, even though he is about a foot taller.

Wenger, for his part, wants Drmic so he can "take the pressure" of Olivier Giroud who has been ploughing a lone farrow up front this season for the Gunners. Talksport claim that Nurnberg will be want a "sizeable fee" for Drmic and in ideal world the Germans will hope a bidding war breaks out between the two London rivals at the end of this season.

There's more bad news for the Gunners after Barcelona announced that they had sealed a deal to sign Dynamo Zagreb starlet Alen Halilovic, seen as one of the most sought-after youngsters in Europe and high on Wenger's wishlist. The 17-year-old, who has already played for Croatia, has agreed a five-year deal at Camp Nou, says the Daily Mail.

The initial fee is thought to be £1.8m, but it could rise to £10m if he becomes the player most people expect him to. The Mail, which notes that he has been dubbed the new Luka Modric, says he "can play across the midfield but usually starts on the right or up front and has a more aggressive, direct style".

In other news bottom-of-the-table Fulham have confirmed that Mahamadou Diarra has returned to the Cottage on a short-term deal. The 32-year-old Mali international was released by Fulham in the summer of 2013 after a year at the club but he's back for the rest of this season in a bid to help the Cottagers avoid relegation.

The club's official website said they were "delighted" to welcome back the former Real Madrid midfielder, adding that Diarra's "short-term contract with Fulham will see his remuneration based on the number of appearances he makes for the first team".

Finally, the Daily Mirror claims that Real Madrid are "ready to trump" Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham in the chase for South Coast starlet Luke Shaw. The 18-year-old Southampton defender has been the talk of the town this season, even breaking into the England senior quad thanks his composed performances for the Saints. 

Not so long ago Chelsea were favourites to sign the teenager but now the Mirror says that Real Madrid have identified the left-back as a superstar in the making and a massive summer bid is in the pipeline. · 

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