Man Utd fight Barcelona for 'new Messi' Halilovic
Premier League clubs hope to take advantage of Fifa ban, but are Gunners also after Spurs star?
BARCELONA have announced they are appealing against the Fifa ban imposed on them for breaking transfer guidelines, but that has not stopped the sharks from circling the players they already had lined up for summer moves.
The Catalan club had deals in place for goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Borussia Monchengladbach and young Croatian whizz-kid Alen Halilovic before the ban. And with the future of both transfers now in question, the Premier League clubs are moving in.
Sky Sports reports that Manchester City and Manchester United are both now trying to lure 17-year-old Halilovic, dubbed the new Lionel Messi in some quarters, to the North West, while Arsenal are said to be among the clubs hoping to derail the £10m deal for Ter Stegen.
With Arsenal's defence this season as suspect as Barcelona's youth policy, it's no wonder Arsene Wenger wants a new keeper. But could he also be set to turn to Tottenham for a bit of ballast in his back four? Sensational as it sounds, the Evening Standard claims that Tottenham centre-back Younes Kaboul is rumoured to be in the Gunners' sights.
The 28-year-old French international is out of contract this summer and the Standards notes he is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal at White Hart Lane. What's more, says the paper, Kaboul has told friends he is "ready to follow in the footsteps of Sol Campbell in leaving for the red half of north London".
It would certainly make sense from Arsenal's point of view, with Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen no longer the force he once was and poised to move on at the end of the season. Kaboul, currently in his second stint at the Lane, took to Twitter to deny the claim, claiming it "is not true". But as everyone in football knows these days, a denial carries as much weight as the Arsenal trophy cabinet.
Meanwhile the Daily Express says that Arsenal and Liverpool are vying with Juventus for the hand of Alexandre Lacazette. The Lyon striker, capped twice by France, has bagged 20 goals in all competitions this season and that's fuelled speculation he will be on his way to bigger and better things next season.
Asked where his ambitions lay, the 22-year-old Lacazette replied: "I'm tempted to try and experience abroad at a big club, and Juventus are one of the greatest clubs in Europe." But being careful not to burn his bridges Lacazette was quick to add: "Are Arsenal and Liverpool interested in me? I repeat that an experience in another major championship fascinates me."
Still with Arsenal and the Daily Star reports that Gooners can rest easy in their beds - Johan Djourou will never again cause angst at the Emirates. The 27-year-old Swiss defender joined Arsenal in 2004 and went on to play 87 times for the Gunners, arguably making as many mistakes in the process, but since the summer of 2013 he has been on loan at Hamburg. Now it's been reported in the German press that Djourou has "secured a permanent deal" with the Bundesliga side until 2016, one worth in the region of £3m.
Finally, the Daily Mirror says that Manchester United will make a "staggering club-record £40m bid" for Toni Kroos in a couple of months' time. David Moyes is desperate to get his hands on the Munich midfielder, who played against United in Tuesday's Champions League tie, and hopes the eye-popping sum will bend Bayern to his way of thinking.
The paper says that the United board are on board, and will sanction the offer for a player whose contract with the German champions expires next year. Bayern are said to be reluctant to sell the 24-year-old Kroos but would have to give serious consideration to such "a mega-bid".