Man Utd chief on Kroos hunt, as Arsenal fight for Cuadrado
Ed Woodward tries to get straight answers from Munich midfielder, as Gunners hunt new blood
IT WAS a case of mixing business with business for Man United cheif Ed Woodward last night, as he watched David Moyes's side slide out of Europe for what looks like it could be an extended absence from the Champions League.
Having seen the Red Devils beaten 3-1 by Bayern Munich he will have been hoping for more joy with the second part of his mission to Germany. According to the Daily Mirror his other reason for visiting the Allianz Arena was not to watch United's band of flops, but to try and thrash out a deal for one of the men who helped beat them, Toni Kroos.
Woodward "wants straight answers from the midfielder" who appears to have been agitating for a move away from Munich in the summer, says the Mirror. After getting their fingers burned last summer, the United hierarchy "do not intend to be used in any attempt by the Kroos camp to squeeze a bumper pay-rise out of Bayern". But if Kroos makes the right noises then the paper expects a bid of £40m for his services at the end of the season.
Meanwhile Talksport says that Manchester United could challenge the Gunners for the hand of winger Juan Cuadrado after dispatching scouts to Italy to check out the Fiorentina forward.
It's reported that Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have all been monitoring the 25-year-old Colombian international this season but with the Catalan club crocked in the transfer market, it looks like being a three-horse race between United, Arsenal and Bayern. Talksport explains that Cuadrado is co-owned by Fiorentina and fellow Serie A club Udinese and, just to muddy the waters further, the two clubs have yet to decide on who to sell to.
With many of the Arsenal faithful hoping Arsene Wenger will take his lead from Maria Miller in the coming weeks, are we at the dawn of a new era at the Emirates? The Daily Star thinks so with the paper claiming that Toulouse's Serge Aurier is in line to replace compatriot Bacary Sagna, who, as we reported yesterday, is tipped to join Manchester City next season.
The 21-year-old right back has been linked with the likes of Aston Villa, Chelsea and Newcastle in recent weeks but it seems that Aurier has his heart set on being a Gunner. "You cannot refuse Arsenal," he said, perhaps forgetting that's exactly what Eden Hazard, Jesus Navas, Gonzalo Higuain, Julian Draxler and Salomon Kalou have all done in recent times. "You can ask any player if he would play for Arsenal and I think he would respond positively without hesitation."
The young defender declared that it would be a "dream" to join Arsenal, begging the question what would he consider a nightmare, but Aurier was also astute enough to leave his options open. "I would like to see another league," he explained. "It is not a question of the level of teams, it's just that there are other interesting leagues... [England] is the league that suits me the most, in terms of my commitment, my playing style. Later, Germany and Spain may also be pleasant."
Still with the Gunners and Midi Libre, the local rag in Montpellier, claims that M'Baye Niang could be "back on the market in the summer". Arsenal and north London neighbours Tottenham have made no secret of their desire to sign the AC Milan frontman who has spent this season on loan in Montpellier. According to Midi Libre the Mediterranean outfit can't afford to sign Niang on a long-term deal and that means the 19-year-old Frenchman is likely to be auctioned off by the Italian club at the end of this season. Since moving to the San Siro from Caen in 2012 Niang has struggled for goals – so he should feel at home at the Emirates.
Finally, the Liverpool Echo carries an interview with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in which he admits he is undecided on his future. The in-form frontman has scored five goals in Everton's last seven games prompting Toffee fans to demand the club makes his loan deal from Chelsea permanent in the summer. When the Echo asked his about his intentions, Lukaku replied: "I'm trying not to look too far ahead for now…there are so many things on the horizon like big games against Man United and City, then the World Cup, so I have to give it a place in my head but not focus on it. For now it's just helping Everton finish fourth and then we'll see." ·