Arsenal chase Bakkali and plan raids for Marshall and Williams

Zakaria Bakkali

Race to sign the Belgian teenager is underway as Wenger also eyes Cardiff and Swansea stars

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:44 ON Tue 27 May 2014

Ukip might not like it, but both Arsenal and Liverpool believe their future lies in Europe and are heading to the continent in a bid to bolster their attacking options ahead of next season. According to the Daily Express both clubs are after PSV Eindhoven's Belgian wonderkid Zakaria Bakkali.

The 18-year-old forward is being chased by the Premier League powerhouses even though the paper reports that he has a reputation for tetchiness. Bakkali is allegedly "refusing to sign a contract extension" with Eindhoven and consequently they have grown "increasingly frustrated" with the youngster's antics. He was substituted after just 16 minutes in a friendly this month after neglecting his defensive duties and with a year to run on his existing contract Bakkali could be sold off in the summer to prevent him leaving on a free transfer in 12 months' time. The Express claims Arsenal are front-runners to sign the young winger with Arsene Wenger believing he has the savoir-faire to tame the teenager.


But Arsenal are not only looking east for reinforcements. Arsene Wenger also has targets on the other side of Offa's Dyke and is preparing a raid on Cardiff City for goalkeeper David Marshall, who almost single handedly kept the Bluebirds in the Premier League last season. The Daily Telegraph says he will offer the Bluebirds £15m for the 29-year-old shotstopper.

Gallingly for Cardiff fans, Marshall will replace Lukasz Fabianski at the Emirates, as the Pole quits London to join their bitter rivals Swansea City.

Meanwhile, Metro reports that the Gunners are "ready to make a £3m bid" for Swansea City captain Ashley Williams. The club that likes to finish fourth was first linked to the 29 year-old defender last summer but the Swans knocked back their approaches. Now, however, Metro says Williams wants to leave and is demanding to be released this summer. Napoli and Lille are also monitoring the situation but Wenger seems determined to land the Welsh international.

Still with Swansea and Talksport claims that Wilfried Bony is being courted by Roma but the Welsh club have told the Italian outfit they won't sell the 25-year-old frontman "on the cheap". Taking its cue from Italian sports website Calciomercato.it, Talksport says Swansea are demanding £25m for the Ivory Coast international. The Swans believe that if they do have to sell Bony they can at least spark a bidding war with Arsenal and Liverpool also said to be interested.

However, the fact that Arsenal and Liverpool are sniffing around may not mean much. The two clubs seem to be interested in any player who knows how to kick a ball, and even those who don't, if the rumours in the Daily Mail linking the Gunners to Gareth Barry are to be believed. 

One of the summer's big transfer sagas may be dead in the water after Luis Suarez told his Liverpool team-mates he plans to stay at Anfield and lead next season’s pursuit of the Barclays Premier League title.

The Daily Mail reports that the Uruguayan, fighting to be fit for the World Cup after knee surgery, has enrolled his daughter at a local school near their home in the North West. Real Madrid's Champ[ions League triumph is also significant, as it means they are not under pressure to add to their squad this summer.

The Mail says that as long as Benzema does not leave the club will not move for the Liverpool striker. However, Arsenal could cause problems if they try to lure the French striker away from the Bernabeu.

But all is not lost for gossips after a big name move, as disgruntled Man City midfielder Yaya Toure has got tongues wagging by announcing that it would be "an honour" to play for Paris Saint-Germain.

The Ivorian has fallen out with the Premier League champions after a bizarre row about the size of his birthday cake explains the Daily Mail. And he made it clear he was open to a move when he spoke to France Football.

"When I think about objectives of Paris Saint-Germain, how can you not be interested in a club like that?" he said.

In other news the Daily Star is adamant that Chelsea are closing in on Diego Costa, dodgy hamstring and all. The Atletico Madrid striker limped out of Saturday's Champions League drubbing to Real Madrid after only nine minutes but that doesn't seem to have deterred Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea boss has a "two-week window" to conclude a deal for Costa before the World Cup takes precedence over all transfer negotiations. With the striker ordered to take a fortnight's rest, the Star says Chelsea will lure him to London to "put the finishing touches on a move to Stamford Bridge". 

Finally, The Sun says that QPR gaffer Harry Redknapp is "poised to make a stunning swoop" for Frank Lampard. The Chelsea and England midfielder is Harry's nephew and he wants to keep it in the family by enticing the 35-year-old veteran to Loftus Road now that he's out of contract at the Bridge. According to the Sun, the two-year deal could earn Lampard £10m. And the paper also claims that Uncle Harry is on the trail of former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand as he looks to entice him back to London. · 

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