Arsenal chase World Cup stars; Liverpool eye Lallana and Shaqiri
Keeper Guillermo Ochoa and Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez in Wenger's sights
He's the hottest thing in Mexico after habanero chillies and now Guillermo Ochoa could be on his way to spice up the Emirates. According to the Daily Star the World Cup's latest star, Guillermo Ochoa, "has opened the door to a switch to Arsenal" once the tournament is done and dusted.
The magical Mexican shotstopper illuminated Tuesday's goalless draw with Brazil with a string of eye-popping saves and the Star says Arsene Wenger has barged his way to the front of the lengthening queue to sign the 28-year-old Ochoa. Currently a free agent after leaving French ligue 1 side Ajaccio at the end of last season, Ochoa is open to offers and it's believed the Gunners could be about to get their hands on the salmon-like gloveman. With Wenger looking for an alternative to incumbent Wojciech Szczesny, the Star claims the Frenchman intends to approach Ochoa in Brazil while he does a spot of analysis for French TV. Asked about his future in the wake of his Brazilian masterpiece, Ochoa replied: "My priority is to stay in France, but I am open to any propositions... I now need to play in the Champions League to be sure of my level."
Having knocked Spain out of the World Cup, another star of Brazil 2014, Chile flyer Alexis Sanchez, is poised to turn his back on La Liga and is being linked with a move to the Premier League.
Once again it is the Daily Star that has the inside info, as it declares that the player has fallen out with Barcelona team mate Lionel Messi. It explains that although Liverpool and Manchester United are leading the chase for the Barcelona winger, Arsenal are about to "gatecrash" the market by declaring their interest in the 25-year-old. Curiously, the paper suggests that the World Cup star's value has decreased since he joined Barcelona for around £30m in 2011. It says Liverpool are preparing to open the bidding at just £18m for the winger.
Up on Merseyside, Liverpool's pursuit of Adam Lallana and his Southampton clubmate Dejan Lovren continues. The Daily Mirror reports that, having already landed Saints striker Rickie Lambert as well as an opening day clash with the Saints, Brendan Rodgers is as determined as ever to bring the other two players to Anfield, and is prepared to offer striker Fabio Borini to the south coast club in part exchange for the pair.
So far Liverpool have had an offer of more than £20m for Lallana knocked back, with Southampton determined to hang on for £30m. While Rodgers is said to value Lovren at around £16m.
Another player who could be on his way from Brazil to Anfield at the end of the World Cup is Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri, if reports in Germany are anything to go by, says the Liverpool Echo. The 22-year-old Bayern Munich playmaker barely got a look in at the Allianz Arena last season and Rodgers is confident that £20m could bring him to Liverpool.
However, despite his inability to break into the Bayern side the German champions believe he could be the long-term successor to Franck Ribery and will only sell if the price is right.
Meanwhile the Daily Express says that Arsenal, Everton and Southampton better get their skates on if they wish to sign Lyon's Clement Grenier this summer because AC Milan have muscled in on the action and are preparing to make Lyon an irresistible offer. Apparently the French press are reporting that Lyon need to complete the sale by the end of this month if "they are to balance their books" this financial year, and that means they will offload the midfielder to the first serious bidder.
Arsenal were linked to the 23-year-old Grenier earlier in the year, but AC Milan have suddenly become fanatical Francophiles, already signing Jeremy Menez and Adil Rami this summer. Whether Everton and Southampton will table rival bids to Milan's remains to be seen but the Star predicts the pair will "step up their interest" as the 30 June deadline approaches.
In other news Metro reports that Dutch dynamo Wesley Sneijder is mulling over a possible move to Manchester United. The Galatasaray midfielder, who helped Holland to an unconvincing 3-2 defeat over Australia last night, has long been linked to the Red Devils and now that Holland coach Louis van Gaal is manager at Old Trafford, Sneijder admitted he would find it hard to knock him back should he come calling. "I am happy at Galatasaray, I have established myself at the club and have settled in," explained Sneijder. "However, if Van Gaal were to make me an offer, I would have to at least consider it. Nobody from the Netherlands can simply reject Van Gaal."
Finally, Caughtoffside claims an exclusive with the news that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is "considering tabling a bid" for Manchester United winger Luis Antonio Valencia. Apparently Rodgers is long-time admirer of the Ecuadorian and is cautiously optimistic he could prise the 28-year-old from Old Trafford. Valencia, who has spent five season at United, has a year to run on his current contract and Caughtoffside believes that his lack of game time at United in recent seasons could persuade him he would have a brighter future at Anfield. ·