Khedira boost for Arsenal as Everton land £28m Lukaku
Gunners in the hunt for two midfield dynamos as Chelsea offload frontman to Everton
Arsenal's pursuit of German World Cup winner Sami Khedira has been given an unexpected boost a day after it emerged that Bayern Munich were interested in the midfielder.
The German club's interest was widely seen as the death knell for Arsenal's hopes of signing him. But, according to the Daily Mirror, it could in fact prompt Real Madrid to sell Khedira to the Gunners. Why? Well, apparently Bayern Munich are happy to wait for their man, and want to snap him up on a free transfer next summer when his contract expires.
As a result Madrid are now anxious to cash in on Khedira this summer, and are willing to sell to Arsenal to ensure they get some kind of fee for the midfielder.
Of course, the obstacle that blocked a move earlier in the summer, Khedira's wage demands, still remains, along with the fact that the player has now set his heart on a return to Germany. But hope springs eternal.
Talking of hope and optimism, Everton are officially "delighted" after agreeing a deal for Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. The 21-year-old forward, who spent last season on loan at Goodison Park from Chelsea, has signed on permanently for a club record transfer fee of £28m.
The five-year contract comes after Lukaku scored 16 goals in 33 appearances for the Toffees last season having been farmed out by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who inherited the youngster when he returned to Stamford Bridge. Lukaku joined Chelsea from Anderlecht in 2011 but never managed to break into the first XI and now Mourinho has decided to sell Lukaku to Everton.
"I am really excited about rejoining Everton," Lukaku told the club website on Wednesday evening. "I had a fantastic experience last season and a great relationship with the manager... I can't wait to get started again." Everton boss Roberto Martinez could barely contain his excitement at the record transfer, declaring: "The arrival of Rom is more than just a signing, it's the fruition of a lot of hard work to get the player we wanted. This is a big moment for Everton's history and the perfect way of getting the squad ready for the start of the season."
If and when Arsenal's pursuit of Khedira comes off the rails they do have an alternative after it emerged that Sporting Lisbon have put Portuguese midfielder William Carvalho up for sale. Taking as their source Portuguese rag, Record, Ladbrokes reports that that Sporting are "desperate to cash in on their prized asset" ahead of the new season. They finished seven points behind Benfica last season and apparently Sporting want to use the cash from flogging Carvalho to bring in a host of new players.
So how much will it cost the Gunners to get their hands on the 22-year-old? The Portuguese media say he has a £35m release clause in his contract but that Arsenal could get him for less if they offer cash "up front". Ladbrokes claims that Manchester United are also interested in the Portugal playmaker, who featured for his country in the recent World Cup, or at least they were before Juventus ace Arturo Vidal reignited their interest earlier this week. Real Madrid and Chelsea have also been linked to the youngster but it's reported that Arsenal are at the "front of the queue" for his signature.
On to United and not only is Vidal back on their radar, they have also received a shot in the arm in their quest of another big name. The Daily Star says that the Old Trafford club have been given "fresh hope" that they might be able to land Juan Cuadrado after all after his agent confirmed that Barcelona have cooled their interest. The Colombian winger was widely expected to join the Catalan club this week but now it appears a deal is still a long way from being reached. Consequently the player's agent, Alessandro Lucci, has declared: "They [Barcelona] showed interest but now there are no negotiations in place." But the Star warns that if United boss Louis van Gaal does want to sign Cuadrado he might have to pay Italian club Fiorentina £40m.
Talksport reports that Yaya Toure has pledged his future to Manchester City, dismissing speculation that he was angling for a move after failing to receive a suitable birthday present from the Sky Blues. "I will stay at Manchester City for as long as possible," said the Ivory Coast midfielder before stating his ambitions for the upcoming season: "We are looking for the Champions League - that is an important title this year."
Finally, Sky Sports says that Southampton fans "finally have something to cheer about" after the club announced the signing of Chelsea full-back Ryan Bertrand on a season-long loan. The 24-year-old defender spent last season on-loan at Aston Villa, but will spend this year at St Mary's and it's believed the Saints have inserted a clause in the deal that will allow them the chance to buy Bertrand if they so wish at the end of the season. "He is a top player who will bring a lot of quality to the team," said Southampton boss Ronald Koeman. "He has experience at the highest level and is an exciting, attacking player, which is what I like to see in my full-backs." ·