Arsenal dismiss Quintero talk, but is Vermaelen off to Man Utd?

Porto's Colombian midfielder Juan Quintero

Colombian's 'agents' say different things as Man United and Barcelona squabble over defender

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:40 ON Fri 1 Aug 2014

Arsenal are it again with the Daily Mail claiming that the Gunners "have opened talks with Porto" over a deal for Colombia midfielder Juan Quintero. Earlier in the week they clinched the signing of Quintero’s international teammate, goalkeeper David Ospina, and it looks like it could be a couple of Colombians checking into the Emirates ahead of the new season.

The Mail says that a fee of £15.8m "has been agreed" by the two clubs and Quintero is set to board a flight to London.

Its information comes Maria Elena Chavarro who claims to be the 21-year-old's agent. According to the Mail she tweeted on Thursday: "Today @juanferquinte10 travelled to England to sign a contract with Arsenal who are paying 20m Euros (around £15.8m) to FCPorto, congratulations!"

But the Daily Express says that ain't the case, and reports that "confusion reigns at Arsenal" after another alleged agent, Ricardo Calleri, rubbished the suggestion the attacking midfielder was Arsenal bound. 

"Porto never talked to negotiate Juan Quintero," said Calleri. "There are clubs interested, there is much interest in the player... clubs in Spain and England."

However, he then pointed out that there is a £32m release clause in Quintero's contract, which says the Express would probably leave Arsene Wenger "looking elsewhere for a cheaper alternative".

Arsene Wenger poured more cold water on the rumour at a press conference on Friday when he distanced himself from reports of a deal. "You can never say never. But we are not on the case," he told reporters.

Meanwhile Tottenham are poised to muscle out Arsenal and Newcastle in the tussle to sign Sporting Lisbon defender Eric Dier. The England Under-21 international, inevitably described by the Daily Star as a "starlet", is said to be "frustrated at his lack of game time" last season with the Portuguese club and is now seeking a fresh challenge back in his homeland.

The Star claims that Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has "gazumped" his Premier League rivals by tabling a £4m deal for the 20-year-old Dier. Born in Cheltenham to English parents, Dier moved to Portugal as a nipper and has since worked his way through the country's footballing youth system. A spell with Everton when he was 17 helped in his development and now Dier is confident he can handle the rough and tumble of the Premier League.

Meanwhile Metro reports that Barcelona have "stepped up their interest" in Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen after failing to land Marquinhos from Paris Saint-Germain. Apparently their offer of £34m met with the same look of disgust the average German tourist reserves for a British holidaymaker. The 20-year-old Brazilian defender had been expected to sign for the Catalans but now that deal is off Metro claims Barcelona will zero in on Vermaelen instead. The Belgian blocker has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks but "Barcelona are now ready to beat United" to his hand.

However, Ladbrokes are offering evens on Vermaelen being a Man United player next season, and a have a move to Barcelona at 6-1.

Talking of Arsenal defenders, the official West Ham United website has confirmed that Carl Jenkinson will join the Hammers on loan for this season. The 22-year-old knew his days were numbered at the Emirates after the summer signings of Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers and rumours emerged last week that he would head east to Upton Park.

The 22-year-old, who is the Hammers' sixth summer signing, told the club: "It's brilliant how it has turned out and I just want to thank the Gaffer and Mr Sullivan and Mr Gold because they put in a big push to get me here. I'm clearly seen as a big part of things here and hopefully I can prove my worth here because it is an important year for me."

The battle to sign Paris Saint-German frontman Ezequiel Lavezzi could turn fiery after Juventus signalled their intention to rival any Liverpool bid. Talksport reports that the Argentine ace is "available for transfer" as PSG look to trim their wage bill ahead of a mammoth offer for Real Madrid hitman Angel di Maria. Liverpool are known to be interested in Lavezzi after deciding not to sign Loic Remy but Juventus are reportedly ready to break the bank to get their hands on the South American sharpshooter.

And that's not the only fight Liverpool are engaged in. According to The GuardianLiverpool chief executive Ian Ayre is in Spain in an effort to "end the impasse" over Alberto Moreno's proposed transfer from Sevilla and finalise Javier Manquillo's loan move to Anfield from Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool and Sevilla have struggled to agree a fee for 22-year-old Moreno, with the Spanish club holding out for £20m, while the Manquillo deal has also stalled. · 

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