Arsenal in £24m Carvalho bid as they join hunt for Hummels
Gunners switch their attention from Khedira to Carvalho, Vermaelen turns down contract
With the start of the new Premier League season less than a fortnight away the transfer rumour mill is turning quicker than Usain Bolt on a Glasgow track. First up comes the news that Arsenal are "leading the race" to sign Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho.
According to the Evening Standard the Gunners have tabled a bid of £24m for the Portuguese World Cup star, even though his buy-out clause stands at £37m. It is believed Sporting would accept a lower offer provided the money was paid up front. However, the Standard believes they are hoping for a "bidding war to ensure they bring in as much money as possible".
However, Arsenal are prepared to pay in full and now seem more likely to thrash out a deal with Carvalho than their other midfield target, German Sami Khedira. Real Madrid star Khedira is demanding a huge salary of £150,000 a week, while Carvalho, who is paid a meagre £4,000 a week, is thought to be less demanding.
At the back and the Daily Mirror claims that Wenger "wants to be kept informed" about the availability of Mats Hummels, as apparently the Gunners are "ready to challenge Manchester United" for the hand of the Germany World Cup winner.
Thus far it had been assumed United boss Louis van Gaal had a clear run at the 25-year-old Borussia Dortmund defender but the Mirror says Wenger sees Hummels as a like for like replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, who is widely expected to leave the Emirates in the next two weeks, after turning down a new contract at the Emirates. The Mirror says that while Dortmund would love to hang on to their World Cup winner, if either one of the Premier League big boys coughs up £30m in cash than they might say 'auf wiedersehen' to Hummels.
As for where Vermaelen might be headed, Metro claims that the centre-half is "is set to seal a £10m move to Barcelona" this summer. The 28-year-old had been linked with Manchester United in recent weeks but it seems the Gunners don't want to sell the Belgium international to their fierce rivals. With Barcelona missing out on Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos, they are now closing in on Vermaelen and a deal is expected to be reached within the next week.
Back to Arsenal and the Daily Star claims that they are interested in signing Atletico Madrid playmaker Joshua Guilavogui. He joined Atletico last summer from French side St Etienne for £7.9m and the Star says that Wenger is "eager" to bag the midfield man. It's believed that Atletico could well agree to the move because Guilavogui has struggled to fit in since arriving. Reports from Spain suggest that Wenger is "willing to offer" Atletico £11.5m for the player although the Star adds that German outfit Wolfsburg are also said to be circling the player.
Having seen their squad stripped of its star assets over the summer Southampton fans may have something to cheer in the coming days. According to the Daily Mail the Saints are "planning a £70m spree" to fill the many spaces in their dressing room. Top of their shopping list is Manchester United's Mexican striker Javier Hernandez - who scored in the 3-1 win over Real Madrid at the weekend – as well as either Wilfried Zaha or Ashley Young, "depending on which winger Louis van Gaal is prepared to sell".
The Mail says it will probably be Young who makes the move south to St Mary's with rumours linking Zaha to West Ham. Additionally, the Mail says that Southampton's new boss, Dutchman Ronald Koeman, is also lining up swoops for a couple of his compatriots - Ron Vlaar of Aston Villa and Celtic's Virgil van Dijk.
Finally, could Liverpool be about to replace the Biter with the Bonkers? Reports from Italy indicate that Reds' boss Brendan Rodgers is weighing up a move for Mario Balotelli. Mediaset broke the story over the weekend, claiming that Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, is "already in contact" with the Premier League club to discuss wages.
Eurosport carries the story and adds that Liverpool could get Balotelli for as little as £14.3m with the Italian outfit using the money to snap up Torino winger Alessio Cerci. But Rodgers, speaking after Liverpool had defeated AC Milan in another of those interminable pre-season money-spinners, appeared to rule out such a move, telling Sky Sports: "In my last press conference I was asked a question about Mario Balotelli and I talked about what a talent he was and what an excellent player he was and the next day it was wrote as if we were signing him. I just gave my perception of him as a player. It shouldn't be transmitted in to us signing the player." ·