Arsenal challenge Man Utd for Hummels but not Di Maria
Gunners enter race for German World Cup winner as United ponder £50m bid for Argentine forward
With Thomas Vermaelen now a Barcelona player are the newly-crowned Community Shield champions Arsenal eyeing up German centre-half Mats Hummels as his replacement? That's what the Daily Mail says, the paper claiming that the Gunners "are ready to challenge Manchester United" for the World Cup winner.
Apparently United have been unable to agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund for Hummels with the German club demanding around £25m for the defender. That sum wouldn't be a problem for Arsenal, not after the club flogged Vermaelen to Barcelona on Sunday, and then celebrated by trouncing Manchester City 3-0 at Wembley. It's believed that the Gunners got £15m from the sale of the Belgian centre-back, though the Catalan club were far too dignified to mention money when they released announced the deal on their official website. Of course, one would expect nothing less than a club that has recently signed Luis Suarez and is attempting to overturn his Fifa ban for biting an opponent.
Declaring that they have signed Vermaelen on a five-year deal, Barca hailed Vermaelen as "a natural leader" and gushed of his "impressive physique". They didn't mention that he spent most of last season warming the bench at the Emirates.
The Daily Star reckons that United are still favourites for Hummels. Having lost out to Barcelona in the bid to sign Vermaelen, Louis van Gaal will make one final effort to land Hummels by upping their offer to £30m. But if that fails, the paper says United will zero in on Ajax's Daley Blind, offering around £17m for the services of a defender Van Gaal knows well from his time coaching the Dutch national squad.
United are also said to be preparing to launch a £50m raid on Real Madrid for Angel di Maria, and this time they won't have any competition, even from Arsenal. According to the Daily Star the Argentine forward's other main suitors, Paris Saint-Germain, have pulled out of the race because of concerns about financial fair play penalties.
Manwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that Manchester City have finally completed the "protracted" signing of Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala. The 23-year-old becomes City's sixth summer signing have almost joined the champions in January.
According to The Independent the French centreback has set City back an eyewatering £43m, making him the most expensive defender in the Premier League. The deal has also reportedly netted the player's agent an equally eyewatering £14m.
In other news, the Daily Record reports that Celtic failed in their "last-ditch bid" to persuade Fraser Forster to stay in Glasgow rather than head south to Southampton. The 26-year-old gloveman has had his medical with the Saints and the £10m move will be officially announced today. The Record says that after Celtic were readmitted to the Champions League because Legia Warsaw were booted out for fielding an ineligible player, Hoops boss Ronny Deila and chief executive Peter Lawwell begged Forster to stay. But the Englishman turned down their advances in order, says the Record, to "enhance his England chances" with a move to the Premier League.
Finally, the Daily Mirror says that Liverpool are prepared to go head to head with Monaco for the hand of Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi but they will have to "cough up big" to land the hitman. Described by the Mirror as a "fiery Argentine" – which makes a change from a bitey Uruguayan - the 21-year-old Icardi is being courted by the French outfit who are reportedly ready to offer around £25m to the Italian side. Liverpool, however, are also prepared to spend big and Inter are looking forward to cashing in on a player they bought 12 months ago from Sampdoria for a mere £10m. ·