Arsenal eye Rabiot and Khedira as Wilshere fears grow
Arsene Wenger anxious to bolster midfield as defender Manolas prepares to sign on
With Arsenal making hard work of their 2-1 defeat of Crystal Palace on Saturday, speculation is rife in the press that Arsene Wenger will bring in fresh blood in the next fortnight.
The midfield is said to be a particular concern for the Arsenal gaffer as fears grow that Jack Wilshere's early promise has been extinguished like one of his cigarettes. With that in mind, the Daily Mail says that the Gunners are close to signing playmaker Adrien Rabiot with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly allowing him "to open talks" with Arsenal. The 19-year-old France international has been on Wenger's radar for months and the Mail says that the French champions have "set an asking price of £5.6m". The Emirates outfit face competition from Juventus and Roma but it's believed Rabiot would prefer a move to the Premier League.
Meanwhile the fate of Sami Khedira will be decided this week with Metro claiming that the Real Madrid player's agent is "set to fly to London this week" to talk business with Arsenal and Chelsea. The German international has been linked with both clubs in recent weeks and it's said that he now wants to leave the Spanish capital after "unsuccessful talks" with coach Carlo Ancelotti about extending his stay at the Bernabeu. Real reportedly want £12m for Khedira and Chelsea are believed to be favourites to sign him because of the time he spent working under Jose Mourinho at Real.
If Arsenal do miss out on Khedira they can console themselves with the capture of Olympiakos centre-back Kostas Manolas. Goal.com says that the Greek star had a medical with the Gunners over the weekend and his move is expected to be officially confirmed in the next 48 hours. Manolas has been monitored by Wenger for several weeks and Goal.com reports that Arsenal have no problem with the £8m fee demanded by Olympiakos.
In other news the Daily Express says that Tottenham are on the tail of Samuel Eto'o. In recent weeks the 33-year-old striker – released by Chelsea at the end of last season – has been eyed up by Liverpool and Everton but now Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is "hoping" to land the former Barcelona frontman as he looks to replace the disappointing Roberto Soldado. The fly in the ointment, so to speak, may be Eto'o's weekly wage demands of £100,000. The Express alleges Liverpool offered Eto'o £50,000 a week but that offer had as much chance of success as a Manchester United title bid.
Talking of which, the Red Devils, lying 15th in the table, are said to be in talks with Roma over Mehdi Benatia. United's 2-1 defeat at home to Swansea on Saturday has purportedly convinced Louis van Gaal that he needs to get busy in the transfer market between now and the end of August if United are to avoid another season of struggles. Sky Sports "understands" that Benatia is "flying to England for talks" with van Gaal. Terms have yet to be agreed between the two clubs for the Moroccan international defender. Benatia was linked with a move to Manchester City a few weeks ago but Sky says they backed off when Roma asked for £30m.
But will United have any cash left for Benatia if, as the Daily Mail claims, they break the bank in their pursuit of Angel di Maria? According to the Mail United are "prepared to commit as much as £100m" to the cause, such is van Gaal's desperation to sign the Argentine. The paper adds that the Dutchman has told the 26-year-old Di Maria that he'll take home around £200,000 a week in what would be a five-year deal. That salary would put him in the same wage bracket as Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie and is believed to be more than PSG could offer. All that remains is for Real Madrid to agree to the move but as the Mail points out that is by no means a given. ·