Vermaelen set for Arsenal exit as Gunners line up Loic Remy
Zenit St Petersberg to offer £15m for Gunners captain before end of Russian transfer window
WITH the Russian transfer window open to the end of this month, speculation is growing that Zenit St Petersburg are preparing a swoop for Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen.
The Daily Mirror is just one of several papers to claim that with the Belgian unable to break the partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker at the Emirates, he is instead looking for a way out.
Conscious of the fact he needs regular game time to ensure he's on the plane to Brazil in the summer, Vermaelen would be open to an offer from Zenit. The Mirror says that the Russian club's coach, Luciano Spalletti, has "earmarked a big money move" for the 28-year-old defender. Currently leading the Russian premier league, Zenit have recently signed Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon from rivals Rubin Kazan and now Vermaelen is on their radar.
Arsenal's club captain has made just three Premier League starts this season and apparently Arsene Wenger is coming round to the idea of selling his skipper particularly if, as rumoured, Zenit put £15m on the table.
Meanwhile the Mirror also claims that the Gunners are "having a fresh round of contract talks" with Bacary Sagna with Wenger desperate to hang on to the French defender. Sagna, who turns 31 next week, is angling for a three-year but the Mirror says the most Arsenal have offered so far is two years.
With Sagna reportedly the subject of interest from Turkish outfit Galatasaray plus Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco the outcome remains far from clear.
If Sagna is concerned about the lack of Frenchmen at the Emirates these days (he only has Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Abou Diaby for company) he may be heartened by reports that his compatriot Loic Remy could be heading to Arsenal in the summer.
The QPR forward is currently on a season-long loan at Newcastle but, even though Joe Kinnear has now left St James' Park, the Magpies are still unlikely to sign him on a permanent basis at the end of the season. That leaves the door open for a £12m move to Arsenal, according to Caughtoffside, where he would be able to forge a Gallic strike partnership with Giroud.
Spurs' £30m summer signing Eric Lamela (remember him?) could be on his way out of White Hart Lane after failing to settle in London. The Argentine winger was brought in by former boss Andre Villas-Boas but has made just three Premier League starts since then, and with the World Cup looming he is anxious to get some game time under his belt in order to make the squad for Brazil.
The Daily Mirror says the former Roma man could head back to Italy on loan with Inter Milan, while La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid are also keen on taking him for the rest of the season.
Talking of defenders, the Daily Star claims that Patrick van Aanholt could be set to return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. The Dutch left-back arrived at the Bridge in 2009, but has since spent most of his time farmed out on loan to the likes of Coventry, Leicester, Wigan and Newcastle. But the Star says that Aanholt – whose latest short-term stint is with Vitesse Arnhem - has been having talks with Jose Mourinho and the 23-year-old could now be on his way back.
It seems that Ashley Cole's future is increasingly uncertain and as a result Mourinho has decided to call on Van Aanholt. But he may have a job on his hands to convince the youngster he has a role to play at Chelsea because Van Aanholt said recently he would "rather stay" with Vitesse because he's guaranteed regular action.
Finally Metro claims that Liverpool have not given up on Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk playmaker Yevhen Konoplyanka, and will make a new offer at the end of the season. The Reds were chasing 24-year-old Konoplyanka before the close of the January transfer window and though manager Brendan Rodgers failed to land his man he still sees him as a "top target".
To that end Rodgers will be encouraged by the comments of Dnipro's chief director Andriy Rusol who, when asked about Konoplyanka's future, replied: "It's just a matter of time before he moves to a good European club. I'm 1,000 per cent sure that Liverpool will attempt to buy Yevhen again in the summer. And, after this experience, the dealings will be more organised, and more likely to succeed."
According to Metro, Liverpool will have to grease Dnipro's palm to the tune of £16m.