Tiote and Cavani Arsenal link, Liverpool lead Higuain chase
Newcastle midfielder and PSG striker unhappy at current clubs, is Emirates move on the cards?
Life may have changed in ways since Arsene Wenger joined Arsenal exactly 18 years ago but some things have remained constant – especially the Frenchman's reluctance to put his hand in his pocket. That's led Newcastle's Chiekh Tiote to issue what amounts to a 'come and get me' plea to the Nutty Professor.
According to Goal.com the 28-year-old Ivory Coast international – who joined the Magpies from FC Twente in 2010 - has been linked with a move to the Emirates "during several transfer windows". Each time, however, the move has failed to come off, prompting Tiote to take the lead and tell media in his homeland: "I want to leave. I've spent four years with Newcastle. I think I have reached a stage where it's maybe time to look elsewhere for a new challenge."
Pushed on where that challenge might be the midfielder replied: "It is true there were contacts for me from Arsenal and a club in Russia. I'd prefer to stay in England."
Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani may also be looking for a new start, but he has got someone else to do the talking for him. According to the former PSG goalkeeper Jerome Alonzo, writing in Le Parisien, the Paris Saint-Germain forward is feeling "sad" at the Ligue 1 champions and "his eyes no longer sparkle".
The Daily Star says this is because he is "frustrated at playing second fiddle to Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic" and as a result could be on his way to England, where he is a £55m target for Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd.
Wenger has spoken glowingly of the Uruguayan in the past and praised his "Matador's attitude on the field".
In other news the future of Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain remains as uncertain as a Tory tax pledge with rumours linking him with Arsenal and Liverpool. According to the Daily Star the Argentine hitman "is unsettled in Italy" and is weighing up his options, with a move to either the Gunners or the Reds high up on his list of options.
Both clubs have expressed an interest in signing the 26-year-old striker in the past but nothing came of their eagerness in the summer. Now Caughtoffside claims that it's Liverpool in the box seat to sign Higuain with manager Brendan Rodgers "ready to step-up his long running interest" in the New Year. Apparently Napoli's finances aren't what they could be and thus coach Rafa Benitez must offload some of their top talent to balance the books. Caughtoffside says that Liverpool will "offer around £22m plus the services of Brazilian defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva".
Meanwhile Talksport reports that Roma boss Rudi Garcia has played down speculation that Kevin Strootman will be off to Old Trafford any time soon. The Roma midfielder has been tipped to join United now that his former Holland coach Louis van Gaal is in charge, but Garcia – speaking in the wake of Roma's 1-1 draw with Manchester City in Tuesday's Champions League clash – was relaxed about the rumours. "Is Strootman for sale? You'll have to ask our president," quipped Garcia when asked by a reporter. Then, in more serious mode, he said of the player currently recuperating from a knee injury: "The intention of the club is very clear: Strootman is an important player for us."
Finally the Daily Express says that United outcast Luis Nani has "refused to be drawn into a discussion over his Old Trafford future". The Portuguese international winger joined Sporting Lisbon on a season-long loan in August and he's flourished since returning to his homeland, finding the net in their 4-0 thrashing of Gil Vicente and catching the eye in Tuesday's narrow defeat to Chelsea. Asked if he would return to Manchester at the end of the season, the 27-year-old Nani replied: "I don't know. At the moment, I just want to enjoy the football... I want to be at my best and then let's see what happens in the future. But at the moment, I am a Manchester United player."