Arsenal get Barcelona Pedro boost and line up deal for Reid
Spanish striker Pedro hands in transfer request, Liverpool identify Berahino as Balotelli replacement
It's been a while since Arsenal and Barcelona last indulged in a transfer battle, but the Gunners are reportedly preparing to launch a raid on the Camp Nou in order to grab the services of Spanish striker Pedro.
The Daily Express claims that the forward is fed up with his lack of game time this season and has gone as far as to hand in a transfer request, something that would make Arsenal's pursuit of the player a lot more straightforward. The paper says that a deal could be on the cards in January, with the Spanish giants demanding £25m for the 27-year-old.
The chances of Arsenal signing striker Andre-Pierre Gignac are fading faster than a second half performance from Mesut Ozil. Rumours emerged earlier in the month suggesting the 28-year-old striker was pondering a move from Marseille to north London. But now comes news, from French sports daily L'Equipe, that Gignac is "close to agreeing an extension" with the French league leaders. Gignac's contract expires at the end of the season and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been monitoring events on the Mediterranean. But Metro, taking its cue from L'Equipe, claims that Marseille president Vincent Labrune is "working hard" to persuade Gignac to sign a one-year extension to his current deal in light of the hitman's ten goals this season.
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror says that the Gunners ae determined to get their hands on West Ham defender Winston Reid. It's not the first time Arsenal have been linked to the 26-year-old New Zealander and, according to the Mirror, Wenger is "desperate" to sign the Hammers centre-back, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
The Mirror also says that Manchester United are closing in on Dutch teenager Daley Sinkgraven. The 19-year-old who is described by the paper as a – yes, you've guessed it, "wonderkid" - has been in sparkling form for Heerenveen this season. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool have all been linked with the midfield maestro as a result but it's believed Louis van Gaal is hoping he can persuade his countryman to give Old Trafford a chance. The Mirror says that Van Gaal has "ordered his scouting team to bring him more detailed reports" about Sinkgraven's development and, provided those reports are favourable, a bid will be presented to Heerenveen in January. If a deal is done, it's likely that United will agree to Sinkgraven continuing his progress at the Dutch club until the end of next season.
Elsewhere and the Daily Mail claims that Liverpool will "consider a January move" for West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino. With Mario Balotelli collecting more opposition shirts than goals on Merseyside, the Reds are in desperate need of a reliable marksman. And that man could be England Under-21 international Berahino. Apparently Spurs are lining up a £15m bid in the New Year but Brendan Rodgers could come in with a bigger offer if Balotelli keeps firing blanks.
The Mail says that the Baggies believe Berahino "is worth in excess of £25m" and Liverpool will only be willing to fork out such a figure if they're able to first sell Balotelli. The trouble, adds the paper, is that the Reds will find it hard to sell the Italian now his stock has fallen so low.
Finally, the Daily Star reports that Ashley Cole could be offloaded by Roma to the New York Red Bulls in January. The 33-year-old left-back departed Chelsea in the summer but his Italian jaunt has reportedly fallen flat just three months into the new season. According to the Star the former England defender - substituted at half-time during Roma's 7-1 thumping by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week – has "failed to convince" the Serie A side that he has a long term future at the club. Rumours linked Cole to a MLS move last season but he opted for Italy in the belief he still had something to offer the European top flight. But the Star says the Bulls are hopeful of doing a deal with Roma in time for the start of the MLS season in March.