Arsenal line up Pedro and Shaqiri, Podolski pressure grows
Gunners prepare £26m January move for Barcelona winger, when what they need is defenders
With Arsenal's status as a powerhouse as convincing as a Fifa investigation, could the Gunners restore some credibility to their battered reputation with a big money move for Barcelona star Pedro in the New Year?
According to the Daily Express, Arsenal are readying themselves for a £26m January move for the silky Spanish winger after he fell out of favour with coach Luis Enrique.
Pedro was linked with Manchester United and Liverpool in the summer but those rumours dwindled like an Arsenal title challenge. Now the Express claims that with Pedro behind Luis Suarez and Munir El Haddadi in the Camp Nou pecking order, he and the club would welcome a clean break in the New Year. Apparently Arsene Wenger is a fan and is poised for a "sensational" swoop, which will come as no surprise to Arsenal fans desperate to see some defensive reinforcements at the Emirates.
Meanwhile the Daily Star says that the future of Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri will be up for discussion in the coming weeks with the Swiss hotshot set to meet the club's board about a possible move in January. That will be greeted with undisguised glee at Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, all of whom are said to be "interested" in Shaqiri, who remains a peripheral figure at the Allianz Arena this season.
The Star says Juventus are also hot on his trail and are ready to offer Bayern £18m for the wide-man after Christmas. In conversation with German rag Bild, Shaqiri admitted: "In January we will meet with the club and we will talk. I clearly want to play more."
In other news Talksport reports that Tottenham midfielder Paulinho has come clean and confessed "that he is considering a return to Brazil". The South American sizzler arrived at the Lane in a £17m move from Corinthians in the summer of 2013, but he's failed to kick on after a decent first season and Talksport says he has "struggled to establish himself" under new gaffer Mauricio Pochettino.
The 26-year-old has played just 29 minutes of football in the Premier League and his patience is wearing thin. "I am participating in only a few games at Tottenham," Paulinho told Lancenet: "Maybe now is the opportunity to go back. There is interest from Brazilian clubs, but nothing concrete yet. I'm glad to have a recognition, I feel proud."
Finally Germany coach Joachim Low has added to the pressure on Lukas Podolski to make a decision about his future by saying he must "think about his situation" about Arsenal. The frontman has hardly had a sniff of first team action this season under Wenger, and earlier in the week the 29-year-old admitted he was pondering his options at the club. Goal.com says Low intends using Podolski from the off tonight when Germany take on Gibraltar and he had this message for the player: "I'm aware he doesn't play a lot right now for Arsenal. He needs to play competitive games... he has to think about his situation. I'm still convinced about his abilities, but he needs high intensity."