Arsenal 'agree £7m deal' for Chelsea keeper Petr Cech
Gunners move for Blues second-choice stopper and also eye Dennis Praet of Anderlecht
Could Arsenal actually address their defensive frailties in the January transfer window? Apparently so if the Daily Star is to be believed, as it claims that the Gunners have agreed a deal to sign Chelsea outcast Petr Cech.
The goalkeeper is unhappy at playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Brisdge this season and has reportedly been told that he can leave the club. And so great is Arsenal's fall from grace that Jose Mourinho is not concerned about the prospect of selling the veteran keeper to a team that were once Chelsea's title rivals as well as local rivals.
Wenger has already held talks with the Blues, says the Star, which adds that there are rumours a deal has been agreed. The 32-year-old Czech international will apparently set the Gunners back £7m and the paper says his arrival would cast a "major doubt" over the future of Wojciech Szczesny, the current Gunners custodian, as Cech is unlikely to want to swap one subs bench for another.
Considering some of their clueless displays this season it seems only fitting that Arsenal are closing in on a player called Praet. Having said that, there's been little prattish about Dennis Praet's performances this season for Anderlecht. The 20-year-old midfielder has been in sparkling form for the Belgian side, and according to the Daily Star Arsene Wenger "is a big admirer of the young Belgian".
Praet had trials with the Gunners four years ago and though nothing came of it at the time, Wenger is now poised to table a January bid for the playmaker. The Star says that Anderlecht are desperate to hang on to him, but that might not be enough in the face of the player's determination, and that of his agent Jaques Lichtenstein. "What can he gain by spending another season at Anderlecht?" pondered Lichtenstein to reporters. "He can join the likes of Arsenal or Valencia, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid."
Pressed on which club were favourites to land Praet, his agent issued what amounts to an old-fashioned 'come-and-get-me' plea to the Gunners. "Dennis is not far away from being at the level of Arsenal, where they would allow him a year to settle down," insisted Lichtenstein. The Star says though the comments will be a boost to Arsenal, the Gunners' gaffer "will face competition" from Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers' who is also monitoring the situation at Anderlecht.
Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony has ended speculation that he was thinking of leaving Swansea City in January by signing on for another stint at the Liberty Stadium. In recent months Bony has been linked with Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool but his new one-year extension will tie him to the Swans until June 2018.
"It's great news for the club," manager Garry Monk told the club website. "These types of players are ones that we do our best to keep at the club for a long time. But it's also important that we see commitment from that player towards the club, his team-mates and the fans."
In other news Sky Sports reports that Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair could leave the club in January if he continues to sit on the sidelines at the Etihad. Sinclair has made just three starts in two seasons with City following his £6.2m move from Swansea in the summer of 2012 with neither Roberto Mancini nor Manuel Pellegrini showing much faith in the 25-year-old.
Rumours circulated last summer that Sinclair was unsettled with the situation at City, and the player has now admitted something's got to give in the coming weeks. "It's been very frustrating," he told Sky Sports. "I hear loads of speculation but at the moment nothing is concrete... at this moment in time, it is hard for me to get a game, but all I can do is maybe re-evaluate in January and go from there."
Finally, the Daily Mirror reports that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers wants Divock Origi released from his loan deal with French club Lille to ease the Reds' striking crisis. With Daniel Sturridge a long term injury casualty and Mario Balotelli failing to fire, Rodgers has asked the board to bring back Origi from France to augment their frontline. Liverpool bought the Belgian striker from Lille last summer in a £10m deal, promptly loaning him straight back to the club. Now they want him released but the Mirror says it will cost them an additional £5m to break the contract.