Arsenal hatch 'Plan B' to lure Kramer if Khedira deal fails
Gunners aim to land a German midfielder as Everton dismiss McCarthy link
As Arsenal prepare for the visit of Southampton tonight with their season in something close to disarray, the Daily Star says the Gunners have drawn up a Plan B for next month's transfer market. Plan A centres on capturing Sami Khedira from Real Madrid but if that plot goes awry, like their league campaign, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will make a £20m move for Bayern Leverkusen midfielder Christoph Kramer.
There is concern within the Emirates that Real Madrid may decide to keep Khedira in which case the Star says that the 23-year-old Kramer – currently on a two-year loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach – will become the focus of Arsenal's attention. According to the paper the Germany World Cup playmaker "is open to a move to the Premier League".
Meanwhile Talksport reports that Everton gaffer Roberto Martinez has dismissed speculation that Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy could be tempted to leave Merseyside for Arsenal. Rumours emerged at the weekend linking the former Wigan man with the Emirates but when the stories were put to Martinez – whose side host Hull tonight in the Premier League – he gave them short shrift. "I always enjoy seeing good reports on our players, and I see the potential interest or the good compliments that can be paid towards James from the outside," he replied. "But he is a player we look forward to seeing in the Everton top for a long, long time."
Elsewhere and Metro claims Arsenal are "among five clubs weighing up making a loan move" for hapless Tottenham Hotspur defender Vlad Chiriches. Taking its cue from Italian rag Corriere dello Sport, Metro says that Spurs plan to farm out the 25-year-old Romanian next month with the possibility of making the move permanent at the end of the season if both parties agree on the small print. Apparently Arsenal, German club Schalke, and a trio of Italian sides in Napoli, Inter Milan and Roma "are all interested in Chiriches". Metro says Roma are in pole position having already opened discussions with the Romanian blocker's agent.
Finally the Star reports that Blues' boss Jose Mourinho has "dramatically ruled Chelsea out of the race" for Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard. In reality the drama seems to be mostly in the Star's head with the Special One giving a bog-standard answer when asked if he was weighing up a move for the 15-year-old Stromsgodset midfielder, who the paper describes as "the most in-demand teenager in world football".
If the more febrile elements of the Fourth Estate are to believed Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are clamouring for the hand of a player described by the tabloids as the 'new Lionel Messi'. But Mourinho doesn't seem very interested. "I've heard about him," he replied wearily. "He goes to 25 clubs. I just want to know which one. We are not in condition to go into this fight between the 25 clubs. We are a different profile of club. I don't want to participate in the auction."