Man Utd 'bid £117m' for Bale as Arsenal barter over Bielik
United and Chelsea want to bring Real Madrid star back as Man City finally land Bony
Could we see a new transfer record this month? There has been plenty of talk about Lionel Messi quitting Barcelona recently, but a Real Madrid star is being tipped to become the first player to break the £100m barrier. Man United and Chelsea are the two clubs setting the pace in the hunt for Gareth Bale, while at the other end of the spectrum Crystal Palace have, not for the first time, been thrown scraps from Arsene Wenger's table.
• The Daily Star claims that Manchester United have tabled a "a staggering £117m bid" for Real Madrid midfielder Gareth Bale. In recent months the 25-year-old Welshman has been repeatedly linked with a return to the Premier League and the Star is one of several papers saying United boss Louis van Gaal is in hot pursuit of the former Tottenham star. Chelsea were at one stage thought to be in pole position to bag Bale and it's believed United's offer could well "spark a bidding war" between the two clubs.
• "Productive" is the word used by The Guardian to describe the talks held between Arsenal and Legia Warsaw over Krystian Bielik, a player described by the paper as a "midfield prodigy". Representatives from the north London club flew to Poland on Tuesday to meet Legia officials and as a result the Gunners are finally "poised to complete a deal" which could be worth up to £2.4m. The 17-year-old has been the object of attention from Arsenal for months but two previous bids were dismissed by Legia as too insubstantial. But if the Guardian is correct the 6ft 2in teenager, who can also slot in at centre-half, will soon be wearing red and white... or sent out on loan.
• If the tabloids are to be believed there more "boosts" during the transfer window than there are at Cape Canaveral. The latest clubs to receive one such boost are Chelsea and Arsenal, who, according to the Daily Express, have been tipped off that Roma forward Mattia Destro may "have to look abroad for regular football". The Gunners were first linked to the 23-year-old Italian striker last month and the Express claims Destro could be sold this month if the price is right. The only note of caution comes from the fact that AC Milan are also said to be circling the player.
• There is room for an extra striker at Arsenal following the departure of Yaya Sanogo to Crystal Palace, something of a graveyard for Wenger's French flops. The gangly French goal-misser has followed in the footsteps of Marouane Chamakh and joined the Eagles on loan for the rest of the season after failing to cut the mustard with the Gunners. According to Sky Sports, Palace hope he will add firepower to a frontline that so far has scored just 22 goals in 21 Premier League games. "He's a young player with tremendous promise," said new Palace boss Alan Pardew, proving that he's brought his sense of humour with him from Newcastle.
• Manchester City have finally landed Swansea striker Wilfried Bony in a £28m deal. The player may have jumped the gun, posing with a Man City shirt with his name on the back while on international duty, before the deal was confirmed soon afterwards, reports the Daily Telegraph. "Bony will join the City squad after the African Nations Cup, where he is currently on duty with Ivory Coast," it reports.
• The official Aston Villa website has announced the capture of Spanish Under-21 international Carles Gil. The 22-year-old arrives at Villa Park from Valencia on a four-and-a-half year deal. A highly-regarded attacking midfielder in Spain, Gil came up through the Valencia academy and Villa manager Paul Lambert believes his potential is huge. "We've been on the lookout for a creative player and he will certainly bring that extra element to the side," said Lambert.
• Just up the road in Stoke, manager Mark Hughes is poised to offer 33-year-old forward Peter Crouch a new two-year deal. The Daily Telegraph says that the beanpole striker will see out his top-flight career at Stoke but the news isn't so good for German centre-half Robert Huth. It seems that Hughes wants to farm out the defender now that Stoke have signed Philipp Wollscheid on loan from Bayer Leverkusen.