In Brief

Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City eye Man U misfit Falcao

Striker wanted by United's Premier League rivals as Gunners join Red Devils in Otamendi hunt

With only two weeks left in the transfer window it is time for managers to stop talking and start writing cheques. As yet there has been little business of note, with Wilfried Bony's switch to Man City by far the biggest deal of the month so far. But a last-minute scramble could be in the offing as Arsenal chase defenders, Liverpool eye goalkeepers and Lionel Messi's future remains clouded in doubt.

• Radamel Falcao's failure to fit in at Old Trafford has prompted a flurry of interest among Manchester United's Premier League rivals. According to the Sunday Times Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have all "inquired" about the Colombian striker's availability. The Times says that although Falcao started in Saturday's win over Queens Park Rangers, manager Louis van Gaal has given little indication that he will "convert the player's season-long loan into a full transfer". As a result, the paper claims that the trio of clubs will all monitor the situation in the coming months before making a move for the 28-year-old Falcao.

• After a weekend free of comparisons with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal has moved to rectify that - by failing to land Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi. Spanish football expert Guillem Balague revealed today that United had a £27m offer for the player rejected by Valencia. "The Argentine was strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford during David Moyes' ill-fated reign thanks to his impressive performances for Porto," notes Eurosport, which says he has continued to impress at his new club Valencia, who are apparently unwilling to sell.

• Notwithstanding a clean sheet at the Etihad, Arsenal's need for more defenders is well documented and the Daily Mirror says Arsene Wenger is also keen on Otamendi. It says he has his eye on two players in La Liga, firstly Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista, who has described a potential move to the Emirates as "excellent". But there may be work permit issues involved with Paulista, which is why the Mirror says Arsenal are also "keeping tabs" on  Otamendi, who can play right-back and centre-half.

• The latest club to express an interest in Lionel Messi are Manchester City with the Daily Express reporting that Sky Blues boss Manuel Pellegrini is refusing to rule out a bid for the Barcelona striker. Last week both Manchester United and Chelsea were linked with the unsettled Argentine goal machine but the Express reports that City – beaten 2-0 at home to Arsenal on Sunday  - also have the financial means to afford his £200m asking price. Asked by reporters if he would be making a bid for Messi, Pellegrini replied with a smile: "I don't want to give my opinion because everything I say is analysed."

• The Daily Star reveals that Arsenal are still in pursuit of Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Marcelo Brozovic despite being knocked back by the Croatian club last summer. The 22-year-old Brozovic remains on Arsene Wenger's shopping list and the Star reports that the Gunners have "submitted another bid in the region of £5m".

• Arsenal face competition for the hand of Celtic's Virgil van Dijk, says The Sun, with Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew "considering a shock late move" for the strapping centre-half. The Gunners were linked with the 23-year-old Dutchman last week but the Sun claims Palace are circling and may pounce for the player valued at £10m by Celtic.

• Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o is set to return to Serie A after less than two seasons in the Premier League. The 33-year-old signed for Everton from Chelsea on a two-year deal in the summer but is set to sign for Sampdoria after four goals in 20 games for the Toffees. "Eto'o was left out of the Everton team to face West Ham in the FA Cup last week after interest from clubs including Sampdoria," reports the BBC.

• Rickie Lambert's career at Liverpool may turn out to be shortlived. The Sun says the Reds are poised to release the striker providing Lille let them recall Belgium striker Divock Origi. The 32-year-old Lambert has failed to fire at Anfield and consequently manager Brendan Rodgers will allow him to try his luck elsewhere just so long as 19-year-old Origi returns to Liverpool from his loan spell at Lille. As to where Lambert might end up, the Sun suggests Hull, West Brom, Swansea and Crystal Palace as possible destinations.

• The International Business Times latches onto reports that Brugge gloveman Matthew Ryan is being linked with a move to Liverpool as the Reds look to replace bungling Simon Mignolet between the sticks. Apparently the 22-year-old Australian goalkeeper is aware of the interest, telling reporters: "I am happy at Brugge, but obviously I want to prove myself because it would be great to take another step forward in my career."

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